Personal Injury LawyerSan Jose, CA
Personal Injury LawyerSan Jose, CA
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Were You Hurt in an Uber or Lyft Accident?

Our attorneys know California law, and we’re on your side

In recent years, rideshare services have taken the world of transportation by storm, and no one knows that better than Californians. Both Uber and Lyft started out in California, and both rideshare services remain exceptionally popular. While they are certainly a convenient and affordable way to get around, rideshare services aren’t perfect, and among the more serious risks they pose is the possibility of a car accident.

If you were hurt in an accident involving an Uber or Lyft driver, whether as a passenger or as the driver of another vehicle, you have legal rights. The Swanson Law Group can help protect them. Don’t go up against the rideshare services and their attorneys alone. Schedule your free consultation with an experienced California rideshare accident attorney.

The potential dangers of rideshare services

Under California law, the rideshare companies are required to conduct both local and national background checks for their drivers annually, and to provide safety training for new drivers. Nevertheless, Uber and Lyft drivers are still fundamentally regular motorists, not trained professionals, and the rideshare companies treat them as independent contractors, not employees. As such, they may not have the same level of training and supervision as traditional taxi drivers, making them more prone to causing accidents in their many hours on the road.

The specific demands of rideshare driving, too, can contribute to accident risks. Uber and Lyft drivers, especially those who drive for both companies and need to have both apps open, are highly prone to distracted driving. They’re tracking their mileage, looking for their next passenger, calculating how many fares they need to balance their budget, and so on, all while trying to navigate the road safely. Many rideshare drivers work long hours, or drive as a second source of income on top of a full-time job, and they may have to drive at odd times in order to get the highest fares, making them more prone to falling asleep at the wheel.

Uber and Lyft vehicles, too, may be less safe than traditional taxicabs. In California, almost any four-door vehicle in good condition that is no more than 15 years old can be driven for a rideshare service. (Some California cities have set more stringent vehicle age requirements.) The law also requires an annual safety inspection. While those requirements are certainly better than nothing, it’s important to remember that traditional taxicabs usually undergo more frequent and stringent safety and machinery checks. In short, while Uber and Lyft vehicles are used in a similar manner to taxis, they are still regular privately owned cars that vary significantly in terms of vehicle maintenance and safety.

None of this is to say that Uber and Lyft are inherently unsafe, or that people should stop using them. The rideshare services are an important part of our transportation network. It does mean the risk of accidents is real, and both passengers who use the rideshare services and motorists who share the road with rideshare drivers need to be aware of that danger.

Insurance requirements for Uber and Lyft accidents in California

While Uber and Lyft drivers, like all California drivers, are required to carry personal car insurance on their vehicles, that insurance may not cover them when they are driving “for profit.” As such, California law requires the rideshare companies and their participating drivers to carry supplemental insurance to cover them while they are using the apps.

In the California Public Utilities Code, Lyft and Uber are considered transportation network companies (TNC). California law requires TNCs to carry the following insurance:

  • While a driver is logged in to the Uber or Lyft app and awaiting a passenger, but has not yet accepted a ride request, the rideshare company is required to carry $50,000 in bodily injury liability per person, $100,000 in bodily injury liability per accident, and $30,000 in property damage liability per accident, plus $200,000 in excess liability coverage for severe accidents.
  • When a driver is engaged in transporting passengers – that is, from the moment a ride request is accepted to the moment the passenger is dropped off – the rideshare companies provide $1,000,000 in liability insurance and $1,000,000 in uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage per accident.

If the driver was not logged in to the Uber or Lyft app at the time of the accident, their personal insurance applies, same as any other accident. As with any other accident, there may also be parties other than the Uber or Lyft driver that may be at fault, such as the driver of another involved vehicle, or a vehicle manufacturer. That’s one of the reasons it’s so important to hire an experienced attorney who can thoroughly investigate and find all available sources of insurance.

Here’s what you should do if you’re in an Uber or Lyft accident in California

First, as with any other car accident, make sure the scene is safe and call the police so that they can investigate. Get immediate medical attention and follow your doctor’s orders. Exchange contact and insurance information with the other drivers involved, keeping your comments brief and sticking to the facts of what happened.

If you see an Uber or Lyft logo on a vehicle involved in the accident, ask the driver whether they were using the app when the crash happened. Remember, the available insurance depends on the driver’s status at the time of the crash, so this is potentially crucial information. You also need to take pictures of the scene, the vehicles and any visible injuries.

If you were injured as a rideshare passenger, you can report an accident through the rideshare app itself, but that shouldn’t be your only report. If you were hurt as a driver, you need to notify your insurance company, but the best practice is to contact us first. The insurance companies are always looking for ways to manipulate injured people and reduce or deny claims, and an experienced car accident attorney can protect your rights and interests in those conversations.

A legal team you can trust to help you find a path forward

The crash itself was painful moment, but there are more struggles ahead. The upshot of a rideshare accident is that there may be more insurance available to fully compensate you for your injuries, but the downside is that the rideshare companies fight hard to protect their interests. There may be multiple insurance companies involved, and while they’re ostensibly competitors, they all share a common goal: protecting their bottom line at the expense of the injured person. You don’t have to put up with their gaslighting and pressure tactics. We can protect you.

Our attorneys will launch a full investigation of your accident to establish what happened, determine the rideshare driver’s status at the time of the crash, and build a strong case for the full compensation you deserve. We interview witnesses, review accident reports, and thoroughly investigate the available insurance. We also seek to understand the full effect the injury has had on your life. Losing your health means more than medical bills; your career, your family, and your future are all affected. You deserve full compensation for all those costs under California law, and we will advocate for you – in negotiations and, if necessary, at trial.

We do this on a contingency fee basis, meaning you don’t owe us anything until and unless we win your case. Our firm advances all the costs needed to move your case forward, investing our own time and resources in pursuit of a better outcome for you. If we win, our fee is a percentage of the money we recover for you, so you still don’t owe us anything out of pocket. If we don’t win, there is no fee.

After a rideshare accident, it’s important that we act quickly to secure evidence and start building your case. If you’ve been hurt in a crash that involved a Lyft or Uber driver, don’t go it alone. Contact us today for a free consultation with an experienced California rideshare accident lawyer.

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