Rideshare Accidents in California
Rideshare options like Lyft and Uber have taken off in popularity because of how easy they are to use and the upfront pricing in booking a ride. But what happens if you’re riding as a passenger and wind up in an accident? Whether the accident was caused by your rideshare driver or by someone else, it’s key to get the support you need to move on with your life.
The support of a personal injury lawyer can be extremely helpful for knowing your legal rights and some of the most common pitfalls that apply to rideshare accident cases. You deserve to have someone help you with the complicated legal aspects of your claim so that you can focus on getting better and going to your medical appointments.
Rideshare accidents can be caused by the same kinds of issues that prompt any other vehicle accident, such as drunk driving, distracted driving, reckless driving, and drowsy driving. No matter the cause, if someone else’s negligence caused you to suffer critical injuries in an accident, your life can be forever changed as a result of scars, disabilities, reduced work and daily life capacity, and more. That’s why California laws allow injury victims to initiate claims for compensation.
How is a Rideshare Trip Different From Taking a Taxi?
In a lot of ways, using rideshare feels very familiar- it’s a lot like the experience of riding in a taxi. However, rideshare rides are very different when it comes to the process of that driver and their vehicle. First of all, a taxi is usually owned by the main company and is leased to the individual driver. Counties and cities are more likely to have laws on the books regarding regulations of taxi drivers, and these car operators must usually have a certain kind of driver’s license.
That’s not necessarily the case to become a rideshare driver in California. Individual drivers sign up with the companies of their choice and that driver uses their personal car to transport passengers. This can create confusion for passengers or other vehicle occupants when it comes to who is responsible for an accident. While you can pay for a taxi in the vehicle with cash or over a credit card swipe machine, payments for ridesharing happen in an app.
Drivers working with Uber and Lyft are currently classified as independent contractors. That means they have to comply with certain rules established by those companies, but that they are not actually employees of Uber or Lyft. Why is this important? If you were hurt in an accident with an employee of a company who was doing work duties at the time of the crash, a workers’ compensation insurance policy might apply to certain aspects of the injury case. Whether or not the company is required to cover the driver in an accident depends on a few complex factors in rideshare cases.
Independent contractors are usually responsible for their own general liability insurance policy, but California also requires that rideshare companies provide other coverage for driver insurance. Any time a driver turns on the app, for example, that’s when those other rideshare requirements get activated.
When the driver is off duty, their personal auto insurance would cover injuries that they cause. This means that the individual driver has to comply with California minimums on car insurance coverage.
If the driver is active but doesn’t currently have a passenger, that additional insurance required of Uber and Lyft is active. Drivers still must carry their own personal insurance, but the additional Uber and Lyft coverage are available if an accident happens during this period and the driver’s insurance does not cover the cost of the claim. In these cases, the additional insurance includes $50,000 and $100,000 coverages and $25,000 in property damages.
When the driver is actively transporting an Uber or Lyft customer in California, these companies carry $1 million liability policies on that driver.
What to Do After an Accident
It’s not always easy to remain calm and collected in the wake of an accident, especially when someone you don’t really know is at the wheel of the vehicle you’re in. General steps for what to do after an accident apply if you find yourself in this situation:
- Get the police to the scene so that you can file an accident report
- Get medical attention for your injuries and keep notes of all your doctor’s appointments
- Get the contact information for all people involved in the accident, including any drivers who were working with a rideshare company at the time of the crash.
- Contact a personal injury lawyer.
You should never have to navigate the complex legal situation of fighting for your rights after a rideshare accident without the help of a personal injury attorney in CA. Our law office has been helping victims in these complex cases for years; given the relatively new nature of these claims, it’s imperative to have the support of an experienced team at your side.
Most Common Kinds of California Rideshare Crashes
There are a few different ways you might find yourself in the middle of an accident involving a rideshare vehicle. There are four categories of accident types that might involve at least one rideshare driver:
- You were injured while riding as a passenger in a vehicle operated by a rideshare driver.
- The driver of a rideshare vehicle was injured while driving, dropping off, or picking up passengers.
- A driver of a separate vehicle was hurt in an accident involving at least one rideshare vehicle.
- Passengers inside a private vehicle were hurt in an accident involving a rideshare vehicle en route.
Furthermore, the very act of working as a rideshare driver can pose risks to other drivers and passengers. That’s because these drivers use an app to pick up and claim rides. If they are looking at this app when they should be focused on the road, it’s all too easy for an accident to happen.
We Can Help
Whether you were a passenger or a driver in an Uber or Lyft accident, you may be entitled to get your medical bills paid, your vehicle repaired or replaced and compensation for your pain and suffering.
To schedule a free consultation with one of our award-winning attorneys immediately, call us today. Our line is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We are always ready to help you.
Fill out our free case evaluation form or call us (888) 778-8888 for a free consultation.
We Fight. You Win. They Pay.