Uber & Lyft Accidents in California
Whether you are visiting a new city, don’t own a car, or are too tipsy to drive, you can call a ridesharing service such as Uber or Lyft to help you get to your destination. These useful services are relatively new but have become an increasingly popular way to get around. While many trips on these ridesharing services are uneventful, accidents frequently happen. Our Orange County car accident lawyers discuss who can be held responsible for injuries sustained when involved in an accident while riding in an Uber or a Lyft.
Common Types Of Accidents
There are three types of accidents that an individual can be involved in if he or she is using a ridesharing service. The type of accident that occurs will affect who can be held liable for an injury that a passenger sustains:
- If your driver hits another vehicle or crashes: If your driver is responsible for the accident, whether it was with another vehicle or if the driver crashed into an object or building, and you are injured as a result, then you likely can seek compensation for your injuries from the driver or the driver’s employer.
- If another car hits the vehicle you are riding in: In these cases, you can likely seek compensation from the driver of the other car. This kind of case would proceed the same way as a regular motor vehicle accident case.
- If both your driver and another driver are responsible for the accident: If more than one driver is responsible for the accident, you likely can seek compensation from both parties whose actions caused your injuries. When more than one person is responsible for your injuries, the fault for the accident will be apportioned between the two parties under the doctrine of comparative negligence.
Insurance And Uber
As of 2014, in California, ridesharing companies are now required to provide insurance coverage for their drivers when the drivers are logged into the ridesharing platform. The level of coverage provided varies depending on whether or not the driver has a customer. More coverage is provided when a driver is taking a customer to a location than when a driver is still using the app but is between customers. When a driver has a customer, there are a million dollars of insurance coverage provided in the event of an accident – Cal. Pub. Util. Code § 5433(b)(1). If the accident is with an uninsured or underinsured motorist, a million dollars of uninsured or underinsured motorist insurance coverage applies – § 5433(b)(2). If a driver is logged into a ride-sharing platform but does not have a customer in his or her vehicle, then the insurance coverage provided by the ride-sharing service is lower. During this time period, the insurance that is required must be “in the amount of at least fifty thousand dollars ($50,000) for death and personal injury per person, one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000) for death and personal injury per incident, and thirty thousand dollars ($30,000) for property damage” § 5433(c)(1). In addition, the ride-sharing company must maintain additional insurance for drivers without customers in case of excess damages. This insurance must be in the amount of “$200,000 per occurrence to cover any liability arising from a participating driver” § 5433(c)(2).
Are Uber or Lyft drivers required to undergo any training?
No, there is no special training required to drive a rideshare vehicle. Both Uber and Lyft require that drivers be at least 21 years old and have a valid license and a certain amount of driving experience (between 1-3 years). Both companies conduct background and DMV checks to screen for any history of criminal or traffic violations.
If I was driving my car and was hit by an Uber or Lyft, can I sue the rideshare company?
Rideshare companies try to protect themselves from these types of lawsuits by designating drivers as independent contractors rather than employees. Typically, you would pursue a claim against the driver’s insurance company. However, if it is found that the company was negligent in hiring the driver – for example, by hiring a driver with a history of drunk driving or other reckless behavior – it may be possible to bring a suit against the company.
What can I do to help my case if I was injured in an accident involving a rideshare vehicle?
In any personal injury case, the most important things you can do are:
- Seek prompt medical attention, both to ensure your safety and begin building your case
- Contact an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible.
Most personal injury law firms accept cases on a contingency basis, which means you will not pay any fees until your attorney secures compensation for you. There is no cost to learn about your options and working with a lawyer can make a tremendous difference in the outcome of your case.
Contact A California Personal Injury Attorney Today
If you or a loved one has been injured while using a ride-sharing service, call the knowledgeable and experienced Orange County car accident attorneys at Woods Williford, P.C.