Who Pays For Injuries Sustained In A Rideshare Accident?New Jersey Legal News
If you are involved in an accident while a passenger in a rideshare vehicle, the steps you should take are similar to any other type of vehicle collision, but seeking compensation for injuries sustained in these types of accidents is a very different process.
Ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft have an odd middle ground regarding liability. In other accidents, it is more straightforward who will be covering the costs of resulting injuries. If you are injured while driving in a taxi owned by a cab company driven by an employee, you will know who is going to be liable for injuries in the event of a crash. It is also fairly evident who is liable for an accident if you are injured in a crash where your friend is driving you as a favor.
However, under the law, ridesharing companies are in a state of limbo. This leaves customers unsure of who they should turn to if they are injured in a car crash. Lyft and Uber drivers are officially labeled as independent contractors, not employees, for these companies providing rides through rideshare apps. The insurance companies of these drivers have resisted paying the sums of commercial taxi-like injury claims by insisting on personal-vehicle premiums. Due to a law passed in 2016, residents of New Jersey may have a better understanding of these situations.
Rideshare Laws in New Jersey
In New Jersey, both houses of the legislature passed a law in December of 2016 that addressed the many legal uncertainties regarding rideshare companies. These ambiguities include background checks for drivers, taxes on ride fees, and the question of insurance coverage following a crash. Many different interest groups were involved during the legislative process as it progressed through the State Senate and Assembly. These groups included ridesharing companies, lobbyists for the taxi industry, as well as spokespeople for consumer safety protection and safety groups. The finished bill was essentially a compromise for the many sides involved, but it also offers greater and more precise protections for those who use popular ridesharing services than were previously available.
The Implications of the Bill
The bill passed in 2016 requires that rideshare companies such as Uber and Lyft carry commercial insurance policies with a minimum coverage limit of $1.5 million. This would cover any injuries sustained by a passenger when the driver of the rideshare vehicle is assigned fault for a crash or when the at-fault driver of another vehicle is uninsured or has insufficient liability coverage to compensate for the full damages of an injured party. The policy effectively functions similarly to liability coverage and uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage. If an Uber or Lyft vehicle is involved in a collision with another motorist, the rideshare passenger will be able to seek lost compensation from the driver’s car insurance policy without restrictions that would limit an injured victim’s ability to seek legal action for damages under New Jersey’s no-fault laws.
These changes implemented in the new legislation are welcomed for customers of these popular rideshare companies. Before this new law in New Jersey, transportation network companies (TNCs), like Uber and Lyft, were usually only covered for drivers contracted through their companies, with no coverage for their passengers. It should be noted that this is still the case in jurisdictions that have not passed similar legislation as in New Jersey. If you are traveling out of state, you should check into the local laws governing TNC activity in the area.
In other areas, if the driver at fault for the accident has lapsed insurance, or their insurance provider is refusing to cover the injuries caused by a collision that happened while the vehicle was in commercial use, the injured party may find themselves without a way to seek compensation for their damages. Most customers appreciate the ease and affordability of ridesharing compared to traditional taxi services, but the danger of being made to carry the bulk of the financial burden after a serious accident caused by another’s negligence should not be required of anyone. Luckily, Uber and Lyft riders in New Jersey no longer have to deal with that risk.
If you or someone dear to you has been injured in a collision while riding in a rideshare vehicle, contact an experienced New Jersey car accident attorney immediately. We can help you recover the compensation you deserve after being unfairly injured in a car accident.
Ridesharing Accidents in New Jersey
Many people throughout the country use ridesharing services such as Uber and Lyft as a simple way to get around without breaking the bank. New Jersey is no exception. These services offer many incentives to riders, including availability, cleanliness, and affordability. However, there have been many reported accidents caused by a lack of navigation experience on part of rideshare operators. There has been a reported increase in roadway fatalities associated with ridesharing companies in recent years. Some studies have suggested there has been a 3 percent increase in vehicle passenger and pedestrian deaths from 2006 to 2011.
Sadly, the independence of Uber and Lyft drivers makes liability concerning these collisions difficult and confusing. As more of these vehicles enter the streets, it makes sense that there will be an increase in the number of accidents involving rideshare vehicles. If you are injured by a crash and someone else is at fault, you should contact a qualified New Jersey auto accident attorney in order to regain lost financial compensation.
An experienced personal injury attorney can make all the difference when filing a personal injury claim following a serious car accident. At Brady, Brady, & Reilly, LLC, we have decades of experience helping those injured in car accidents bring at-fault drivers to justice for their actions. Rideshare collisions are on the rise, and you need an experienced law firm to help you recover from your injuries. If you or a loved one has been injured while riding in a rideshare vehicle, contact our law offices today at (201) 997-0030 to discuss your claim with a qualified legal professional.