Pros and Cons of Ridesharing
Everybody knows that Los Angeles is a city built around cars, with freeways and multi-lane highways taking us wherever we need to be. There are so many cars, but not a lot of places to park. Ridesharing has become a cottage industry in recent years that many of us not only find to be a major convenience but have also come to rely on. Typically in years past, mass transit and taxi services were what we relied on when it came to getting from place to place, especially if you didn’t have your own vehicle. Not all cities have the resources to accommodate a taxi or reliable mass transit, and timetables and schedules can be confusing. Taxis are also notoriously expensive and not always available depending on the size of your city.
When rideshare services such as Uber and Lyft came around, it opened up all sorts of possibilities. Not only did it mean that you could call for a ride in just about any city where rideshare apps were active, but just about anyone with a vehicle and a clean motor vehicle record could run their own business from their own car. Risks also come with convenience and opportunity, and ridesharing is no different. Bus drivers, taxi drivers, and other licensed chauffeurs undergo background checks, training, and have to meet the requirements necessary to be professional drivers.
Rideshare drivers don’t have these sorts of requirements. They are mainly required to have a safe, properly working vehicle, a valid driver’s license, and they are insured by the company they are driving for. Often, rideshare drivers drive for multiple rideshare services. Other than a bright sign in their window, it isn’t much different than calling up someone you know to drive you across town.
Vehicle accidents are common, and when you are trusting a stranger with your safety and well-being, that is a very large leap when it comes to trust. Without training or sufficient vetting, you don’t know your driver’s skill level until you are on the road. There have been quite a few reports of rideshare drivers being erratic or dangerous on the roads. A driver’s rating won’t always reflect that, especially if their rating of the passenger could be retaliatory. Oftentimes a poor rating goes unreported, leaving you to take a chance with whoever pulls up.
Some vehicles have higher safety standards than others, which is why taxi companies and car/limo services invest in specific models that are built to withstand an impact. Their safety devices such as airbags and seatbelts are also routinely inspected, which is much more than can be said of a lot of rideshare vehicles.
With a stranger’s car, you might also be injured in other ways that aren’t just vehicle impacts. Broken glass, sharp pieces of metal, or debris left in the seats can also cause harm. Biohazards such as bodily fluids or other hazards might also go unnoticed or are not properly cleaned, which could make passengers very sick. For that, a driver should also be held liable, but this is not always the case when it comes to the insurance the rideshare services supply.
Injuries to pedestrians, bicycle riders, and other drivers have happened and are often due to the negligence of a badly prepared driver. Though you might not have been injured directly, witnessing an accident of this kind could be very traumatic.
Most rideshare services provide insurance for their drivers, but there are some limitations to this. Many rideshare services offer insurance on a tiered scale. Depending on how much investment the driver has in the rideshare service determines how much insurance they carry on their vehicle.
Most rideshares, such as Lyft or Uber, provide full coverage insurance for the vehicle, which will cover collision as well as limited liability to medical bills/emergency services for passengers and/or anyone who has been hurt by the vehicle in an accident. This is usually only activated while the app is in service. Just like a cab driver or a limo chauffeur, they are only “hired” when you have sat down in their vehicle and travel is being tracked by the app.
Any time before or after actually riding in their vehicle is covered only by additional insurance they have purchased themselves or through the rideshare service. This leaves you vulnerable to no coverage or being under-covered by insurance if you are injured. Through the tiers of the insurance coverage, a driver might consider a lower level of insurance as to not cut into their profit margin. Remember that you are only covered by the rideshare’s insurance while you are actively hiring the driver. As for potential drivers, you are only covered by that insurance while you are driving, not while you are on your way to pick up a fare or on your way home.
This could pose a major problem if for some reason the app malfunctions or the driver simply forgets to start the clock on the app. Be sure to check your own device to see if the ride is being properly recorded.
If you have been injured in an accident while using a rideshare app in the Los Angeles area, you need the support of an expert Uber accident attorney or Lyft accident or rideshare accident attorney to protect your rights. The law is a tricky landscape to navigate, and going about it on your own can be confusing, frustrating, and even limit your ability to successfully argue a case.
Contact us today and let us help you.