Ride Sharing Accidents
Ride sharing services like Uber and Lyft are very popular in East Tennessee and throughout the U.S. They allow passengers to use smartphone apps to call for rides and compensate their drivers. However, in the past, due to the innovative structure of ride sharing services, there was a gap when it came to accident coverage. When a driver was not on the clock, they were covered only by their individual automobile liability policy. If they were transporting a passenger, they were not covered by the policy, due to their performance of a business activity, which should have been covered by a commercial liability policy. In 2015, this situation changed with the passage of a new law. If you are injured in a ride sharing accident, you should retain Knoxville car accident attorney Mark Hartsoe to assist you in pursuing compensation.Ride Sharing Accidents Involving Uber and Lyft
As of January 1, 2016, ride sharing legislation called the Transportation Network Company Services Act requires all drivers for ride sharing companies to maintain primary auto coverage that recognizes the driver as a transportation network company driver.
When logged onto the app but not carrying a prearranged passenger, the driver needs to have coverage of at least $50,000 per individual, $100,000 for bodily injuries per accident, and $25,000 for property damage. If the driver is carrying a prearranged passenger, they need to have liability coverage of at least $1 million for death, bodily injury, and property. If they do not have coverage but get into an accident, the ride sharing company must provide coverage and has a duty to defend the claim. The law allows insurers that offer personal automobile liability insurance to expressly exclude coverage when the driver is acting as a TNC driver.
A ride sharing driver may be held directly liable for their negligence. If you are a passenger of a ride sharing driver who behaves negligently and causes you to suffer injuries, or if you are someone outside the car who is injured by a ride sharing driver, you will need to establish that the driver failed to drive safely and caused your injuries as a result.
Trying to hold a ride sharing service responsible requires a more complicated analysis. With the 2015 ride sharing legislation, ride sharing services now have a number of legal duties when they hire a driver to work for them. These include conducting background checks, checking drivers against a national sex offender database, checking the driver's driving history and proof of automobile liability coverage, being able to send prospective passengers pictures of the driver and vehicle license plate before the passenger gets into the car, and maintaining a complaint procedure and mandatory suspension until an investigation occurs. Certain people may not act as drivers for a TNC, including anyone who has more than three moving violations in the last three years or one major violation in the last three years, as well as anyone convicted of certain crimes.
A ride sharing service that violates any of these aspects of the law may be found liable for negligence or negligent screening following a ride sharing accident. For example, if a Lyft driver gets into a drunk driving accident, and a passenger is seriously injured, the passenger may be able to hold Lyft liable for negligence per se and negligent screening if it turns out that the driver had a prior DUI that should have served as a red flag to Lyft.Contact Knoxville Lawyer Mark Hartsoe Following a Ride Sharing Accident
Ride sharing services are a relatively new form of transportation, and many courts have not yet interpreted the law specific to them. If you are involved in a ride sharing accident, you should retain a motor vehicle collision attorney who understands this developing area of the law as well as related car accident issues. Call the Hartsoe Law Firm at (865) 524-5657 or contact us via our online form to set up a free consultation with Attorney Mark Hartsoe. He represents victims throughout East Tennessee, including in Knox, Blount, Monroe, Loudon, Jefferson, Grainger, Cocke, Campbell, Hamblen, Greene, Anderson, Cumberland, and Fentress Counties.