As the holidays get closer, the invitations to festive gatherings begin to grow. Whether it’s avoiding winter weather, the ease of booking, or simply wanting to ensure a safe ride home, many people choose to utilize rideshare services or transportation network companies, such as Uber or Lyft. These transportation companies are convenient and cost-effective compared to standard taxis or public transportation. 

However, in a car accident, these vehicles may pose unique considerations for those involved compared to a standard motor vehicle accident. It is common for customers involved in rideshare accidents to accept much less than they are entitled to, given the nuances associated with these accidents. 

While these types of transportation are generally safe options, accidents can still happen. Regardless of the cause of the accident, if you are injured in a rideshare vehicle as a passenger, it is important to ensure that the accident is dealt with appropriately.

Immediate Aftermath

After any motor vehicle accident, it is crucial for anyone involved to prioritize their physical, mental and emotional health and recovery. Therefore, it is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible, even if no injuries are immediately noticeable. 

Any transportation network company customer needs to collect as much information as possible after an accident if they can. Essential details to document include obtaining the driver’s contact information, even if the driver was not at fault for the accident, in addition to contact details, vehicle particulars and insurance information of the other drivers and vehicles involved. If possible, obtain contact information for any witnesses. If possible, taking photos and documenting the accident scene can provide helpful documentation for a future claim. 

After an accident, it is common for individuals to be in shock or require medical attention for their injuries; therefore, it is okay if an injured passenger does not have contact information or photo documentation readily available. However, it is important to speak with a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible, as they can begin gathering evidence after the fact and obtain a police report. Like traditional car accident claims, compensation claims will be based on substantiated injuries and damages as the claim progresses.

Applicable Insurance Policies

While drivers may have their own private motor vehicle insurance policy, it will likely be void when the vehicle is used for commercial purposes, such as ridesharing. Insurance coverage for ridesharing companies varies across the country. Since their introduction to Calgary in 2015, the requirements for insurance coverage for ridesharing companies in Alberta have changed, and it is anticipated that it will continue to evolve over time. 

Suppose a passenger is injured in a rideshare vehicle accident and holds their automobile insurance policy. In that case, they may be able to claim certain expenses through their Section B to assist with certain medical and income replacement benefits. If the injured individual does not have an automobile insurance policy, they will likely be required to submit a claim through the at-fault driver’s insurance policy. However, issues can arise when a liable driver does not have appropriate insurance coverage. 

Rules and Regulations for Transportation Network Companies

In Alberta, the Transportation Network Companies Regulation sets out specific requirements regarding insurance policies and other important issues for transportation network companies. Generally, passengers in transportation company vehicles such as Uber and Lyft will be covered under commercial automobile insurance in case of an accident.

Currently, Uber provides $2,000,000 for third-party liability coverage and $2,000,000 for uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. This insurance is intended to cover an accident which occurs anytime between a driver accepting a trip and arriving at a rider’s final destination. 

When drivers have the Lyft application on and are en route to or are driving passengers, the company maintains $1,000,000 for third-party liability insurance and uninsured and underinsured motorist bodily injury. While Lyft does not specify a maximum dollar amount for the latter coverage, its website does state that coverage may be modified to the extent allowed by law. 

Who is Responsible?

The insurance policy responsible for compensating a personal injury claim and expenses will depend on the unique circumstances of the accident, including who was at fault. Typically, if the rideshare driver was not at fault, the policy of the driver found to be at fault would kick in, similarly to if someone was injured by a third-party driver in their vehicle. 

Unlike traditional taxis, drivers of transportation network company vehicles typically use their personal vehicles instead of commercial vehicle to transport customers. Despite this, the process for advancing a personal injury claim is primarily the same regardless of the type of vehicle an injured passenger is in. 

Suppose you are a passenger injured in a vehicle due to a driver’s negligence. In that case, it is important to be aware of additional procedures required by the company from which you obtained the drive-through. For example, a customer will be required to file a claim with the Uber Claims Department and take steps involved in a traditional motor vehicle accident claim. Therefore, speaking with a personal injury lawyer can help clarify the law and highlight the appropriate processes a claimant must take.

The Lawyers at Cuming & Gillespie LLP in Calgary Guide Plaintiffs Through Their Personal Injury Claim

The personal injury lawyers at Cuming & Gillespie LLP understand the complications which can arise after an accident, particularly when an individual is injured as a passenger in a rideshare or transportation network vehicle. Our team is committed to obtaining fair compensation for clients while helping them navigate their injury claim from an initial assessment until settlement, including trial. Regardless of who is found to be liable for the accident, it is important to understand that an injured individual’s rights to compensation remain the same as if they were in any other vehicle. Whether you have recently been injured in an accident, or have questions regarding an offer to settle from an insurance company, contact us online or call our office at 403-571-0555 to speak with a member of our team.