Ride sharing is becoming an increasingly popular transportation option across Houston and other metropolitan areas, serving as a practical alternative to taxi cab service in many cases. Proponents of ride-sharing services often argue that such programs are cheaper and faster than traditional taxis. Some are raising serious questions, however, over if and where accident liability lies in incidents involving ride-sharing vehicles.
The Huffington Post discusses automobile accident insurance coverage, and how insurance liability coverage differs between taxicabs and ride-sharing companies. Interestingly, the level of accident coverage provided by ride-sharing companies for passengers exceeds insurance extended to taxi passengers in many cases. Given that ride-sharing drivers typically only maintain personal insurance policies that would not include coverage for paying customers, ride-sharing companies provide excess coverage. While a taxicab driver may maintain injury coverage amounting to anything from $250,000-$500,000 for passengers, it is estimated that major ride-sharing companies cover passengers for up to $1 million.
Ride-sharing passengers may be protected under a reasonable amount of auto accident liability coverage, but what about pedestrians and other motorists? Techcrunch.com explains that serious accident liability concerns can arise in incidents where a ride-sharing driver causes a collision on his or her own time. Unlike taxi drivers, ride-sharing drivers are not typically covered under company insurance unless they are transporting a passenger. In the event that a ride-sharing driver is involved in an injury accident on his or her way to pick up a client or on the way back from a ride destination, then, the ride-sharing company may deny liability. Considering that many ride-sharing drivers rely on actively running GPS apps to identify and locate passengers, liability concerns relating to distracted driving and other related issues can also arise.