RE: Uber/Lyft Destroy NYC Taxi Cartel In Under 5 Years; Drivers Still Losing
This is correct...Uber and Lyfte consider themselves Transportation Network Companies that attempt to hold themselves harmless from any liability. As a facilitator they hold at least some vicarious liability since they are being enriched in the chain of the transaction.
Initially, TNC's offered no coverage whatsoever, then finally accepted that excess and Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist coverage was necessary. An excess policy is secondary to any primary coverage that the vehicle owner or operator may have in effect.
From what I have read, these companies informed independent contractor drivers that their policies covered "ride sharing," for which their operation does not meet the description. As the facilitator of the transaction, Uber and Lyft should be held responsible for verifying that drivers have the proper coverage in the same manner that they verify other information.
Independent contractor drivers should have a policy that includes business use or a commercial policy. The standard personal auto policy excludes livery service. I believe that when push comes to shove, Uber/Lyft will ultimately be responsible for a non-covered driver. The question is whether the non-covered driver will be afforded protection under that policy, which is dependant on whether the driver is named on the release.
As far as customers go, they should be covered under their own policy for Personal Injury Protection, Medical Payments and Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist.
On a personal level...I have found Uber to be a far better service provider than a traditional taxi company.