North Charleston, South Carolina – Legal experts at South Carolina based Hartman Law Firm L.L.C. have warned drivers that an innovative form of carpooling can quickly turn into an insurance nightmare if they find themselves involved in an accident and need to make a claim.
Paul Murray, a spokesman for the Hartman Law Firm L.L.C. warned that the benefits offered by ridesharing, such as savings on fuel and transport costs, are currently overshadowed by the important question of whether drivers are adequately covered by their insurance policies when they use a private vehicle to provide a ridesharing service to passengers. He said: “Ridesharing is different from traditional carpooling in the sense that drivers are not taking their passengers on trips they intended to make anyway, but are making the trips as a service which their passengers pay for. All too often, drivers are not licensed or trained—and may well find they are not properly insured either.”
Ridesharing deploys modern technology, including smartphones, GPS navigation devices and social networking platforms, to provide passengers with shared rides, often at short notice. As well as keeping fuel costs low, another benefit that advocates of ridesharing often cite is that it can provide transport in areas not well-served by public transport systems.
However, the lack of regulation that currently surrounds ridesharing means drivers may find they are uninsured if they get into an accident. While drivers working for companies such as Uber may be covered by commercial insurance once they have accepted a passenger, if they are involved in an accident when they are on duty but have no passenger, as things stand, they may find they have no such cover.
While legislators are calling for clearer insurance rules surrounding ridesharing, Mr. Murray said that drivers should check their insurance policies. He added: “If they are involved in an accident, their best recourse at present may be to consult an accident lawyer.”