Ridesharing is becoming a growing trend in many cities across the nation. Drivers make money while transporting passengers. Although it has a lot of benefits, it’s important to understand the role of ridesharing companies in the event of an accident.
How does the state of Colorado handle ridesharing services?
Colorado has become the first state to sign into law a bill that allows ridesharing services by companies such as Lyft and Uber. Although these services have been available since September, they are now subject to regulation by the Colorado Public Utilities Commission (PUC).
Ridesharing companies must carry liability insurance, a minimum of $1 million. They will also have to get a permit from the PUC. The companies (or the drivers) must also carry primary insurance coverage. This applies during the period when a driver doesn’t have a passenger in the vehicle but is seeking one.
How does ridesharing work and what companies offer these services?
Typically less expensive than cab fare, passengers can connect with a driver using her/her personal vehicle for transportation. Acting as ridesharing exchanges or brokers, companies offer their services through technology.
Most make the connections with a smartphone app such as:
- Lyft; and
Who is liable for an accident involving a ridesharing company?
Most personal auto insurance policies don’t allow drivers to use their vehicle for commercial purposes. Drivers should understand the terms of their policy before participating in ridesharing. Of course, the ridesharing company should carry liability insurance that covers accidents that occur when the driver is transporting a passenger.
So if injured while in a ridesharing car that the driver of the ridesharing car caused, those injured may recover compensation from the ridesharing company’s liability insurance. If the driver causes an accident while not carrying a passenger, then his or her own liability insurance may provide coverage. If another driver causes an accident involving a ridesharing vehicle, then the at-fault driver’s insurance may be liable for damages.
So, obviously, a lot depends on which party caused the accident. It’s important to examine the circumstances of the accident and collect evidence to determine who is responsible.
Is an attorney necessary if an accident involves a ridesharing vehicle?
The circumstances surrounding the crash will determine the necessity of obtaining legal counsel. In any type of serious accident that causes injury, it’s a good idea to secure help from an attorney. But that’s especially true when it involves a ridesharing vehicle where liability may be more complex and confusing.
The timing of the accident is one issue. Did it occur while the driver was transporting a passenger that paid for services? Was it during the gap period in which the driver was soliciting fares but didn’t have a passenger? An attorney can help with determining fault and the impact insurance coverage may have in this type of crash.
Call the Law Office of D.J. Banovitz at 303-300-5060 if you’re in the Aurora area and suffered injuries.