While the rise of ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft has changed how we get around, making it super easy to commute, there can be a catch. If something goes wrong, like an accident, it can get tricky to know when to contact a rideshare accident lawyer. Figuring out who is responsible for damages can be troubling. Illinois’s law about who is at fault in an Uber or Lyft can be complicated. As a potential rideshare passenger, it is important to understand the bigger picture and what rights you might have: how insurance coverage works, who is responsible, and what you can do if you are involved in a collision.
Ridesharing Accident Insurance Coverage in Illinois and Chicago
In Illinois, the law governing ridesharing companies’ insurance coverage is guided by the Illinois Ridesharing Arrangements Act. This new law was an update to the existing Transportation Network Providers Act. Under the new law, Uber and Lyft are a “transportation network” in the same way that taxi companies are. This means they can be held responsible for injuries resulting from an Uber or Lyft collision. The old Act classified Uber and Lyft drivers as “common carriers.” This usually meant they were frequently exempt from several types of claims, including being held responsible when a driver was involved in an accident causing an injury. According to the new Illinois Ridesharing Agreements Act, Uber, Lyft, and other ridesharing companies are now open to being held liable for a number of claims. This new law was passed earlier this year; now, rideshare companies are obligated to provide insurance coverage during different phases of a ride, which includes when the driver is logged into the app but has not yet accepted a ride, when the driver has accepted a ride request, and when the passenger is in the vehicle. During the period when the driver is logged into the app but has not yet accepted a ride, the ridesharing company is required to provide contingent liability coverage. However, this coverage is typically limited and may not be sufficient to cover all potential damages in the event of a collision. As a passenger, understanding there may be a limit to this coverage is important. In a collision, a passenger should look into whether their own insurance policies may provide additional protection.
Corporate Liability and Negligence for Ridesharing Accidents
A key issue in cases where the fault of the ridesharing driver contributes to an accident is figuring out if the rideshare company is to blame. Determining the extent to which the ridesharing company can be held responsible for the actions of its drivers involves a complex review of the relationship between the company and the driver. Under the law, the ridesharing company may be responsible for the negligent actions of its drivers if it can be demonstrated that the driver was acting within the scope of their employment at the time of the accident. However, establishing the precise nature of the driver’s relationship with the company, whether they are classified as independent contractors or employees, can significantly impact the outcome of any legal claim against the company. Under the new Illinois law, drivers and rideshare companies can be held liable under different theories of liability and, in some instances, involving intentional conduct.
The enactment of the new law could offer some support to individuals facing issues during rideshare journeys, ranging from accidents to personal injury and assault. In Doe v. Lyft, a female passenger in Chicago alleged experiencing nonconsensual activity and assault by her rideshare driver. Despite her lawsuit against both the driver and Lyft, the rideshare company denied any responsibility, contending that their drivers didn’t fall under common carrier classification, clearing them of any wrongdoing. The Appellate Court ruled in favor of Lyft, a decision the Illinois Supreme Court denied ruling on in January 2022. However, it is important for rideshare passengers to understand how the landscape has since changed with the new law: the previous “common carrier” exception no longer applies. Under this revised legislation, the plaintiff in the case might have leveraged the “transportation network” classification under which Lyft operates.
Passenger Rights and When to Contact a Rideshare Accident Lawyer
Passengers have the right to pursue legal action if they are hurt by a rideshare driver. A passenger can also seek compensation from a ridesharing company if their rules or policies cause the accident in any way. Understanding the complexities of establishing negligence and corporate liability is crucial for passengers seeking legal recourse following a ridesharing car crash in Illinois.
The evolving legal landscape surrounding ridesharing car accidents in Illinois underscores the necessity for comprehensive understanding and awareness of the rights and responsibilities of passengers and drivers. Navigating the intricacies of insurance coverage, corporate liability, and the legal grounds for pursuing a cause of action for negligence is paramount in ensuring that the rights of those injured are protected. As the ridesharing industry continues to grow, both legislators and legal practitioners need to remain vigilant in addressing the evolving challenges pertaining to liability in ridesharing car accidents.
Liability in ridesharing is a legal labyrinth. It is important to contact an attorney to understand your rights as a passenger.
Cowritten by Marty Dolan and George King
Dolan Law is a top-rated trial law firm representing victims of wrongdoing with a combined experience of over 50 years in the law. If you feel you’ve been insured in a ridesharing accident as a result of negligence, please reach out.
George King is a second-year law student at Belmont University College of Law in Nashville, TN. Prior to law school, George graduated Summa Cum Laude from Furman University. Currently, he works as a law clerk for Dolan Law in Chicago, IL. Marty Dolan is the owner of Dolan Law, Chicago. He is a trial lawyer and has been so for over 30 years. Dolan Law handles catastrophic injury and wrongful death cases, including crime victim litigation. He is appointed to the Illinois Supreme Court Committee on Character and Fitness and The Illinois Supreme Court Rules Committee. He is a Clarendon Hills resident.