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What to Know About Uber and Lyft Laws in Georgia

What to Know About Uber and Lyft Laws in Georgia

Driving in Georgia can be hectic, especially if you live in Atlanta, Alpharetta, or the surrounding metropolitan area. For example, someone arriving at Hartsfield International Airport might opt to take an Uber or a Lyft to Alpharetta to avoid driving on I-85, I-75, I-285, or I-400. 

But what happens if you are injured as a ride-sharing vehicle passenger on the way to your destination? No national rules currently govern ride-sharing accidents. However, in 2012, a Transportation Network Company (TNC) model bill was created to provide guardrails to key stakeholders and establish requirements or regulations for this disruptive technology. Adoption varies from state to state. Georgia’s House Bill 529 (HB 529) made changes that every passenger should know about.

Changes to Rideshare regulations in Georgia

Decreased Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (UM/UIM) Coverage

Before July 1, 2023, rideshare companies were required to provide at least $1 million in UM/UIM coverage per incident in Georgia.

As of July 1, 2023, this requirement was reduced to $300,000 per accident, with a maximum of $100,000 per person. This represents a significant 90% decrease in the minimum UM/UIM coverage mandated.

Underinsured motorist insurance protects passengers in a vehicle by compensating them for injuries suffered in a collision, regardless of which driver caused the accident.  This change in the law affects (UM/UIM) insurance, meaning your medical costs if you are injured in an Uber or Lyft, and the other driver is at fault; may only be covered up to $100,000 per injured person, and no more than $300,000 total for all claims resulting from the accident.

Understanding the scope of Uber and Lyft insurance and liability is important for anyone harmed while riding with these services. Updated Liability Coverage requirements for rideshare and other Transportation Network Company’s (TNC’s) in Georgia are listed below.

Updated Liability Coverage Requirements

Rideshare Period 1:

When a driver has the app on, the driver is still an active driver for the rideshare company, even though they don’t have a passenger. Under the rideshare liability model, this is considered “period 1″.

During this period, if the driver hits a pedestrian or another vehicle, the pedestrian/driver who was hit could make a claim against the rideshare driver’s personal auto insurance policy. This is because the driver was still active for the rideshare company.

However, it would be difficult for the pedestrian to make a claim against the rideshare company itself. This is because the driver was not performing a rideshare; they were simply an active driver who had not yet picked up a passenger.

During Period 1, the liability coverage is $50,000 per person for bodily injury, $100,000 per accident, and $25,000 for property damage.

Rideshare Period 2 and Period 3:

Once a passenger requests a ride and the driver accepts the request, Period 2 begins.  The driver is not considered “on the way” to pick up a passenger. 

Period 3 begins when the passenger is in the vehicle and extends to when they have been dropped off.  During Periods 3 and 4, liability coverage increases to $1 million, plus comprehensive and collision coverage with a deductible.

Rideshare Period 4:

Once the passenger reaches their destination, Period 3 ends and the driver can either return to Period 1 or opt for Period 0.  In the latter period, the diver turns off the app, and their personal insurance resumes.

Why This Is Important:

The reduction in the uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage means passengers now have much less financial protection. If you’re in an accident caused by a driver who doesn’t have enough insurance, the amount of money available to cover your medical bills, lost wages, and other damages is much lower than it used to be.

Example: Imagine you’re in an Uber, and someone crashes into your car while driving in Alpharetta, GA. Before the law changed, Uber’s insurance could pay up to $1 million for your injuries if the other driver didn’t have enough insurance. Now, the most it might cover is $100,000, which might not be enough if you have serious injuries and high medical bills. Consulting with an Alpharetta Personal Injury Attorney can ensure you receive fair compensation.

Legal and Insurance Complexity of Ridesharing Accidents in Georgia:

Figuring out which insurance (the driver’s or the Rideshare company) should pay your damages and handling the claims process can be more complicated now. You might have to deal with multiple insurance companies, including the rideshare company’s insurance and your own personal insurance.

Example:  An accident in Atlanta could require filing claims with Uber or Lyft’s insurance, the other driver’s insurance, and possibly your own.  This can be confusing and time-consuming.  Consulting with an Atlanta Car Accident Lawyer, like Hampton & Hampton Law, can ensure you receive fair compensation. Speaking with Consulting with Atlanta Car Wreck Attorneys can help clarify these complexities and assist you through the process.

By understanding these changes, you can make informed decisions about using rideshare services in Atlanta and Alpharetta and know your options if an accident occurs.

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