Who Is Responsible for Uber or Lyft Accidents in California?

Many people have heard of Uber and Lyft’s $1 million insurance policy and think that they will be covered by it in case they are injured in an accident involving these companies. However, it is often much more complicated than people think it is to recover fair compensation following a rideshare accident. 

Common Causes of Rideshare Accidents

California is an at-fault state for car accidents. This means that the party who is responsible for causing the accident is also responsible for paying for the victim’s damages, typically through their insurance carrier. Rideshare drivers may be more likely to be involved in accidents due to factors such as:

  • Speeding – Rideshare drivers are paid by the trip, so they may try to clock as many rides as possible to get more money. 
  • Distracted driving – Rideshare drivers may constantly be looking at their phones for additional ride requests or directions.
  • Fatigue – Drivers may be tired due to working as a rideshare driver as a second job.
  • Lack of experience – Rideshare companies often have minimal requirements to hire drivers, such as one year of driving experience. 

If the rideshare driver caused the accident, you can file a claim with their insurance carrier. If another driver caused the accident, you would file a claim against that driver’s insurance policy. 

Insurance Coverage for Rideshare Drivers

California law requires transportation network companies like Uber and Lyft to maintain commercial liability coverage of $1 million per accident. However, different policy limits apply depending on the driver’s status at the time of the accident as follows:

  • Not logged onto the app – Only the driver’s personal liability coverage would apply. The minimum amount of liability coverage in California is $15,000 for bodily injury, $30,000 for bodily injury per accident where two or more people are injured, and $5,000 in property damage.
  • Logged onto the app and waiting for a passenger – Liability coverage of $50,000 per individual, $100,000 per accident, and $30,000 property damage would apply.
  • En route to pick up a passenger or a rideshare passenger in the vehicle – The $1 million commercial liability policy would be in effect. $1 million uninsured/underinsured insurance coverage would also be in effect.

Potential Damages in Rideshare Accidents

The amount of compensation you can receive after a rideshare accident is directly related to the damages you suffered, which might include:

  • Medical expenses, past and future
  • Lost wages 
  • Reduced earning capacity 
  • Pain and suffering
  • Property damage 

What to Do After a Rideshare Accident

To maximize your odds of a successful claim after an accident caused by a rideshare driver, follow these steps:

  • Report the accident – Even if the driver asks you not to report the accident, report it anyway. This is the best way to show the accident happened and to get an objective report about the factors that may have contributed to the crash.  
  • Seek medical treatment – If you suffered any injuries, get immediate medical treatment. Keep in mind that shock and adrenaline can sometimes mask symptoms of injury, so be on the lookout for symptoms that pop up a few days after the accident. 
  • Report the accident on the app – Report the accident to the rideshare company. The company may be able to tell you which insurance policy applies and how to make a claim.

Finally, contact an experienced rideshare accident lawyer from Aitken * Aitken * Cohn. Our experienced Orange County rideshare accident lawyers can pursue maximum compensation for the injuries you have suffered. We provide a free case review to explain your legal options.