Ride Share Injury Claims In Nebraska
There are several additional hazards of using rideshare companies above the risks associated with using traditional taxis. I know that young people do not frequently call regular cabs anymore. Uber and Lift are much less expensive than traditional cabs, but the more that they drive in Nebraska and get involved in accidents, the more problems are apparent. Some of the issues can probably be attributed to the growing pains associated with establishing and regulating a new type of business.
In the past safety and insurance coverage during cab rides have never given me the reason for concern. I always assumed that a large cab company screened their drivers when hiring them and that they had good commercial insurance policies to cover passengers if anything went wrong. Now things are a little less safe and secure.
Traditional cabs are well marked with paint and lights that tell everyone that they are a cab. It is shocking to learn about stories in the news about people being tricked by predators posing as commercial drivers. When drivers are using their personal vehicles to give rides to strangers for a rideshare business, a potentially dangerous deception is made easier.
Most people do not have the experience of being victimized by a criminal but another much more frequently occurring situation gives many people grief. Whenever a rideshare company vehicle is involved in a traffic accident and someone is injured, a problematic injury claim is likely to result. The problems can start even before you get into the cab. Most Uber or other rideshare drivers do not fully understand the insurance situation involved. Drivers are low paid workers who wear out their own cars by driving many extra miles for their job. They are independent contractors that do not get the benefits that a full-time employee would get.
The responsibility to insure a privately owned vehicle
The responsibility to insure a privately owned vehicle that is used for a rideshare service depends on what the driver is doing at the time of an accident. When there are no paying passengers and the driver is not signed into their telephone application, the vehicle is just like any other privately owned vehicle and the vehicle owner is responsible for providing insurance. As soon as the driver signs into a telephone application to indicate that they are ready to take passengers, the responsibility for insuring the vehicle and its owner and passengers shifts to the rideshare company. Another important change comes when a driver is actually transporting passengers.
The coverage provided by a rideshare company may not protect the driver for a property damage claim very well. Rideshare collision coverage usually has very high deductibles, and there may be no coverage at all for vehicle damage during the time that a driver is available for work but does not have a passenger. Even if a driver bought good full coverage insurance, he or she could be set up to lose the value of their car if an accident happens when they are signed into the application but do not have a passenger. This situation is especially likely if a hit-and-run accident occurs. Most personal car insurance policies exclude people from coverage whenever they have a passenger or they are logged into a rideshare application. The only way that the vehicle owner’s insurance would protect them at all times when they are working as a rideshare driver is if they purchase a special ride share rider for their policy. I believe this is a must for all drivers in the rideshare business.
Until recently, I was not aware of any insurance company that provided this type of coverage. Apparently the need to cover rideshare drivers and their vehicles have led several insurance companies to start providing this type of coverage. The only company that I am sure currently makes ride share endorsements available in Nebraska is Progressive. It is not a normal part of all insurance policies and is an optional coverage that costs extra. Another company that I have only recently heard of for the first time is Door Dash. The only way that I am aware of to contact Door Dash and make a claim against one of their drivers is through a website that does not even list a telephone number. The website says they will respond to a claim report within seven to ten business days. It concerns me to be sharing the road with vehicles that make it difficult to start accident claims.
All injury claims involve insurance investigations
All injury claims involve insurance investigations. It is normal for adjusters to contact witnesses and both drivers in a two-car accident. The process takes time and often leaves people dealing with bills and transportation problems for a while without help. The delay is even longer when the investigation involves a rideshare vehicle that has two different insurance companies that may or may not provide coverage depending on whether or not the driver was working at the time of the accident. Each company would rather have you make a claim against the other company, and no one is likely to eagerly step up and take responsibility.
Like many other situations, you never know who will cross your path when you are driving. It can help to have a good full-coverage car insurance policy of your own that includes coverage for a rental car. You should also consider getting medical coverage for your car. It also helps to have good health insurance of your own. My advice is to think twice before calling a cut-rate cab or working for a rideshare company. If you want to deal with them, think carefully about whether or not you are adequately protected.
At the Montag Law Office, we have dealt with situations involving the new and developing area of law covering ride share accidents.