Question

Who can I sue if I’m injured in a rideshare accident in New York, such as Uber, Lyft or Juno?

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Adam D. Cahn - Personal Injury - General - Super Lawyers

Answered by: Adam D. Cahn

Sakkas, Cahn & Weiss, LLP
New York, NY
Phone: 212-257-3139
Fax: 212-571-7174

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Answer

This is not the easiest question to answer. There are complicated liability issues at play, but you should have legal standing to pursue compensation.

If you go back in time, not too long ago, your only rideshare option was holding up your hand or whistling for a taxi. Then the new rideshare boys came along (Uber, Lyft, Sidecar) and everything changed. Instead of waiting, a prospective user used an app to request a ride and soon after a car and driver appeared. While this service benefited the consumer, providing faster service and more options, it created all sorts of complexities on the insurance level.

Understanding the rideshare relationship

People who drive for Lyft, Uber, Juno and similar services use their own private vehicles and are not employees of the rideshare companies they work for. When they are using their vehicles for personal use, the ride-hailing companies will take no responsibility for things that go wrong. On the other hand, while the driver is working, he is covered by the ride-hailing company policy. After trying out a variety of formulas, the insurance now works something like this:

  • A rideshare driver purchases insurance to cover him or her for personal use.
  • Once the driver activates the app and begins heading to pick up a prospective rider, and until the driver drops off the rider at their destination, the ride-hailing company’s insurance policy applies.

What the victim of a rideshare accident needs to know

 If you are in an accident with a rideshare vehicle, whether you are a passenger of that car, a pedestrian, or an occupant of another vehicle, your attorney should sue both the rideshare service and the driver. The driver’s policy will be a non-commercial policy subject to the state minimum insurance. On the other hand, if the driver is working for the rideshare at the time of the accident, then the following coverage will apply:   

  1. Third party liability coverage - This insurance covers liability for damages to any third party such as another driver, pedestrian, or property in case of an accident when the driver is at fault. Coverage limits vary by state, but are at least $1,000,000 per accident.
  2. Uninsured or underinsured motorist bodily injury coverage - This insurance covers you and anyone else in your vehicle in case of an accident where another driver is at fault, but does not have sufficient insurance. This also covers hit-and-run accidents where the at-fault driver cannot be identified. Coverage limits vary by state, but are at least $1,000,000 per accident.

In any accident resulting in serious injury, it is advisable to contact a personal injury attorney, and sooner rather than later. This is especially true in a rideshare accident because of the unique insurance and liability issues.

Disclaimer: The answer is intended to be for informational purposes only. It should not be relied on as legal advice, nor construed as a form of attorney-client relationship.

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