Similarities and Differences Between Car Accidents and Lyft Accidents

Woman Using rideshare App While Sitting In CarUnlike regular car crashes, Lyft accidents involve the company itself, making the legal proceedings much more complex. 

This means that the victim may need to file with Lyft’s insurance instead of the driver’s, or possibly the insurance companies of both parties. 

Ultimately, rideshare accidents are different from standard car accidents, so injured victims must understand these differences, so that the best San Jose Lyft accident lawyer represents them.




How a Lyft Accident Lawyer Can Help After a Rideshare Accident

experienced lawyer working on wrongful death suits from someone else's negligence in hopes of winning a wrongful death case at desk in officeRideshare accident attorneys understand the unique challenges that often follow an Uber or Lyft accident. This is why it is vital to ensure an attorney does not just specialize in car accidents, but rideshare accidents, specifically. Here are the benefits they provide:

  • Independent Investigation: By conducting a separate investigation from the police and the insurance company, new opportunities to prove fault are presented, such as overlooked evidence. Investigations are not as extensive for a regular car accident.
  • Maximized Settlement: A fair and full settlement can be obtained through aggressive negotiation, protecting clients’ rights from insurance companies that would otherwise try to minimize their compensation. Additionally, these cases often deal with multiple insurance agencies, as more than one party can be liable for damages. 
  • Recovery for All Damages: In addition to economic damages, like medical bills or lost wages, victims are also entitled to non-economic damages. This includes physical or emotional pain and suffering–all of which an attorney can build a case around.
  • Prove Liability: These types of car accidents are inherently complicated, as multiple parties (Uber/Lyft driver, rideshare company, or any other third party) are involved. This requires the expertise of a law firm with the resources to establish which, if not all, parties are liable.
  • Court Representation: The goal is to get victims fully compensated. When insurance companies do not play fairly, a personal injury lawsuit will be filed, and the case will be tried before a judge and jury. Large ridesharing companies are backed with ample resources and their own legal team. Unlike a smaller car accident, a court case involving Uber or Lyft will require an experienced legal team to level the playing field. 

A car accident lawyer who has less, if any, experience handling rideshare accidents will be less familiar with the processes and procedures of filing an accident claim with Uber and Lyft. 


What Is Ridesharing?

Crowded vehicle traffic and the only motorcycle in AmericaRidesharing is considered a transportation network company (TNC), connecting passengers with Uber and Lyft drivers through a mobile application. These drivers utilize their personal vehicles for rides and base the ride fare on an agreed-upon amount set forth by the TNC. 

Unlike a traditional taxi or ride-hailing service, Uber and Lyft hire contracted drivers instead of permanent employees. This subtle difference carries major consequences when a car accident happens.

Uber and Lyft drivers are required to carry their own auto insurance coverage. However, it is not always sufficient enough to cover the full extent of damages. This is why some states enforced laws requiring ridesharing companies to maintain robust liability coverage.



How Insurance Coverage Varies for Uber/Lyft Accidents Versus Car Accidents

monitor screen with the mouse hovering over a file that says "claim"Like other motor vehicle accidents, the at-fault party will be liable for damages. However, in an Uber/ Lyft accident, it is more complicated to determine who is actually at fault. 

Uber and Lyft possess similar insurance policies, and based on the circumstances of the collision, the rideshare companies or their contracted drivers may be liable for damages. Here is how insurance works after a rideshare accident.

Period 0

When an Uber or Lyft driver is offline and the application is not running during a collision, only the driver’s personal auto coverage can be used. This applies to both present passengers and the driver of another vehicle who was injured in the crash. 

California laws enforce that a contracted driver’s insurance policy must meet the minimum requirements of:

  • $15,000 bodily injury per injured person
  • $30,000 bodily injury total per accident
  • $5,000 property damage per accident

Period 1

When the Uber or Lyft driver is online and the application is running but a ride has not been accepted, liability coverage can fall on the insurance company of both the driver and the rideshare company.

Under certain circumstances, rideshare companies may offer limited coverage to supplement their drivers’ personal insurance if the damages exceed the policy limit. Generally, coverage includes:

  • $50,000 bodily injury per injured person
  • $100,000 bodily injury total per accident
  • $30,000 property damage per accident

Period 2 and Period 3

Once a rideshare driver is paired with a passenger (Period 2) and present in the vehicle (Period 3), Uber and Lyft assume the responsibility for a comprehensive $1 million liability insurance policy. 

The million-dollar policy applies to active trips and provides coverage per rideshare accident for bodily injury and up to $250,000 for property damage. 

This covers both the Lyft/Uber driver and their passengers, offering financial protection from the moment of passenger assignment until the end of the trip.


How a Lyft/Uber Accident Lawyer Proves Liability and Maximizes Compensation

personal injury claimsIt is an important (and often complicated) process to determine which insurance company will accept fault, as the rideshare driver or Uber/Lyft could be guilty of negligence in an accident.

California is an at-fault state, meaning that all parties who caused the Uber and Lyft accident can be responsible for damages.

Experienced San Jose Lyft/Uber accident lawyers will conduct a thorough investigation to determine if the rideshare company, the contracted driver, or a third party is liable for the accident.

Maximizing compensation is contingent on proving who was at fault. Because Uber and Lyft liability coverage is only applicable under specific circumstances, it is vital to work with an attorney who can prove fault.

Damages That Can Be Recovered

Once the at-fault party is identified, a claim seeking damages can be filed with the liable party’s insurance company. The losses that can be recovered include the following:

  • Current medical bills
  • Future medical costs
  • Lost wages
  • Loss of future earnings
  • Physical and emotional pain and suffering
  • Property damage

This is not an exhaustive list and instead is intended to offer the most common examples of various types of economic damages and non-economic damages that can be recovered through a successful Lyft accident lawsuit.

Ultimately, an affected victim can recover losses that were a result of the Uber or Lyft accident. 


Can I Sue Uber or Lyft?

Dictionary, definition of the word lawsuit.In short, yes. However, the case falls within specific circumstances, all of which Uber/Lyft accident attorneys can confirm. Here’s a breakdown of the process.

1. Determine Fault

The first step is to establish who caused the accident. Although it may seem apparent, Uber and Lyft accidents are not so black and white.

This typically involves an investigation by law enforcement and insurance companies. The party deemed “at fault” will be liable for any damages incurred.

In addition to this, it must be proven the Uber or Lyft driver was on the clock and logged into the app to qualify for the ridesharing company’s coverage.

2. Identify the Applicable Insurance

One or multiple parties can be held liable for damages, which is what makes Uber accidents and Lyft accidents more difficult than regular car crashes. The varying insurance providers involved may include:

  • Rideshare Driver’s Personal Insurance: If the Lyft/Uber driver was at fault and was not logged into the app, their policy would cover damages. Although California law requires that drivers carry a certain coverage amount, if the damages exceed the maximum amount, the victim may be left in a financial deficit.
  • Rideshare Company’s Insurance: Uber and Lyft carry their own insurance policies that cover damages sustained by injured passengers, as a result of an accident caused by their contracted drivers. While these rideshare companies possess a policy limit of up to $1 million, this coverage is only applied to supplement the at-fault party’s insurance once it is exhausted.
  • Third Party’s Insurance: Some Uber and Lyft accidents are a result of another driver, not the rideshare driver. If the other driver is at fault, then that individual’s insurance will be responsible for damages.

3. File the Claim

If the contracted driver was at fault and his or her personal insurance does not cover the accident, a claim can be directly filed with the rideshare company’s insurance provider. 

To protect injured passengers, California law mandates that ridesharing companies hold up to $1 million in liability coverage. However, the Uber/Lyft driver must have been logged into the app at the time of the car accident.

Navigating the intricacies of rideshare accident claims is more complex than a car accident claim. Consider seeking legal counsel from experienced San Jose Lyft accident lawyers, privy to handling these types of cases.


Contact a San Jose Uber and Lyft Accident Lawyer for Guidance

San Jose Downtown and Car Light Trails on California State Route 87 during the Blue Hour. San Jose, California, USA.Rideshare accident laws are constantly evolving, making it crucial to seek legal counsel as soon as possible. Additionally, the process is very different from a car accident case and cannot be treated the same way.

Let Valley Accident Attorneys specializes in accidents involving Lyft and Uber. Our rideshare accident attorneys can handle the legal complexities of your case and get you the compensation you deserve.

Contact us today for a free consultation so that we may begin discussing your case and answer any questions you may have.

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