Ride Shares Create Insurance Quandary
A local news station in Dallas, WFAA, ran a story yesterday about three women who were injured in a hit and run wreck in which an unknown truck smashed into their Lyft driver, causing the three women an insurance nightmare as they attempt to navigate the complexities of insurance payments when a ride sharing service is involved in the collision. The women were simply hailing a ride to the AAC to see Michelle Obama speak when they were injured.
Because the hit and run drivers looks to be at fault for the collision, the story raises justifiable concern as to whether or not Lyft’s insurance policies will provide any benefits at all to these women. Regardless of the amount of available liability insurance coverage, if the ride share’s driver was not at least partially at fault for the wreck, then the ride share’s liability insurance will not cover the wreck. Of course, if the rider has personal injury protection and/or underinsured/uninsured motorist coverages on their own private vehicle or has similar coverage under a family policy, there may be benefits the rider can recover, but many riders do not have those coverages
This is not an issue that has not been considered in the legislature. There have been attempts to require ride sharing companies like Lyft and Uber to carry two different types of insurance in addition to liability insurance,– personal injury protection and uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. These policies would provide benefits in exactly this situation to riders of these ride share companies. There was no appetite to address these issues in past sessions, but today is a new day and a new legislature was just sworn in yesterday. Maybe the legislature will see fit to make sure that innocent victims of ride share wrecks will have some way to seek compensation. I understand that Texas Watch, the preeminent consumer protection watchdog in Texas today, has this issue on their radar for the current legislative session. You can join or follow Texas Watch here: https://www.texaswatch.org
In this day and age of ride shares becoming the primary mode of transportation for urban and some suburban riders, it is increasingly likely that the riders will not have a full coverage under an automobile policy because they simply do not own vehicles. Without full coverage, situations like the one above could potentially inflict significant harm on an innocent person, with no real option to seek recovery for medical and other damages.
The article ends with good advice, if you are involved in a wreck as a ride share passenger, getting the advice and counsel of a good personal injury lawyer is essential.