Recovering Damages for Injuries in a Rideshare Accident

Rideshare services like Uber and Lyft have become almost indispensable for travel in the U.S., both in urban and suburban areas. They offer mobility for people who either don’t have cars or don’t find it convenient or cost-effective to drive. However, rideshare services tend to add to traffic on streets and highways. What’s more, drivers may be distracted as they look to their phones for directions and for pickup messages. All of this can lead to increased risk of accidents.

If you are in an accident involving a rideshare vehicle — whether as a passenger, an occupant of another vehicle or a pedestrian— it is important to know what options exist for recovering financial compensation. This can be complicated because the usual rules governing insurance coverage are somewhat altered.

The parties potentially liable for damages in a rideshare accident include the following:

  • The rideshare driver — All New Jersey drivers are required to carry liability insurance. However, the coverage is not effective if the driver is engaged in a business activity like ride sharing at the time of the accident, unless the policy includes a ride sharing endorsement.
  • Other drivers involved in the accident — New Jersey applies the rule of comparative negligence, which means that a party can be held liable for damages to the extent that their fault contributed to the accident.
  • The rideshare company — Although drivers who work for rideshare companies are independent contractors, the companies maintain liability insurance policies for them. The extent to which the insurance applies depends on the driver’s level of engagement at the time of the accident.

New Jersey law allows you to file your claim directly with the rideshare driver’s insurance company if the accident occurs in the following activity periods:

  • Period 1 — If the driver is logged into the rideshare app but has not yet accepted a ride request, the coverage limits are $50,000 per person, $100,000 total per accident and $25,000 for property damage.
  • Period 2 — If the driver has accepted a ride request but has not yet picked up the passenger, the coverage is $1 million per accident, plus contingent comprehensive and collision coverage.
  • Period 3 — If there is a passenger in the car, the coverage is $1 million per accident, plus contingent comprehensive and collision coverage.

If the accident occurs when the driver is not engaged — that is, not logged into the app — the company's insurance does not apply.

Navigating the legal complexities of an insurance claim after a rideshare accident can be difficult. An experienced personal injury attorney can assess your case, determine the available sources of coverage and guide you through the claims process, negotiating the fairest settlement possible.

Seigel Law represents victims of auto accidents involving Uber, Lyft and other rideshare companies. Located in Ridgewood, we serve clients throughout northern New Jersey, including Bergen, Passaic, Essex and Hudson counties. Please call 201-444-4000 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.

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