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Unfair Insurance Requirements Put Uber, Lyft Accident Victims at Risk

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio has voiced his concern about state laws that allow rideshare drivers to carry auto liability insurance well below the needs of injured victims when traveling in the city.

As reported by Streetsblog, de Blasio said low minimum liability insurance requirements for Uber and Lyft taxis unfairly affect victims whose crashes occur within city limits, and pledged to review the matter for potential updates.

NYC Exempt from State Insurance Requirements

Under New York State law, Uber and Lyft taxis are required to carry $1.25 million in liability insurance to compensate victims for their losses when drivers have accepted trips or are transporting passengers. However, the state exempts New York City from that requirement.

Instead of carrying $1.25 million in coverage as required throughout the rest of the state, the city’s Taxi & Limousine Commission requires for-hire vehicles, including those being used for Uber or Lyft, to carry just $100,000 in liability insurance. Given the amount of vehicles and traffic levels in New York City, as well as the tremendous losses, medical bills, and pain and suffering victims endure in the wake of car accidents, such coverage is woefully inadequate - especially for victims who sustain serious injuries or families who lose loved ones in fatal crashes.

And despite sharp increases in the costs of medical care and the introduction of tens of thousands of app-based taxi drivers on city streets, the TLC’s $100,000 minimum insurance requirement has remained unchanged for over two decades.

Advocates, Lawmakers Say Lower Minimum Insurance Requirements for City is Unfair

In addition to de Blasio, other advocates and lawmakers have also expressed concern about the minimum insurance requirements, which they say fail to reflect the increased dangers of driving, walking, or riding a bicycle in the city.

Sen. John Liu, a member of the Senate Transportation Committee, said in a statement that he is considering legislation on the issue:

“Insurance requirements should properly reflect frequency and magnitude of risk and therefore it seems inconsistent that the minimum required in NYC is less than the rest of the state. Once again, Uber is putting passengers and the public at more risk – in the same way they have always pushed traditional employer costs onto the public – by claiming that their drivers are independent contractors. We are looking into the issue and contemplating legislation to provide adequate protection to riders and the public.”

As a law firm that fights for injured victims across all NYC boroughs, The Perecman Firm, P.L.L.C. knows auto accidents can have profound physical, financial, and emotional consequences. As we support efforts to eliminate the insurance gaps for Uber and Lyft accidents in the city, we will continue to help victims and families fight for the recoveries they deserve.

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