Rideshare services like Uber and Lyft have taken California by storm, offering people a convenient way to get around cities like San Francisco and Los Angeles. With so many rideshare drivers on the road, rideshare accidents are becoming more common throughout the state and the country.
A recent study by the University of Chicago and Rice University shows the increased use of ridesharing services has led to a 2-to-3 percent increase in traffic fatalities nationwide since 2011 — an additional 1,100 deaths per year.
If you or a loved one has suffered an injury in an Uber or Lyft accident, J&Y Law can help. When you meet with us, you will work directly with an experienced ridesharing accident attorney who will fight to get you the maximum compensation you deserve. We offer free consultations, and there is never a fee until we recover for you. Contact us today so we can start working on your claim.
Steps to Take After a Ridesharing Accident
You may be upset and frightened after a ridesharing accident, but try to remain calm and take the following steps:
Step 1: Call 911 Immediately
The first thing to do is call 911 immediately. The Local Police or California Highway Patrol will quickly respond and summon paramedics. The police report and records of initial treatment you receive from first responders will be valuable evidence in your injury claim. In addition to calling law enforcement, you should report the accident to Uber or Lyft through the ridesharing app. That will create an electronic record of the accident – date, time, and geo-location – factual evidence in any car accident claim.
Step 2: Seek Medical Attention
You must also seek medical attention after a ridesharing accident. All types of injuries are common, such as:
- Broken bones
- Neck and head injuries
- Back injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Loss of limb
- Paralysis (paraplegia /quadriplegia)
- Traumatic brain injuries
Seeking medical attention will protect your well-being and help to support your ridesharing accident claim. The medical record of treatment you receive (e.g. doctor’s visits, surgery, assistive devices, prescription medication) will help to document your injuries and the associated medical expenses. Also, follow your doctor’s instructions about ongoing care and limiting your physical activities. Though you will likely have concerns about missing work, the damages you can recover in a ridesharing accident claim include lost wages.
Step 3: Gather and Exchange Information with All Parties Involved
If you can, gather and exchange information with all parties involved in the ridesharing accident, including the Uber or Lyft driver, other motorists, and any witnesses. An experienced personal injury attorney builds a successful claim by interviewing the parties involved in the accident and witnesses. Having this information handy can save valuable time during the investigative phase of your case.
Step 4: Take Pictures
It is also a good idea to take pictures with your smartphone of the accident site, the damage to the rideshare vehicle, the other vehicle, and your injuries. Accident photographs are compelling evidence in rideshare accident claims.
Understanding Liability in an Uber or Lyft Accident
Rideshare accidents are similar to other motor vehicle accidents in that you must prove the Uber or Lyft driver was responsible for the accident that caused you injuries. Unlike other states that follow a “no-fault” insurance system, California is a fault car accident state.
There may be multiple responsible parties: the rideshare driver, the rideshare company, another motorist, and their insurance companies. A common misconception is that Uber or Lyft should pay for a victim’s injuries, but that depends on the rideshare driver’s status at the time of the accident.
Rideshare companies provide liability insurance to their drivers to pay for damages their drivers cause to passengers, other motorists, or pedestrians in an accident. That insurance only provides coverage during specific periods, however, and varying amounts of coverage during the applicable period:
This period is when the rideshare driver is not on the app. The rideshare company provides no coverage during this period; the driver’s insurance is the primary source of coverage.
During Period 1, the rideshare driver has logged onto the app but has yet to accept a ride request. If the driver is in an accident during this time, the rideshare company provides coverage for an accident in which their driver is at fault, up to $50,000 per person that is injured, $25,000 property damage liability, and $100,000 total injury liability per accident.
During this period, the rideshare driver has accepted a request and is traveling to retrieve the passenger. If the driver causes an accident during this time, the rideshare company’s insurance liability coverage increases to $1 million.
This period covers the time the passenger is in the rideshare vehicle through the drop-off. Liability coverage during this period is up to $1 million plus limited coverage for damage to the rideshare driver’s car and uninsured motorist coverage.
Common Causes of a Rideshare Accident
No two rideshare accidents are the same, and each has distinct characteristics, but common causes include:
Requirements of Uber & Lyft Drivers
There are few minimal requirements to become an Uber driver in California. Drivers must:
- Meet the minimum age to drive in their city (e.g. 16 years of age in California)
- Have a valid US driver’s license
- Have at least 1 year of licensed driving experience in the US (3 years if under 25 years old)
- Maintain their insurance policy under state and local law
Uber also has limited requirements for vehicles:
- 15-year-old vehicle or newer
- 4-door vehicle
- Good condition with no cosmetic damage
- No commercial branding
- Pass a vehicle inspection
Lyft’s driver requirements in California include:
- Valid California driver’s license
- 1 year of driving experience and be 25 or older
- Pass driver screening – review of driving history and criminal background check
Vehicle requirements for Lyft include:
- 2008 or newer
- 4 doors
- 5-8 seats, including the driver’s
- California license plate
In short, the requirements for Uber and Lyft drivers are not very strict, and these companies conduct minimal background checks, increasing the likelihood of rideshare accidents caused by inexperienced drivers.
There are more than 300,000 rideshare drivers on the road in California, and ridesharing accidents (often referred to as ride-sharing accident) are becoming increasingly common. If you or a loved one has been seriously injured due to a rideshare driver’s negligence, it is crucial to contact an experienced Los Angeles ridesharing accident attorney right away.
Uber & Lyft Accident Statistics
By offering passengers ready access to clean, comfortable, and cost-effective rideshare services, Uber and Lyft have become dominant players in the on-demand transportation sector. With billions of dollars in market capitalization between them, Uber and Lyft have succeeded in attracting more drivers and passengers, increasing traffic volume throughout Northern and Southern California, as well as throughout the nation.
Third Party Rights in Ridesharing Accidents
As Uber and Lyft become more popular, ridesharing accidents involving a third party like pedestrians and bicyclists are on the rise. Because pedestrians always have the right of way in California, Uber and Lyft drivers, as well as the rideshare companies, can be held liable for injuries to third parties.
In fact, Uber settled a wrongful death lawsuit for an undisclosed sum in 2015 after one of its drivers struck and killed a 6-year old girl in San Francisco two years earlier. Nonetheless, third-party claims in rideshare accidents are complicated, which makes having proper legal representation crucial.
Ridesharing Accidents on Vacation
If you have been injured in a rideshare accident while on vacation in California, you have a right to file a personal injury claim to recover damages. By working with an experienced ridesharing accident attorney, you can obtain the compensation you deserve.
Statute of Limitations for Rideshare Accidents
The statute of limitations in California for personal injury claims, including rideshare accidents, is 2 years. That means you must file an injury claim within 2 years of the accident or the date your injuries became apparent. Two years may seem like plenty of time, but it is wise to contact an experienced California ridesharing accident attorney as soon as possible to protect your rights.
Damages for Rideshare Accidents
If you have suffered injuries in a rideshare accident, you can recover compensation, including economic and non-economic damages:
- Economic damages cover medical expenses, rehabilitative costs, lost wages (present and future), and property damage.
- Non-economic damages compensate you for intangible losses, such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, permanent disability/disfigurement, loss of enjoyment of life, and loss of consortium.
You may also receive punitive damages if the defendant’s conduct was egregious or illegal, such as drunk or reckless driving. These damages are intended to punish the defendant’s misconduct and deter others from similar wrongdoing. A capable ridesharing accident attorney can help you recover damages that consider all your future medical and financial needs.
Why Choose J&Y Law
After a rideshare accident, you need a personal injury attorney to fight for you at the bargaining table or in the courtroom. Going up against big tech companies like Uber and Lyft is challenging; it takes an experienced ridesharing accident attorney to level the playing field. That’s where J&Y Law can help. Once you become our client, you can trust our legal team to:
- Investigate and photograph the accident site
- Obtain and review the police report
- Gather medical evidence to document your injuries
- Review the rideshare driver’s driving records for prior traffic violations
- Subpoena the driver’s rideshare driver’s app and GPS data
- Obtain and review personnel records and safety reports from the rideshare company
- Take over communications with the involved insurance companies and their attorneys
We prefer to resolve rideshare accident cases through negotiations. All too often, Uber and Lyft deny liability for the actions of their drivers, and insurance companies attempt to pay as little as possible to protect their bottom line. You can depend on us to demand full payment of your claims or take your ridesharing accident case to court to achieve the desired outcome.
We have an impressive track record as personal injury attorneys, having recovered millions of dollars in damages for our clients through negotiations and litigation. Once you become our client, we will stand by you every step of the way and fight for the just compensation you deserve.
Contact Our California Uber and Lyft Accident Attorney Today
Being injured in a ridesharing accident can be overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be that way as long as you have an aggressive personal injury attorney at your side. At J&Y Law, we have the skills and determination to go up against tech giants like Uber and Lyft and hold them accountable. Rest assured, we will protect your rights in and out of the courtroom. Let our legal team handle the details of your claim so you can focus on healing. Contact us today to schedule a 100% free consultation.