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Understanding Uber and Lyft Accident Liability in 2024

Uber and Lyft Accidents

In the first quarter of 2024, 2.57 billion people took an Uber trip, while Lyft reported over 188 million trips over the same period. With more people increasingly opting for ride-sharing services over taxis to reach their destinations, it is important to understand the difference between the two and how the laws governing Uber and Lyft accidents differ if you are involved in a car accident.

There are distinctions between a rideshare and a taxi car. One of the most apparent is that taxi drivers are employees of taxi companies operating vehicles owned by the company. In contrast, rideshare drivers are independent contractors who use their own vehicles. Rideshares are classified as Transportation Network Companies (TNCs), meaning they use apps to reach and communicate with clients.  

Understanding the scope of Uber and Lyft insurance and liability is important for anyone harmed while riding with these services. The increasing number of cases underscores the urgent need for better safety measures within ridesharing platforms to protect riders everywhere. If you are injured as a passenger and need legal assistance, contacting an Atlanta Car Accident Attorney or a Chicago Car Crash Lawyer can provide the help you need.

Safety Tips for Rideshare Passengers

When choosing a rideshare, you want to stay safe. Here are some tips that could help you.

Stay alert. When you first request your Uber or Lyft, pay attention, make sure your destination request is correct, and understand exactly where to meet your driver. Verify that you are in the right car with the right driver, and check the license plate. While in the car, track the ride and make sure the driver is alert and paying attention to the road.

Buckle your seatbelt. Wearing a seatbelt can save your life or prevent injury when you are a passenger in a car wreck.

Speak Up. If you see something or feel that something isn’t going right, say something to the driver. For instance, if the driver seems to be going in a different direction, ask them why they are deviating from the suggested course. There may be a valid reason, but it doesn’t hurt to show that you are an aware passenger. Alternatively, you may see the driver speeding or failing to follow other traffic rules. In this instance, you should express your concern.

Common Causes of Uber Crashes

Rideshare crashes often happen because drivers rely heavily on navigation apps due to unfamiliar routes. These apps can distract the Uber and Lyft drivers and significantly slow their reaction times. Drivers might speed to earn more or navigate unfamiliar roads, relying heavily on GPS. This juggling act can cause sudden lane changes or unexpected turns.

Also, if rideshare cars aren’t well-maintained due to neglect — like having bald tires or worn brakes — it puts everyone at risk. Driver fatigue is another big issue, as many drive long hours. This pressure to catch subsequent ride requests may lead to dangerous driving habits or accidents during loading and unloading passengers in unsafe spots. For issues like these, consulting with Alpharetta Accident Lawyers or an Atlanta Car Wreck Lawyer could be crucial.

Rideshare Laws

While no comprehensive federal regulations govern TNCs across all states, the TNC Model Bill was created through a collaborative effort between rideshare companies, personal auto insurers, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), and State Insurance Regulators. This bill is a legislative framework developed to regulate ride-sharing insurance coverage. It addresses the unique insurance needs and complexities posed by TNCs, ensuring that drivers, passengers, and third parties are adequately protected in the event of an accident.

Here are some of the key points the bill addresses:

● Insurance Requirements:

○ Exclusion of Coverage:
■ Personal auto policies are permitted to exclude coverage for TNC-related driving.

○ Mandatory Primary Liability Coverage:
■ During Period 1 (app on, waiting for a ride request):
1.  At least $50,000 bodily injury per person.
2. $100,000 bodily injury per incident.
3. $25,000 property damage (depending on state law).

■ During Period 2 (ride request accepted) and Period 3 (passenger in vehicle):
1.  At least $1 million in primary liability coverage.

○ Coverage Responsibility:
■ The TNC, the TNC driver, or a combination of both can maintain coverage.
■ TNC coverage is not contingent upon denial of claim payment from the personal auto policy (PAP).

○ Right of Contribution:
■ Grants personal auto insurers a statutory right of contribution against TNCs for erroneously paid claims.

Why The TNC Model Bill Matters:

The TNC Model Bill is important for both consumers and drivers using TNC services because it:

● Ensures that there is clear, consistent regulation across different jurisdictions. This provides the same expectations from passengers who utilize these services in different states and cities in the United States.
● Addresses the specific insurance gaps that can arise with the unique business model of TNCs so that there is a clear understanding.
● Provides a safety net by requiring minimum levels of insurance coverage to protect all parties involved in ride-sharing activities.

If you are injured as a passenger in an Uber or Lyft and need legal assistance, you should contact accident attorneys who understand the Rideshare laws for your jurisdiction. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) has issued some guidance, and individual states can choose to adopt it. At Hampton and Hampton Law, we understand the ride-share car accident laws governing Georgia and Chicago, making us your trusted Auto Accident Attorney Chicago IL and Car Wreck Lawyer Atlanta.

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