A recent car accident in the GTA has raised some interesting questions that are likely to come up more and more often as people’s work lives change and evolve and as technology continues to create new and unprecedented business models.
A Toronto man recently looked to make some extra money by driving for an online company called UberX. UberX is a somewhat controversial ride sharing service – controversial because it competes directly with licensed taxis. With UberX, you call the service and a driver (who has been vetted with a criminal records check) comes to pick you up in their ordinary car and off you go. The drivers are ordinary people who have time and want some extra money.
The man apparently drove for UberX for several months without incident, sharing the fares with the company. However, he recently had a motor vehicle accident when another car crashed into his. There were no injuries but his car was damaged.
According to the man, he notified the company right away and he claims they disconnected his UberX app. After a week had gone by, the company’s only response was to send an email asking for details.
He says he was left with no information, no number to call or other contact information. He eventually got hold of someone in their Chicago head office and was initially told he’d have to pay a $1,000 deductible. Later the company rescinded that demand.
Eventually, the man’s own insurance paid to fix his car since the other driver was found to be at fault. But where does that leave the company’s responsibility? And what if he had been at fault?
Licensed taxi drivers and other professional drivers (or the companies they work for) carry what is called commercial insurance. It’s more expensive than personal driver’s insurance, reflecting the increased risk faced by those who drive for a living.
- The Insurance Bureau of Canada has taken the step of warning people of the possible dangers of using their vehicle in a similar way without commercial insurance.
In fact, the City of Toronto is looking to block Uber’s operations here precisely because of inadequate insurance coverage. The company claims that “every ride is backed by $5 million of contingent auto liability insurance covering bodily injury and property damage” – but the city has won a recent injunction.
Uber also claims that the issue of insurance and making sure drivers have adequate personal coverage is spelled out in their terms of service. However, the Toronto man in this case claims he was given no information at all about their insurance coverage.
It Gets Complicated
Using your car even occasionally for work or business purposes can get complicated. If you are contemplating it, or if you find yourself in an unfortunate situation like this one, you need professional help.
That’s where we come in. If you’ve been in a car accident let our experienced motor vehicle accident lawyers help you sort through the issues at a difficult time and make sure your interests are protected by determining the real causes of the crash.
Call us (905) 949-9433 for a free consultation with an experienced motor vehicle accident lawyer. We look forward to hearing from you.