WAMU 88.5 : News

Filed Under:

If You're Injured While Using These Car Services, Who Pays Your Medical Bills?

Play associated audio
How should insurance work for services like Uber and Lyft?
Spiros Vathis: http://www.flickr.com/photos/62473243@N00/9320594263
How should insurance work for services like Uber and Lyft?

Smartphone apps that let you order a ride from someone using their own private vehicle—commonly called ridesharing—are popular in D.C. these days, but there is a question of whether you'd be covered in the event of a crash.

That question was the focus of a public hearing today.

Here's a scenario D.C. regulators want to be prepared for: You order a ride from UberX, Lyft, or Sidecar. The driver picks you up, runs a red light, and crashes, putting you in the hospital. Who is going to pay your medical bills? The driver's insurance would cover it, right? I posed this question to D.C. Taxicab Commission chairman Ron Linton.

"We cannot say that today," Linton said.

Linton presided over a three-hour hearing on proposed regulations that would require someone—either the driver or the tech company, it's not clear which one—to have adequate liability insurance. UberX, Lyft, and Sidecar drivers use their private vehicles as taxis, so their personal car insurance would not apply.

Insurance-industry lobbyist Kevin Wrege testified that regulators had better figure out how to close potential liability insurance gaps. "These issues are a source of confusion for drivers and passengers, who either erroneously believe that the personal automobile policy will provide coverage, or realize it does not and are simply hoping for the best," Wrege said.

Sidecar attorney Beth Stevens told the commission the proposed regulations are onerous because Sidecar has already beefed up its insurance policies: "We have a $1 million excess liability coverage, which is more than most livery and taxi services are required to have."

Both UberX and Lyft have said their insurance policies also cover everyone now—driver, passengers, pedestrians, but both regulators, and especially the tech companies' heavily regulated competitors, are not convinced.

NPR

'Top Gear' Team Signs Deal With Amazon; New Car Show Set For 2016

The trio left the BBC under a cloud, after Jeremy Clarkson's contract was not renewed because of a physical and verbal attack on a show producer.
NPR

Do Fish Names Encourage Fishy Business?

Legally, a single fish species can go by many names from sea to plate, and different fish can go by the same name. An environmental group says that hampers efforts to combat illegal fishing and fraud.
WAMU 88.5

A Congressional Attempt To Speed The Development Of Lifesaving Treatments

Earlier this month, the House of Representatives passed the 21st Century Cures Act in a rare bi-partisan effort. The bill is meant to speed the development of lifesaving treatments, but critics warn it may also allow ineffective or even harmful drugs onto the market.

NPR

Obama Orders Development Of Supercomputer To Rival China's 'Milky Way'

It is hoped that the new supercomputer, expected to go online by 2025, would be the first to "exascale" machine — some 20 times faster than today's fastest machine.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.