Gillette Rideshare Accident Attorneys
Rideshare companies like Lyft and Uber offer a convenient alternative to driving and finding parking, hailing a taxi, or taking slow public transportation. But the concept of ridesharing is relatively new, and there are still some questions over liability and insurance coverage in the case of a collision.
If you’ve been injured in a car accident involving a rideshare vehicle - either as a rideshare passenger, as the driver or passenger in a different vehicle, or as a pedestrian - you need to speak with an experienced Gillette personal injury attorney. Our trial lawyers at Steven Titus & Associates, P.C., can answer any questions you may have about how to get compensation for your injuries and losses. Call our office for a free case evaluation by dialing (307) 257-7800.
Rideshare companies are often called transportation network companies (TNCs). People who drive for TNCs are not employees; they are private contractors. Drivers for both Lyft and Uber must carry their own liability insurance with limits equal to or greater than the minimum required for the state in which they drive. In Wyoming, those minimums are $25,000 per injured person, up to $50,000 per accident for more than one injured person, and $20,000 in property damage.
In addition to this personal insurance, Lyft and Uber will also cover the driver and passengers with their own policy. However, there are restrictions on when this coverage is in effect. To understand how rideshare insurance works, let’s break a ride into three periods:
- Period One: When a driver has turned on the rideshare app, but has not accepted a ride request.
- Period Two: When the driver has accepted a ride request, and is on the way to pick up the passenger.
- Period Three: Begins when the driver picks up a passenger, and ends when the driver drops off the passenger.
In the early days of the rideshare industry, a driver’s personal automobile insurance policy covered him during Period One. In Periods Two and Three, the driver was covered by the transportation network company’s liability coverage of $1 million per accident and $1 million for underinsured and uninsured motorist. This created a problem, because if Uber or Lyft drivers were involved in an accident during Period One, they would not be covered by the TNC’s insurance policy. But, if their insurance company found out they were using their vehicle for commercial purposes at the time of the crash, the insurer could drop the rideshare driver and refuse to pay any damages. The danger of this gap in coverage was illustrated when a 6-year-old girl was struck and killed by an Uber driver in San Francisco. Uber refused to cover the accident on the grounds that the driver was in Period One.
To remedy this situation, both Lyft and Uber have added coverage for Period One. Now, when the app is on and the driver is waiting for a ride request, the TNCs offer $50,000 for bodily injury, $100,000 per accident, and $25,000 for property damage coverage. However, this is contingent coverage in every state but California and Maine. This means Uber and Lyft drivers will have to make a claim with their personal auto insurance company first. If the driver’s insurance company denies the claim, or if the driver doesn’t have enough coverage, the TNC’s policy will kick in.
Because rideshare accident claims may involve multiple insurance companies, they can be quite complicated. Our experienced trial attorneys are well-versed in Wyoming law, and we can see to it that you get the compensation you deserve from the liable party or parties. Steven Titus & Associates, P.C., can provide you with aggressive representation, and we are not afraid to go to trial. Call our Gillette office for a free consultation at (307) 257-7800.
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