Ridesharing has opened up a new industry for car owners and a new way to get around for the mobile population, less expensive than a standard taxi fare. Open the Uber or Lyft app, request a ride, pay for it, and your private-car driver shows up and takes you somewhere. You get a ride, and the driver makes money doing it without the hassles of becoming a full-fledged cab driver.
But there are some downsides to “for-hire private car” rideshares.
Accidents are inevitable, and they happen in ridesharing more than most people realize. A recent accident in New York City by an Uber driver with a suspended license which left four injured highlights the potential for problems.
While ridesharing companies do some due diligence on their drivers, these are independent contractors, and not employees. An accident isn’t handled quite the same way as if you were in a car you were driving yourself.
Uber Driver Qualifications
Anyone with a CDL (commercial driver’s license) in Kansas City must not only have a valid Missouri driver’s license, but also meet other requirements to acquire and keep a CDL. Uber doesn’t require a CDL for its rideshare drivers.
Uber doesn’t have the same regulatory oversight, leaving the possibility that a driver may be underqualified, has a history of tickets and accidents, a criminal record or other obstacles that would preclude them from getting a legitimate CDL.
What You Need To Know
Drivers are required to have their own liability insurance. Some drivers have a separate policy for ridesharing. Uber has its own insurance for when their drivers are actually working.
An Uber driver’s time is divided into three parts:
- When he or she is on their own personal time, and driving for themselves. Their own personal insurance is used if there is an accident
- When he or she is logged in and notified of an assignment and is waiting to pick up a passenger
- When a driver has picked up a passenger and accepted a fare
Only when a driver is actively transporting someone does the company’s $1m insurance coverage apply. If a driver causes an accident while not picking up or driving a passenger, the driver’s own insurance policy covers any damages.
After A Ridesharing Accident
An accident with a taxi driver is normally covered by the taxi company’s insurance since the driver was likely on the job at the time. But a ridesharing accident is different.
- As always, get medical attention immediately after the accident, even if you don’t think you’re injured. Symptoms may show up later, especially in things like whiplash. Visit an emergency room, your own physician or an urgent care clinic that you can walk into without an appointment. Getting treatment started is important for you to start healing as well as documenting your accident case. If you don’t seek medical care, the other company’s insurance may counter that your injuries were not severe.
- Call the police to file a report. The driver may not want to report the accident, but in Missouri, you’re required to call if there were any injuries, deaths, or more than $500 in damages (in Kansas, the requirements are the same, but injuries, deaths and $1,000 in damages.)
- Use your cell phone to take pictures of your injuries, the accident scene, and anything else that may be important to the accident.
- Collect pertinent information: the driver’s name, vehicle, license number, as well as the other party’s information. Include the time, date and location of the accident. While the app will have the driver’s name and vehicle information, the more you have, the better.
- Report the incident to the rideshare company. Both Uber and Lyft have reporting methods available online or through their respective apps. Don’t let the driver coerce you into not reporting the accident.
Kansas City’s Oldest Accident
A car accident in an Uber or Lyft vehicle in Kansas City is more complicated than a standard car accident. The companies have a team of attorneys working against you to make sure you settle for a small amount, or not at all. That’s why you need an attorney of your own to fight for the compensation you need.
Since 1918, The Popham Law Firm has helped hundreds of people in all kinds of accident cases. We’ll be happy to review your ridesharing accident case, and how to proceed. Contact us at (844) 243-2288 or (use our online contact form) to get started