Los Angeles Uber & Lyft Accident Attorney
Hundreds of thousands of people use Uber and Lyft to get around Los Angeles. These ride-sharing programs are convenient and affordable, and many people prefer them to traditional taxi services. However, what happens if you are a passenger in an Uber or Lyft that becomes involved in an accident? What are your options if you are a pedestrian and an Uber or Lyft vehicle strikes you?
Uber and Lyft accidents are, unfortunately, quite common. That does not mean, though, that the aftermath is straightforward or easy to sort out. The above are just a few questions you may have after suffering a serious injury in a ride-sharing accident, and they are not always easy to answer. Below, our Los Angeles Uber/Lyft accident lawyer at Personal Injury Legal Group answers these questions so you know what to do after being hurt.
What to Do After an Uber or Lyft Accident
An Uber or Lyft accident will happen in seconds. One minute you are enjoying a ride to your destination, and the next, you are suffering from serious injuries. It is natural to feel frustrated, angry, and confused about what to do next. The most important steps to take after an Uber or Lyft accident are as follows:
- Stay safe: The Uber or Lyft driver should have the presence of mind to move their vehicle out of the way of traffic. If they do not, ask them to do so. Check yourself for injuries, and if it is safe and you feel well enough, check other people for injuries, too.
- Report the accident: Under California law, you must report any accident that resulted in injury, death, or property damage valued at $1,000 or more. Even if you do not think the crash falls into one of these categories, you should still call 911 to report the accident. Reporting the crash will send officers to the scene, and a police report will be filed. This can be used as evidence if you decide to pursue a personal injury claim in the future.
- Seek medical attention: While on the phone with 911, ask them to send an ambulance so all injured individuals can receive the immediate medical attention they need. You should do this even if you think you were not injured. If, for some reason, an ambulance is not sent to the scene, make sure you obtain medical attention immediately afterward. This will prevent your injuries from getting worse and will document their severity.
- Collect evidence: If possible, collect as much evidence as possible at the scene. Take pictures if you are able to, write down the name, contact information, and insurance information of any driver involved, and locate witnesses. Also ask witnesses for their names and contact information and inform them that your lawyer may contact them in the future.
- Speak to an attorney: As soon as possible, call a Los Angeles Uber/Lyft accident lawyer. A lawyer will advise you of your rights, help you file a personal injury claim, and act as your advocate throughout the entire process so you obtain the full and fair settlement you are entitled to.
If you were a pedestrian who was struck by an Uber or Lyft driver, you should follow the same steps above. Pedestrians will often suffer the most severe injuries, so even if you do not think the accident was serious, you should still make sure your rights are protected.
If you are an Uber or Lyft driver who was involved in an accident that was the fault of someone else, it is critical that you speak to an attorney. California Assembly Bill 5 has made it much more difficult for ride-sharing companies to shield themselves from liability by claiming their drivers are not employees but instead independent contractors. As such, the company may be liable for paying the damages you need to recover.
Why Hire a Personal Injury Legal Group to Resolve Your Uber or Lyft Claim?
- We are deeply committed to representing those who are injured in California against formidable corporations like Uber and Lyft.
- We fight for you to get the maximum compensation allowable, regardless of the severity and life-altering extent of your injuries.
- With 10 office locations conveniently located throughout California, you won’t have to drive for hours to receive skillful, quality legal advice.
- Your legal representation will cost $0 upfront fees and $0 total fees if we do not win your case.
How Can an Uber & Lyft Personal Injury Attorney Help in California?
As an injured victim, opposing corporations like Uber or Lyft is no small feat. These rideshare companies are known for being aggressive, particularly with liability and personal injury claims. It is often difficult to compel these companies to settle even though you may have incurred injuries as a blameless passenger.
By hiring an experienced, knowledgeable, and aggressive California Attorney from Personal Injury Legal Group you will greatly increase your chances of having your claim against Uber or Lyft treated fairly. Most large corporations will offer significant settlements once they realize a claimant secured legal representation, even before initiating formal negotiations. That is because an attorney has the power to litigate cases in court if these businesses fail to respond fairly to a claim. Most corporations hope to avoid litigation so they tend to make favorable settlement offers one legal representation has been secured.
Uber and Lyft Insurance Policy Limits
Uber and Lyft both have insurance policies in place that accident victims can tap into if they have been hurt. Like all insurance policies, though, accident victims can only claim up to the policy limits. The policy limits available through Uber and Lyft also change depending on whether the ride-sharing driver was online and what stage they were in. Both Uber and Lyft identify three different stages a driver may be in, and they are as follows:
- When the ride-sharing driver is offline: If the ride-sharing driver was completely offline and not logged into the app, any accident they are involved in would only be covered by their own insurance policy or that of the at-fault driver.
- Stage One: Ride-sharing drivers who are in Stage One are logged into the app but have not yet accepted a ride. In this instance, ride-sharing services offer $50,000 in bodily injury liability coverage per person or $100,000 in bodily injury liability coverage per accident.
- Stage Two: After a ride-sharing driver has accepted a trip, but they have not yet picked up the passenger, they are in Stage Two. Uber and Lyft both offer up to $1 million in liability coverage during this phase.
- Stage Three: When a ride-sharing driver has picked up a passenger and becomes involved in an accident, Uber and Lyft will both offer up to $1 million in liability coverage.
Available Compensation After an Uber or Lyft Accident
At Personal Injury Legal Group, our Uber and Lyft accident lawyers are dedicated to helping injured individuals obtain the full and fair compensation they need in order to make a full recovery. Compensation available in personal injury claims is legally known as damages, and there are many common types one can obtain.
Economic damages typically make up the bulk of compensation in personal injury cases. This type of compensation has a concrete value, which makes the total amount of these damages easier to calculate. Some of the most common types of economic damages are as follows:
- Medical expenses
- Lost income, including bonuses, benefits, vacation pay, and sick pay
- Loss of earning capacity, if you cannot return to the same line of work and are forced to accept a lower-paying job
- Property damage
Not all losses have a quantifiable value, and non-economic damages are also available to compensate for other types of losses. By their very nature, non-economic damages are harder to calculate, and it is always important to work with a personal injury attorney who can accurately value these losses. Some of the most common types of non-economic damages include:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotion trauma and distress
- Permanent disability, impairment, or disfigurement
- Loss of enjoyment of life
Common Injuries Resulting from Rideshare Accidents
Injuries resulting from a rideshare accident can be permanent and impair your quality of life forever. You may experience a debilitating condition such as paralysis, amputation, or a traumatic brain injury. It is common to also experience psychological trauma if you experienced a serious accident. Personal injury attorneys will help ensure you receive appropriate medical treatment, document your claim to withstand legal scrutiny, and fight for the compensation necessary to help you make a full recovery whenever possible.
Common rideshare accident injuries include:
- Spinal cord and back injuries
- Fractures to ribs or chest injuries
- Emotional trauma – post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Limb injuries to the legs and/or knees
- Internal bleeding/internal injuries
- Whiplash or other neck injuries
- Lacerations, serious scrapes, or deep cuts
- Significant bruising
- Fractured skull
- Soft-tissue damage
- Or, tragically, a wrongful death
Serious injuries can require costly, ongoing medical care, such as frequent, multiple medical appointments, rehabilitation treatment, and physical therapy. Even relatively minor injuries can result in significant medical expenses not to mention any discomfort, pain, or suffering. If you or someone you love experienced an accident while traveling in an Uber or Lyft vehicle, Personal Injury Legal Group can help you navigate important steps in successfully filing your personal injury claim.
At Personal Injury Legal Group, our Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorneys Also Focus on the Following Practice Areas:
- Car Accidents
- Bicycle Accidents
- Bus Accidents
- Catastrophic Injuries
- Commercial Vehicle Accidents
- Construction Accidents
- Pedestrian Accidents
- Train Accidents
- Slip & Falls
- Product Liability
- Motorcycle Accidents
- Wrongful Death
- Trucking Accidents
- Sports Injury
- Cruise Ship Accidents
Can a Rideshare Company Be Liable?
Uber and Lyft each carry a $1 million insurance policy against their drivers’ when accidents occur and passengers are present. As an injured passenger, this insurance is meant to cover your medical bills regardless of who caused a collision. In the event the insurance policy fails to cover you either as an Uber or Lyft driver or as a third party, you will need to take action to secure compensation for your losses.
By default, Uber and Lyft are not liable for the mishaps of their drivers. These drivers are classified as “independent contractors,” not as employees. This distinction makes it challenging to hold a rideshare company liable for driver negligence, recklessness, or any dangerous behaviors. But these rideshare companies may be accountable for accidents that are a result of the company’s negligence. For example, Uber or Lyft are responsible for hiring safe and responsible drivers. The process of determining fault and responsibility is complex and often requires the expertise of an experienced California Uber and Lyft personal injury attorney.
Why Do Uber & Lyft Cases Differ from Other Traffic Accidents?
As alternatives to traditional taxi and limousine transportation services, rideshare companies operate uniquely when it comes to addressing your legal rights during a car accident if you are an injured passenger.
Some ways that Uber and Lyft accidents are unlike other car accidents include:
- A third-party presence. In a rideshare accident, the rideshare company is considered a third party; therefore, you may need to file an insurance claim against Uber or Lyft instead of the at-fault vehicle driver.
- Rideshare negligence. A rideshare company may be considered liable for an accident if the company improperly hired, trained, or kept an unsafe driver or if the company violated any safety inspection rules.
- Self-driving vehicle. If a rideshare accident is the result of a self-driving Uber or Lyft vehicle that undergoes a software malfunction, the company may be held liable for the resulting accident and any related injuries.
Note that the vicarious liability doctrine, which states that employers are liable for mistakes made by their on-duty employees, does not apply to Uber and Lyft accidents. That is because rideshare companies uniquely classify their drivers as independent contractors, not employees.
This classification shields Uber and Lyft from vicarious liability resulting from their drivers’ accidents. While you may file a claim against Uber or Lyft, depending on the nature of your claim, such claims usually require more scrutiny than most other car accidents. And because liability can be difficult to determine, it is helpful to have an experienced Uber and Lyft personal injury attorney who can investigate and analyze your rideshare accident claim in the state of California.
The Three Periods of a Rideshare Driver
Determining the amount of insurance coverage available to you from a ridesharing company will depend on something called the “three periods of a rideshare driver.” You must understand these three periods and also determine which period you were in when your rideshare accident happened. California law provides three distinct categories for rideshare drivers:
Period one. When an Uber or Lyft driver logs into the app and actively searches for riders but has not picked up a passenger. During this period, ridesharing companies per California law must provide a minimum of $50,000 in bodily injury and death insurance coverage per person and $100,000 per accident. They must also carry $30,000 for property damage and $200,000 in driver liability insurance.
Period two. Once a rideshare driver accepts a ride and is en route to get a passenger, state law requires ridesharing businesses to provide a minimum of $1 million in primary commercial insurance coverage. This insurance is only available to an injured victim if he or she files a claim with the driver’s personal insurance.
Period three. Passengers during the third period, are actively being transported by an Uber or Lyft driver to their destination. The ridesharing company is required to provide $1 million in insurance coverage if an accident takes place during this final period. Uber and Lyft are also required to provide uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage for this final third period.
A California Kosnett Personal Injury Uber and Lyft accident attorney will investigate your accident to determine the correct stage when your accident took place and provide you with all legal options based on the available amount of insurance from both the driver and the ridesharing company. This determination will allow your lawyer to file an insurance claim to the correct parties to secure fair compensation.
California Insurance Requirements for Uber & Lyft Drivers
In the state of California, rideshare drivers are required to have personal auto insurance coverage for any vehicle used to collect and transport commercial passengers. Even so, such policies may not always cover accidents involving the transport of a passenger. In these instances, the driver’s insurance will deny the injury claim and require the ridesharing company to assume liability.
Rideshare companies offer their drivers supplemental liability coverage that will cover injuries and property damage in the event of an at-fault or uninsured motorist accident. The coverage amount under a company-sponsored policy will be based on when the accident occurred.
Supplemental coverage will not be offered if the driver has not logged into the app and is driving for personal use. Once a driver does log into the app, both Uber and Lyft will offer insurance coverage based on one of the three possible periods when the accident took place. That is why it is useful to have the expertise of a qualified California Uber and Lyft personal injury attorney if you are navigating a rideshare accident insurance claim.
The Statute of Limitations on Uber and Lyft Accident Claims
Like all personal injury claims, those involving an Uber or Lyft accident are governed by a time limit, known legally as the statute of limitations. In Los Angeles, as throughout the rest of California, the time limit is two years from the date of the accident. If you do not file your claim within this time, you will lose any legal recourse to claim any damages at all, regardless of how serious the accident and your resulting injuries are.
There are some exceptions to the statute of limitations, but they are quite limited. For example, not all injuries are immediately apparent after an accident. If you suffered whiplash during the crash, you may not realize it until one week later when your neck suddenly becomes stiff and painful. Under the discovery rule, you would have one year from the date you discovered or should have discovered the injury to file your claim. Instances such as this can extend the statute of limitations, but they are rare.
Likewise, there are also situations that can decrease the amount of time you have to file a claim. For example, if a government vehicle was involved in the accident and was partially at fault, you only have six months to file a claim against the government entity. This significantly reduces the amount of time you have to file a claim. It is always best to speak to a Los Angeles Uber/Lyft accident lawyer who can advise you on the amount of time you have to file.
Compensation for Uber & Lyft Accidents in California
You may be eligible for financial compensation following an Uber or Lyft accident per California law. As an injured victim you should seek maximum compensation for your injuries. If you were not at fault for causing a traffic-related accident, you should not have to pay out-of-pocket expenses related to that accident. It is possible that you are entitled to insurance benefits or a settlement award from an identified at-fault party.
Compensation for an Uber or Lyft accident in California may include:
- Past, present, and future medical care
- Disability-related expenses
- Damages to property
- Lost income/wages
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional suffering and distress
- Loss related to quality and joy of life
- Legal fees and related expenses
- When applicable, punitive damages
Insurance companies notoriously undervalue injury claims. Before accepting a settlement from an insurance company for a ridesharing accident, be sure to consult with a qualified California Uber and Lyft personal injury attorney. A claim evaluation conducted by your lawyer will maximize your chances of receiving a fair and favorable financial award. Note that the value of your claim will be based on factors that include your injury level and the expected length of your recovery.
Personal Injury Legal Group headquarters are located in Los Angeles with additional offices throughout California. Since 1999, we have been serving clients nationwide, with a concentration in Southern California counties including Los Angeles, Ventura, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Orange, San Diego, Kern, Riverside, San Bernardino, and Imperial. We also serve Northern California counties of San Francisco, Alameda, Marin, Sacramento, San Mateo, Solano, San Joaquin, Santa Clara, Contra Costa, Napa, Yolo, and Sonoma.
Contact Our Uber/Lyft Accident Lawyer in Los Angeles Today
If you have been hurt in a crash, our Los Angeles Uber/Lyft accident lawyer at Personal Injury Legal Group can help you recover the full and fair settlement you deserve. Call us now at 310-388-4306 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation and to learn more.
Frequently Asked Questions for Rideshare Accidents in Los Angeles
Who can be held liable for a rideshare accident?
Liability for a rideshare accident can depend on various factors such as who was at fault for the accident, the nature of the accident, and the specific circumstances of the accident. Potentially liable parties could include the rideshare driver, the rideshare company, another driver involved in the accident, or even a third party such as a manufacturer of a defective vehicle or a government agency responsible for maintaining the roadways.
Do you have to report the accident to Uber or Lyft?
If you were involved in an accident while riding in an Uber or Lyft, you should report the accident to the rideshare company as soon as possible. This will help ensure that your medical bills are covered and that you are not held liable for any damages. The rideshare company will also initiate an investigation and may provide you with instructions on what to do next.
What if I was the passenger in the rideshare accident?
If you were a passenger in a rideshare accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and damages. Depending on the circumstances of the accident, you may be able to file a claim with the rideshare company’s insurance policy, the insurance policy of the driver who caused the accident, or both. It is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible after the accident and to gather as much information and documentation as possible to support your claim.
What do I do if I was hit by a rideshare driver?
If you were hit by a rideshare driver, you should follow the same steps as you would in any other car accident. This includes calling the police, seeking medical attention if necessary, exchanging contact and insurance information with the driver, and collecting evidence such as photos of the scene and witness statements. You should also report the accident to the rideshare company as soon as possible and seek the advice of a personal injury lawyer who has experience with rideshare accidents.
What do drivers need in order to drive for a rideshare company?
In order to drive for a rideshare company such as Uber or Lyft, drivers typically need to meet certain requirements such as having a valid driver’s license, a clean driving record, and proof of insurance. They may also need to pass a background check and meet certain vehicle requirements such as having a four-door vehicle that is less than a certain age.
What makes a rideshare accident different than a regular car accident?
First, the rideshare company may have insurance policies in place that cover the driver and passengers in the event of an accident. These insurance policies may provide more coverage than a typical personal car insurance policy. Second, there may be multiple parties involved in the accident, such as the rideshare driver, other drivers on the road, and passengers in the rideshare vehicle. This can make it more complex to determine liability and pursue a claim for compensation. Finally, rideshare companies may have their own policies and procedures that need to be followed in the event of an accident, which can make the process more complicated.
Who is responsible for the maintenance on rideshare vehicles?
Generally, rideshare drivers are responsible for maintaining their own vehicles. However, rideshare companies such as Uber and Lyft may have specific vehicle requirements that drivers must meet in order to use their platform.
Will I be banned from the app if I make a claim?
Rideshare companies are not allowed to ban passengers from using their app solely because they made a claim or reported an accident. If you were involved in a rideshare accident and need to make a claim for compensation, you should not hesitate to do so for fear of being banned from the app.
What if my injuries were not that severe after a rideshare accident?
Even if your injuries were not severe after a rideshare accident, it is still important to seek medical attention and get evaluated by a doctor. Some injuries may not be immediately apparent, and delaying treatment can result in more serious complications down the line. If you were injured in a rideshare accident, you may be entitled to compensation for these damages, regardless of the severity of your injuries.
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