SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — San Francisco-based ridesharing companies Uber and Lyft announced a new insurance policy on Friday to address concerns over liability for accidents involving its drivers who are working but have not yet picked up passengers.
The change comes after an UberX driver struck and killed 6-year-old Sofia Liu and injured her family members on San Francisco’s Polk Street on New Year’s Eve.
While Uber connects riders to professional drivers with town cars or SUVs, the lower-cost UberX service uses citizen drivers offering rides in their regular vehicles.
Uber had initially asserted that the driver, 57-year-old Syed Muzzafar, was an independent contractor who was not responding to a fare and did not have a passenger in his car at the time of the collision.
Attorney Christopher Dolan filed a lawsuit in January against Uber on behalf of Sofia’s family alleging that the company should be held responsible for the accident.
Uber officials wrote on their website Friday, “Since the tragic accident in San Francisco on New Year’s Eve, there has been much written about an ‘insurance gap.'”
“In order to fully address any ambiguity or uncertainty around insurance coverage for ride-sharing services, Uber is becoming the first and only company to have a policy in place that expands the insurance of ride-sharing drivers to cover (…) accidents that occur while drivers are not providing transportation service for hire but are logged onto the Uber network and available to accept a ride.”