There has been a lot of information in the news about ride sharing services. You may have heard of the legal issues that have come up in regard to ride sharing services such as Uber and Lyft. These services are available on the Internet and offer to connect you with drivers who can provide you with a ride. This is a new concept in Pennsylvania and our lawmakers and the Public Utilities Commission are trying to hammer out details.
This new technology offers us a twist on what we would commonly be known as a taxi service. Of course, there are laws and regulations that taxi companies must abide by including obtaining insurance, verifying that drivers are safe and that taxis are well-maintained and in good working order. Ride sharing services are not subject to these same regulations at the present time.
An informed consumer needs to be aware that there are concerns about safety and insurance coverage with regard to ride sharing services. Of course, if you use a ride sharing service and the trip concludes without any problem along the way, you don't need to be concerned. However, if there is an accident and you are injured, you need to be aware that there are insurance coverage issues lurking which may leave you without coverage.
While it appears that ride sharing services do provide insurance coverage, a question might arise regarding which insurance pays for damages after a crash. Under the current state of the law, there is a concern that an injured passenger may be left without insurance. For example, if the insurance coverage reverts to the insurance of the individual who is operating the vehicle, rather than being covered by the insurance of the ride sharing service, the personal insurance of the driver may not cover damages that result from this type of an accident. The fact is that many insurance policies in Pennsylvania have an exclusion written into the policy that states that there is no coverage when an injury occurs when a personal vehicle is used to transport passengers for a fee.
While technology offers us many great new options, you need to be aware that there may be hidden risks when using a ride sharing service under the current state of Pennsylvania law.