The advent of ride-sharing services has been both a boon and a bane for society. On the one hand people don't need to drive when drunk, just call an Uber. On the other hand a huge wave of untrained drivers have been unleashed on society. This is no knock on the legions of hard-working ride-sharing drivers but a reflection on how the gig economy sometimes has unforseen consequences.
At Clark and Steinhorn, LLC we are regularly receiving communications from people injured in crashes with Lyft and Uber drivers both as passengers and drivers This gives rise to some unique questions, many of which are associated with what insurance covers the injuries and in what amounts?
This is because most ride-sharing drivers use their personal vehicles for their professional endeavors. Thus, if they cause a crash in which someone sustains personal injury, in theory, the injured victim could make a claim against the ride-sharing driver's personal insurance.
That would be problematic because most personal auto liability policies exclude coverage for commercial activities. So there exists an odd situation in which a Lyft driver who causes an injurious accident is not covered by their personal mandatory insurance if they are acting as a Lyft driver at the time of the crash.
This in turn has led Lyft, Uber and other ride-sharing services to create a panoply of insurance coverages applicable to vehicle accidents which take place when their apps are activated. Quite simply if the ride-sharing driver is en route to a passenger or has a passenger in their vehicle, a boatload of insurance coverages come into play for persons injured as a result of the ride-sharing driver's actions.
Those coverages vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, depending upon what state law requires. Thus, a ride-sharing trip originating in Maryland would feature some amount of Maryland Personal Injury Protection coverage for the injured Uber passenger. Similarly, Lyft passengers have certain insurance benefits including PIP and both liabilty and uninsured motorist coverage.
Understanding what insurance comes into play and in what amount, from a ride-sharing auto or truck accident, is a complex analysis and requires assistance from an experienced personal injury attorney in order to maximize econimic recovery.