Uber and Lyft Expand Insurance for Drivers After Wrongful Death Lawsuit
Ride-share companies Uber and Lyft have agreed to expand insurance coverage of drivers after Uber faced a wrongful death lawsuit filed in January of this year.
The wrongful death lawsuit involved an Uber driver, Syed Muzzafar, driving while distracted by the Uber app and trying to find a fare. On New Years Day, he struck the Liu family while they crossed a crosswalk in San Francisco, and 6-year-old Sophia Liu was killed. Her mother and brother were injured in the accident.
Uber defended itself in the face of the wrongful death lawsuit by saying the company required drivers to have their own personal insurance on their vehicles, and that the company, like Lyft, was only a mobile app. As contractors, Uber and Lyft employees are responsible for their own coverage and their own car accidents.
However, because Uber and Lyft are mobile apps, they can encourage drivers to use their smart phones while driving, which creates a dangerous situation. Most states have passed legislation that prevents drivers from using mobile devices to text, check email, or use social media while driving, and the plaintiffs argued that Uber and Lyft created a situation in which drivers were encouraged to break the law for the sake of their jobs.
Now, the mobile ride share companies have announced that they will expand insurance coverage for 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.”
“We want legislators and regulators to know we are putting our best foot forward to make sure (our coverage is) not ambiguous,” Uber CEO Travis Kalanick said Thursday.
While the insurance coverage does not eliminate questions about distracted driving and personal injury, it does help alleviate liability in potential future personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits as the company takes more responsibility.
The Strom Law Firm Defends Victims of Distracted Driving in Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Cases
If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a South Carolina ATV accident or a bike accident, contact the Strom Law Firm today. 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