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Bad economy not only factor in underinsured driver risk

In tough economic times, people are quick to look for ways to save some money and reduce their overall expenses. Some fear this raises the risk of more uninsured drivers. When gas prices skyrocket, finding ways to reduce those particular costs moves up the list of priorities for many. One such option employed by individuals and communities involves ride-sharing. Such services can help passengers reduce their own transportation costs, which is why they becoming so popular and may become common in Montana cities.

Nationwide, ride-sharing programs are growing and some states are looking at new regulation aimed at these programs. The reason for this includes the fact that not all drivers in such ride-sharing programs may have adequate insurance to cover all of the passengers and other liabilities. This means if these drivers are involved in an accident while ride sharing, their passengers may not be sufficiently covered by the driver's insurance.

California fined three ride sharing services $20,000 each in 2012 for not having sufficient insurance coverage. Ohio's Lieutenant Governor issued an alert for consumers regarding such services. She made it clear that just because the driver may have insurance, it does not mean the insurance is sufficient for the circumstance, particularly if there is an accident.

If a Montana passenger is injured in an accident, the offender’s insurance should cover the costs associated with the suffered injuries. However that is not always the case and if the insurance coverage is inadequate, the victim may have a valid compensatory claim. There are legal remedies available to help victims receive compensation for their medical costs and other related expenses.

Source: Consumer Affairs, “Lyft hires its first lobbyists to clear the way for its ride-sharing service,” James R. Hood, April 17, 2014

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