Uber and Lyft are mobile phone applications that offer a simple to use alternative to taxis. Fares are pre-set, you can rate your driver, and many people find them to be a convenient and straightforward tool. However, the law governing motor vehicle accidents when using a rideshare app is not so straightforward.
How we got here:
The law has paved a bumpy road for drivers and passengers that have been injured when using these ridesharing services. When Uber first launched in Ontario, the laws and rules surrounding accidents were unclear, and not obvious. However, in 2016, Ontario set out new regulations that were meant to help drivers and passengers on their commutes.
When are drivers and passengers insured?
Uber has an insurance policy that covers drivers once they log in and are ready to charge their fare. This coverage is extended up to the last passenger of the driver’s shift. When not driving for Uber, drivers are expected to rely on their own personal auto insurance.
For example: Sally is an Uber driver. She has activated her app, and is on her way to pick up a client. If she were to get into an accident on her way to pick up her client, Uber’s insurance would apply, as the app was on, and she was ready to charge a fare. It does not matter that the client was not in Sally’s car.
What should I do if I am in an accident in a rideshare app?
Passengers: With regard to statutory accident benefits, passengers should contact their own personal auto insurance if they have it. If there are personal injury claims based on the fault of another driver, the at-fault party’s insurer should be contacted.
Drivers: If a driver is injured in an accident while working as a rideshare driver, he or she should contact the insurance company underwriting the policy offered by that rideshare company. If the driver is not working at the time of the accident, he or she should contact their own personal insurer.
As can be seen by this post, the law that governs rideshare insurance claims is not as straightforward as many would expect. An experienced personal injury lawyer can help you navigate the ins and outs of the system.