With the explosion of ridesharing services throughout Kansas, many drivers and riders face an information gap when it comes to liability. Questions about consumer protection if their lives get endangered during an Uber or Lyft ride, or if the driver remains liable for an accident, have arisen. As with any business service, things can go terribly wrong, and it’s important to know what recourse is available while you’re trying to recover.
While not all of these companies are alike, they operate in similar ways. By downloading a preferred rideshare service app, passengers can book a ride with the nearest available driver. Once the driver accepts the passenger’s request, he or she picks up that individual and gets them where they need to go. Fares are usually paid through the downloadable app on your phone.
Kansas Rideshare Insurance Requirements
The State of Kansas took steps to address these questions in 2015 after passing legislation that regulated ridesharing services. A key piece of this law demands that drivers and the companies they work for purchase comprehensive collision coverage on vehicles used for service. This law successfully pushed transportation network companies (TNC) to take more financial responsibility for their business.
Current insurance requirements imposed by Kansas SB 117 include:
- A minimum of $25,000 for property damage
- At least $50,000 for death and bodily injury per person
- Bodily injury and death coverage of at least $100,000
- Drivers must have a primary auto liability policy of $1,000,000 during the actual service ride to cover death, property damage, and/or bodily injuries
While this sounds like the best solution for protecting rider and driver, there is a conflict within Kansas law regarding the larger one million dollar coverage. Many companies that offer rideshare opportunities classify their drivers as independent contractors. The state doesn’t allow injured individuals to sue for damages that exceed that level of provided coverage.
The pursuit of personal injuries against the driver is still a viable option for passengers involved in accidents while in a TNC vehicle. Civil penalties are also available if the driver engaged in reckless behavior like:
- Road rage
- Drowsy driving
To best understand what options are available to you in pursuing your claim, it’s essential to have an experienced car accident lawyer working on your behalf.
Other Kansas Rideshare Rules
Legislation has also restricted the potential hiring pool that rideshare companies use to find drivers. It’s illegal for an individual with certain convictions on their record to work for TNCs as drivers. Offenses on the restricted list included identity theft, sexual crimes, and driving while under the influence.
Another law, Kansas Statute 8-1729, makes it a crime to use vehicle lights that do not adhere to state standards, which makes popular rideshare windowed logo lights illegal. This statute states that the only visible lights that drivers can see from the road are:
This issue with specialty lighting requires TNC drivers to use stickers or other means of notification so that awaiting passengers can spot their vehicle easily.
Kansas Rideshare Accident Attorneys
Despite its recent development as a new industry, ridesharing still has a lot of growth and changes to make over the coming years. How insurance policies change will depend on a number of factors like the safety of the rides, the company you drive for or ride with, and the earnings brought in by your preferred company. If you were in an accident involving a rideshare service, there’s a good possibility the insurance company will try to deny your claim at first.
The Law Office of Joseph T. Welsh has invaluable experience representing car accident victims to help them receive the relief they desperately need to get on the road to recovery. Joseph Welsh is an advocate of the people and treats his clients as such by putting their future well-being first. Let Joseph Welsh help you file your claim today and put his many years as a Kansas U.S. District Court attorney to work for you. He will help you get the case results you need to move on with your life and begin healing. Contact our office at (620) 510-5030 for a free case evaluation.