Given the prevalence of ridesharing services, i.e., Uber and Lyft, it is understandable that rideshare car accidents involving these services are on the rise. As common as motor vehicle accidents are, it stands to reason that these services would be as likely to be involved in an accident as any other vehicle. However, due the nature of their employment relationships and often three (3) or more parties being involved, ridesharing accidents present a unique set of circumstances that differentiate them from normal motor vehicle accidents and even accidents involving taxi cabs, the service they are replacing.
Where these accidents often differ with ridesharing, is that there are now multiple levels of personal involvement; the rideshare company itself, the driver – who is an independent contractor, the passenger, and any other 3rd parties involved in the accident. The competing interests and responsibilities of these multiple actors can lead to difficulty obtaining relief for an injured party.
An important fact to know is that individuals who drive for rideshare companies are not “employees,” in the legal sense. Rather, they are independent contractors. This is significant for a couple for reasons. First, from the perspective of the driver, they are not entitled to Workers’ Compensation in the event of a workplace accident. Next, you are required to carry your own insurance. As we will see, when the accident occurred in the course of the driver’s day has huge significance. For example, according to Uber’s website, they offer supplemental coverage of