As rideshare services such as Uber and Lyft have become widely used transportation services in California, the state has adopted laws that protect rideshare passengers and others when Uber and Lyft drivers inevitably get into car accidents.
Rideshare companies must make up to $1 million in liability insurance coverage available in case of car accidents while passengers are being transported or the rideshare drivers are on their way to pick up passengers. California law also requires that lesser amounts of auto liability insurance cover Lyft and Uber drivers who are working but do not yet have passengers.
This means that if you have suffered injuries in an accident involving an Uber or Lyft driver, it is important to determine whether the driver was working at the time of the crash. This determines how much insurance coverage may be available to assist you with medical bills, lost income, pain, suffering, and other losses related to the crash.
The attorneys at Sam & Ash Injury Law in Newport Beach, CA, can help you pursue full compensation after an Uber, Lyft, or similar rideshare company car accident in Southern California. Our attorneys will take the time to investigate what has happened to you and to understand your needs. This personalized approach has enabled Sam & Ash Injury Law to recover more than $400 million for satisfied clients throughout California and Nevada. Let our personal injury law firm put our experience and resources to work for you. We believe you deserve What’s Right.
How Are Uber and Lyft Accidents Different From Other Car Accidents?
Getting into an accident with a car driven by an Uber or Lyft driver is not the same as most other car accidents. If the Uber or Lyft driver is working at the time, the company they are working for is automatically involved in the accident. This affects a potential accident claim in several ways:
- The rideshare company is a powerful third party. Depending on the circumstances, your claim may be against the at-fault driver’s insurance or insurance held by Uber, Lyft, or another rideshare company. A rideshare company will have more insurance, but also more ability to fight a significant claim. If the rideshare company can show their driver was not yet on the clock, they can shift legal responsibility to the driver.
- The rideshare company may be a negligent third party. A company that puts professional drivers on the road as part of its business bears legal responsibility for those drivers. If a rideshare company is negligent in its hiring and employment screening practices, the rideshare company may be held liable for an accident caused by a driver whose checkered driving record shows they have no business driving paying passengers.
- The rideshare company’s technology may be at fault. Typically, a rideshare driver uses their own vehicle. But Uber has plans to put self-driving cars on the road as soon as possible to ferry passengers and make deliveries. If an accident was caused by malfunctioning technology that Uber or its tech partner owns, the company should be held liable for any injuries that occurred.
The more people or companies involved in a car accident claim, the more complex it becomes and the easier it is to shift the blame. As your attorneys, Sam & Ash can stop rideshare companies from avoiding their legal responsibility to you after a serious accident.
Steps To Follow After an Uber or Lyft Car Accident
You need to protect yourself and your rights after any car accident, but especially one involving an Uber or Lyft. Following a car accident, if you can, you should:
- Check for injuries. Check yourself, then others. If someone has been hurt, phone 911 for emergency medical help. Get in the ambulance if emergency responders suggest you should go to the hospital.
- See a doctor soon. Some serious injuries such as head injuries may not cause significant symptoms right away. If you do not go directly to the hospital, see a doctor within 72 hours to ensure you receive needed medical care and that you properly document your injuries for an insurance claim.
- Document the accident. Take photos or video of the vehicles, the damage, the location, debris on the road, and anything that may have led to the accident.
- Contact your auto insurer. Even if you weren’t at fault, you need to contact your insurer to report a car accident if you were driving. Avoid speaking with the Uber or Lyft driver’s insurance company until you have consulted an attorney. Do not record a statement or sign anything for a rideshare company or their insurer.
- Contact a rideshare car accident lawyer. A rideshare car accident lawyer can handle all aspects of your claim to ensure that you receive the full settlement you deserve. In addition to gathering evidence of the rideshare driver’s liability, we can gather records to calculate and document the full extent of your costs and losses.
Who Pays if You’re in an Accident Caused by an Uber or Lyft Driver
California has adopted auto insurance requirements for Uber, Lyft, and other transportation network companies. The requirements establish three periods for a rideshare driver’s activities and insurance coverage that must be in place for each. Which activity period a driver was engaged in at the time of a crash will determine what insurance coverage applies and who is financially liable if the rideshare driver was at fault.
The three service periods and their insurance requirements are:
- The driver has the rideshare app open and is waiting for a passenger to be assigned.
Primary liability coverage of at least:
- $50,000 for death and personal injury per person
- $100,000 for death and personal injury per incident
- $30,000 for property damage
- Excess coverage of at least $200,000 per occurrence to cover any liability arising from a participating driver using a vehicle in connection with a rideshare company’s online-enabled application or platform
- The match was accepted but the passenger has not yet been picked up. (The driver is on the way to pick up a passenger).
- Primary commercial coverage of $1 million
- A passenger is in the vehicle.
- Primary commercial coverage of $1 million
- Uninsured motorist coverage and underinsured motorist coverage of $1 million
Either the driver or the rideshare company may maintain the required coverage. But the rideshare company is responsible for verifying the driver has insurance. In practice, it will be rare that an Uber or Lyft driver would buy insurance the company would otherwise be required to provide for them.
A driver is required to provide proof of both their personal auto insurance and commercial insurance in the case of an accident. However, rideshare companies are required to disclose to their drivers that the driver’s personal automobile insurance policies – including collision or comprehensive coverage – will not provide coverage because the driver was using a vehicle in connection with a rideshare app.
In other words, it is well-understood between rideshare companies and Uber/Lyft drivers that insurance coverage provided by the rideshare company is in place and will be available to the injured in the event of an accident.
Am I Eligible To Receive Compensation From Uber and Lyft?
You may be eligible to claim compensation from Uber or Lyft if you were injured in a crash that was not your fault and you were:
- A paying passenger in an Uber or Lyft driver’s vehicle
- A driver or passenger in another vehicle hit by an Uber or Lyft driver who was transporting a passenger, was on the way to pick up a passenger, or had the app open and was waiting for a match
- A pedestrian or cyclist hit by an Uber or Lyft driver who was transporting a passenger, was on the way to pick up a passenger, or had the app open and was waiting for a match
- An Uber or Lyft driver injured in an accident caused by another driver
If an Uber or Lyft driver had not yet engaged the app when they caused an accident, you may still pursue a claim against the driver’s personal auto liability insurance. In California, the minimum amount of coverage required is:
- $15,000 for injury/death to one person
- $30,000 for injury/death to more than one person
- $5,000 for damage to property
Most car accident claims are settled outside of court in negotiations. As your attorneys, we would work to mitigate the impact of any evidence of your liability and would rebut any false claims against you. Our objective is to recover the maximum available compensation for you, including by going to court if necessary.
Contact Our Orange County Rideshare Car Accident Attorneys
Have you been injured in a car accident that involved an Uber or Lyft driver? The Orange County rideshare car accident lawyers at Sam & Ash Injury Law are prepared to protect your legal rights and seek the full compensation available to you if you were injured in a crash caused by someone else. Lyft and Uber are well-insured for accidents because California lawmakers have decided they should be. We will help hold the rideshare company accountable if you have been harmed in a rideshare accident.
Contact us today for a free, no-risk consultation about your rideshare accident claim. You deserve What’s Right.