Can Uber or Lyft Be Liable for a Maryland Accident Caused by a Driver?

Taxis are a thing of the past. Or at least that is what companies like Uber and Lyft hope will soon be the case. Uber and Lyft are companies that have created similar applications that allow passengers to get picked up and delivered to their destination by non-employee, independent contractors who are then paid a percentage of the fare by the company. From a passenger’s perspective, the apps operate much like a traditional taxi service in that passengers will hail a ride through the app, a driver arrives to pick the passenger up, and then the driver delivers the passenger to their destination.

There are no special qualifications that are required to drive for these companies, other than being over 21 years of age, maintaining car insurance on the vehicle, and having a clean driving record. With the popularity of Uber, Lyft, and other rideshare apps increasing over the past few years, as well as the potential for inexperienced motorists acting as taxi drivers, it is natural that we are seeing an increase in Maryland car accidents involving Uber and Lyft drivers.

Rideshare companies are known for having a hefty insurance policy that protects passengers and drivers in the event of an accident. However, not all accidents involving an Uber or Lyft driver will be covered. It is easiest to understand the available coverage by breaking down each stage in a ride.

Available, But No Passenger:  When a driver is available and waiting for a passenger to request a ride, the driver is covered under both Uber and Lyft policies. However, the coverage is limited to liability only, and it provides for $50,000/person or $100,000/accident. Additionally, this insurance only applies if the driver’s insurance limits are less than the policy’s.

Ride Accepted:  When a driver accepts a ride, regardless of whether the passenger has been picked up, the companies’ primary insurance policies are active. Both Uber and Lyft maintain $1 million insurance policies.

Personal Use:  If a driver is using their vehicle for personal use at the time of the accident, neither Uber nor Lyft will provide coverage. In this case, the driver’s personal insurance policy may cover the accident.

Other Complications

While rideshare companies do provide significant coverage for most accidents, there can be complications that arise due to the fact that the drivers are not technically employees of the rideshare companies. For example, if a driver is drunk or acts intentionally to cause an accident, say out of road rage, an insurance company may deny the claim.

Have You Been Injured in a Rideshare Vehicle?

If you or a loved one has recently been injured in a Maryland car accident that was caused by a rideshare driver, or you have been injured while acting as a rideshare driver, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. The dedicated Maryland personal injury attorneys at the law firm of Lebowitz & Mzhen Personal Injury Lawyers have extensive experience handling all types of Maryland car accident cases, and they know what it takes to succeed on their clients’ behalf. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation to speak with an attorney today, call 410-654-3600.

More Blog Posts:

Court Finds Transportation Department Not Liable for Misplaced Construction Barrel, Maryland Car Accident Attorney Blog, published February 2, 2018.

Appellate Court Reinstates Plaintiff’s Case After Finding Lower Court’s Evidentiary Ruling Was Improper, Maryland Car Accident Attorney Blog, published January 16, 2018.

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