Ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft have truly changed the transportation industry by providing convenient and accessible transportation options to everyone throughout cities and smaller towns. However, the rise of ridesharing has also raised important legal considerations, particularly regarding liability and responsibility in the event of accidents or injuries.
Understanding the intricacies of ridesharing liability in Michigan’s legal landscape is crucial for passengers and other motorists involved in ridesharing-related incidents. Now, let’s get right into the key aspects of ridesharing liability in Michigan, shedding light on the factors determining who is responsible for injuries and damages.
The Role of Ridesharing Companies
Ridesharing companies act as intermediaries, connecting passengers with drivers through smartphone applications. In Michigan, prominent ride-sharing platforms include Uber, Waze Carpool, and Lyft. While ridesharing companies have implemented certain policies and insurance coverage to address liability issues, it is essential to understand how these policies operate within Michigan’s legal framework. Get an experienced personal injury lawyer at Christensen Law Firm to help determine the specifics of each accident and the role of ridesharing companies in an accident.
Insurance Coverage in Ridesharing Accidents
Michigan has specific requirements for ridesharing companies and their drivers regarding insurance coverage. Ridesharing companies are mandated to provide insurance coverage during various stages of the ridesharing process, including when the driver is waiting for a ride request, is already en route to pick up a passenger, and transporting a passenger.
Stage 1: App On, No Passenger
During this period, the rideshare driver has their app turned on and is available to accept rides, but they have yet to accept a passenger. Ridesharing companies are required to provide contingent liability coverage during this period, which means that if the driver’s personal auto insurance does not cover the accident, the ridesharing company’s insurance policy may provide coverage.
In Michigan, the minimum liability coverage required during this period is $50,000 for bodily injury per person, $100,000 for bodily injury per accident, and $25,000 for property damage.
Stage 2: En Route to Pick Up a Passenger
Once the driver accepts a ride request and is on their way to pick up the passenger, the ridesharing company must provide higher insurance coverage. In Michigan, the minimum coverage during this period is $1 million for bodily injury, death, and property damage.
Stage 3: Transporting a Passenger
When the rideshare driver has picked up the passenger and is transporting them to their destination, the ride-sharing company must also provide minimum coverage of $1 million for bodily injury, death, and property damage.
Determining Liability in Ridesharing Accidents
In ridesharing accidents, determining liability can be complex. Liability may depend on factors such as the driver’s actions, other involved parties’ actions, and the accident’s specific circumstances. In Michigan, the following parties may be held liable in ridesharing accidents:
- Ridesharing driver liability: If the rideshare driver’s negligence or misconduct caused the accident, they may be held liable for injuries and damages. This includes situations where the driver was distracted, intoxicated, or violated traffic laws.
- Other motorists: If another motorist involved in the accident was at fault, they may be held responsible for injuries and damages. This can include cases where another driver ran a red light, failed to yield, or engaged in reckless driving.
- Ridesharing company liability: Ridesharing companies may also be held liable under certain circumstances. For example, if the company failed to conduct proper background checks on drivers or did not adequately maintain its platform’s safety standards, it may be held partially responsible.
It’s important to note that determining liability in ridesharing accidents often requires a thorough investigation and analysis of the evidence. This is why gathering as much information as possible after an accident is crucial, including witness statements, photographs of the scene, and any available surveillance footage.
Steps to Take After a Ridesharing Accident
If you are involved in a ridesharing accident in Michigan, it’s important to take the following steps to ensure a smooth claims process:
- Seek medical attention: Your health and safety should be the top priority. Seek medical attention for any injuries, even if they appear minor. Prompt medical evaluation ensures that you receive the necessary treatment and establishes a detailed list of your injuries and their connection to the accident.
- Document the accident scene: Gather information about the accident scene if it is safe to do so. Take photographs of the vehicles involved, the surrounding area, and any visible damages or injuries. This documentation can serve as valuable evidence later on.
- Gather information: Collect contact information from all parties involved in the accident, including the rideshare driver, other motorists, and any witnesses. Note the rideshare company and driver’s information, such as their name, license plate number, and insurance details.
- Report the accident: Report the accident to the ridesharing company through their app or customer support line. They may have specific procedures in place for reporting accidents involving their drivers.
- Consult with an attorney: Seeking legal representation from an experienced personal injury attorney is key to upholding your rights and receiving fair compensation for your injuries and damages. An attorney will navigate the complexities of ridesharing liability laws, handle communications with insurance companies, and advocate for your best interests.
Stay Safe When Ridesharing!
Understanding ridesharing liability in Michigan’s legal landscape is vital for individuals who use ridesharing services or may be involved in ridesharing-related accidents. By familiarizing yourself with the insurance coverage requirements and the determination of liability, you can protect your rights and take the necessary steps to pursue compensation for your injuries and damages in case they occur while you travel by Uber or Lyft, or if you intend to become a ridesharing driver to boost your finances.