Your Guide to Uber and Lyft Accidents in California

If you’ve been injured in a car accident involving an Uber or a Lyft vehicle, the Oaks Law Firm is here to provide guidance.

The Common Types of Ride-Sharing Accidents

There are several types of common ride-sharing accidents. The first common type is when you are a passenger in an Uber or a Lyft vehicle, you are injured in an accident, and the driver of your vehicle is at fault.

The second common type of ride-sharing accident is when you are a passenger in a ride-sharing vehicle and are injured in an accident where the other driver is liable.

Finally, the third type of accident is when you are driving your own vehicle or walking as a pedestrian and you are struck by a driver who is driving on behalf of Uber or Lyft.

Liability for Ride-Sharing Accidents in California

Ride-sharing companies limit their liability for the actions of their drivers by designating their drivers as independent contractors. This means that the drivers are not employed by Uber or Lyft and that the companies cannot be held responsible for the drivers’ actions. However, this does not mean that those who have been injured in or by a ride-sharing vehicle cannot receive compensation for their injuries. California law requires Uber and Lyft to insure their drivers for up to $1 million.

Understanding How the Insurance Coverage in an Uber or Lyft Accident Works

If you have been involved in an accident with an Uber or Lyft driver OR you were a passenger in a Uber or Lyft vehicle, you will need to figure out who was liable. Was the driver liable or was the company liable, as well? The companies have fought hard to consider the drivers independent contractors, so the rideshare company doesn’t have to necessarily be held liable for the accident. There are ways to show the company’s liability however. Determining who is responsible for compensation can be confusing and knowing how to proceed with a claim or lawsuit may be even more confusing, if you were to handle it yourself.  

In California, the responsibility generally depends on whether the driver was on the rideshare app or not. Generally, the driver (and/or his personal insurance) is liable if he or she were involved in an accident while not on the Uber or Lyft app. In California, rideshare drivers must have personal insurance policies with liability and uninsured motorist coverage that amounts to at least $50,000 for each person and $100,000 for each accident.

If the car wreck or collision occurs when the Uber of Lyft driver is logged into the app, but has not accepted a ride, the company will assume only a certain amount of liability coverage. Right now, Uber and Lyft have policies of $50,000 for injuries, $25,000 for property, and $100,000 total coverage per accident.

If the driver has not accepted a ride but the app is on and he/she causes an accident, Uber or Lyft will only pay the amount that the driver’s personal insurance does not cover.

If the Uber of Lyft driver causes an accident while on their way to pick up someone or has a passenger in the car, Uber and Lyft will accept responsibility. They have both liability coverage and uninsured motorist coverage that each amount to one (1,000,000.00) million dollars and more. There are multiple insurance coverages that these companies have above the $1 Million dollar policy. Being able to tap into the additional coverages and/or recover above the million policy will depend on the severity of the injuries sustained. It would be wise to have a California injury attorney experienced in handling Uber and Lyft type cases, review the case for you. In California, If you were a passenger in Uber or Lyft and the driver of the Uber or Lyft was not the one at fault, then you would claim against the responsible party(s) and if that person’s insurance is not sufficient then you would turn to the Uber and/or Lyft insurance to cover you for whatever the responsible party or his/her carrier could not cover above their insurance policy limits. Confused yet? Don’t worry, it is complicated But a simply call to an experienced California rideshare attorney can resolve the confusion and assist you in maximizing the recovery and money settlement for your injuries.

Both Uber and Lyft, just like any other insurance company will likely to do all they can to avoid paying for your injuries and damages. They all aggressively fight claims, pushing liability onto the driver to avoid big payouts. They see their companies as a way to handle rides, removing them from paying out over the rides themselves. This is what we deal with daily and know how to navigate the maze that they try to create in paying out on these claims.

Your Legal Options as an Injured Pedestrian in an Uber or Lyft Accident

The question in California is whether the driver was logged in to the ride-sharing app at the time of the accident. If the driver was logged in, the injured party will file a claim against the company’s insurance. If not, the injured party will have to try to recover from the ride-share driver’s personal insurance.

If the damages from the accident exceed $1 million, there has been no court ruling saying that the companies can be held liable for the amount in excess. Generally, the legal presumption is that there would be no corporate liability for the acts of the driver because they do not represent the company even though the ride-sharing companies profit from the driver’s activities behind the wheel.

When you have been injured by a ride-sharing vehicle as a pedestrian, you can file a claim against the company’s insurance. Since the claim can be for up to $1 million, there may be some negotiation that is necessary. Therefore, it may be necessary to retain an Uber accident lawyer to help navigate the legal issues that arise from the claim.

An Uber lawyer can help you deal with the insurance and take the case to court if the insurance company will not settle or is offering an inadequate settlement. The other option is to file a claim against the driver’s personal insurance if they were not logged in or if the damages exceed $1 million.

When you need a Lyft accident lawyer, the attorneys at the Oaks Law Firm can work hard to help you get the compensation that you deserve. Call us today for help filing a claim against a ride-share driver.