Both drivers and passengers taking a financial risk if illegal ride-hailing vehicle crashes: lawyer

Simon Little / CKNW

Other provinces may have ride-sharing, but B.C. still doesn’t — and that means drivers of illegal companies operating in the province could find themselves in deep financial trouble if a collision were to happen, according to a lawyer with Acumen Law.

Roy Ho says at the very least, drivers working for illegal ride-hailing companies should have a class 4 commercial license and insurance should be rated for business.

READ MORE: Strong reaction to illegal ride sharing in Richmond

If not, he says “they can be on the hook personally for any claim that comes out of this accident.”

And Ho says that number could easily run six figures, “depending on the nature of the injury and what’s being claimed.”

But he says right now, it’s a grey area.

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READ MORE: BC’s Passenger Transportation Branch continues crackdown on illegal ride-hailing companies

“It’s uncharted water. There’s not enough incidents of accidents via ride-sharing to create claims for ICBC or process.”

As for riders, ICBC says passengers are protected by the insurance covered on the vehicle, which always includes Basic Third Party Liability and Accident Benefits — but Ho says you could be left with nothing.

READ MORE: The unlicensed Richmond ride-hailing that allegedly won’t take non-Chinese fares

“The passenger may still be left holding the bag, because if the driver has no assets with nothing to recover from then great you can sue the driver, but you don’t get anything in the end because you can’t draw blood from a rock,” he said.

The province has outed some illegal companies already operating, including many in Richmond.

The government says those who don’t follow the current regulatory system will be fined.