What is a rideshare company?
Rideshare companies (also known as Transportation Network Companies or Peer-to-peer ridesharing) provide driver-for-hire ridesharing services to consumers by contracting with freelance drivers who use their personal vehicles to transport passengers. This service is provided through a smartphone app that is convenient and often inexpensive. Simply pull out your phone, request a ride, and within minutes you’re on your way. Once you arrive at your destination, simply get out and move on with your day. The app handles the payment automatically. They are extremely convenient and easy to use. But there are also some serious concerns about how these services operate, how they screen their drivers, and how they protect their customers if there’s an accident.
What qualifies a rideshare company?
The emerging norm for these rideshare companies involves three elements:
A smartphone to request a ride, set a pickup and drop-off location, etc.
The use of GPS for the driver to navigate and for the app to track the route and calculate a cost and
Some social media -like platform for riders to rate their drivers so that others can know what to expect
How does Uber or Lyft screen their drivers?
Before a person can drive for Uber or Lyft, they are screened for things like a safe driving record and serious criminal charges. The potential driver must provide the rideshare company with their name, date of birth, Social Security number, driver’s license number, a copy of their driver’s license, vehicle registration, insurance, and proof of a completed vehicle inspection. The rideshare companies then use a third-party to run a background check; for example, Uber uses a company called Checkr, which is nationally accredited by the National Association of Professional Background Screeners. The third-party then runs the name against the national sex offender database, against public records databases, and of course against driver records.
As thorough as the process is, it’s still not 100% accurate and many people slip through the cracks, either through missed records or a fraudulent identity.
This especially rings true in our home state of Louisiana. In fact just this year on July 11, 2019, Governor John Bel Edwards signed legislation setting uniform rules to govern ridesharing in Louisiana. Edwards signed the measure, House Bill 575, which will be overseen by the State
Department of Transportation and Development. The bill made its way through the Louisiana Legislature after a failed attempt to set statewide rules for ride-share companies. House Speaker Taylor Barras was one of the co-sponsors of this year’s legislation; his involvement was seen at the time as being instrumental in winning final approval. House Bill 575 creates statewide regulations for companies such as Uber and Lyft and establishes rules on permits for ride-share drivers, background checks, insurance, compliance audits and how much local governments can collect from fees per trip. The bill won final Senate approval 34-1 (Sen. Danny Martiny, R-Metairie casting the lone no vote) and passed the House 99-0.
Uber and Lyft have also been criticized for not using a screening process the requires fingerprints, which are then run through databases like the FBI’s. Taxi drivers are required to go through all these background checks, in addition to fingerprint scanning.
Can I Lose My Uber Access If I make a Claim?
It is not uncommon for an Uber driver or Uber Passenger to express worry about bringing a claim against the rideshare company. We understand these individuals rely upon Uber or Lyft systems in order to either make an income or for regular transportation needs. If you bring a valid injury claim under the insurance policy from Uber or Lyft, you will not be penalized. Both Uber and Lyft pay a portion of each fare directly to their insurance companies for this exact purpose. Thus, pursuing a claim and retaining an Uber lawyer such as Cliff Cardone of Cardone Law will not cause you to be penalized.
Do rideshare companies have their own insurance policies?
Uber and Lyft are covered by their own insurance for which they pay premiums. These insurance companies are required to provide $1,000,000 of coverage for their drivers while transporting passenger(s). Uber and Lyft provide liability coverage for any accident that is the fault of the Rideshare driver. Ir does not cover the Uber or Lyft driver’s own injuries or vehicle damage. It is important to note that Louisiana requires the rideshare companies purchase uninsured/underinsured insurance coverage in the event that the rideshare driver/passenger(s) are stuck by an at fault underinsured/uninsured driver. The limit of this type of insurance coverage are $1,000,000.
In the unfortunate event that you are involved in an Uber or Lyft collision, then who will be your lifeline? Who will tell your story? Who will you choose to tell your story when the world moves your world, while you’re simply moving about your day? Phone Cardone. Let us help you: 504-522-3333.