Uber/Lyft Accident Lawyer: Los Angeles & Nationwide
Rideshare drivers for companies like Uber and Lyft are everywhere in the modern era. They have rapidly overtaken yellow taxis in many cities, including Los Angeles. The barrier to entry, however, for becoming a rideshare driver is significantly lower than the traditional path to becoming a taxi, limousine, or bus driver. Every year, thousands of people are injured by negligent Uber and Lyft drivers. If you were injured by a negligent rideshare driver, it’s vital that you understand your rights and secure legal advice and representation from a qualified California auto accident attorney. The Morris Law Firm is ready to help.
Who is Liable After an Uber/Lyft Accident?
The first step in determining liability for an accident with an Uber or Lyft driver is the same as with any other auto accident: Establish fault. If the rideshare driver caused the accident by their negligence, then either the driver, the rideshare company or both will be liable for the accident. Negligence can be based on many different actions, such as:
- Texting or other distracted driving behaviors
- Driving while drunk
- Driving while high on cannabis or other drugs
- Failing to adjust driving according to weather or road conditions
- Aggressive driving maneuvers like passing on the shoulder
- Running a stop sign or stoplight
- Any other negligent driving conduct
After establishing that an Uber or Lyft driver was negligent and that their negligence contributed to the accident, the next question to address is whether the rideshare company is liable for the conduct of the driver. Rideshare companies typically have much deeper pockets and much more extensive insurance coverage than do individual drivers. Individual drivers might not have the resources to fully compensate accident victims for their medical bills and other damages.
The precise legal answer is tricky: Uber and Lyft claim that their drivers are “independent contractors,” rather than employees, which they would argue should absolve them of liability for the actions of drivers. However, regardless of such arguments, Uber and Lyft do carry insurance to cover their drivers, which we discuss below.
Uber and Lyft Insurance Policies for Drivers
Uber and Lyft do not readily admit their liability. They do, however, carry hefty insurance policies on behalf of their drivers. Whether the policy covers a given accident, and the amount of coverage available, depends in turn on the period in which the accident occurs. Drivers who crash on their own time are left with their own insurance coverage while drivers who crash while actively transporting a passenger are given the most extensive insurance coverage by the rideshare companies.
The “periods” of time for insurance coverage by Uber and Lyft are as follows:
- The app is off. If the app is off, Uber and Lyft provide no insurance coverage. The driver’s own personal auto insurance will cover the accident, and the rideshare company will disclaim any liability.
- The app is on and the driver is waiting for a rideshare request. If the driver is logged into the app but has yet to accept a fare, Uber and Lyft provide a middle level of insurance coverage. This insurance is meant to kick in only if the driver’s personal insurance coverage does not cover the crash (for example, if their personal policy excludes “commercial” driving and the insurer decides that waiting for a fare constitutes commercial driving activities). Uber and Lyft carry the same level of insurance for this middle period:
- $50,000 for bodily injury per person
- $100,000 for bodily injury per accident
- $25,000 for property damage per accident
- The driver is en route to pick up a passenger or is already on a trip. Once the driver accepts a fare, even before they pick up the passenger, Uber and Lyft offer much more comprehensive third-party liability coverage. The driver will be covered for up to $1,000,000 in third-party liability and will have uninsured/underinsured motorist bodily injury coverage as well as contingent comprehensive & collision coverage for damage to the rideshare driver’s vehicle.
Call Morris Law Firm After a Rideshare Accident Injury in Los Angeles or Southern California
There are a thousand ways to be injured in a motor vehicle accident, and each case is unique. We understand that every injured victim deserves individual attention and care. Contact our Los Angeles rideshare injury attorney today to evaluate your unique auto injury claim. Morris Law Firm will give you a personalized evaluation and help you figure out your legal rights and next steps.
Call us today at 747-283-1144 for a fast response or fill out our online contact form to schedule your free consultation.