Ridesharing companies identified a problem in the transportation market and offered a simple solution. Instead of paying money to schedule a cab in advance or wasting time trying to flag one down, people wanting a ride can connect with a driver willing to take them to their destination. All one has to do is access an app on his or her phone, and within minutes he or she can be on the road. Companies like Uber and Lyft have taken advantage of this new market, and it is pretty hard to find a modern adult who does not have one of these companies’ apps on his or her phone.
One question that most people do not consider when ridesharing deals with car accident liability. If you are involved in a rideshare accident and suffer a serious injury, whose insurance company do you contact and which parties are open to a personal injury suit?
Car Accident Fault in California
California legislators have done an excellent job creating laws that govern rideshare accidents. The first thing to understand is that California operates under a traditional fault or tort liability system. This means that after an accident, the responsible party is held accountable for damages. Because the state uses tort liability in auto-accidents, and a person can file a claim directly against the negligent party, all rideshare drivers are required to have auto-insurance. If a person’s case goes beyond an insurance claim and heads to legal proceedings, then pure comparative negligence would be the system used to govern the case.
If a person is a passenger in an Uber/Lyft at the time of the accident and another driver is at fault, then he or she would file a claim with the at-fault party’s insurance provider. If a person is driving his or her own vehicle and is involved in an accident with an Uber/Lyft driver, it is also important to determine who is responsible for the collision. If the Uber/Lyft driver is at fault, then he or she should file a claim with the driver’s insurance provider. If the other driver is held responsible for the accident, then he or she would turn to the insurance coverage to help cover the costs.
When a pedestrian is hit by an Uber/Lyft driver and the driver is at fault, the injured party can file a claim under the company’s insurance coverage. If a settlement is not reached, then he or she can also file a suit against the company.
Surviving the Legal Process After a Rideshare Accident
When involved in a rideshare accident, a person may be inclined to let his or her Uber/Lyft driver handle any legal matters. However, if that person has suffered an injury and needs financial assistance, he or she should retain the services of a qualified attorney who will know state requirements for rideshare accidents.
For example, a personal injury attorney will know that Uber and Lyft are required to provide their drivers with $1 million in liability insurance per incident and $1 million in uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage per accident. They will also be up-to-date on other California regulations that apply to rideshare companies. If you have been involved in a rideshare accident and live in Chino Hills or the Los Angeles area, you should contact The Paris Firm and have one of our experienced attorneys examine your case and make sure that you are treated fairly by the insurance company or opposing counsel.