Ridesharing Companies Branch Out to SC, Personal Injury Dangers Loom
SC personal injury accidents occur every day. If you are the victim of an accident, you may be looking for insurance coverage to help you pay for your medical bills and lost wages. With the expansion of ridesharing companies such as uberX into South Carolina, the South Carolina Office of Regulatory Staff is warning South Carolina citizens that they may not be covered in the event of an accident.
On Tuesday, June 24th, the South Carolina State Office of Regulatory Staff released a statement of public advisory warning potential ridesharing users that uberX and other such companies do not have adequate insurance or registration with the state, putting passengers at risk of loss in the event of a SC personal injury accident.
The office said that uberX had posted craigslist ads looking for drivers in Myrtle Beach, Columbia, and Greenville, which means the San Francisco-based company could move into South Carolina in 2-3 weeks. The ORS said that it has not received an application to operate as a commercial transport service, meaning the company violates South Carolina regulations.
Ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft have insisted in other state cases that they are not a traditional taxi service, but a mobile app that connects passengers with drivers, who use their personal vehicles and rely on personal insurance in the event of an accident. However, past problems with accidents have shown that the driver’s personal insurance does not always cover the costs of personal injury in the event of a car accident.
The OSR said in its public statement that using ridesharing apps that hire drivers without a certificate from the Public Service Commission could leave customers with potential gaps in insurance coverage in the event of a car accident leading to personal injury. Some vehicle insurance policies have specific clauses that do not cover personal injury in the event that the driver uses the vehicle for commercial purposes.
Ridesharing companies Uber and Lyft both recently announced that they would expand insurance coverage for their drivers in the event that the contract employees are involved in an accident while acting as employees. If the driver is logged into the mobile app to accept fares, whether the driver is driving a fare or not, Uber says its new insurance plan will cover the driver in the event of an accident. The insurance will cover the driver after the driver’s personal insurance fails, up to $100,000 in bodily injury and $25,000 in property damage.
“Uber is taking this step to eliminate any ambiguity while the insurance industry and state governments update policies and regulations for the new world of ridesharing transportation,” the company wrote in a blog post. “We are proud to be the standard bearer on this issue as we believe that this clarity is in the public’s best interest.”
“Safety always comes first in the cities and communities we serve,” Uber says. “We make sure all ridesharing drivers undergo background checks that are among the most stringent in the industry.”
A lawsuit going forward in San Francisco alleges that the mobile app also distracts ridesharing drivers, because it encourages them to take their eyes off the road in order to pick up fares. This distracted driving problem led to the death of a little girl on New Years Day in San Francisco, and the family has filed a wrongful death personal injury suit against Uber.
The Strom Law Firm Defends Victims of Distracted Driving in Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Cases
If you or a loved one have been injured or killed because of an accident, whether it was caused by distracted driving or DUI, the attorneys at the Strom Law Firm can help. The sooner you hire one of our accident lawyers, the sooner we will be able to investigate your case and the stronger your case will be. We offer free, confidential consultations to discuss the facts of your case, so do not hesitate to call us. 803.252.4800