Ride Share Accidents (Uber and Lyft)

With the rise in the use of apps like Uber and lyft, rideshare accidents are increasingly becoming more common. In 2019 there were 6.9 billion trips taken through the Uber app alone. The daily amount of car accidents are increasing due to the increase in use of these rideshare apps. Around 1,000 accidents daily are due to the increasing amount of rideshare vehicles on the road. Uber reported that they had 97 fatal crashes between 2017 and 2018. The total deaths due to those accidents led to 107 deaths. A good proportion of those deaths were riders, which accounted for 21% of the deaths. Another 21% deaths were the drivers and the remaining deaths were the drivers of the other cars and their passengers. With the increase in use of rideshare accidents, the likelihood of being in a rideshare accident as a driver, passenger or third party is increasing. So who is liable? Who deserves compensation? Can a passenger receive compensation for their injuries? What should you do after a rideshare accident?

What to do after being involved in a rideshare accident

This applies to you no matter if you are a passenger, driver or a third party driver that is involved in a rideshare accident. Following these steps will help you deal with this situation.

Call the Police

After the accident immediately call the police and file a police report. Like any vehicle accident, collect evidence. Collecting evidence entails taking photos of the cars, taking photos of the full scene, taking photos of the road and any relevant street signs, get the information from both drivers, get their insurance, and get their driver license. The evidence you have collected will make it easier for your attorney and insurance to determine who is liable for the accident. Figuring out who is liable will help you get the compensation for your injuries. If you are too injured to collect evidence you can request the police to take photos of the accident for you, after you have received medical attention you can go to the police station and request the photos and evidence.

Seek Medical Attention

Even if you do not feel like you are injured, you might be injured, adrenaline can mask any underlying injuries. You may have suffered an injury such as internal bleeding which would not be apparent at the scene of the accident, an injury like this can be fatal. It is better to be safe than sorry, always put your health before anything else. Getting a medical evaluation can establish the association between your injury and the accident. This will help your attorney make a stronger case for the person who is liable for your injuries.

Contact an Attorney that Deals with Rideshare Accidents

Figuring out who is liable for your injuries can be confusing, especially when there are multiple parties involved and they are driving as a job. But can you sue the rideshare company? In most cases you can sue the rideshare company. Be sure to contact an attorney before contacting your insurance or filing a claim with the rideshare company.
Insurance companies and the rideshare company will try their best to avoid being held responsible for your injuries. Even if they are held responsible they will try to give you the least amount of compensation for your injuries. Without an attorney you should not accept any offers or even try to negotiate with these companies. An attorney will communicate and negotiate with these companies on your behalf. An attorney will fight for you so you can receive the maximum amount of compensation you can receive.

How Rideshare Drivers are Employed

In California rideshare employees are independent contractors. Proposition 22 was proposed, which was meant to make rideshare drivers employees, but the proposition failed to pass. Since they are independent contractors, workers compensation doesn’t apply to them and the rideshare company isn’t liable for an accident. This is how an accident with an employed driver differs from an independent contractor. But things only get more complicated from here. Since the driver is liable for the accident, the claim will go through the driver’s insurance instead of the company’s insurance. But in order for the driver’s insurance to accept the claim, the driver needs to have a commercial policy, since they are driving for money.
If they do not have a commercial policy or have purchased a rideshare endorsement and the insurance company won’t accept the claim, Uber and Lyft offers liability insurance to their drivers. Uber and Lyfts liability insurance will kick in when a driver’s insurance carrier denies their claim. So this makes it still possible to hold Uber and Lyft financially responsible for your injuries that you sustained in a rideshare accident. This applies to you if you are the driver of the rideshare company, a passenger in a rideshare, or the other party involved in the accident.

Lyft/Uber Car Insurance Policy

Uber and Lyft provide liability coverage for their drives. Both companies have similar policies; the policies’ coverage varies depending on when the accident occured.

Period 0: The first period is when the driver isn’t logged into the rideshare app, this means that the driver isn’t working at the time, so the driver is not covered by their liability insurance.

Period 1: This period is when the driver is logged into the app but is not currently driving a passenger, picking one up, or dropping a passenger off. This only applies to when the driver is logged on to the app and has not accepted a ride. This period provides liability coverage for an accident that the rideshare driver is at fault for. The coverage provides up to $50,000 per person that is injured in the accident, and $100,000 for total injury liability per accident, and $25,000 for property damage that was sustained in the accident.

Period 2: In period 2, the driver has to be on their way to pick up a rider which they have accepted on the app. The liability insurance has a large increase, it increases to $1 million. Like in period 1 this coverage is when the rideshare driver is at fault.

Period 3: Period 3 and Period 2 are similar, but period 3 is when the rider is in the car, and ending at the drop-off location. This liability coverage provides up to $1 million in any damage that was caused by the accident, plus limited coverage for the property of the rideshare driver, and it provides uninsured motorists’ coverage.

Can You Sue Uber/Lyft

Since the drivers are independent contractors instead of employees, suing these companies is difficult. You can argue that the ride sharing company shares some blame for the accident, but this strategy isn’t full proof. Uber and Lyft have been trying their hardest to keep their drivers as independent contractors, they do this to avoid liability for the accident. It is unclear if they can keep using this as a defense to keep avoiding liability for accidents.
Some places like California have tried to amend this by a law called AB5, this law would classify Uber and Lyft drivers as employees, instead of independent contractors. That means the driver is entitled to things like workers compensation and the company would be fully liable for any accident that involves one of their drivers.
For most cases, suing Uber or Lyft will not be an option because they are not liable for their independent contractors. Your best option would be to file a claim with Uber and Lyft liability coverage. This will be able to cover up to 1 million dollars of compensation for riders and other cars and people who experienced any sort of damages that resulted from the accident. Your other option is to file a claim under their uninsured motorist coverage, this only applies when one does not have insurance that covers the damages done.

What Compensation will You Receive from a Rideshare Accident?

The compensation for a rideshare accident is exactly the same like any other accident. If you are the rideshare driver, a passenger in a rideshare car, the driver or third party in the accident, you may be able to receive this compensation:

  • Property Damage
  • Pain and Suffering
  • Cost of medical bill past, present, and future
  • Loss of wages
  • Life-care
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Death of a family member