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What Happens After a Lyft or Uber Driver Accident in California?

Someone using a rideshare app on their phone

We’ve all been there — needed a one-way ride to the airport, made the responsible decision to call an Uber after a happy hour with colleagues, or simply needed a ride from point A to point B. If you are like 51% of Americans between ages 18 and 29, or like 45% of urban residents, you have used a rideshare service such as Uber or Lyft, based on a 2018 Pew Research Center study. The increasing prevalence of ride-hailing services in America is undeniable. 

For whatever reason you choose to use a rideshare service, you probably assume that you will be kept safe during your ride. However, the results of a 2018 University of Chicago Booth School of Business research study show that may not be a wise assumption. In fact, the study shows a 2-3% increase in the number of motor vehicle fatalities and fatal accidents associated with the rise of the ridesharing industry. 

Do you know what to do if you are injured in an Uber accident or Lyft accident? Whether you are a rideshare driver, a rideshare passenger, a pedestrian who was hit by a rideshare vehicle, or the driver of another vehicle involved in an accident with a rideshare vehicle, the situation can quickly become complicated. You may have sustained severe injuries that left you unable to work. A qualified Uber accident lawyer or Lyft accident lawyer is vital in guiding you through the legal process and obtaining full and fair compensation for your injuries.

Steps to Take After a Lyft or Uber Accident in California

In the immediate aftermath of an Uber car accident, it is important to remain calm and to gather as much information as you safely can. The steps you should take at the accident scene are primarily the same as with any other motor vehicle accident.

File a Police Report

If you are involved in an injury accident, call 911 immediately. Make sure the police come to the scene, and file a report to document your injuries and the details of the accident. This will be an important piece of evidence in your case.

Seek Immediate Medical Attention

Even if your injuries seem minor, the true severity of your injuries may not be immediately apparent. As a result, it’s important that you seek a thorough evaluation by a medical professional.  Seeing a doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment is not only important for your help, but it’s also essential for documenting your injuries for an insurance claim or potential lawsuit.

Obtain Contact Information of Involved Parties and Witnesses

Gather contact information of all parties involved in the accident, especially any witnesses. Take photos of driver’s licenses, license plates, damage to the vehicles, and any other details of the accident, Be sure to obtain:

  • The rideshare driver and trip information from your rideshare app, or from the rideshare app of the person who scheduled the ride
  • Names and telephone numbers of all parties and witnesses
  • Driver’s licenses, car registration, insurance cards, and vehicle identification numbers 

Take Pictures at the Accident Scene

Take photographs at the scene to document as much information as you can, including:

  • Damage to vehicles
  • Any injuries you sustained
  • Weather and road conditions
  • Situational factors such as visual obstacles
  • Location of the accident and time of day

Contact an Experienced Lyft or Uber Accident Attorney Immediately

Sorting through the complexities of Uber driver accidents can be daunting, especially if there were multiple passengers in one rideshare vehicle. Contact an experienced Uber and Lyft accident lawyer as soon as possible after your accident to ensure you are adequately represented.

File an Insurance Claim

You or your rideshare accident lawyer must open claims with all concerned insurance companies. (Read the “When the Uber or Lyft Driver Is At Fault” section below for more information on which insurance providers are considered liable.)

Note that you should consult with your Uber accident lawyer or Lyft accident lawyer before offering information to any insurance claims adjuster who contacts you after the accident. Remember that the insurance adjuster is not there to advocate for you — that is your Lyft accident attorney’s / Uber accident attorney’s role!

Who Is Liable for Damages in a Lyft or Uber Car Accident?

Liability in an Uber car accident or Lyft car accident is ultimately determined by whose carelessness caused the crash.

In California, peer-to-peer rideshare services are regulated by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and are classified as Transportation Network Companies (TNCs). CPUC defines TNCs as companies that “provide prearranged transportation services for compensation using an online-enabled application or platform (such as smartphone apps) to connect drivers using their personal vehicles with passengers.” Under CPUC regulations, TNCs have several requirements, one of which is to maintain a minimum $1 million-per-incident insurance policy.

When the Uber or Lyft Driver Is At Fault

If you were injured as a passenger of a rideshare vehicle and the driver of that vehicle was at fault for the accident, either their TNC insurance policy, the rideshare company’s commercial policy, or a combination of the two policies will be responsible for the damages. The same is true if you were a driver or passenger of another vehicle and were injured in an accident caused by a Lyft or Uber driver.  

In California, a TNC’s services are divided into periods, which determine liability in the event of an accident.

Period Description of Service Liability
0 Rideshare app is turned off.

Driver acting as a private person.

The driver’s personal insurance in effect

CA drivers are required to maintain a minimum:

  • $15,000 bodily injury per person
  • $30,000 bodily injury per accident
  • $5,000 property damage per accident
1 Rideshare app is turned on.

Driver waiting for a match.

TNCs must provide primary insurance

  • $50,000 death or personal injury per person
  • $100,000 death or personal injury per incident
  • $30,000 property damage
  • This requirement can be satisfied through the driver’s TNC insurance policy

TNCs required to maintain additional coverage

  • $200,000 minimum in excess liability per occurrence to cover the TNC and driver
  • This requirement can be satisfied through the driver’s TNC insurance policy
2 Rideshare app is on.
Match Accepted.Passenger not yet picked up.
TNCs must provide primary commercial insurance

  • $1,000,000 liability policy
  • This requirement can be satisfied through the driver’s TNC insurance policy.
3 Rideshare app is on.

Passenger in the vehicle.

In effect until the passenger exits the vehicle.

TNCs must provide primary commercial insurance

  • $1,000,000 policy 
  • This requirement can be satisfied through the driver’s TNC insurance policy.
  • Uninsured motorist coverage
  • Underinsured motorist coverage 

Sources: Enjuris and California Public Utilities Commission

Under Proposition 22, approved by California voters in November 2020, rideshare drivers are classified as independent contractors. Your attorney should be following the latest on the legal impact of that enactment on rideshare accidents.

When Another Driver is At-Fault

If you were injured while riding in an Uber or Lyft vehicle, and another driver is found to be at fault for the accident, then you will file a claim with that driver’s insurance company. In the event that the at-fault driver is uninsured or underinsured, your claim may be covered by the rideshare company’s uninsured or underinsured motorist insurance policy.

What Damages Can I Recover After an Uber Accident in California?

Injured man in foot cast and crutches

After an Uber or Lyft car accident, who will pay for the expenses you incurred as a result of the incident? You may have costly car repairs, medical bills from injuries you sustained, as well as emotional health needs that need to be addressed.

As with any car accident settlement, there are two different types of insurance claims you may make to recover damages after your Lyft accident. These include claims for property damage and personal injury:  

  • A property damage claim covers the cost to repair or replace your vehicle. You should know that in California, you are not obligated to have the repairs performed by the insurance company’s preferred repair shop. Prior to authorizing any repair work to begin, take your vehicle to an auto repair facility of your choice and obtain an independent estimate. Read more about how to get your car fixed after an accident.
  • A personal injury claim covers damages such as medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other expenses you incurred as a result of your injuries. Be sure to consult with an experienced Uber accident attorney or Lyft accident attorney to guide you through this process. The insurance company’s primary goal is to close the claim while paying out the least amount possible, without regard for your well-being. You need a professional dedicated to fighting for you and securing a fair settlement!

Contact Our California Lyft & Uber Accident Law Firm Today!

An experienced Lyft and Uber accident lawyer from Carpenter & Zuckerman can navigate the complex liability issues after your rideshare accident so you can focus on healing. Our professional team of trial lawyers at Carpenter & Zuckerman have successfully litigated numerous rideshare accident cases and remain abreast of all the current court decisions and changing laws governing Uber and Lyft accidents in California (including the current court battles over whether Proposition 22 classifying all rideshare drivers as independent contractors, rather than employees, is constitutional). 

As one of the largest personal injury law firms in California, Carpenter & Zuckerman serves clients throughout California and in other states. Our office locations include Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, Garden Grove, Irvine, San Diego, Bakersfield, and Las Vegas.

For a free consultation concerning your case, contact us at the phone number shown below, or fill out our confidential contact form today.

More Questions??

Advice is free and it is our pleasure to help guide you in any way that we can. Speak with an attorney right now by dialing (310) 868-2101, or fill out the form below with any questions you may have and we will get back to you immediately.

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