Rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft have grown in popularity over the past decade, quickly replacing may of the yellow taxi-cabs that many in Chicago remember from their youth. By and large, the move to the rideshare model benefits consumers by offering a more convenient and often less expensive alternative to taxis. However, the prevalence of rideshare drivers on the road has begun to raise questions about who is liable in the event of a Chicago rideshare accident.
Rideshare companies boast that they maintain significant insurance policies on behalf of their drivers. However, because most rideshare drivers use their own vehicles, these policies do not provide coverage at all times. For example, according to Uber’s website, the insurance provided by the company is implicated in only two of three following situations, and the $1 million coverage is only available in one scenario.
- If the driver is offline or the Uber app is off: Uber’s insurance will not cover the accident, and the driver’s individual policy will be responsible for coverage.
- If the driver is available and waiting for a request: Uber’s insurance will cover the driver up to $50,000/$100,000 if they are not insured or if they do not maintain at least that amount of insurance.
- If the driver is carrying a customer or on the way to pick up a customer: Uber’s insurance provides $1,000,000 third-party liability insurance.
Other considerations can come up in the event of a rideshare accident. For example, because a rideshare company only covers some of the trips a driver takes, drivers are responsible for maintaining their own insurance policy in addition to that provided by the rideshare company. However, many insurance companies require a special type of insurance (called an endorsement) and a driver’s failure to obtain an endorsement can invalidate their coverage. Thus, if a rideshare driver gets into an accident just after they dropped off a rider and turned off their app, if they do not have the appropriate type of insurance any claim against that driver’s insurance policy may be denied.
Another common issue in Chicago rideshare accidents is a driver’s failure to keep adequate insurance on their vehicle. Many drivers opt to maintain only the minimum amount of coverage allowed by law. For typical drivers who rarely drive or carry passengers in their car, this coverage may suffice. However, a policy offering bare-bones coverage is unlikely to provide adequate coverage in the event of an accident.
Another issue that comes up in larger injury cases is whether an Uber or Lyft driver is an independent contractor or an employee. This dispute arises when injury lawyers want to collect an amount greater than the $1 million insurance policy provided, arguing that the drivers are employees and therefore the employee is liable. Uber and Lyft maintain that drivers are independent contractors, in an attempt to limit liability. There is no definitive ruling in the courts as of yet.
Have You Been Injured in a Chicago Rideshare Accident?
If you or a loved one has recently been injured in a Chicago rideshare accident, the dedicated Illinois personal injury lawyers at the law firm of Abels & Annes, P.C. can help. At Abels & Annes, we provide Chicago injury victims with an unrivaled dedication throughout the recovery process, making every effort to keep our clients informed along the way. Our Chicago rideshare attorneys have recovered millions of dollars of compensation for our clients and aggressively pursue claims for compensation in all types of Chicago car accident cases. To learn more, call 312-924-7575 to schedule a free consultation today.