As the holiday season comes to a close, so does one of the most profitable times of the year for ride-share services. Although ride-share services are seen as a safer and more convenient way to travel, the drivers of these vehicles are often involved in car accidents. The issue with accidents involving ride-share services such as Uber or Lyft is that they operate in a middle ground with respect to liability.
In a typical automobile accident, such as one with a friend as the driver, the friend’s insurance will be liable for any injuries that occur. When it comes to accidents involving Taxi cabs, the cab company will often pay out for injuries seeing as the driver was clearly one of their employees. But ride-sharing services operate in the middle of the two situations. In previous years, and in other jurisdictions, Uber and Lyft generally only provided basic injury coverage for the drivers who contracted with them. This left no coverage for their paying passengers. Additionally, if an Uber driver did not have an adequate commercial insurance policy, the insurance companies were entitled to reject paying the claim, leaving the injured passenger without an avenue for recovery.
However, in 2016, the New Jersey State Legislature set forth standards to deal with this issue. After lobbying by both the ride-share companies, consumer protection, and safety organizations, the legislature was able to pass a law that satisfied all parties. In December of 2016, the law was passed which addressed this concern and several of the other concerns surrounding ride-share companies. The new law set standards for background checks for drivers, taxation of ride fees and also, the insurance liability question.
The primary change the law implemented was that ride-share companies such as Uber and Lyft are now required to carry commercial insurance policies with $1.5 million coverage limits. These policies are designed to cover for injuries when the ride-share driver was at fault for the injuries, or when the at-fault driver does not have a sufficient policy to cover the medical expenses. Therefore, the new law set forth avenues for compensation, regardless of the situation. While similar laws have been adopted in some jurisdictions around the country, they have not been adopted in all. Regardless, New Jersey Uber and Lyft passengers can ride with a little more comfort that they will not be taking on a substantial risk while using the rideshare services.
If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident involving a ride-share service, contact an experienced New Jersey auto accident lawyer that may assist you in analyzing the liability of drivers and help you in receiving the compensation you deserve. The attorneys at the Rinaldo Law Group LLC are skilled New Jersey motor vehicle accident lawyers, who will fight for the compensation you deserve. For more information or to schedule a free initial consultation with our New Jersey motor vehicle accident lawyers, call (908) 352-2500 or fill out our contact form.