When you live in New York City, public transportation is a way of life. In recent years, rideshare programs have been popping up everywhere, expanding our transportation options beyond the traditional subways, buses, and taxis. Most likely, you or someone you know has hailed a ride through Uber or Lyft in the past week.
Traffic accidents are a serious threat to drivers and passengers in this city, and rideshares are no exception. The big question is who can be held liable if you’re injured in an Uber or Lyft accident. Because the law is constantly evolving in this area, it’s important to consult an experienced accident attorney if you’ve been injured in a rideshare accident. At the Law Offices of Justin D. Brandel, we’re here to protect your rights and get you the maximum possible compensation for your injuries.
Were You Involved in a Lyft or Uber Accident in New York City?
Lyft and Uber drivers are not like regular drivers in New York City. Rideshare services are regulated by the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission, which requires Lyft and Uber drivers to carry at least $100,000 in accident insurance, not the $25,000 required of private car drivers.
Determining who is liable for you injuries in a rideshare accident, however, is a more complicated matter. The main confusion comes down to the status of Uber and Lyft drivers—specifically whether they are employees of the rideshare companies or independent contractors. Generally speaking, companies are usually required to pay for accidents caused by their employees while they’re on the job. They are not, however, typically required to pay for accidents caused by independent contractors.
Not surprisingly, many rideshare companies have attempted to limit their liability by classifying their drivers as independent contractors. In that case, a passenger injured in an Uber or Lyft accident would be limited to the driver’s $100,000 in insurance coverage, and would not be able to collect from the company.
The issue is far from decided, however. While there have been lawsuits involving Lyft and Uber accidents, the matter of ultimate liability has not been definitively answered. Regardless, you should approach a rideshare accident the same way you would any other accident and take the following steps to protect your rights:
- Contact law enforcement and stay at the scene of the accident
- Make sure a police report is filed and keep a copy of it
- Get the insurance information of any drivers involved
- Collect contact information for any eyewitnesses
- Take photos
- Get prompt medical attention for your injuries
With the proper evidence and an experienced rideshare attorney on your side, you stand the best chance of obtaining the most recovery possible for your injuries.