In 2010, traffic accident fatalities in the US were reported to be 32,885, the lowest reported number since 1949. In the last decade, that number has crept up. Nationwide, traffic deaths have increased 2% to 3% since 2011, equivalent to as many as 1,100 deaths per year, according to an October 2018 study by the University of Chicago and Rice University, titled The Cost of Convenience: Ridesharing and Traffic Fatalities. The study found that in each city where Uber Lyft launched, accident rates, including related injuries and fatalities, shot up.
Ridesharing is a massive convenience for everyone, including South Carolinians, allowing people to get where they need to go quickly and affordable. In 2015, South Carolina recognized the demand for rideshare services and passed legislation allowing Uber and Lyft to operate in the state as “transportation network companies” or TNCs.
Because hopping in the car with a stranger poses unique legal and safety concerns, South Carolina came up with requirements for TNC vehicles including a 19-point safety inspection requiring vehicles to have factory installed seats and seat belts, working windows, and air conditioning. South Carolina rideshare vehicles must not have a salvage title and must display an Uber or Lyft decal at all times.
Insurance requirements accompany the vehicle requirements. In South Carolina, Uber or Lyft drivers, as “TNC Drivers” must maintain primary auto insurance that recognizes that the driver is a TNC driver or otherwise uses a personal vehicle to transport riders for compensation. When the driver is “off the clock” and not logged into the app and available to drive when the accident occurs, only their insurance will apply.
When the TNC driver is logged into the network and available to receive requests, such as driving around looking for ride or driving to a trip, they must carry a minimum amount of insurance (at least $50,000 for death and bodily injury per person; $150,000 for death and bodily injury per incident; and $25,000 for property damage.).
Once a rider opens the door and gets in the vehicle, the insurance and the “prearranged ride” has started, the coverage goes up, with at least $1 million for death, bodily injury and property damage.
However, just because insurance is available, does not mean that the rideshare company, or the driver’s insurance company, will fully and fairly compensate you. An experienced car accident attorney to advocate for your rights can give you far more leverage in negotiating a settlement than dealing with the rideshare giants and insurance companies alone.
If you have suffered a severe injury in a rideshare accident, contact Krause, Moorhead & Draisen, P.A. today to discuss your legal case. All initial consultations are free, and there is no fee unless we recover compensation for you.
Steven Krause is a personal injury, auto accident, and workers’ compensation lawyer who practices in Anderson, SC. He graduated form the Thomas M. Cooley School of Law and has been practicing law for 40 years now. Steven Krause believes in fighting for the injured. Learn more about his experience here.