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Ridesharing and the Law in California

Ridesharing is another term for carpooling. Ridehailing is hiring a driver to pick you up and take you to a specific destination. Companies like Uber and Lyft are a sort of hybrid of these two, though they self-identify as ridesharing companies. And because they operate in this "hybrid" space, the law does treat them differently than typical ridehailing companies, like taxis, or than public transportation options, like buses.

Transportation Network Companies (TNC)

In 2013, California became the first state to establish regulations for ridesharing companies, dubbing them transportation network companies. Now this year, the California Public Utilities Commission has enacted several new regulations for TNCs. The new rules are largely supportive of ridesharing companies, but strive to encourage greater safety in the industry.

Compulsive Insurance Coverage for Ridesharing TNCs

California TNC companies are required to carry a minimum of $1 million of insurance coverage. But this coverage only kicks in during specific times:

  • The driver is logged into the ridesharing app but hasn't accepted a ride.
  • A ride has been accepted, but the driver hasn't picked up the passenger yet.
  • The driver has picked up the passenger and the ride is underway.

While the company coverage is in effect during these scenarios, the amounts actually vary. The greatest amount applies while a driver is ferrying a passenger. The minimum starts at $50,000 per person and $100,000 per incident for death and personal injury, and $30,000 for property damage. And excess coverage amount of $200,000 for driver liability also applies.

Driver Insurance

TNC drivers should carry their own insurance as well to protect themselves from liability in the case of an accident. Comprehensive coverage is best to protect their vehicles in case of damage. Many insurance companies now offer special ridesharing insurance for these drivers that offers better coverage and protection.

If you have been injured as a rideshare driver or passenger, a car accident attorney can help you understand your rights and file a claim for your injuries.

Sources:

http://www.sfexaminer.com/state-approves-sweeping-new-regulations-uber-lyft-delays-rules-leased-vehicles/, http://www.cpuc.ca.gov/General.aspx?id=3802, http://www.sfexaminer.com/state-approves-sweeping-new-regulations-uber-lyft-delays-rules-leased-vehicles/1f9e33ff67fe

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