Rideshare services have become incredibly popular as a way to travel, especially in crowded cities like Boston. There are certain dangers that come with using ridesharing services, however, that can put you at risk of suffering a serious and devastating personal injury. It’s not always clear, for example, whether you will be covered by the driver’s or the company’s insurance in light of an accident and these drivers are often in a rush to find their next fare, making them less safe than they should be on the road. As dedicated Boston car accident lawyers, we are prepared to help you assert your right compensation following a rideshare accident in Boston.
There are several important factors to consider if you are involved in a rideshare accident as a pedestrian, bicyclist, or passenger. As a recent situation highlights, the rideshare companies’ insurance policies and standards may not be as helpful as some people believe. Recently, a Framingham resident was sued for a rideshare accident that happened in 2015 while he was riding in a vehicle driven by an Uber driver. The lawsuit alleged that the man opened his door in a bike lane without checking to see if the lane was clear, causing serious injuries to a passing bicyclist. Uber refused to provide the man with legal defense and declined to pay the injured cyclist any compensation. The man did not own a vehicle, which is why he was using Uber, which meant that he also did not have auto insurance to cover the collision.
When it comes to rideshare insurance coverage, there are a few things that you should know before signing up to use these services. First, rideshare services frequently classify their drivers as independent contractors instead of employees and require their drivers to carry their own insurance policies. This allows the companies to keep a greater distance and to remove some of the liability that they would face for the drivers’ actions if they were employees. Massachusetts, like other states, recognizes a doctrine called vicarious liability, which holds an employer liable for the tortious acts that its employees commit in the course and scope of employment.
Second, these services frequently decline to classify themselves as taxi or livery services and instead insist that they are technology platforms that connect passengers with willing drivers. The companies do not own the vehicles either, relying instead on drivers who have their own vehicles. Finally, pedestrians and bicyclists who are injured in a crash with a rideshare service like Uber may be entitled to liability coverage from a third-party.
If you were in an accident involving a rideshare service, it is critical that you contact a knowledgeable and experienced Boston car accident attorney as soon as possible to explore your legal rights and to ensure that you are protected. These situations can be incredibly confusing, and it can be hard to tell whether an insurance company or the rideshare service is putting your best interests first. At the Law Offices of Michael O. Smith, our diligent team of legal professionals will ensure that you receive the prompt and zealous advocacy that you deserve. Call us now at 617-263-0060 or contact us online to get started.