Ride-hailing will soon be legal in BC and drivers of Uber, Lyft and other ride-hailing companies will face the same injury compensation challenges as taxi drivers if injured on the job in a working driver – working driver incident. So what legal recourse do they have?
When a person is injured through the fault of another in BC, the injured party usually has the right to make a claim for compensation against the at-fault party through an injury claim with ICBC in the BC Courts. If a taxi driver or an Uber or Lyft driver is in an accident with a regular commuter who is not “working” at the time of the accident, they can elect to obtain compensation for their injuries through a Personal Injury claim which includes a claim for damages such as pain and suffering.
However, there is a legislative gap when there is an accident between two drivers who are both working at the time of a collision, such as a taxi driver and a Postal Delivery driver, or an Uber driver and a Real Estate Agent.
Section 10 of the Workers Compensation Act prohibits a worker who is injured in the course of employment from suing an at-fault party who was also in the course of employment at the time of the injury. This means that if two people who are driving for the purpose of work have a collision, they will not be entitled to pursue a Personal Injury claim with the Court. ICBC will deny their claims on the basis that they were a “worker in the course of employment” at the time of the accident, and in all likelihood, the taxi or Uber/Lyft driver will be precluded from a claim under WorkSafeBC because they will be considered “independent operators.”
This leaves those who drive for taxis and ride-hailing companies vulnerable to a lack of coverage if they are injured on the job. If drivers find themselves in this situation, they will need to engage a lawyer to help fight their coverage denial from ICBC.
There are also steps you can take to ensure you have the necessary insurance coverage to cover your recovery expenses in the event of as injury, as follows:
License and Insurance Requirements
If you wish to work as a ride-hailing driver, secure the correct license. Drivers need to obtain a Class 4 commercial driver’s license issued in British Columbia. Requirements to obtain a Class 4 license can be found here. Drivers must also be required to pass a criminal record check, and use a vehicle that has passed a vehicle inspection. If you are driving for a ride-hailing company and do not have the correct license, you may be found in breach of your insurance, and thus would not be covered if involved in an at-fault accident.
Although ICBC has created a new category of insurance for ride-hailing companies, it is important that you understand its limits. The mandatory basic insurance will cover all drivers for up to $1 million in third party liability and $300,000 in accident benefits. However, this amount may not cover all damages in at-fault accidents, so ride-hailing companies need to consider purchasing additional insurance with ICBC or private insurance brokers.
Additional optional coverage, such as Collision and Comprehensive, is also available to extend protection while providing ride-hailing services. Drivers should check with their ride-hailing company whether they have any optional coverage. Once a driver has accepted a trip via an app or otherwise and when they are en route to pick up a passenger or transporting a passenger, the ride-hailing company’s insurance will cover any at-fault accidents. Drivers will also need to obtain their own auto insurance that will cover them while they are not working, or when they are available to drive but have no confirmed ride.
If you have an accident by no fault of your own or have had your claim denied by ICBC, contact us immediately. We can help you obtain the compensation you deserve.