As is the case in most of the country's other metro areas, Marylanders now have the ability to hail a ride through Uber, Lyft or another ridesharing company. These companies are known to be cheaper than a taxi service, as they involve private parties simply using their personal vehicles to take people where they need to go.
While the business model works fine so long as everyone stays safe on the road, when there is an accident involving an Uber or Lyft driver who is, in a manner of speaking, on the clock, there are important legal questions that have to be answered. After all, if the driver was at fault, then both their passengers and the other motorists involved have the right to receive compensation for their injuries.
Maryland law requires Uber and Lyft drivers to carry a higher amount of automobile insurance when they are on the clock. However, a driver may choose to ignore or get around this law, and, in serious motor vehicle accidents, this insurance might not be enough to cover all losses.
However, an injured victim may contemplate making a claim for compensation from the ridesharing company directly. Although Uber does maintain insurance for its drivers, getting compensation can still prove to be an uphill battle since these companies do not consider their drivers employees but independent contractors, which means the company isn't responsible for any accidents. However, the companies can still be held accountable if they hire a bad driver or fail to giver proper supervision and training.
After a ridesharing accident, compensation may be available to both passengers and to other motorists who share the road with rideshares. However, it may be best for a victim to get help from an experienced Maryland personal injury attorney when making a claim for compensation.
Source: localdvm.com, "New Maryland law lays out regulations for Uber and ride-share companies," Mallory Sofastaii, January 2018