What Happens if You’re Injured as a Passenger in an Uber Vehicle?
In the first place, Uber’s not the only game in town when it comes to ridesharing vehicles. However, they were the first to introduce the concept. Three years later, in 2012, Lyft entered the marketplace. The whole idea sounds great until you’re involved in an accident. So, what happens if you’re injured as a passenger in an Uber vehicle?
As you may already know, neither Uber nor Lyft drivers need special permits or license endorsement from the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission. That said, the Transportation Network Company (TNC) Safety and Regulatory Act put some rules into place that target ridesharing services.
The requirements apply to companies “which use a digital network to connect a rider to a driver to provide a prearranged ride.” More than likely, you already get the idea. Download an app on your smartphone and set up your ride. For many, the concept beats waiting for a taxicab. (Although many cab drivers lament that Uber and Lyft can charge less for a reason}. They’re not guided by the same cumbersome requirements.
NJSA 39:5H-2 provides some definitions concerning motor vehicles governed by the Transportation Network Company Safety and Regulatory Act. The law does not apply to the following vehicles:
Instead, the statute solely applies to personal vehicles used to provide prearranged rides. It doesn’t matter if the Uber or Lyft driver owns or leases the car or SUV. That said, this particular law pertains to vehicles authorized by the transportation network company. As you might ascertain, ridesharing businesses are transportation network companies.
A passenger in an Uber Claims
As you may know, your automobile insurance coverage generally follows you when you’re injured in a car accident. If you own your own passenger vehicle, your Personal Injury Protection or PIP benefits are primary when it comes to paying your medical bills. Meanwhile, that’s not the case when you’re involved in a crash as a passenger in an Uber or Lyft vehicle. Both ridesharing companies maintain $1.5 million in insurance policies designed to cover claims made by injured passengers.
Here’s something else you should know. If you are injured while riding in an Uber or Lyft vehicle, you won’t have to meet standard requirements under New Jersey’s verbal threshold laws. Many New Jersey drivers opt for the verbal threshold (referred to as the limitations on lawsuit threshold) to keep premiums down. If that’s the case, they can only bring claims if they’ve suffered the following:
- Significant disfigurement
- Significant scarring
- Displaced fractures
- Loss of a fetus
- A permanent injury such as paralysis
The bottom line is that if you’re hurt while a passenger in a ridesharing vehicle, you won’t have to worry that your injuries aren’t severe enough to constitute a claim.
Sharing the Blame
As you may know firsthand, it’s not always the Uber or Lyft driver’s fault when it comes to a car crash. Take, for example, an accident that occurred last month in neighboring New York City. From all accounts, it seems that the Uber driver had nothing to do with the head-on tunnel crash. After all, the other motor vehicle operator traveled in the wrong direction.
Experienced personal injury attorneys investigate claims to assess liability. In the meantime, it’s good to know that you won’t have to worry about your medical bills. Interesting enough, the required limits for ridesharing vehicles are higher than those for taxis.