Questions about coverage get new attention after a series of accidents involving ride-service drivers.
As I have been blogging about and discussing in various forums (e.g. http://www.californiaaccidentattorneysblog.com/2013/09/28/california-first-u-s-regulate-ride-sharing/ ) ride-sharing services are starting to become prolific in the urban areas of California like Los Angeles. As these drivers begin to transport more and more people in place of taxis and other car services, vehicular collisions involving Lyft and Uber drivers in CA will increase. Who will insure for damages related to these car accidents (i.e. personal injuries sustained by the passengers)? California became the first state in the U.S. to require that drivers carry insurance and that the ride-share services also be insured but, as this NPR article points out, many drivers are hiding the fact that they are operating a “business” with their car from their auto insurance carriers and, when the insurance company does find out, they are cancelling policies. This leaves some serious legal issues to be resolved in the event of an accident.
In my opinion, as a California personal injury lawyer, I think Uber, Lyft and these other services are “common carriers” under the law and have a higher duty to passengers for safety. I do not think they can “delegate” this duty and pass the buck to the drivers in the event of a mishap.
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