Ride-share companies like Uber and Lyft are increasingly popular throughout the United States. Unfortunately, these types of services have brought up complications in legality in instances where an accident occurs during a paid ride. If you happen to be a ride-share passenger and the vehicle you’re in is involved in an accident, who’s responsible? And can you be blamed just because you were a passenger at the time?
What If The Ride-Share Driver Is Responsible?
Historically, taxi drivers were held responsible if they were in an accident. The taxi driver’s company carried insurance and that insurance would pay if the driver was found to be at fault. If the driver of a ride-sharing company is responsible, and it can be shown in court, then liability insurance from the ride-sharing company will come into play, as well as car insurance owned by the driver.
What If The Passenger is Responsible?
Whenever a passenger plays a role in ride-share accidents, such as distracting the driver or providing an unsafe driving environment such as drinking in the car or using drugs, then the passenger could potentially be partially responsible for damages incurred. In a case like this, the ride-share driver would have to prove that the passenger was at least partially at fault.
Challenges of Ride-Share Accidents
Ride-share drivers may be reluctant to follow standard procedures if there’s an accident. They may worry that insurance won’t cover damages, or that the ride-share company won’t let them drive anymore, which would cut off their income. For those reasons, it’s not unheard of for a ride-share driver to leave the scene of the accident. This puts the passenger in a dangerous and awkward position. Leaving the scene of an accident is illegal and that action could implicate the passenger, depending on the circumstances.
It’s important to try to choose a safe driver when using any ride-share companies. If you find a driver you feel safe with, you can request them. If you enter a vehicle and feel unsure about the driver or discover they are an erratic driver, ask to be let out so that you can discreetly choose a different drive. It’s your responsibility and your right to be safe.