Ridesharing apps have changed how people get from place to place. These reasonably-priced, accessible transportation options, such as Lyft and Uber, have also brought something else along with them: Questions about personal injury claims if you’re injured while using one.
After all, Uber and Lyft drivers are not immune to accidents on New York streets. The real question is: What can you do if you are involved in an accident in a rideshare? Who is responsible for your injures?
Here’s what you need to know about accidents in rideshares and who is liable for your injuries if you are involved in one.
Ridesharing in New York
Rideshares have been legal in New York state since 2017. These services are, however, subject to laws that apply to a Transportation Network Company. These companies are licensed by the Department of Motor Vehicles to use digital networks to connect with those who need their services. Uber and Lyft are both considered Transportation Network Companies in New York state.
Taxis in New York are not Transportation Network Companies, so they’re not subject to the same laws or regulations as rideshares. It’s important to note that, in New York City, rideshares operate under a different set of requirements than those set by the Taxi and Limousine Commission.
Rideshare Accident Types
Personal injury claims usually fall into four different categories when involving rideshare vehicles. These are:
- Injury to the passenger in the vehicle during the ride
- Injury to the driver when picking up, driving, or dropping customers off
- Injury to a driver of another vehicle when involved in an accident with a rideshare
- Injury to passengers in another vehicle involved in an accident with a rideshare
Drivers who work for rideshare companies are independent contractors, which means that they must meet certain criteria set forth by the company and maintain their vehicles to certain standards. However, they are not employees of Uber or Lyft.
As independent contractors, they must maintain compliance with their local insurance laws. For example, in New York City, operating a vehicle for a rideshare means they must maintain a commercial car insurance policy and meet other requirements. If the rideshare driver causes an accident, then their commercial policy will cover the injuries that they or others may sustain.
Can You Sue Your Rideshare Driver?
If you are involved in an accident involving a rideshare service, one of the biggest questions you may have is if you can sue your driver. The answer depends on who is at fault for the accident and what their insurance will cover.
If the rideshare driver is the one at fault, then you may be entitled to personal injury protection benefits. You may be required to file a claim against the rideshare driver for the accident. However, it’s important to understand their personal injury protection benefits and if they will cover the accident or not.
If someone else is at fault for an accident that injures you while in a rideshare, then how you proceed is based on their insurance policy, as well. If they don’t have coverage, then the rideshare may cover it. Under New York law, ridesharing services can use their insurance policies to supplement another driver who is not insured or who is underinsured.
It’s also important to note that, if personal injury protection benefits as a part of insurance are applicable to you, then you cannot sue your rideshare driver. If you do not receive these benefits, then yes, you can bring a lawsuit against a rideshare driver for damages.
How To Know Who Is at Fault
Each case is unique, so this is difficult to answer as a generalization. Usually, the person who is ultimately found to be at fault for an accident comes down to who may have been breaking the rules of the road or who was negligent in their actions.
What To Do If You’re Injured
If you are involved in an accident with injury while riding in a rideshare, then you need to make sure you collect as much evidence as possible. Take pictures of the scene, get the names of witnesses, make sure the police are called to get a copy of their report, and always seek medical treatment as soon as possible for your injuries.
An experienced personal injury attorney can help you with your New York rideshare accident case. Just make sure to obtain their help as soon as possible after the accident, so they can help guide you in what needs to happen next – to give you the best chance of coverage.