In most car accident cases, the driver who was hit can file an insurance claim against the other driver to collect compensation for medical bills and vehicle repairs. However, if that other driver is an Uber or Lyft driver, then the process becomes more complicated and will likely require some legal assistance. Here is how a Huntington Beach Uber and Lyft accident attorney helps clients obtain the maximum settlement after a crash.
What Does an Uber and Lyft Accident Attorney Do?
The role of rideshare accident attorneys is to advocate for clients’ best interests. After an Uber accident or Lyft accident, victims need someone who will diligently fight to protect their rights, helping them recover maximum compensation for their medical treatment, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Experienced rideshare accident lawyers prevent the opposing party’s insurance from taking advantage and minimizing the amount of compensation the victim is owed.
A Huntington Beach Uber/Lyft accident lawyer is familiar with the Orange County highways, understands the local traffic laws, and knows California’s ridesharing regulations.
Although a car accident lawyer may have some familiarity with California law as it pertains to ridesharing services, it is vital to work with an attorney who exclusively handles Uber and Lyft accident cases.
The legal processes for accidents involving a rideshare vehicle are extensive and require more legal legwork than the average car accident.
What Is Ridesharing?
A ridesharing service is one that arranges a ride between a contracted driver and a passenger. The two largest ridesharing companies are Uber and Lyft. In order to work for one of the rideshares, the independent contractors are required to meet the following criteria:
- Be at least 21 years old to drive for Uber and be at least 25 years old to drive for Lyft
- Have a valid California driver’s license
- Pass a criminal background check
- Pass a driving background check
- Possess a four-door passenger vehicle that is no older than a 2009 model
- Have updated California license plates
Personal Car Insurance for Uber and Lyft Drivers
Because the drivers are contracted and not employees, Lyft and Uber are not always responsible for the damages that result after an accident. Therefore, every Uber/Lyft driver must possess personal auto coverage.
However, rideshare use is typically excluded from most insurance plans, as coverage is meant for personal transportation only, not for hailing passengers.
Because of this, Uber drivers or Lyft drivers must possess a certain type of auto insurance that covers them when “working.”
Key Differences Between a Car Accident Case and an Uber/Lyft Accident Case
There are many factors that complicate the claims process of Uber/Lyft accidents, all of which an Uber and Lyft accident lawyer can simplify. The key differences between a car accident case and an Uber or Lyft accident case consist of the following factors.
Because Uber drivers and Lyft drivers are required to possess special auto insurance, they may have higher policy limits than the average car driver. Additionally, depending on fault, Uber or Lyft may have to apply their commercial insurance. However, this policy is only active under specific circumstances (see the “How Uber and Lyft’s Insurance Works” section).
How Liability Is Determined
In regular car accidents, the at-fault drivers are held liable for damages. Whereas, in Uber/Lyft accidents, multiple parties could be at fault. This may include the Uber or Lyft driver, Uber or Lyft itself, or another third party (like another driver). Depending on involvement and liability, an insurance claim may need to be filed against multiple parties.
Legal Process for Filing the Claim
When filing a claim against Uber or Lyft, the rideshare company must be contacted directly. They will then open an investigation into the Uber/Lyft car accident with their insurance provider to determine liability and damages. Conversely, in other car accidents, claims are typically filed with the at-fault drivers’ insurance.
Who Is Liable in Rideshare Accidents?
To establish fault in a rideshare accident, it must be determined which driver was guilty of negligence. Common examples of this can include, texting and driving, looking down at the GPS, talking to passengers, or engaging in other activities that steer the attention away from the road.
However, what really complicates these car accident cases is determining if the drivers were not the only liable parties, as the rideshare companies and even the plaintiff may be liable, as well.
California is a pure comparative negligence state, meaning that more than one party can be responsible for a rideshare accident. Based on each party’s role in causing the accident, each person can be held accountable in a personal injury case and liable for damages.
Therefore, victims who are partially responsible for an accident can also be at fault. However, they can still recover damages at a reduced rate based on their percentage of fault.
For example, if a plaintiff in a $200,000 lawsuit is found to be 10% at fault for the damages, the plaintiff will lose $20,000 to reflect their comparative negligence.
Working with a rideshare accident attorney is necessary when the plaintiff is also at fault. Legal help will prevent the final settlement from being significantly reduced.
How Insurance Works for Uber and Lyft Accidents
Rideshares maintain similar auto insurance policies. Both provide tiered coverage based on whether or not the Uber/Lyft driver was logged into the app when the accident took place. Coverage may be affected based on the following scenarios.
- When the driver is not logged into the app and an accident occurs, the driver’s personal auto insurance policy applies.
- When the driver is logged into the app but has not yet accepted a fare when the accident occurs, Uber/Lyft may provide limited third-party liability coverage. This may include $50,000 in bodily injury coverage per person, $100,000 in bodily injury coverage per accident, and $25,000 in property damage coverage per accident.
- When the driver has accepted a passenger or is on the way to pick them up when the accident occurs, Uber/Lyft provides up to $1 million in third-party liability coverage. Underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage, contingent comprehensive coverage, and collision coverage up to the actual cash value of the covered vehicle with a $1,000 deductible may also be included.
If you have been involved in a rideshare accident, it is important to contact an Uber/Lyft accident lawyer to review your case and help determine the best approach to filing an insurance claim.
How a Huntington Beach Rideshare Accident Attorney Will Help
As with other personal injury cases, the issue that many victims encounter often pertains to the other party’s insurance company being difficult. It is not uncommon for the other driver or Uber/Lyft to contest liability and refute the damages.
Without legal experience, many victims agree to less-than-fair settlements. When an insufficient offer is accepted, the injured victim will not be financially equipped to cover the full extent of medical care which can range from surgeries to rehab to other medical costs.
If you have been injured in an Uber or Lyft accident, it is important to contact an experienced attorney to discuss your legal options. An Uber and Lyft accident lawyer can help you investigate the accident, determine who is liable, and file a claim to recover compensation for your injuries and lost wages.
Damages That Can Be Recovered From Rideshare Accidents
Like most car accidents, Uber and Lyft accidents can cause minor injuries or serious injuries, including broken bones, traumatic brain injuries (TBI), spinal cord injuries, and more.
When an insurance claim is filed, the goal is to obtain enough financial recovery to account for medical bills, while also compensating for other losses, like vehicle repairs or pain and suffering.
The most common damages that can be recovered in an Orange County Uber/Lyft accident claim include the following:
- Current medical bills and future medical bills: Depending on the severity of injuries, victims may require hospitalization now and physical therapy in the future. To prevent out-of-pocket expenses, all current and anticipated costs can be included in the final settlement.
- Lost wages and loss of earning capacity: While recovering from injuries, victims cannot work, and in some cases, they may suffer permanent injuries preventing them from returning to work. If injuries affect income, victims can be compensated for financial loss.
- Pain and suffering: California state law allows personal injury victims to claim compensation for any physical pain or emotional distress they endured as a result of Uber or Lyft accidents.
- Property damage: Personal property from a motor vehicle to a smartphone can be reimbursed, regardless if the property is being repaired or replaced.
Our Huntington Beach Uber and Lyft Accident Lawyers Can Help
Trying to recover damages from rideshare companies should not be a challenging process. However, injured victims are forced to endure the legal and financial stresses of the difficult insurance companies.
At Coast Car Accident Lawyers, our experienced Huntington Beach Uber and Lyft accident attorneys fight for the rights of rideshare accident victims. If you were injured in a ridesharing accident, we can help.
Our personal injury law firm works on a contingency fee basis and never charges upfront fees. We also offer a free consultation to get started. Schedule yours today.Free Consultation