Modern technology and creative innovation have led to the rise of a “sharing economy” in the United States today. There are peer-to-peer vacation rental services (such as AirBnb), peer-to-peer businesses (such as Ebay), and perhaps the most controversial of all: peer-to-peer car services. These dynamics are all relatively new, and very few details have been established as to who holds liability for whatever may go wrong. The very question has the potential to incite an entire series of debates, but for the purposes of this post, we are going to discuss car-sharing specifically.
There’s no denying that this model has caught on like wildfire, especially in larger cities and even more so on weekends and holidays. It makes sense. It’s affordable and incredibly easy to access. However, making the decision to offer your vehicle up as a form of public transportation is seriously risky business. On the other side of the same coin, what happens if you are involved in a car wreck while you are riding as a passenger in one of these vehicles? Who will be held responsible for compensating you for your injuries? These are the questions that ride-sharers have failed to consider, and in just a few short years, we’ve seen an unfathomable number of conflicts arise as a direct result. (This fatal collision in Boston, for example, or this 6-year old child who died after being hit by a negligent Uber driver in San Francisco).
Insurance Concerns for Drivers
Ride-sharing giants like Uber and Lyft carry insurance for their drivers. That is, the insurance becomes effective when the passenger is picked up and deactivates when the passenger is dropped off at his or her destination. Sounds legitimate, doesn’t it?