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Sorting Out Responsibility in Ride-Share Car Accidents

It’s a wild time to be alive. With just a few taps on a smartphone, a car will arrive at your doorstep, ready to take you to your next destination. However, because ride-share services do not rely on professional drivers, they have just as much likelihood of getting into a crash as any passenger vehicle does. Even worse, many ride-share drivers may have built in distractions as they stay glued to their apps to maximize their trips and earnings, which arguably makes them more unsafe on the whole.

When a ride-share car accident occurs, there are some unique complexities of liability and responsibility.

Ride-sharing companies like Uber and Lyft carry insurance coverage for drivers and passengers. However, the amount of coverage and who it applies to can vary depending on the circumstances of the accident. This leaves many to wonder: Who is liable in a ride-share car accident? Is it the driver, the ride-sharing company, or both? Also, what, if anything can you do to make sure you are more fully protected?

The answer to these questions isn’t straightforward. Ride-sharing companies have distinct policies regarding liability. Determining responsibility in these cases often requires a thorough investigation, which inevitably relies on legal knowledge and experience.

Group of smiling people inside a ride share car.

Understanding Ride-Share Insurance Coverage

Ride-sharing companies typically provide insurance coverage that applies during different phases of a driver’s journey:

  • Offline Mode: When the driver is “offline”, typically the driver’s own auto insurance policy applies.
  • Available Mode: Once the driver logs into the ride-sharing app and is available to accept rides, the company’s contingent liability coverage becomes active. This coverage typically includes liability for bodily injury and property damage but likely has coverage limits, which varies depending on the state.
  • En Route to Pickup or Transporting Passengers: The ride-sharing company’s commercial liability coverage applies once the driver accepts a ride request and is en route to pick up or transport passengers. This coverage is typically more extensive than contingent liability coverage and may include coverage for injuries to passengers and third parties.

Determining Liability

In a ride-share car accident, liability may fall on various parties, including:

    • The Driver: If the driver’s negligence or reckless behavior caused the accident, they may be legally responsible for the resulting damages. This could include distracted driving, speeding, failure to yield, or driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
    • The Ride-Share Company: If the accident occurred while the driver was actively working for the ride-sharing company, the company may share liability. This is especially true if the accident resulted from factors related to the company’s operations, such as faulty equipment, app related distractions, or inadequate driver screening.
    • Third Parties: Other drivers, pedestrians, or entities whose actions contributed to the accident may also share liability.
  • Underinsurance Claims: In many circumstances, the Driver’s own coverage may not apply, and coverage through the Ride-Share company may only meet state minimum amounts. To make sure you are protected from something like this, it is a good idea to review your own auto policy to see whether you have adequate underinsurance coverage. It is always best to work through an insurance agent so you can be assured that the most optimal coverages are in place.

Importance of Legal Guidance

Navigating the legal complexities of a ride-share car accident requires expertise in personal injury law and familiarity with ride-share company policies. Seeking the guidance of a qualified car accident lawyer or attorney is important to ensure that all parties involved are held accountable for their actions and that victims receive fair compensation for their losses.

Here are some reasons why legal representation is essential:

  • Thorough Investigation: A skilled attorney will thoroughly investigate the accident’s circumstances, gathering evidence to determine liability and strengthen the victim’s case.
  • Understanding Insurance Policies: Ride-share company insurance policies can be complex, with coverage varying depending on the driver’s activity during the accident. A knowledgeable attorney can interpret these policies and advocate for maximum compensation for victims.
  • Negotiating with Insurance Companies: Insurance companies may attempt to minimize payouts or deny claims altogether. An experienced attorney can negotiate with insurance adjusters on behalf of the victim to ensure they receive fair compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
  • Litigation Representation: If a fair settlement cannot be reached through negotiation, an attorney can represent the victim in litigation, presenting their case in court and fighting for the compensation that you deserve.


Ride-share car accidents can be complex legal matters, with multiple parties potentially sharing liability. To navigate these complexities and ensure that victims receive the compensation they deserve, it’s important to seek the guidance of a knowledgeable car accident lawyer.

Legal professionals play a vital role in sorting out responsibility in ride-share car accidents by conducting a thorough investigation, understanding ride-share company insurance policies, and advocating for their client’s rights. Their experience and dedication help victims obtain justice and rebuild their lives in the aftermath of a traumatic car accident that wasn’t their fault.

Why Partner with Arthur Law Firm?

If you or a loved one has been involved in a ride-share car accident, you understand the chaos and confusion that can ensue in the aftermath. In such challenging times, proper legal representation can make all the difference. At Arthur Law Firm, we have over five decades of experience advocating for victims of negligence.

With this experience and a deep understanding of the complexities surrounding ride-share company policies and insurance coverage, our dedicated team is committed to fighting for your rights and ensuring you receive the fair compensation you deserve. We believe every individual deserves justice and we will stop at nothing to hold all responsible parties accountable for their actions.

From conducting a thorough investigation to negotiating with insurance companies and representing you in litigation, if necessary, we will be with you every step of the way, providing unwavering support and legal guidance. Don’t let the burden of legal proceedings add to your already stressful situation—let us handle your case while you focus on your recovery.

If you’re ready to take the next step towards justice and compensation, we invite you to contact Arthur Law Firm today. Call us at (419) 782-9881 for a free consultation to discuss your legal options.