Uber and Lyft have become prevalent in the commuting world, edging out traditional taxis in not just the United States but major world cities. One similarity that Uber and Lyft share with taxi services is that they do not own, operate, or control the cars. They also do not hire drivers.
Uber and Lyft stand in the middle to facilitate rideshares by connecting people with cars to people who need to get somewhere.
The difference between traditional taxis and Uber or Lyft is that their pricing structure is different. The manner through which a passenger hires an Uber or Lyft differs from the usual ‘hailing’ method regular taxis rely on.
Customers have to download the Uber or Lyft apps on their smartphones and use them to see available Uber drivers around them. The prices tend to be flexible, with controversy arising from a rideshare practice called ‘surge pricing,’ where fare rates are raised when demand is high.
You might need a Sherman Oaks personal injury attorney in case of an accident. Let’s find out more.
Who is liable if you are hit by an Uber or Lyft driver?
Just as with any car accident case, the claimant’s Sherman Oaks rideshare app accident lawyer must provide proof of two things to have a chance at being awarded compensation:
- Liability (the indication of who was at fault for the accident)
- Damages (the extent of how badly the claimant was injured)
If you get hit by an Uber or Lyft or incur injuries as a passenger, you must be able to provide proof of negligence for your claim to stand in court. You will also need a ridesharing accident attorney in Sherman Oaks to cater to your needs effectively.
Suppose it is proven that the negligent party was the Uber or Lyft driver. In that case, the course of action is against that individual, who then refers the claim to their personal insurance carrier (this is standard practice in car accident claims.)
However, since the driver was driving to earn, a complication arises.
In this event, unless the driver has a commercial policy or bought a ridesharing “endorsement” (not available in all States), the driver’s personal policy won’t cover the accident.
The reason is that the personal policy has specifics that say the driver will use the vehicle only for personal use, and ridesharing does not fall into that category. The carrier will naturally deny the claim.
That’s not the end of the road for the claimant, though, you can get one of the best lawyers for Uber drivers accidents. Uber and Lyft has to respond to the problematic cul-de-sac created by this untenable arrangement. Both companies offer liability insurance to their drivers. These provisions only come into effect when the driver’s carrier denies the claim.
Therefore, the drivers are obligated to submit the claim first to their own insurance carriers. Putting aside all legal responsibility, the claimant can hold either of the companies financially responsible if you are the non-negligent person in an accident involving an Uber or Lyft driver.
The Details of Uber/Lyft Drivers and Car Insurance
Because of their similar business model, both companies have similar coverage policies, which vary depending on when the accident happens.
- Period 0: When the driver isn’t logged into the Uber/Lyft app, none of the companies provide coverage.
- Period 1: When the driver is logged into the Uber/Lyft app but has not accepted a ride request, both companies provide liability coverage for any accident caused by the driver of up to $50,000 per person injured, $100,000 total injury liability per accident and $25,000 for property damage liability.
- Period 2: Applicable when the driver has the app on, has accepted to carry a passenger, and is in route to pick up said passenger, the liability coverage increases to $1 million.
- Period 3: When the rider has been picked up and is in the vehicle ending at the drop-off point, the liability coverage goes up to $1 million, including limited coverage for damage to the driver’s car and uninsured motorists.
A lawyer who handles Uber or Lyft accidents can help you navigate this part.
What steps to take after an Uber/Lyft Accident?
After the car accident, any car crash attorney in Sherman Oaks will advise you to not leave the scene until after getting the names, insurance details, and contact information of everyone involved. Ask any witnesses who are willing to offer their contact information too.
After that, take as many pictures of the accident from as many angles as possible before leaving the scene. Anything else that you think is relevant could be beneficial. Record all you can, as long as it seems appropriate.
Call the police while at the accident scene. Several state laws say that you are required to call law enforcement in the event of a car accident that causes minor property damage or bodily harm/injuries.
In any Uber/Lyft accident, it works in your favor if the incident is investigated promptly (as soon as it happens) so that you have a police report that backs you up as the claimant in your case. This will be crucial to the case you build with your rideshare crash attorney in Sherman Oaks.
Is it possible to sue Uber or Lyft?
Uber and Lyft are solid fixtures in the app-powered rideshares market. The legal implications of their policies and other issues related to any legal action that may arise in connection with the companies are still being figured out in courts.
If the driver is responsible for the accident, it can be argued that the rideshare company behind them shares some of the blame for the crash. However, this strategy is unclear and unreliable at best.
The two companies have worked very hard to ensure that the legalese describing the contracts and policies indicate that the drivers are not employees but rather independent contractors. However, it is not clear whether the companies can continue to stand behind this argument.
For instance, California has a law known as “AB5” meant to protect Uber/Lyft drivers and other ‘gig workers.’ The result is that companies have a hard time arguing that the drivers or delivery people are not employees.
It would help if you remembered that insurance coverage is a likely option for you, whether through the $1 million UIM coverage in case of an injury where the driver is at fault or the $1 million liability coverage.
By now, you see why it’s crucial to have a Lyft or Uber accident lawyer in Sherman Oaks if you want to see justice.