As we get back to work in New York City and restaurants start to partially reopen, more and more of us will be using Uber and ride share apps again. If you’re one of the unlucky ones to be injured in an accident involving an Uber, or any rideshare vehicle, you may be confused as to what your rights are, how your medical bills will be paid and how you may be able to be compensated for any pain and suffering that you have experienced. Understanding this information before ever accepting a ride could be very useful but do not hesitate to ask us any questions – we’re #YourFirstCall.
Rideshare apps connect people who need rides with individuals who are willing to drive them around. Using an app of this nature is often trouble free. Uber, Lyft, and similar apps are usually considered technology companies because they do not transport products and are often not subject to the same rules as taxi companies or similar transportation services. However, in New York City, rideshares are governed by the NYC Taxi and Limousine Commission in the same manner as any taxi or livery service.
Uber has often argued that its drivers aren’t technically employees of the company and the drivers are independent contractors. This raises issues for individuals who are injured either in an Uber vehicle, or by an Uber vehicle, because normally in New York employers are completely liable for the actions of their employees. This attempt at separation has empowered companies like Uber to deny liability when accidents involve one of their drivers.
Insurance Coverage: Basic Principles
If you are injured in a rideshare vehicle the following basic principles apply:
*Rideshare vehicles, like all taxi cabs, must carry No-fault insurance to cover medical expenses, lost pay for time missed from work (if approved by a doctor) and out of pocket expenses of anyone injured while riding in the rideshare vehicle. Also covered are pedestrians and bicyclists that have been in accidents with a rideshare vehicle.
*All rideshare vehicles must carry at least a 100,000/300,000 insurance policy which means that up to $100,000 of coverage is available above the No-fault coverage for an injured individual and a total of $300,000 to cover multiple injured parties.
*Rideshare drivers, like all drivers in New York, must carry uninsured motorist coverage which covers themselves and their passengers if they are in an accident with a vehicle that was not insured at the time of the accident.
Injuries that Exceed the Driver’s Insurance Coverage
Uber maintains its own insurance policies for injuries that exceed its drivers own commercial policy. So, if the driver’s policy is exhausted, Uber’s insurance policy – up to $1.25 million – may be available under some very specific situations.
If you have been injured by, or while riding in, an Uber or rideshare vehicle and have any questions, call us at Buzin & Berman, PC because, as with any personal injury situation, we are #YourFirstCall.