The driver of such a vehicle is an independent contractor. Neither Uber nor Lyft has claimed that particular driver as an employee.
Both Uber and Lyft do have employees.
Those employees work to keep the drivers informed, regarding the location of any potential riders. Because both Uber and Lyft are companies, each of them must have some form of business insurance. Furthermore, as moneymaking enterprises, either of them could be held financially responsible for an injury to a rider.
Both companies have asked each of their drivers to carry vehicle insurance. Yet the companies that sell vehicle insurance do not cover an injury, if the policyholder had tried to use the insured vehicle as a way to get additional income.
How have the ride-share companies addressed that problem?
In some states the drivers/independent contractors have the ability to purchase a ride-sharing endorsement, to be added to their existing policy. A driver’s possession of such an endorsement provides the rider with coverage, in the event of an accident.
Drivers in other states are not as fortunate. In the event of an accident, the contracted driver could get supplementary financial assistance. In that way, the injured rider could be compensated for any damages. Still, the driver’s actions could provide the insurance company with a reason for canceling the driver’s auto insurance policy. Indeed, that same contractor/driver might even lose his or her license. Obviously, that would cause the ride-share company to lose one of its drivers.
The role of the personal injury lawyer
Ride-share companies are still working with states, in order to arrive at an effective solution to this problem. Meanwhile, injured riders want to be compensated for their injuries. Some personal injury lawyers in London have come forward, and have agreed to offer legal assistance to the injured riders.
A personal injury attorney would know whether or not the ride-share company was liable for the rider’s injuries. Sometimes, someone else’s negligence has forced the rider to make use of the ride-sharing service. That was the situation that had given rise to one case. The injured party had come into a lawyer’s office with what she thought to be a strong case. She had been injured, while using a ride-sharing service. Still, the consulted attorney soon found a weakness in her case.
She had been on her way to a doctor’s appointment. Yet her care provider was supposed to be taking her to such appointments. Consequently, the consulted lawyer had refused to handle her potential case. A study of that case does not shed much light on how things are changing, with respect to insurance for companies like Uber and Lyft. Personal injury lawyers will have to await the decisions from future cases.