North Dakota Rideshare Accident Attorneys
Explaining the Ridesharing Business Model
Ridesharing accidents are much more complicated than regular car accidents, as the Uber or Lyft driver not only has their own insurance. Instead, there’s a second step of drivers getting insurance from their employer. Ridesharing drivers who work for Uber and Lyft, two popular ridesharing companies available all over the United States, must use their own vehicles to transport riders wherever they want to go. Unlike taxi drivers, ridesharing drivers aren’t required to have their own commercial driver’s license or commercial auto insurance.
Uber and Lyft drivers must meet a few different conditions. They must be at least 21, have at least one year of driving experience if they’re 23 or over, or three years of driving experience if they’re under 23. The driver must have an active US driver’s license, an eligible four-door vehicle, and proof of registration and vehicle insurance.
Are Ridesharing Accidents Common?
Ridesharing accidents aren’t as common as other car accidents, as the ratio of regular drivers on the road to ridesharing drivers on the road is pretty small. About 2-3% of auto accidents in any given area can be linked to ridesharing drivers. Ridesharing services have also been attributed to a 2-3% increase in auto accident fatalities, adding up to around 1,100 deaths.
How Does Ridesharing Differ from Taxi Service?
Ridesharing and Taxi Service are much different at their cores. While they both offer rides around town, the way that they go about it is much different. With taxis, they frequently just drive around the city looking for people to pick up. You can get a taxi this way, but usually only if you live in a bigger city like NYC or LA. In smaller cities and towns that have taxi services, you may need to call to get a ride.
With ridesharing, they mastered ease of use. All you have to do is download a phone application, put in your address, and request a ride. It’s really simple, and it tells you approximately how long you’ll have to wait, what the cost will be, and when you’ll arrive at your destination.
With taxi driving, drivers often have to pay a rental fee for the cab and monthly payments to remain working there. Depending on the taxi company, the driver may either set their own schedule or follow a schedule set by the company. With ridesharing apps, drivers are independent contractors who use their own vehicles. Ridesharing companies offer some auto insurance to supplement the driver’s insurance. However, other than that, the driver is mostly on their own.
Ridesharing accidents can occur at any point in the ridesharing business model: When the app is offline, online without a passenger, or online with a passenger in the vehicle. Each of these three circumstances may affect the case and the use of the company’s insurance.
If the App is Offline
If the app is offline and the driver gets into an accident, the ridesharing company’s insurance wouldn’t apply here, as the driver is operating their vehicle with the app offline and no passengers in the car. The driver may be about to start a shift, but they’re not on the clock yet. In these circumstances, this would just be a regular car accident where you would have to determine liability based on who was at-fault.
If the App is Online with No Passenger
Things get a little bit more complicated when the app is online and the driver is waiting to pick up a passenger. In these cases, Uber and Lyft provide a lower level of insurance to cover any accidents that the driver may get into at this time. This insurance covers Lyft drivers even if they’re at-fault in the accident, but it is not an extensive coverage.
If There’s a Passenger
A lot changes once a passenger gets into the car. Uber and Lyft insurance coverage both goes up, to cover any injuries the passengers may have if the driver gets into an accident. Even if the driver is negligent, the passenger may receive compensation from Uber or Lyft for their injuries. They would still receive compensation from the opposing driver who caused the accident as well.
Can You Sue Uber or Lyft?
If you’re a passenger involved in a car accident with an Uber or Lyft driver, you may be able to sue Uber or Lyft, although it isn’t recommended. It can be hard to say that Uber or Lyft shares blame for the accident as they don’t have much input on the driver’s driving. Uber and Lyft both offer insurance coverage for their drivers when a passenger is in the vehicle so you shouldn’t have to sue to get the compensation that you deserve from Uber and Lyft. However, if they put up a fight, and aren’t willing to give you a fair amount, you may need to take matters into your own hands and start a case against them.
Contact a North Dakota Uber or Lyft Accident Attorney
If you or a loved one has been injured in a ridesharing accident in North Dakota and you’re looking for legal guidance, look no further than Sand Law. Our experienced lawyers have years of experience working with insurance companies and in court. We are ready and willing to help you get the compensation that you deserve for your accident. For more information, please contact us online or at 701-609-1510.