Sunday, June 16, 2024

Are Rideshare Companies Liable for Accidents in NYC? Manhattan Traffic Accident Attorney Glenn A. Herman Explains

Manhattan traffic accident attorney Glenn A. Herman explains who is liable for traffic accidents involving rideshare companies

In 2023, rideshare services such as Uber and Lyft are a part of everyday life. Uber, for example, offering its services in 10,000 cities, has 5.4 million drivers on roads around the world and 93 million monthly app users, resulting in an impressive 64 billion global rides annually.

Determining who is liable for a car accident in New York can be a tricky process, even in seemingly simple cases. Additional factors such as one or more drivers being employed by a rideshare service can make this process even more difficult. In this article, Manhattan traffic accident attorneys Glenn and Robin Herman explain what factors affect who is liable for accidents involving rideshare drivers in New York.

Who Can Be At Fault in Rideshare Accident Cases?

There are several parties who could potentially be held liable for an accident involving a rideshare driver depending on the circumstances of the accident, including:

  • The rideshare driver

  • Another driver on the road

  • The rideshare company

  • Another party, such as an entity responsible for poorly maintained roads.

When Can Uber and Lyft Be Liable for Rideshare Accidents?

There are several factors that limit the legal liability that rideshare companies have in accidents that involve their drivers. This means that, in the vast majority of cases, if an Uber or Lyft driver is at fault for a car accident, they (and their insurance company) are legally responsible for personal injury compensation, because:

  • Rideshare drivers are independent contractors, which means that they aren’t technically directly hired by rideshare companies.

  • Rideshare drivers usually own or rent their own vehicles

  • Rideshare drivers are required, under New York laws as well as rideshare companies’ contracts, to have additional insurance coverage specifically for when they are operating their vehicle as a commercial driver (as opposed to their personal insurance coverage).

However, rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft are required to carry secondary insurance policies for each of their drivers. You may be able to claim compensation from these policies in a few situations:

  • The driver who caused the accident was uninsured, or only had a personal insurance policy.

  • The severity of your injuries entitles you to more compensation than your driver’s insurance policy will pay out.

  • The rideshare company was negligent in hiring a driver that they should not have (e.g. a driver with prior DUI convictions causes an accident with passengers in the car while they are drunk).

Rideshare Company Insurance Policies Explained

In New York State, and outside the City of New York, rideshare companies are required to provide secondary insurance policies for their drivers. The amount of money that rideshare companies will cover their drivers for depends on the stage of a ride they are in.

If the driver is not logged into their ridesharing app, no coverage is available.

If the driver has logged in but has not yet started a trip, New York City law requires rideshare companies to provide secondary insurance coverage of the following amounts:

  • $25,000 for property damage coverage

  • $25,000 for uninsured driver protection

  • $75,000 per passenger for bodily injury or death

  • $150,000 per accident for bodily injury or death

  • $200,000 for no-fault personal injury protection

If the driver has accepted a ride, rideshare companies are required to carry policies of $1.25 million for bodily injury/death and uninsured driver protection.

In New York City, however, Uber and Lyft drivers are only required to carry a minimum of $100,000 in liability insurance for bodily injuries per person and $300,000 in liability insurance for bodily injuries for the entire accident. Uber and Lyft drivers are also required to carry at least $10,000 in property damage coverage per accident as well as New York No-fault insurance coverage. The higher insurance cover limits that apply outside of New York City, unfortunately, do not apply within New York City

What Should Compensation for Rideshare Accident Injuries Include?

Just like any traffic accident, personal injury compensation for collisions involving rideshare drivers should cover more than just your medical bills to-date. Lowball insurance offers may seem like more than enough, but your settlement or verdict should encompass:

  • Current and future medical bills, including follow-ups and prescriptions

  • Rehabilitation and physical therapy costs

  • Lost wages from time taken off work

  • Loss of future earning potential

  • Money to cover treatment for psychological issues caused by the accident

  • Pain and suffering coverage

With around half a million Uber and Lyft rides happening daily in New York City, it is important to consult a personal injury attorney who is familiar with the unique factors that affect rideshare accident personal injury cases.

About Manhattan Traffic Accident Attorneys Glenn & Robin Herman

Our Manhattan traffic accident attorney team takes the time to learn every aspect of your case during our initial meeting in order to properly evaluate the full extent of the damages you or a loved one have suffered. We have been representing seriously injured New Yorkers for over 35 years. Born, raised, and living in the City, we know that when you have been injured in this town, you need an attorney to protect your rights and explain the law to you in a way you can understand.

For a no-charge consultation today to discuss the details of your injury event: https://hermannyc.com/free-case-consultation/

We represent clients in all five boroughs of New York (NY): Manhattan, Staten Island, Queens, Brooklyn, and the Bronx, along with Suffolk County & Nassau County on Long Island, Westchester County, Rockland County, and throughout the entire state of New York.

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Source: Herman & Herman, P.C
Release ID: 748879