Over 60% of New Yorkers commute by public transit or by walking, and supplement by hiring a taxi or by rideshare. If most of us get into an accident, it will either be as the pedestrian in a car-on-pedestrian collision, while driving a borrowed car, or while riding with someone else.
Here’s what you need to know about recovering compensation if you’re injured as a taxi cab, Uber, or Lyft passenger in New York. We’ll also cover what happens if you get into an accident on a Zipcar, the popular rideshare service that gives New Yorkers temporary access to a car.
If you have car insurance, you’ll first turn to your car insurance policy and tap into your PIP (personal injury protection) coverage for the first $50,000 of losses. You cannot sue under New York law if your losses are lower than $50,000. You’ll use the guidelines below if you don’t have car insurance.
The Taxi cab company is liable for any accidents they’re at fault for. If the accident is the other driver’s fault, you can file a third-party claim against the driver’s insurance. A licensed taxi must carry $100,000 in PIP liability insurance for one person and up to $300,000 for all people in one accident.
If your losses exceed the Taxi company’s PIP coverage or the other driver’s PIP coverage, then you can launch a lawsuit against the at-fault driver.
As a rule, you should try to avoid riding in an unlicensed taxi, but it can happen. If the taxi is unlicensed, you can collect against their normal car insurance policy. If the unlicensed taxi is uninsured, that driver is probably criminally liable, and you should be able to make your claim with the Motor Vehicle Accident and Indemnification Corporation (MVAIC).
Uber provides insurance companies for their drivers while the driver is waiting for a ride request, when the driver is waiting for a passenger, and when the driver has a passenger in the rideshare vehicle.
They have policy limits of up to $1 million. Your claim will be against the Uber driver if they caused the accident and against the third-party driver and their own insurance company if they caused the accident.
Lyft coverage works similarly to Uber coverage and would be handled the same way during an accident.
While you’ll hear that Lyft has higher deductibles, those are deductibles paid by their drivers to restore their vehicles and don’t touch on PIP coverage in any way.
Choosing Between Services
We recommend Uber or Lyft because they carry more insurance coverage for passengers than Taxi cabs do.
Many people don’t realize that insurance limits often hobble their ability to collect on a personal injury case. While theoretically, the rest of your award balance would pass to the driver, but drivers generally do not have the resources to pay them out.
Non-Owner Car Insurance
If you wish for maximum protection while navigating NYC as a pedestrian or passenger, consider purchasing non-owner car insurance. Non-owner insurance provides you with additional insurance if you borrow cars regularly. Through these policies, you can also get uninsured/underinsured motorist protection and personal injury protection.
If you use Zipcars on a regular basis, you should consider getting a car insurance policy to cover your Zipcar use. Zipcar itself does offer a minimum amount of protection: just enough to meet the required minimum coverage amounts. You can purchase more coverage when you use the car. Standard coverage makes you liable for the first $1000 of an accident. They offer $300,000 of PIP coverage after that.
Zipcar is protected from lawsuits under a federal law known as the Graves Amendment, which shields car rental agencies from liability when their vehicles are involved in an accident. Nevertheless, as the driver, you are insured any time you use a Zipcar, and the accident will work exactly the same as if you owned the car and were insuring it normally.
Get Help Today
Regardless of which service you use, you should take all the normal steps after a car accident. Call the police, get photos, get insurance and contact information, and gather information from witnesses. After that, contact a personal injury attorney as quickly as possible.
The earlier you involve an attorney, the stronger your case will likely be. We have extensive experience helping New Yorkers navigate the complexities of their personal injury cases. Contact us to get started today.