The rise of Uber and other ride-sharing apps and opportunities is a testament to changing times and an increased interest in alternative transportation options. In addition to providing an alternative to drinking and driving, Uber, Lyft, and other ride-sharing applications cut down on gas mileage and are better for the environment. While there is still a lot of hype, one of the criticisms of Uber is that drivers are not adequately covered by insurance. Riders throughout North and South Carolina should be aware of the potential risks of getting in a vehicle and their options for taking legal action in the event of an accident.
According to the Uber website, consumers who choose to solicit a ride through the mobile application should understand that they will be riding in a personal vehicle, not a company car. In the state of North Carolina, personal automobile policies exclude coverage for liability when the vehicle is “being used as a public or livery conveyance.” This can create significant complications for victims of Uber accidents, pedestrians, and others injured by an Uber driver.
North Carolina courts have not specifically defined, “public or livery conveyance” but ridesharing for profit could create legal complications for accident victims. The term has often been used synonymously with the operation of a taxicab. Under this definition, the automobile is being used to transport members of the general population for hire. A company like Uber is similar to a taxi cab company, and it is likely that a North Carolina court would exclude coverage under a driver’s personal automobile insurance policy. Our Raleigh car accident attorneys are experienced in the investigation of complex traffic accidents and will pursue every available avenue of relief.
To protect passengers, North Carolina has required taxicab companies to comply with specific regulations and liability insurance coverage. Under these laws and policies, passengers who are being transported by a taxi service are protected in the event of an accident. One of the criticisms of companies like Uber is that the company is not subject to the same liability coverage as a taxi company. Drivers are not required to have a commercial insurance policy, like taxi drivers.
And yet, passengers should not walk away from Uber ridesharing opportunities, as the company provides drivers with a commercial insurance policy. This commercial insurance, covers drivers’ liability from the time they accept a trip until the completion of the trip. This policy only applies if the personal insurance policy of the driver refuses to pay. Liability experts, however, can imagine any number of scenarios that could pose problematic for drivers or passengers. There is always the possibility that Uber’s commercial policy declines coverage, leaving a passenger-victim with significant debts and expenses. In such situations, an experienced attorney would be necessary to hold responsible individuals or entities accountable.
As ridesharing becomes more popular, legislators, insurance carriers, drivers and companies should take a comprehensive approach to ensure proper coverage. Consumers can benefit from the services, but they should also be informed and fairly covered by insurance policies.
Contact the Carolina injury lawyers at the Lee Law Offices today by calling 800-887-1965.
More Blog Entries:
Woman Killed in South Carolina Pedestrian Accident, North Carolina Car Accident Lawyers Blog, February 21, 2013
Spate of Fatal Pedestrian Crashes Reported in North Carolina, North Carolina Car Accident Lawyers Blog, February 3, 2013