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Can riders be held responsible in a rideshare accident?

On Behalf of | Mar 24, 2022 | Motor Vehicle Accidents

We all know that car accidents are just a fact of life. This is true, even if we are in a rideshare, like Uber or Lyft. Just because we are in the backseat does not shield us from the realities of the road. Though, if there is a rideshare car accident, can the rider be held responsible?

Rider liability

Like most things in the law, the answer is not direct, and it depends on the circumstances. However, the default position of rider liability is no liability. Unless there was some proactive negligence or malfeasance on the part of the rider, then the rider would not have any liability. But, if there was, then the driver likely has proof as dashboard cameras with internal cameras are pretty ubiquitous at this point. This means that the rider’s behavior is likely on camera.

Evidence of liability

A benefit of rideshare is that most, if not all, rideshare drivers have a dashboard camera. This means that, should there be a rideshare car accident, liability should be easily proved. This means that any subsequent litigation will likely only be over damages, not liability.

Competing insurance companies

There are at least three possible insurance companies that have liability in a rideshare car accident: the rideshare application’s own commercial liability insurance, the driver’s personal auto insurance and the other vehicle’s auto insurance. For the rider, the commercial liability insurance will cover them, regardless of who is at fault, and then that insurance company will sue whoever is at fault. For the driver, they too will have coverage.

Insurance company issues

For Brooklyn, New York, residents involved in a rideshare car accident that are in the vehicle impacted or hit as a pedestrian, the status of the driver at the time of the car accident will likely determine which insurance company will pay. If there was a rider, then the commercial liability insurance will cover. If there was not though, then the rider’s own, personal policy should cover. Though, if the driver did not purchase a policy that has coverage for rideshare drivers, that insurance company may argue that they are not liable. If allowed, then the car accident victims would have to sue the driver directly.