When we hail a cab, board a bus or get stuck behind an 18-wheeler in traffic, we are likely not giving much -- or any -- thought to the fact that these are all commercial vehicles. Commercial vehicles include buses, trucks, taxis, limos, delivery vans, shuttles and other types of motor vehicles that transport people or goods.
While this may mean little or nothing to people on a typical day, it can come to be quite an important fact in the event that you are involved in an accident with a commercial vehicle. For example, if you are in an accident with a cab, you may find that the steps following the crash vary from those you would likely take if it were just another passenger vehicle.
In a crash with another passenger vehicle, you should know that you will exchange insurance information, file a claim and the insurance companies will assess the situation and decide on a payout. If the other driver doesn't have insurance, you can still be covered if you have your own uninsured motorist insurance.
However, when it comes to taxis and ride-share companies, including Lyft and Uber, the process and rules change a bit. You are not just dealing with an individual driver; you can also be dealing with the company for whom the driver works. And that driver may or may not have the specific commercial insurance policy that is generally needed to cover damages suffered when a vehicle is being used for commercial purposes.
It is also important to note that commercial drivers are required to carry certain licenses and must comply with rules and regulations that other drivers may not. Classifications, insurance limits and legal protections for taxis also vary from state to state.
Whether you are driving a vehicle that crashes with a taxi or are riding in the backseat of a ride-share vehicle, you should understand that it may be in your best interests to discuss your options with an attorney. Failure to do so could lead to missing out on critical compensation for which you are eligible.