Gone are the days where taxi cabs reigned supreme as the preferred way to get from point A to point B. An increasing percentage of Americans are using ridesharing services like Uber or Lyft. The ease and notoriety of ridesharing services has increased over the years, and it is safe to say that the percentage of Americans who use ridesharing services will continue to grow. The fact that so many Americans are turning to ridesharing services will likely lead to an increase in car accidents involving Uber and Lyft drivers. What happens if you are the driver or the passenger in a ridesharing service car accident in Atlanta?
Insurance Issues in Atlanta Ridesharing Car Accidents
The legal insurance requirements for typical Georgia drivers and ridesharing service drivers are quite different. Regular drivers must carry $25,000 per person and $50,000 per car accident of bodily injury liability insurance. They must carry at least $25,000 of property damage liability insurance per accident.
Georgia Ridesharing providers must meet the requirements of Georgia Code O.C.G.A. § 33-1-24. Under this statute, there are three different circumstances regarding ridesharing accidents. First, if the accident occurred while the ridesharing mobile phone application is off, the driver’s personal insurance will need to pay the claim. This is because the driver is not considered to be working under the statutes when the application is turned off. In this case, the accident is simply another accident between typical drivers.
If the ridesharing application is on, but the driver does not have a passenger in the car, the ridesharing company must carry more insurance than a typical driver. The ridesharing company must have a personal injury liability insurance policy of $100,000 per accident and $50,000 per person. The company must also carry at least $50,000 in property damage insurance.
Finally, if the accident occurs when the driver is executing a fare (collecting payment in exchange for driving), then the company must carry even higher amounts of insurance. The company must share $1,000,000 per accident in property damage, injury, or death. They must carry the same amount of uninsured motorist insurance.
What if You are the Passenger in a Ridesharing Accident?
It is important to note that Uber and Lyft drivers do not have to insure or register their cars as commercial vehicles. Taxis must meet more stringent requirements to drive and operate, whereas Uber and Lyft drivers are not required to meet those standards as of now.
If you are a passenger of a ridesharing company driver and are involved in an accident, you will be covered by the company’s liability insurance policy. Georgia law requires ridesharing companies to have an insurance policy of at least $1,000,000. People who drive for Uber and Lyft are considered independent contractors, making it more difficult for people to recover from the companies themselves.
It is possible to recover a judgment against ridesharing companies using particular legal arguments; however, it is often challenging to do so. You can possibly bring a lawsuit against the driver personally, though, if they acted negligently or recklessly.