Things You Should Know About Uber and Lyft SafetyNew Jersey Legal News
For three years, rideshare companies fought with New Jersey Legislature over consumer protection. In the end, Uber threatened to leave New Jersey forever, which would leave to huge financial and even safety impacts in some parts of the city where Uber and Lyft are necessary and constantly utilized. However, recent laws signed into place have kept these rideshare companies firmly in place in the state of New Jersey.
With these laws being passed, it is clear that Uber and Lyft will remain a staple to New Jersey. However, there are some things regarding safety that you should know before you next step foot inside a rideshare vehicle.
Things to Know About New Jersey Uber Laws
Background Checks Without Fingerprints: Though many believe that Uber and Lyft have been lenient when it comes to allowing individuals to become drivers for their company, this is not actually the case. In fact, any rideshare driver will be banned from employment with their company if they have been convicted of any heinous crime including homicide, sexual assault, driving under the influence, reckless driving, or possession of a controlled substance. Rest assured that your driver will not have committed any of these crimes unless negligent hiring was at play.
Background checks are conducted by both Uber and Lyft before employment offers are extended to those who drive for these companies. However, the drivers are not fingerprinted for the job. Prospective drivers will only be hired if they provide their real name, social security number, driver’s license information, and insurance information before they begin driving for these companies. These types of information are cross-checked so that Uber and Lyft can ensure that they have the right person and that it isn’t somebody using another person’s name for hiring purposes.
However, even though these background checks are extensive, many believe that New Jersey needs to look at fingerprinting as a surefire way to ensure that the right driver is given the job rather than just name-checks alone. Fingerprinting is currently used in New York to ensure the safety of those who utilize these rides.
Insured in an Accident: New ride-share laws have also made it easier for you to be compensated if you have been injured in an accident by a rideshare driver in an event that was not your fault. Passengers who have been injured in a rideshare accident while being transported to another destination by a driver will now have medical coverage in the event of a serious accident. This insurance will be given to the passenger either through the driver, the Uber company, or both – and, under New Jersey law, will cover $1.5 million in medical bills.
In the past, many have been concerned that, in the event of an accident, they would find out that their driver’s insurance has lapsed or refuses to pay for their bills after they have been seriously injured. Many auto insurance companies have also stated that they believe ridesharing is ‘risky’ and would not cover passengers injured in one of these accidents, completely writing off ride-hailing accidents and causing a passenger to suffer from their bills on their own.
The new laws actually provide better minimum coverage to an injured passenger than taxis in New Jersey. For instance, taxis are only required to cover $15,000 worth of liability per person and $30,000 per incident. If a driver with Uber or Lyft is either uninsured or underinsured and the company was unaware of this, the passenger will still be covered by the insurance that fills in for them.
Secret Data: Uber and Lyft collect data about you, which they keep secret from the public. However, it is not kept a secret from the state, according to recent news. The Department of Transportation uses data collected by these rideshare companies but have deemed them confidential and do not disclose information to third parties. However, the state of New Jersey is still permitted to use data to understand traffic patterns and when congestion is at its worst throughout the state. This aids them in designing better roads and ensuring that there is less traffic in certain areas.
No Access to Safety Records: Uber and Lyft drivers are not considered actual employees but are instead referred to as ‘independent contractors.’ Because of this, they are not offered safety training by the company like many other jobs would do. The only reason why they do not engage in this training is that Uber and Lyft are careful not to engage in any acts that would change those who work for them from ‘contractor’ to ‘employee’ status.
Uber, however, retains a policy that states those who are involved in serious accidents while using the service will not be permitted to drive for them. However, under certain laws, there is no way for the public to access information about these drivers to ensure that they are actually barred from working for the company. It is believed that there should be public record disclosure laws that enable the public to find out more information about these important aspects.
Rideshare Lawsuits in New Jersey
Many individuals who are harmed at the hands of a negligent rideshare driver feel as if safety fell short and their driver put them at risk. In the event of a New Jersey car accident caused by an Uber or Lyft driver, a victim has rights to recovery under the law. Our skilled personal injury attorneys at Brady, Brady & Reilly have assisted many victims as they gain a better understanding of many laws across the state and move forward during these challenging times. Please reach out to us at (201) 997-0030 for more information on how we can assist you and determine what legal options you have.