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Who's to blame if your Uber or Lyft driver gets in a crash?

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Getting in a car accident can be frightening. You're probably in shock. You might even be injured. But what happens if you get into a crash while riding in an Uber or Lyft? Who is at fault?

The short answer is: It's complicated. Learn why a recent court case made this issue even more complicated, moving the question into what's called "a legal grey area."

Are ride-hailing drivers independent contractors or employees?

A recent decision by the California Supreme Court may have drastic implications for Lyft and Uber company liability. Until recently, these ride-hailing companies have classified their drivers as independent contractors. The new ruling may force these companies to classify them as employees instead.

Some may assume this is an employment law issue only. However, if the drivers are employees, passengers injured in motor vehicle accidents caused by one of these drivers may be able to sue the company for losses sustained in the accident.

This change in employment status also creates some confusion regarding auto insurance coverage. Whether you are a passenger in a ride-hailing service vehicle or are in a car that has an accident with one, the liability issues can get complicated.

Who is responsible for damages?

If you are a passenger in a ride-hailing service and that vehicle is involved in an accident, any injuries that you have might be covered by the ride-hailing company's insurance. However, determining the financial liability might be more difficult if you are driving another car or are struck as a pedestrian.

This recent court ruling has complicated the state laws regarding the ride-hailing industry, meaning this situation is still very up in the air. Consult a legal professional about your options.

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