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What To Do If You Or Your Car Have Been Hit By An Uber Or Lyft Car In California

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By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

Ridesharing apps such as Uber and Lyft have almost completely replaced traditional taxi services as the preferred way for Californians to hire drivers to take them to their destinations. Every day there are more than 30 million people who use ridesharing apps and the number of drivers working for these companies is always increasing. 

This increase in ridesharing popularity has resulted in thousands of car accidents involving ridesharing vehicles since the launch of these apps. If you have been injured in an accident involving a ridesharing vehicle, this article was created for you to provide you with the answers to some of the most common questions that we get asked as personal injury attorneys at J&Y Law Firm in Los Angeles, CA. Read on to learn more about ridesharing accidents and what you need to do if you have been injured by a ridesharing vehicle.

Steps to take after an accident with a ridesharing car

If you or your car have been involved in an accident with an Uber or Lyft vehicle in California, there are specific steps you should follow:

  1. Ensure Safety: First, ensure everyone’s safety. Move to a safe location if possible and check for any injuries.
  2. Call Emergency Services: If there are any injuries or significant property damage, call 911 immediately. 
  3. Document the Scene: Take photos of the vehicles, the accident scene, and any injuries. Note the time, location, weather conditions, and any other relevant details.
  4. Exchange Information: Exchange contact and insurance information with the Uber or Lyft driver. Be sure to note the driver’s name, contact details, insurance information, and the make and model of the vehicle.
  5. Report to Rideshare Company: Report the accident to Uber or Lyft through their app or customer service line. Both companies have specific protocols for handling accidents involving their drivers.
  6. Gather Witness Information: If there are any witnesses, get their contact information. Witness statements can be crucial in insurance claims or legal proceedings.
  7. Seek Medical Attention: Even if you feel fine, it’s advisable to get a medical check-up. Some injuries, like whiplash, may not be immediately apparent.
  8. Notify Your Insurance Company: Inform your insurance company about the accident. Provide them with all the gathered information, including the involvement of a rideshare vehicle.
  9. Keep Records: Keep a record of all medical treatments, repairs, and any related expenses. This documentation will be important for insurance claims or potential legal action.
  10. Consider Legal Consultation: Consult with a personal injury attorney, especially if there are significant injuries or disputes over fault. An attorney can guide you through the legal aspects of dealing with rideshare companies and insurance claims.
  11. Follow Up: Stay on top of the situation by following up with insurance companies, the rideshare company, and, if necessary, your attorney. Keep a log of all communications related to the accident.

It’s important to remember that both Uber and Lyft have insurance policies that cover their drivers and passengers during rides. Understanding these policies and your own rights is crucial in these situations.

How often do ridesharing accidents occur?

Ridesharing accidents, involving services like Uber and Lyft, do not publish accident numbers, however, independent research has found that dozens of deaths and thousands of injuries occur every year and the numbers are rising each year. 

According to Uber’s 2019-2020 safety report, there were 59 fatalities related to Uber in 2019 and 42 in 2020, alongside numerous injuries involving Uber vehicles.

Understanding Uber Accident Claims:

If you’ve been injured or lost a loved one in an accident with a rideshare driver, it’s vital to comprehend the intricacies of Uber and Lyft accident claims. This guide outlines the process of filing a claim and explores settlement options for rightful compensation.

Can You Sue Uber or Lyft Following a Car Accident?

Determining if you can seek compensation from Uber or other ridesharing companies depends on various factors, including the accident’s cause and the Uber driver’s status at the time.

Driver Status on the Uber App:

If an Uber driver is off-duty (app off or offline), Uber is not liable for accidents. No compensation claims can be made against Uber under these conditions.

However, if an Uber driver is available for rides but not engaged in a trip, Uber provides limited coverage: $50,000 per person and $100,000 per accident for bodily injury, plus $25,000 for property damage.

For drivers en route to or transporting passengers, Uber’s coverage increases to $1 million in third-party liability, plus uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage. If the Uber driver is at fault, compensation up to these policy limits is possible.

If the Uber driver wasn’t the cause, claims typically go against the at-fault driver. However, Uber’s uninsured motorist coverage may come into play if the at-fault driver is underinsured, and the Uber driver was in the middle of a ride.

Settling Uber Accident Claims:

Victims have two options: settling or going to court. Settling involves accepting a predetermined compensation amount, signing a release form, and foregoing further claims. It offers a quicker and more certain resolution.

Alternatively, suing may be preferable if the settlement offer seems unfair. Consulting a rideshare accident lawyer is crucial to evaluate both options.

Potential Compensation from Rideshare Accident Claims:

Uber’s liability coverage often exceeds state minimums for non-commercial drivers, offering up to $1 million when drivers are actively engaged in a ride. Compensation covers medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and emotional distress.

Uber’s substantial insurance coverage ensures adequate compensation for severe injuries or death, unlike typical policies with lower limits.

Uber and Lyft Accident Statistics

  • Drivers (of both the ridesharing and non-commercial vehicles) constituted 21% of the total fatalities in ridesharing accidents
  • Motorcycle riders accounted for another 21% of rideshare-related deaths.
  • The remaining 58% of fatalities involved either passengers or drivers not directly associated with the incident. 
  • Incidents of collisions have been increasingly reported during the pick-up or drop-off phases of rides.
  • The escalation in accidents is attributed to drivers spending more time on the road, driven by the high demand from ride service users.
  • 90% of Uber-related accidents happen in urban settings.
  • Since 2010, Uber and Lyft together have completed approximately 11 billion rides across the United States. 
  • Uber alone recorded nearly four billion trips between 2017 and 2018, averaging about 45 trips every second.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

  1. Does Uber pay for accidents?
    • Uber’s insurance covers incidents when drivers are active on the app, with up to $1 million in liability coverage for accidents caused by the driver during a ride.
  2. Settlement Duration with Uber:
    • Settlements for Uber-related accidents can take weeks to months, depending on the investigation and injury assessment. Consultation with an attorney is recommended before accepting a settlement.
  3. Value of an Uber Accident Claim:
    • Compensation varies based on injury severity and loss extent, covering medical bills, lost wages, and emotional damages. When an Uber driver is at fault during a ride, the company’s liability coverage can provide up to $1 million for damages.”

Contact a California Rideshare Attorney Today

If you have been injured in a ridesharing accident, call the personal injury attorneys at J&Y Law Firm today at (877) 310-2104 to get a free consultation about your unique situation. Our team has a long history of going after ridesharing companies and winning, often getting far more for our clients than the company wanted to settle for.

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About the Author
Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y. His practice is comprised primarily of cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents, but he also represents people in premises liability lawsuits, including suits alleging dangerous conditions of public property, third-party criminal conduct, and intentional torts. He also has expertise in cases involving product defects, dog bites, elder abuse, and sexual assault. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Yosi by clicking here.