Does your employer encourage you to participate in a ridesharing arrangement? Participating in such an arrangement impacts your legal rights. The U.S. Department of Transportation encourages employees to voluntarily participate in vanpools. The Department may provide vouchers which help defray the renting or leasing of a van.

Does your employer encourage you to participate in a ridesharing arrangement? Participating in such an arrangement impacts your legal rights. The U.S. Department of Transportation encourages employees to voluntarily participate in vanpools. The Department may provide vouchers which help defray the renting or leasing of a van. 

Employees who participate in these arrangements select a van or van company of their choosing and submit an application to the employer for approval.  Van companies must also obtain approval from the employer. Once approved, the employer can order vouchers from the Department of Transportation and distribute the vouchers to the employees to use as payment for renting or leasing the van.

Participating employees deal directly with the van company. The van company typically maintains an automobile liability insurance policy. These policies would provide coverage to the van drivers. Employers typically avoid owning or leasing vehicles used in a ridesharing arrangement to avoid any workers’ compensation exposure.

As a passenger, what would happen if you are injured while going to work in the leased van?  Can you bring a claim under the automobile liability policy for the injury?  If you are involved in a ridesharing agreement, it is important to determine what coverage is available to you if an accident occurs.

Remember generally injuries sustained while an employee is commuting to or from his/her workplace are not compensable under workers’ compensation. Specifically, the Workers’ Compensation Act does not apply to a passenger injured while participating in a ridesharing arrangement when the vehicle is not owned or leased by the employer.

Before you enter into any rideshare agreement know your rights. Assure that you are adequately protected if an accident occurs. Always know your rights.  If you have any questions regarding your rights, contact Stark & Stark.