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Determining Liability in a Rideshare Accident

The explosion of rideshare apps over the last decade has changed the way many of us get around town. The ease at which we can catch a ride has convinced many people to skip public transportation for direct routes to their destinations.

As sometimes happens, however, technology has moved faster than our understanding of the ramifications it creates. How to regulate rideshare companies, how they relate to traditional taxis, and who is at fault in an accident has confused many people over the years.

These considerations need to be understood, because unfortunately rideshare accidents happen every day. It’s important to know how these factors affect you as a driver of a rideshare, as well as the rider within one.

Let’s discuss these important considerations if you are involved in an accident with a rideshare vehicle:

  • What is Liability?
  • Legal Requirements for Insurance
  • Your Rights as a Driver
  • Your Rights as a Passenger
  • How a Nashville Accident Attorney Can Help

What is Liability?

The first thing we should do is establish what is meant by “liability” in reference to a car accident.

The very first thing that must be proven in a personal injury case is that the person at the other end of your lawsuit is responsible for the injury or damages you received. Assigning liability is another way of saying (and proving) someone is at fault for an accident.

There are a few stipulations that need to be fulfilled in order to establish liability:

  • The person who caused the accident had a duty of care to act in a way that kept everyone else safe.
  • This duty was breached.
  • Negligence (a failure to act in a mindful manner that resulted in injury or damages) is proven.
  • Personal harm or damage to property resulted from this negligence.

Fulfilling all of these needs will likely result in successfully assigning liability in a personal injury case. This can get a little murky with rideshare situations because the entity that possesses the initial duty of care is not always strictly defined.

Legal Requirements for Insurance

Insurance laws are put in place to cover the best interest of parties involved in an accident. This is particularly helpful in a rideshare accident. Does the driver’s personal insurance cover the accident? Is the company responsible?

Turns out, it’s somewhat of a combination of the two. Tennessee code § 55-12-141 outlines the requirements of both the driver and the company for insurance coverage.

The law outlines specific coverage needs that can be covered either by driver’s insurance, the company’s insurance, or a combination of the two.

This ensures that everyone’s needs are covered in the case of an accident, no matter where the insurance comes from.

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Your Rights as a Driver

First of all, any accident caused by another person will immediately go to their insurance. We’ll be discussing instances that are caused by the driver of the rideshare.

Many of the top rideshare apps consider their drivers to be independent contractors. This can get confusing as these types of workers aren’t normally granted benefits. However, both Uber and Lyft continue to blur this line as laws emerge relating to these professional relationships.

The status of your driving app will have a lot to do with how to proceed after an accident. If you are not connected to the driving app, you are simply driving your own car. This means your insurance will be tasked with covering the accident.

Drivers with the app turned on but not actively moving toward or fulfilling a ride request are likely to be covered by the company’s third-party liability coverage.

Drivers on their way to pick up a ride, or in the process of completing a ride, are provided an even higher level of third-party liability coverage by the company.

Your Rights as a Passenger

The first thing you should understand is that the accident is not your fault. You are essentially an innocent bystander that was harmed because of the actions of someone else. And your rights as a passenger should be honored by a full payout from the responsible party’s insurance company.

So the question becomes, whose insurance is responsible?

If your rideshare vehicle was struck by another vehicle, that person’s insurance will be responsible for covering the damages. But if it’s your driver’s fault, it can get a little more confusing.

An experienced accident attorney will be able to best help you navigate this situation and get the compensation you deserve.

How a Nashville Accident Attorney Can Help

These accidents can be confusing. Large companies don’t like to pay out when they don’t feel they need to — this includes both the insurance companies as well as the rideshare companies.

But that doesn’t mean you aren’t entitled to proper financial compensation if you’ve been the victim of an accident through no fault of your own.

Bart Durham Injury Law has been helping people as an accident attorney for the Nashville, TN and Bowling Green, KY areas for a long time. We know how to deal with these large companies and we’re ready to fight on your behalf.

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