From the beginning of their existence, as you know, riding-sharing services have been controversial. Thankfully, the use of these privately owned vehicles to deliver you to your intended destination is most often safe and uneventful. Uber drivers alone provide about 40 million rides a month.
Unfortunately, not all rideshare trips end uneventfully. Most drivers operate during rush hours, mealtimes and evenings when people are out and need rides. Tired, non-commercial drivers who must constantly watch their smartphones are a recipe for accidents—which do occur.
Bear in mind that auto insurers now ask all operators if they intend to drive for rideshare businesses. Should a driver give untruthful information, the insurer might deny claims in the event of an accident. Partly to deal with this contingency, Uber famously proclaims it covers every trip with $1 million in liability insurance. The specifics of their coverage, however, vary widely according to the trip and at what point an accident occurs.
As if this new legal area were not gray enough, like other states, Colorado employs an “Automobile Guest Statute.” The main idea is a passenger cannot bring legal action against the driver of a vehicle unless the accident was intentional. This traditionally applies to private individuals rather than commercially employed drivers, who generally are subject to legal liability. Of course, rideshare companies insist their drivers are not employees.
For injured passengers in rideshare accidents, the bottom line seems contingent upon the particulars of the accident itself, the driver’s insurance and the rideshare company’s actual commitment to accept liability.