The popularity of rideshare platforms has skyrocketed in the last few years. Customers like the convenience of ordering a car that arrives quickly and the reasonable prices that the platforms charge. These services were designed to provide safe transport to their customers, but not every driver is careful or conscientious behind the wheel. This recklessness can lead to severe injuries to victims, including other drivers, pedestrians and those on bicycles.
Traditional car services have special licensing and fleet insurance for their vehicles. In the past, Uber and Lyft platforms hired drivers who use their cars, and it could be complicated to determine who pays for damages. Uber and Lyft did provide insurance coverage under certain conditions, such as when the driver carried a fare. They also had third party insurance.
No longer contractors
California passed landmark Assembly Bill 5 over who qualifies as a full-time employee and who is a contractor. The bill was mostly in response to the gig economy epitomized rideshare platforms, food delivery services and wide swath of freelance workers. This means that the companies’ policies will more clearly apply to rideshare drivers even if they continue to use their cars.
New system for coverage
Rideshare driver coverage in California is now broken down by periods. Each period has escalating levels of coverage:
- Period 0: The driver’s app is off, and the driver is on personal insurance.
- Period 1: The driver’s app is on, but the driver has no one to pick up.
- Periods 2 & 3: This will vary depending on circumstance, but this is the highest period of coverage because there is a customer to pick up or they are in the vehicle.
Determining fault is often difficult
Negligence or fault can be hard to determine in some cases. The situation can be made more difficult by insurance carriers who do not want to pay large settlements to bikers and other victims injured by a rideshare driver. Regardless of whether it is the personal auto policy or the rideshare policy, these companies hire attorneys who specialize in disputing injury claims. So, victims should not assume that their case is cut and dried, nor that they will get all the compensation they deserve for their injuries. This is why many hire personal injury attorneys.