Determining responsibility in a car accident is an essential step from an insurance perspective, as culpability helps assess the information provided to insurance companies. Potentially, law enforcement as well, depending on the accident’s severity. While taxi companies have their own insurance processes regarding accidents, the rise of Uber and Lyft has led to some complications around the law and determining culpability in the event of an accident. Another complexity arises if the Uber or Lyft driver does not have insurance. It is essential to know who is responsible for the accident from a financial perspective and what an individual may do to protect themselves. Thus this is everything that an individual needs to know regarding ride-share accidents in New York and the responsibilities for these actions.
New York Law Concerning Uber and Lyft
Current New York law defines these ride-share companies as “Transportation network company vehicles,” or TNC vehicles. TNC vehicles refer to all cars used by transportation companies authorized for rides that originate in New York. Laws governing TNC vehicles exclude various vehicles, including buses, taxis, and others traditionally used for transporting individuals. The law is only concerned with regular motor vehicles.
Another consideration under this law is the existence of a digital network to arrange these rights. The TNC refers to companies as well as the employee driver. The driver is a TNC driver. They must receive connections to potential passengers through the digital network of the TNC.
The law currently requires that an individual or organization, either the driver or the TNC have insurance to cover the costs of potential accidents due to the TNC driver. The driver may be required to ensure the vehicle, or the company may provide the drivers with insurance through a group policy that covers all their drivers in the network. This insurance recognizes that the driver is not operating on their own but on behalf of a company. The company must ensure the driver while the individual is logged onto the digital network and engaged in ride-share activities.
Liability Insurance: Uber and Lyft
The insurance covers various circumstances that could occur during the trip. Such instances include liability insurance for:
- Destruction of property
- Bodily injury or death
- Damages for loss of service
The above is not an exhaustive list, and the types of insurance are extensive. Ultimately the responsibility for an accident, both financially and potentially criminally, falls onto the TNC driver if they are logged into the system and have a prearranged trip. When the individual does not meet these standards, they are not a TNC driver but must have insurance to operate a motor vehicle legally. Drivers may also insure themselves, even if the company offers to guarantee them. This form of insurance is mainly indistinguishable from regular automotive insurance.
Does the Uber or Lyft Rider Have Any responsibility?
Under current law, the rider has no guilt or responsibility for any accident. At the same time, they are a passenger in the ride-share. Only driver’s insurance is available to compensate victims. The rider may be able to sue the driver for their injuries if they suffered any, but that depends on Uber and Lyft’s policies.
What is the current New York law concerning injuries and accidents caused by ride-share drivers?
Current law requires that all ride-share drivers carry vehicle insurance. This insurance is either self-provided or through a more comprehensive group policy handled by the company employing the driver. Ride-share services are distinctly different from other forms of vehicular transportation, such as taxis and buses, which do not work under the same laws. This law is only concerned with typical commercial vehicles, such as cars and sport utility vehicles, those used by drivers employed by these ride-sharing companies. This insurance is not unlike standard car insurance.
Does the ride-share passenger have any responsibility for accidents caused by the ride-share they are using?
No, they do not. Depending on the ride-share companies’ policy, the rider may gain compensation for injuries sustained in the accident or crash. Culpability may rely on the driver’s behavior. Whether their actions are negligent or reckless, the rider may be liable for compensation through the insurance used to cover the vehicle.
What are some examples of what liability insurance covers?
Similar to most motor vehicle insurance, it covers various issues, including but not limited to the destruction of property, culpability for bodily injury or death, and damages due to loss of services.
Who must provide the insurance for ride-share drivers?
The driver may provide their insurance or join a group policy provided by the larger company. There is no requirement for drivers to pay for the insurance out of pocket. Still, the driver may choose to do so regardless of anything that is part of the employer’s offer.
Contact Pride Legal
If you or a loved one are involved in an Uber or Lyft accident, we invite you to contact us at Pride Legal for legal counseling or any further questions. To protect your rights, hire someone who understands them.