The world of transportation was forever changed when the idea of “ride sharing” with your own personal vehicle came to life. Companies like Uber and Lyft are now the preferred way to travel in Atlanta and this trend shows no sign of slowing down. However, the question of liability becomes extremely vague if you were to ask “who is responsible when an accident happens in an Uber or Lyft vehicle?”
The topic has sparked a debate and the discussion has been ongoing from the moment a car accident happened involving an Uber driver back in 2014. An article written by The Verge stated, ” Uber wants to operate in the real world with the relative freedom and impunity most online startups enjoy — but without the regulations placed on most taxi services. Uber has said on many occasions that it’s a technology company, not a transportation provider. It wants to be neutral, much as YouTube doesn’t bear responsibility for its users’ videos and Craigslist doesn’t verify items for sale. Uber’s position is that it’s not responsible for anything a driver does before a ride is booked and after a fare is paid.”
This particular instance was referring to an accident that struck a mother and her two children. The six-year-old little girl died and Uber refused to take any sort of responsibility.
So who is liable and who gets a free ride?
The answer is fuzzy. Many states are ignoring this topic, while others like the state of California took matters into their own hands. In 2013, California became the first state to issue regulations on ride sharing services like Lyft, Uber and Sidecar. The California Public Utility Commission created a specific category of Transportation Network Companies that provide pre-arranged transportation services for compensation using online applications or platforms to connect passengers with drivers.
Because other states have followed suit, Uber had to respond in some way. Therefore, Uber and Lyft provide insurance any time the app is opened and activated by the Uber driver. Uber placed a $100,000 liability policy on their drivers that will cover injuries to customers who are injured while utilizing Uber.
The subject is still a bit foggy, so it is important to contact the experienced attorneys at Kaine Law to ensure that you are receiving the best possible outcome if you have been in an accident involving Uber, Lyft or any other ride sharing company.