Ride-Sharing Accidents: Who is Held Liable?

Orlando Commercial Auto Insurance

As Uber and other ride-sharing companies continue to work out the details of driver employment, more questions are being raised about the liability of certain circumstances involving these drivers. Most recently, an Uber was involved in an accident resulting in a passenger death and 3 other injuries. This raises the question, who is held liable for coverage should a wrongful death lawsuit occur? Although the regulations differentiate state wide, it is critical to obtain Orlando Commercial Auto Insurance in order to financially protect your business from possible damages and litigation.

In recent news, tragedy has struck in the ride-sharing world. A California accident raises awareness for the nationwide concern for Uber insurance liability for its drivers. Uber driver Frank Rugnetta was transporting two passengers home from a bar around 1:30 a.m. on July 7. Upon leaving the bar, 19 year old Porfirio Sandoval struck the driver’s side of the Uber vehicle, eventually resulting in the death of one passenger and injuring the other. Fortunately, California recently passed a law requiring ride-share drivers to have third-party liability insurance with $50,000 per person and $100,000 per accident when transporting a passenger. Additionally, Uber’s commercial auto insurance provides up to $1 million of coverage for underinsured or uninsured motorist accidents.

However, this issue ranges from state to state. Uber continues to fight the categorization of drivers as employees as opposed to freelance workers in order to save millions in operating costs. By classifying these drivers as freelance in the past, Uber was legally exempt from paying overtime, maternity leave, sick days, and providing health care or unemployment benefits. This, in turn, has vastly increased their profit margins. What’s more, Uber identifies itself as a technology company who licenses its application to drivers and facilitates the ride and claim not to be a taxi service.

This raises the question, who would be held liable for accidents while transporting a passenger and when traveling to get a passenger? The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity decided that Uber drivers are employees and is required to provide auto insurance for its drivers, regardless of its industry categorization. Uber maintains a business auto insurance policy in the state of Florida with policy limits of $1 million in liability coverage for uninsured and underinsured motorists. Uber is also compliant with state laws that require taxis to have limits of $125,000 per person for bodily injury, $50,000 for property damage, and $250,000 per accident.

This policy takes priority over personal auto insurance policies that are carried by the driver while not providing livery services through Uber.

At Newman Crane, we have a thorough understanding of the auto insurance industry and strive to provide comprehensive and affordable coverage. In the wake of this shift, be sure your company’s vehicles are insured to avoid similar claims and potential litigation. For more information, contact our specialists today at (407) 859-3691.