Who’s Liable In A Rideshare Accident?
Have you been in an accident involving an Uber or Lyft driver? Is Uber responsible for my accident? Is Lyft responsible for their drivers? Our experienced rideshare accident lawyers will answer these questions below.
The simplest answer to this question is that anyone whose negligence contributed to the accident can be held financially liable for your injuries.
If the Uber or Lyft driver’s negligence contributed to the injuries, the amount of liability insurance which you can draw from in a personal injury claim will depend on the status of the driver at the time of the accident. The amount of insurance coverage the driver will have available regarding the accident will depend on if:
- The Uber or Lyft driver had an Uber or Lyft passenger, or was picking one up
- The Uber or Lyft driver was logged into the Uber or Lyft app and awaiting a passenger
- The Uber or Lyft driver was driving on their own personal time while not logged into the Uber or Lyft app
The status of the Uber or Lyft driver can affect the amount of money you can recover for your injuries in a personal injury lawsuit. Auto accidents can result in many financial losses, including:
- Past and future medical bills
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- The cost to replace or repair your vehicle
The process of obtaining these damages is complex and difficult, and insurance companies won’t respect you enough to offer you a fair settlement if you don’t have a lawyer. Consider hiring experienced Uber and Lyft accident injury lawyers at Nadrich & Cohen to help you obtain these damages.
Liability in Uber or Lyft accidents might depend on if the Uber or Lyft driver was driving on their own time, or was considered an independent contractor or an employee when the accident occurred.
Auto accident damages can, unfortunately, exceed personal drivers’ coverage limits. When this occurs and the driver lacks financial assets, injury victims may, unfortunately, not be able to recover all of their damages from the driver.
Who Is Liable For Ridesharing Accidents In California?
Anyone whose negligence is at least partially responsible for an accident is financially liable for injuries sustained in the accident in California. This applies to Uber and Lyft accidents.
Negligence is the failure to be reasonably careful in order to prevent harm from occurring. One can be negligent by acting or failing to act:
- Doing what a reasonably careful person would not do in the same situation is negligence.
- Not doing what a reasonably careful person would do in the same situation is negligence.
The requirement that drivers be reasonably careful is known as a “duty of care.” Drivers are duty-bound to drive safely, obey speed limits, maintain control over their vehicles’ movements, and watch out for vehicles, obstacles and pedestrians.
Proving Negligence In Rideshare Accident
Plaintiffs in personal injury cases must prove the following to prove negligence:
- The at-fault party owed them a duty of care
- This duty was breached by the at-fault party
- This breach directly caused the accident
- The accident led to damages like medical bills or pain and suffering
Many auto accidents in California involve negligence per se. Negligence per se is essentially negligence by virtue of breaking the law. This concept means that if you cause an accident by breaking the law, you are negligent.
Examples Uber / Lyft Driver Negligence
Examples of negligence per se which can lead to auto accidents include:
- Driving too fast
- Distracted driving, like texting while driving
- Running stop signs
- Failing to obey traffic signals and signs
- Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol
Multiple parties can be held liable for auto accidents in California because California is a pure comparative negligence state. This means that if you are found 30% at fault for an accident, your damages will be reduced by 30%.
Plaintiffs in personal injury claims must be able to prove that a party was negligent in order to obtain personal injury damages from them. This applies to Uber or Lyft passengers as well as those driving vehicles that Lyft or Uber vehicles collide with.
Why Hire A Rideshare Accident Lawyer?
The process of proving negligence is very complex and difficult, so it’s vital that you hire experienced Uber and Lyft attorneys like Nadrich & Cohen if you’ve been in a Lyft or Uber accident. Nadrich & Cohen has the experience and resources to help you:
- Investigate your Uber or Lyft accident
- Navigate the legal process
- Negotiate with insurance companies
- Gather and secure evidence to prove another party’s negligence
Our rideshare accident lawyers have been representing auto accident victims in California for over 30 years and have developed relationships with the best accident reconstruction experts in the state in that time. Our team of Uber & Lyft accident lawyers and experts is well-equipped to prove negligence in your Uber or Lyft accident case.
Even if you think you can prove negligence on your own, insurance companies still won’t offer you a fair settlement if you don’t have a lawyer. They’ll dare you to take them to court, knowing they’ll win in court if you don’t have a lawyer. Their adjusters are also trained to manipulate you into unwittingly admitting fault for an accident, allowing them to pay you less or nothing at all. This is why it’s critical that you hire experienced lawyers like Nadrich & Cohen to handle your Uber or Lyft accident case. Our Uber & Lyft accident attorneys can deal with the insurance companies for you, and the mere fact that our name will be on your personal injury claim will force the insurance companies to respect you and offer you a fair settlement.
What If I Was Injured While In A Lyft Or Uber Vehicle?
Uber and Lyft are known as transportation network companies in California. Passengers of transportation network companies are typically covered by the company’s commercial liability insurance when they are injured.
Uber and Lyft drivers must, by law, have their own auto insurance in California, and injured passengers might have claims against their Lyft or Uber drivers. However, damages can exceed the driver’s insurance coverage, and when this occurs, injured passengers may also be able to recover from Uber or Lyft’s commercial policy.
If the accident was caused by another driver rather than the Uber or Lyft driver, the injured Uber or Lyft passenger can file a personal injury claim against the driver whose negligence caused the accident. The Uber or Lyft commercial uninsured/underinsured motorist policy will generally cover damages when the at fault driver is uninsured.
If the accident was caused by the Uber or Lyft driver, you can file a personal injury claim against the Uber or Lyft driver.
What If I’m Not Wearing A Seatbelt?
Failing to wear your seatbelt can reduce your damages or limit your ability to obtain a recovery in an Uber or Lyft personal injury claim. Uber or Lyft drivers can claim you were negligent by not wearing your seatbelt, and that your injuries either wouldn’t have happened or would have been less severe had you been wearing your seatbelt.
What About Bicycle And Pedestrian Accidents Caused By Uber Or Lyft Drivers?
Cyclists and pedestrians struck by Uber or Lyft drivers can file personal injury lawsuits against the drivers if the drivers’ negligence led to the accident and their injuries. These accidents can often involve more serious injuries than the average Uber or Lyft accident and can frequently be fatal.
Bicycle accidents can involve drivers pulling in front of cyclists, failing to yield to pedestrians, or “dooring” cyclists, which is opening a vehicle door into the cyclist’s path.
How Much Insurance Do Uber And Lyft Drivers Have?
All California drivers, including Uber and Lyft drivers, must carry a minimum amount of liability insurance. The minimum amount depends on if the vehicle is being used for business or personal use. Business use limits can exceed personal use limits.
The minimum liability insurance for private passenger vehicles in California includes:
- $15,000 per person, per accident for injury or death
- $30,000 divided between all injured or killed people in an accident
- $5,000 in property/vehicle damage
Those injured in accidents involving Uber or Lyft drivers may also be able to recover from Uber or Lyft’s insurance, depending on the status of the driver at the accident:
- If the driver is not logged into the app and is driving on their own personal time, only the driver’s personal insurance can be recovered from.
- If the driver is waiting for a passenger while logged into the app, the Uber or Lyft minimum insurance available will be $50,000 per person, per accident for injury or death, $100,000 divided between all injured or killed people in an accident, and $30,000 in property/vehicle damage.
- If the driver has an Uber or Lyft passenger or is picking up an Uber or Lyft passenger, the Uber or Lyft minimum insurance available will be $1 million in commercial liability and $1 million uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance.
Insurance companies, however, will always place their own profits over your needs after an injury. This means they will do whatever they can to minimize the amount they pay you for your injuries. They won’t respect you enough to offer you a fair settlement if you don’t have a lawyer and they’ll try to trick you in to admitting fault for an accident so they don’t have to pay you anything. Hiring experienced Lyft and Uber accident lawyers like Nadrich & Cohen will preserve your legal rights, force the insurance companies to respect you and make sure you have someone to talk to insurance companies for you. Our experienced legal team can assist you with insurance laws regarding your Uber accident call us today to learn more.
Can Lyft Or Uber Be Held Liable For Ridesharing Accident Injuries?
The Uber or Lyft driver is generally liable for damages when they caused the accident. However, Lyft or Uber can be held liable under certain circumstances.
Uber or Lyft may be held liable for an accident if they negligently trained, screened or supervised drivers, or if they negligently designed their app.
Possible causes for action in California auto accidents involving Uber or Lyft drivers include negligent supervision, negligent training and negligent hiring.
An example of case involving negligent hiring could be an Uber driver, with a history of DUI arrests prior to being hired, injuring someone while driving drunk for Uber.
If Uber or Lyft are found to be aware that their app leads to drivers illegally using their phones while driving, or if their app increases the risk of drivers using their phones while driving, Uber or Lyft may be held liable for negligently distracting the drivers with their app.
Uber and Lyft can be held liable when the driver is considered an employee because of California’s Respondeat Superior laws. These laws essentially mean that employers are responsible for their employees’ negligence when the negligence occurs while the employees are acting under the course and scope of employment.
Lyft and Uber drivers, though, are usually considered independent contractors, not employees. The circumstances after an accident may change whether a Lyft or Uber driver is considered an employee or an independent contractor. Talk to Nadrich & Cohen about your Uber or Lyft accident claim and whether Lyft or Uber might be liable for their driver’s negligence.
Are Lyft And Uber Drivers Independent Contractors Or Employees?
Uber and Lyft drivers are almost always considered independent contractors, although this may change in California in the future.
Proposition 22, which passed with 59% of the vote in a California election on November 3, 2020, gave ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft an exception from California Assembly Bill 5. Uber and Lyft drivers, under the language of AB 5, would need to be considered employees instead of independent contractors, but Proposition 22 allowed Uber and Lyft to continue to treat drivers as independent contractors instead.
A California judge ruled on August 20 that Proposition 22 is unenforceable because a section of it which requires a 7/8 legislative majority for amendments to pass defies the state constitution. However, this decision has been appealed and the judge’s ruling has been stayed, pending the results of the appeal, so Proposition 22 remains in effect until completion of the appeals process.
What Damages Can I Recover After Being Injured In An Uber Or Lyft Accident?
You can recover many types of damages after being injured in a Lyft or Uber accident, including:
Medical bills: Sometimes auto accidents only lead to minor injuries like bruises and cuts. Unfortunately, they can also lead to permanent disabilities like paralysis. Common auto accident injuries include concussions, lacerations, brain injuries and broken bones.
It’s common to not notice that you’re injured until days or weeks after an accident, so it’s important to seek medical attention as soon as possible after being in an Uber or Lyft accident, even if you don’t think you’re hurt. Failure to do this can limit your ability to obtain a recovery for you injuries, since insurance companies can claim something other than the accident caused your injuries if you wait too long.
You can face medical bills for many things after an accident, including:
- Ambulance costs
- Physical therapy
- Cognitive therapy for brain injuries
- Medical accessories like crutches
- Consultations with healthcare providers
- Permanent disabilities
- In-home services, including non-medical services necessitated by your injuries
Our rideshare accident attorneys can help you calculate the costs of any future treatments or therapy you may need after your claim is settled, and healthcare providers can help with estimating these costs.
Pain and suffering: You can obtain damages for the physical or mental distress experienced as a result of your Uber or Lyft accident. The amount of damages you can recover depends on the type of injury, the severity of the injury, the amount of pain suffered and the amount of pain you’re likely to suffer in the future. You can also recover damages for emotional distress such as anxiety or stress as a result of the injury.
Lost wages: You may be unable to work after being injured in an Uber or Lyft accident. You may also miss work because of time you spend in the hospital, physical therapy sessions, doctor visits, etc. You can recover damages for any wages you were unable to earn as a result of your injuries.
Loss of earning capacity: You may be unable to work in the future, even after your claim is settled, because of your Lyft or Uber accident injuries. You can recover damages when your injuries diminish or impair your ability to earn future money. The damages you can recover for this depend on your past earnings, your occupation, your age, your life expectancy and your experience.
Loss of companionship or affection: Your uninjured spouse can recover damages for loss of consortium after a Lyft or Uber accident. Loss of consortium is the loss of ability to show affection, including sexual activity, caused by your injuries. These damages are claimed by the uninjured spouse.
Wrongful death: If you’re a family member of someone who has died in an Uber or Lyft accident that wasn’t their fault, you can recover wrongful death damages from the party responsible for the accident. Wrongful death damages can include burial and funeral costs, as well as loss of the income of the deceased.
Experienced personal injury lawyers like Nadrich & Cohen can help you with the long, painstaking process of compiling all the damages applicable to your case in order to maximize your financial recovery.
These damages can also be recovered by a spouse in the event that their spouse dies in an Uber or Lyft accident.