Rideshare services are steadily gaining popularity as an alternative to more expensive taxis and crowded public transportation. But there is a downside to convenience and cost-efficiency: accidents. Drivers for Uber and Lyft are classified as independent contractors, which makes knowing where to turn after an accident more challenging.
Rideshare drivers provide their own auto insurance, although Uber and Lyft offer some coverage when drivers are engaged with their apps waiting for or transporting passengers. When you are injured in an Uber/Lyft accident in Woodbridge, our experienced car accident attorneys can advise you about your legal options and what steps you should take next.
How Does Ridesharing Work?
Uber and Lyft are ridesharing platforms that have been matching drivers and passengers since 2010. Pew Research Center estimates that more than 36 percent of American adults had used the services by 2019. Also known as Transportation Network Companies (TNCs), drivers have control over when and how much they work. Passengers use an app to request a driver from Uber or Lyft, and the TNC will alert drivers in the vicinity, who can choose to either pass or pick up the passenger, transporting them to the destination. The TNC handles the fares and transfers the driver’s portion to them.
Insurance Requirements for Uber/Lyft Drivers
Rideshare drivers must secure special insurance in New Jersey. Coverage is based on three phases. Phase one occurs when the driver is not transporting or waiting for a passenger, and the rideshare app is turned off. Phase two occurs when the app is on and the driver is waiting for a ride request. Phase three occurs when the driver is transporting a passenger. The driver in Phase 3 is required to carry a minimum of $1.5 million in insurance coverage for death, bodily injury, and property damage, $10,000 for medical payments per passenger, and at least $1.5 million in coverage for accidents involving uninsured or underinsured motorists.
Uber and Lyft provide some coverage in phases two and three. In phase three, they provide a minimum of $1 million in third-party liability, some additional uninsured, underinsured, and first-party coverage, as well as some collision coverage with a $2,500 deductible up to the value of the driver’s car with some restrictions. How much compensation is awarded to someone injured in an Uber or Lyft accident in Woodbridge determines what phase the driver was in at the time of the wreck.
Insurance Claims Vs. Personal Injury Lawsuits
Insurers are notorious for pitching lowball figures to settle insurance claims. Our attorneys take the time to investigate an accident and enter negotiations with adjusters armed to fight for the largest settlement.
If insurance negotiations are unsatisfactory, our team explores whether suing for damages is an option. Uber and Lyft will disavow any responsibility because their drivers are independent contractors, not employees. However, if the injured person is a passenger or hit while a driver is transporting a passenger, there is a direct connection to the rideshare company.
Our team has the resources of a bigger firm and is dedicated to providing individualized quality guidance to every client. We can utilize our knowledge and connections to explore all legal options after an Uber/Lyft accident in Woodbridge and help determine which path forward yields the best possible result for an injured party.
Consult Our Firm After a Woodbridge Uber/Lyft Accident
Whether for date nights or doctors’ appointments, convenience and reasonable prices have enticed Garden State residents to leave their cars at home and call for an Uber or Lyft to transport them. The service, overwhelmingly, goes smoothly, but sometimes accidents happen.
Rideshare injury accidents are tricky because drivers technically work for themselves and are independent contractors with Uber and Lyft. This allows the TNCs to try and divert attention from themselves to the driver after a wreck. With our skilled attorneys by your side, we can explore insurance settlements and potential defendants while we build a case for negligence. After an Uber/Lyft accident in Woodbridge, contact Fredson Statmore Bitterman, LLC for guidance.