What Happens if You are Injured While Taking Uber or a Ride-Share?
Uber has been growing in popularity throughout the country, but North Dakota residents haven’t been able to take advantage of the convenient ride-sharing option because it hasn’t been available in the state. But that’s all about to change. The popular service recently announced that it would start offering rides in Bismarck and Grand Forks. While it’s a small start, chances are good that the service will soon become available in other cities. It’s a popular service, so it’s likely that demand will cause it to spread throughout the state.
Meanwhile, Uber’s main competitor, Lyft, also recently announced that it would start offering services in Bismarck, Grand Forks, and Fargo. North Dakotans will now have more options for running errands, spending a night on the town with friends, or getting home safely besides the usual taxi services.
Ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft are very convenient. You just open up the app on your phone, request a ride, and someone is usually there pretty quickly. But these ride-sharing services are not immune from risks. In fact, it’s just the opposite. These services contract with regular people just like you and me to be their drivers. These people are not professionals, and they do not have advanced safety training. You have the same high risk of getting into a car accident when you are a passenger in a ride-sharing service as you would if you got in the car with your crazy Uncle Joe who likes to speed and talk on the phone while he drives. But what happens if you do get in an accident with one of these services? Who pays for your treatment? Your time lost from work?
Both Uber and Lyft consider their drivers to be third-party contractors. They are not employees who are operating on behalf of the company. Instead, Uber and Lyft consider their service to be a technology platform that connects drivers and riders. The drivers are expected to carry their own personal automobile insurance to cover them and their passengers in case of an accident. However, most individual insurance policies deny coverage for accidents that occur while driving for profit. People are expected to get another insurance policy that covers commercial activity, but few drivers for ride-sharing services take this step.
Uber provides contingent insurance that covers up to $1 million in damages per ride. However, since it denies that its drivers are actual employees, it denies any liability above and beyond that coverage. Many riders have also found it difficult to have their claims paid out even under the contingent policy. Lyft has a similar contingent insurance policy for its drivers.
When you hire a taxi, your coverage can also be questionable. Some taxi drivers work for a company, and others operate as independent contractors for local taxi companies. Some just buy their own cab and drive it as a sole proprietor. They should have appropriate insurance coverage, but they may not always adhere to guidelines.
An accident can leave you with injuries that require an extensive hospital stay or even life-long medical care. You may lose time from work, or you may lose your ability to work altogether. You may even suffer severe psychological repercussions because of your accident. It is important that the insurance company, the company contracting with the driver, or the driver himself is held responsible. However, if you are injured while taking a ride-sharing service like Uber or Lyft, or while riding in a taxi run by an independent contractor, it may not be that easy to get the compensation you deserve. The dedicated personal injury attorneys at the Larson Law Firm are ready to help. Call our office today at 701-484-4878 to schedule a consultation or use our secure online form to have an attorney contact you.
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