The emergence of corporations like Uber and Lyft raises pertinent questions about liability for a car accident involving a ridesharing vehicle.In several cities, Uber and Lyft are immensely popular alternatives to traditional taxi services. These companies employ the services of drivers who work as independent contractors and who use their personal vehicles to transport fares that are arranged through smartphone applications. A passenger requests for a pick-up, and the application matches any available nearby driver, who retrieves the passenger for an estimated fare and delivers him/her to the desired destination. Payments and billings are handled via the app, not in the vehicle.Along with the novelty of the rideshare concept comes novel many issues related to liability for a car accident involving an Lyft or Uber vehicle. Whose insurance will apply to injuries in this instance and other losses resulting from the accident? Can you proceed to file a lawsuit directly against Uber or Lyft after a crash involving one of their drivers? In this article, I will answer these questions and a few more.Uber and Lyft Drivers are Independent ContractorsIf you are involved in a car accident with an Uber or Lyft driver, suing the rideshare company directly is probably not the best option. This is because Uber and Lyft drivers are treated as independent contractors, which means they are not legally employed by Uber or Lyft, but work as independent third parties.In general, while employers can be fully liable for the actions of their employees, companies are not held responsible for the wrongful or negligent actions of their independent contractors. The substance of the argument here is that, while Uber and Lyft prtheir drivers with a smartphone application to help locate nearby passengers, the drivers use their own cars and set their own schedules, work conditions, etc.Because rideshare drivers work as independent contractors, rideshare companies like Lyft and Uber have quite limited legal liability when it comes to their drivers‡ actions, so you will have a tough time suing a Lyft or Uber after a car accident. But that does not mean these companies cannot be held financially responsible (through their insurance coverage) for injuries and other damages resulting from a crash involving one of their drivers.Related Post:How to Donate your Car to Charity in CaliforniaLyft, Uber and Car Insurance ConsiderationsRideshare companies require all of their drivers to use their own vehicle insurance coverage, and both companies will supplement that insurance and prfurther coverage for accidents when the driver was on a trip via the app, or is actively transporting a rideshare passenger. This is really important since most personal insurance carriers will refused or disclaim coverage if the accident occurred during the insured person was "driving for hire" using the covered vehicle.Read more:When Can I Sue Uber or Lyft After a Car Accident?