Earlier this year New Jersey Governor, Chris Christie, signed into a law a bill designed to regulate ride-sharing companies such as Uber and Lyft (Transportation Network Companies). The statute, known as the “Transportation Network Company Safety and Regulatory Act,” establishes statewide standards for these types of companies. Those interested can read the statute in full here.
The new law includes standards for insurance coverage and driver eligibility. The Transportation Network Companies (TNCs) will now be required to carry $1.5 million of liability coverage and $1.5 million uninsured/underinsured coverage when a passenger is in the vehicle.
This really is a good thing because passengers are protected with insurance coverage in the event of crash involving an UBER / LYFT vehicle. For the lawyers or insurance geeks out there reading this, the other big benefit concerns the limitation on lawsuit threshold. The statute clarified that the limitation on lawsuit option may not be asserted by a TNC or driver in any action for damages arising from a prearranged ride or asserted against any party not receiving personal injury protection benefits in any action for damages arising from a prearranged ride.
The more complicated issue is that of Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage. There are various potential sources of medical coverage available to those injured by TNC car crashes. Drivers and passengers of other automobiles involved in collisions with TNC vehicles can simply go the standard route of opening a PIP (or Worker’s Compensation) claim under their own automobile insurance policy (or under the host automobile insurance policy). Passengers injured while riding in a TNC should attempt to open a PIP and/or Med-Pay claim under their own personal automobile policy and that of the TNC’s policy. That passenger’s insurance company, however, may push back and deny coverage due to the status of TNC vehicle, not being a covered vehicle. These UBER passenger cases can become fact specific, so best to consult with an attorney. The law has been evolving in this area in an attempt to keep up with this relatively new method of transportation.
Michael Raff, Esq.