Businesses engaged in gig and sharing economies have taken off in the last decade.
And companies like Uber, Lyft, and other ridesharing ventures have become popular ways for individuals to get from point A to point B.
But with innovations like ridesharing come new legal questions.
What happens when you are in an accident caused by someone driving for a ridesharing business? It is best to speak to a ridesharing accident lawyer Sherman Oaks about this issue.
Our successful auto accident attorneys at Starpoint Law can answer this question and help you recover the compensation you deserve for your collision-related injuries.
What to Do Immediately After an Accident
There are several options for resolving the aftermath of a car crash with a ridesharing driver.
But regardless of how you choose to address your financial losses and injuries with the at-fault driver, you need to take several actions at the scene of the accident (and immediately after) to help ensure the best outcome.
After a car crash, you should do the following:
- Call the police or California Highway Patrol (CHP) to report the accident;
- Take pictures;
- Gather witness contact information;
- Take detailed notes about what occurred leading up to, during, and immediately after the accident;
- Seek medical attention, even for minor symptoms;
- Collect the insurance information from the drivers involved;
- Save ride confirmation notifications from the ridesharing business;
- Complete a DMV Report of Traffic Accident Occurring in California (SR 1) within 10 days (if there is injury or more than $1000 of damage);
- Obtain a copy of the police or CHP report for the accident; and
- Keep all receipts, invoices, and medical reports related to the accident.
Taking the actions above can help make sure that you have the best evidence to prove your case and receive just compensation.
You should take all the documents and information we listed to an experienced ridesharing accident lawyer in Ventura so they can begin the process of recouping your losses.
Who Is Responsible for My Ridesharing Accident Losses?
Rideshare drivers hold a unique position that is currently in flux in California. And the status of drivers working for ridesharing businesses can make addressing collision aftermath complex.
Companies like Lyft and Uber initially designated their drivers as independent contractors, meaning the ridesharing businesses were likely not responsible for damages caused by their drivers.
Then, the State of California passed Assembly Bill 5 (AB 5), which mandated that a business classify its workers as employees if it cannot satisfy the three prongs of the state’s independent contractor test.
The test under AB 5 suggests that ridesharing drivers are employees and that their work-related mishaps are the responsibility of their employers.
But, Proposition 22 was also passed in California, and it is a law that exempts ridesharing companies from having to classify their drivers as employees.
A California court has struck down Proposition 22 as unconstitutional, but the decision is on appeal, and Proposition 22’s exemptions currently apply.
At this time, ridesharing drivers can still be identified as independent contractors.
Making an Insurance Claim
Often, the best course of action for recovering damages after a collision is to make a claim on the at-fault driver’s auto insurance and only move to litigation if you cannot settle with the insurance company.
Because of the ridesharing business model, making an auto insurance claim can be tricky.
Ridesharing involves individuals using their personal cars to transport customers of the ridesharing business.
In many cases, a rideshare driver’s personal insurance will refuse to pay for the losses of someone injured during a ridesharing encounter because ridesharing is an uncovered commercial activity.
However, the California Department of Insurance has encouraged and approved personal auto insurance policies that provide coverage for accidents that occur before a policyholder matches with a rideshare passenger.
After a crash occurs, you can make a claim on the driver’s personal auto insurance.
If the personal auto insurance carrier denies your claim, a skilled ridesharing accident lawyer in Sherman Oaks can determine whether the personal carrier should cover your claim or whether it is the responsibility of the ridesharing business.
Sometimes the Ridesharing Business Is Responsible
Regardless of the questions about whether a rideshare driver is an employee, Uber and Lyft offer insurance coverage for some individuals injured by one of their drivers.
There is no Uber or Lyft coverage for those injured while a driver’s rideshare app is off, but there are two tiers of coverage if an at-fault driver’s ridesharing app is on.
If a rideshare app is on and a driver causes an accident while waiting for a ride request, you can receive the following coverage from Lyft or Uber:
- Up to $50,000 for each individual’s bodily injury,
- Up to $100,000 for all bodily injuries per accident, and
- Up to $25,000 for all property damage per accident.
If a rideshare driver causes a crash while carrying a passenger or traveling to pick up a passenger, Lyft and Uber carry up to $1,000,000 in third-party liability coverage.
Speak to a ridesharing accident lawyer Sherman Oaks to determine if you have access to coverage under either company’s insurance policies.
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Sometimes Litigation Is Your Best Option
As you can see, seeking compensation from a rideshare driver who causes you harm can be a complicated undertaking.
If you cannot come to a consensus with the insurance carrier for the driver or the ridesharing company, it may be time to litigate.
You have two years to initiate a car accident lawsuit.
This is a short amount of time to start legal action when you are dealing with the aftermath of a collision, so it is best to hire an attorney to handle your litigation needs while you heal.
Our Attorneys Are Ready to Help
At Starpoint Law, our rideshare accident attorneys are experienced, strategic, and effective.
We have recovered millions on behalf of victims of auto accidents, and we make a point to stay in constant communication with our clients to ensure their specific needs are met.
We have a stellar reputation in the California legal community—we have not lost a case yet.
Please call us at 310-340-2981 or reach out to us online to set up a consultation.