With the introduction and subsequent popularity of ride sharing services such as Uber and Lyft, people in many cities have more ways to get around than ever before. In addition to so-called peer-to-peer taxi services, there’s still traditional taxis, rental cars, public transportation and more.
While this abundance of choice is great for consumers, it has created a number of gray areas in which drivers and passengers are unsure of their rights and responsibilities in an accident. While there’s no way to cover every possible scenario in one article, let’s look at some possible situations you might find yourself in on the road and what you should do to protect yourself.
Scenario 1: A Car Accident With an Uber Driver
The biggest difference between Uber (or Lyft, etc.) and conventional taxis is that, in most cases, the Uber driver is using their personal vehicle, whereas the taxi is owned by a company. As a result, most will have separate insurance policies for personal and commercial use. Who pays in an accident with an Uber car is determined by two things — who is at fault and whether or not the Uber was on a fare at the time.
In Nevada, all auto insurance plans are of the full-tort variety. What this means is that, in an accident, it is the insurer of the party at fault that pays for damages. So, if you are in an accident with an Uber driver that’s your fault, your insurance company pays.
If the accident is the fault of the Uber driver, that’s where things get a little confusing. Uber’s commercial insurance policy covers up to $1 million in damages for any accident that occurs when their driver is carrying a passenger or on the way to pick one up. If they are not on the clock, however, their personal insurance becomes primary. Uber may still cover damages in excess of the personal policy’s maximum, or in situations where the policy is not applicable.
That being said, ride sharing services remain quite new, and laws and policies around fault and coverage continue to evolve. If you’ve been in a car accident with an Uber driver, your best bet is to retain the services of a qualified attorney who can help you protect yourself from risk.
Scenario 2: A Car Accident With a Rental Car
Additional insurance policies — the extra coverage they try to sell you when you rent a car — remain a major source of profit for car rental companies. As a result, there’s been a deliberate effort to confuse the issue of who pays in an accident with a rental car. Here’s what you need to know:
- If you have auto insurance for your own car, your policy is likely to cover you in the event of an at-fault accident. Most collision and comprehensive insurance policies automatically transfer over when you rent a car. Check with your insurer to confirm, of course, but otherwise save yourself the extra money and don’t buy unnecessary insurance coverage!
- If you don’t already have auto insurance, or have a bare-bones, liability-only plan, you may wish to purchase the extra coverage. Under state law, in an accident with a rental car, the rental company is responsible for the first $15,000 (per person) or $30,000 (per accident) of damages, whether or not the driver purchased extra insurance. Beyond that threshold, however, you may be held personally liable if you are at fault.
Ultimately, no two accidents are the same, and auto insurance laws are never straightforward. If you’ve been in a car accident with an Uber driver or a rental car, don’t file a claim without speaking to a qualified personal injury attorney. Protect yourself by contacting Dallas Horton & Associates to book a free consultation today.