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Who Pays Damages if a Rideshare Driver Causes a Crash?

More than 30 percent of Americans use a ridesharing app, according to a recent Gallup poll, and about 45 percent of Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 use at least one.

Services like Lyft and Uber are the most popular, but other options pop up seemingly every day. In the greater Cincinnati area, ridesharing is highly regulated for the safety of both passengers and drivers. But because rideshares are so different from other transportation services— drivers must use their own vehicles, have their own insurance, and operate an app to connect with riders—it can complicate the legal aspects of a car crash.

Insurance and Rideshare Drivers

To qualify to drive for rideshare companies, drivers must provide proof of personal car insurance. This must exceed the state’s minimums for insurance, which provides at least a small advantage for people unfortunate enough to be involved in a collision caused by a rideshare driver.

In addition, rideshare companies must provide drivers with some level of liability coverage, which goes into effect when the driver is logged into the app, has accepted a ride or is actively driving a paying passenger. If the driver is not logged into the app, his or her personal car insurance generally covers damages in the event of an accident (although this may vary by state and based on fault).

This additional liability insurance provided by rideshare companies usually only covers losses or property damage sustained by others—not the rideshare driver. That’s why drivers must have their own car insurance. Initially, rideshare companies like Uber did not provide insurance to their drivers and riders, but now many companies provide approximately $1 million in insurance coverage for riders (not drivers).

While the third-party insurance from rideshare companies does provide riders with some reassurance, medical costs for a serious or catastrophic car crash injury can quickly exceed $1 million. Drivers may be carrying only basic car insurance to augment the company’s coverage, which can raise concerns in the event of an accident that causes severe injuries.

That’s why it’s important to understand how fault plays into the accident in the event that you need to pursue a personal injury claim if you’re involved in a collision caused by a rideshare driver.

Liability in Rideshare Accidents

In most rideshare accidents, the rideshare company’s insurance should pay injured parties if the rideshare driver is found to be at fault. However, if the driver was not “on the clock” (logged into the rideshare app) at the time of the accident, liability for damages shifts to the driver’s personal insurance provider.

To know which company to file a claim with, you’ll need to know if the driver was logged into the app or not. You’ll also need to know whether the rideshare driver was at fault, and states handle the designation of fault differently when it comes to motor vehicle accidents.

Ohio Fault Law

Ohio follows so-called “comparative negligence” standards when it comes to fault for motor vehicle accidents. This means liability may be shared by multiple parties, and fault is generally allocated as a percentage. For example, if a driver is found 70 percent liable for the crash, his or her insurance would be responsible for covering 70 percent of the resulting damages.

Kentucky Fault Law

Kentucky maintains a no-fault system, which means your insurance provider will cover your injury expenses up to a certain limit. Under Kentucky’s no-fault rules, you cannot file a personal injury claim against the at-fault driver unless you exceed established standards regarding medical expenses and types of injuries.

Indiana Fault Law

Indiana is an at-fault state when it comes to motor vehicle accidents. This means the insurance company for the person who caused the car accident is responsible for covering damages. As in Ohio, fault may be assigned by percentage if multiple drivers contributed to a crash.

Rideshare Legislation Still Evolving

When it comes to innovations like ridesharing services, it often takes time for the legal system to catch up.

While many states have rideshare regulations in place, the laws will need to continue to adapt as the services become more popular and more collisions occur between rideshare vehicles and other vehicles. Navigating the at-fault or no-fault system can also be difficult if you’ve been injured in a rideshare accident.

If you were injured in an accident caused by a rideshare driver in Ohio, Kentucky or Indiana, it’s a good idea to discuss your case with a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer. The Cincinnati injury attorneys at Young, Reverman & Mazzei have extensive experience in car accident claims, including those related to rideshare collisions.

Please call us today at 800-721-1678 or contact us online. We offer free consultations to help you understand your legal options, and we don’t charge for our services unless we successfully resolve your case.

We welcome clients from the greater Cincinnati and Dayton, Ohio, areas as well as Campbell County, Kenton County and Boone County in Kentucky, and Dearborn County in Indiana. Please see our Locations page for a complete list of our offices and directions.

Jay A. Bolotin is a partner at the injury law firm of Young, Reverman & Bolotin. Serving the people of Indiana, Kentucky, and Ohio, Jay dedicates his career to helping clients in the tri-state area obtain financial compensation after suffering serious injuries. He focuses his practice on cases involving car accidents, trucking accidents, dog bites and animal attacks, and other types of personal injury incidents.

Years of Experience: More than 25 years
Registration Status:: Active
Bar Admissions: Illinois, Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, and Cincinati Bar Association