Ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft have become major players in the transportation industry in places like California. With this increase in usage, there have also been increased incidents of accidents involving these rideshare vehicles. If you are involved in an accident while using Uber or Lyft, or if one of these vehicles causes an accident that impacts you, you may be wondering about the process for injury claims.
Here’s an overview of how injury claims work with Uber and Lyft in California:
- Insurance Coverage:
- Primary vs. Contingent: Uber and Lyft provide primary insurance coverage when a driver has a passenger or is on the way to pick one up. If the driver is just logged into the app without a passenger or without accepting a ride, their personal insurance is primary. The rideshare’s coverage acts as contingent if the driver’s personal insurance doesn’t cover it.
- Uninsured/Underinsured Coverage: This is crucial if another driver is at fault but doesn’t have adequate insurance. The $1 million coverage by Uber/Lyft can help fill this gap.
- Immediate Steps After the Accident:
- Ensure everyone is safe and out of harm’s way.
- Call 911 if there are injuries or significant damages.
- It’s essential not to admit fault at the scene. Facts and liability can be sorted out later.
- Document Everything:
- Detailed notes can be helpful. Jot down your recollection of the events leading up to, during, and after the accident.
- If safe, take pictures from different angles, focusing on road signs, intersections, and vehicle positions.
- Collect contact details of passengers, if any, in the rideshare vehicle. Their testimony could be crucial.
- Reporting the Accident:
- Inform local law enforcement. This ensures there’s an official record of the accident, which can be invaluable when filing a claim.
- Notify your personal insurance company about the accident, even if you believe you won’t file a claim with them.
- Contact an Attorney:
- An experienced attorney can help you understand your rights, advise on communication with insurance companies, and potentially increase your compensation.
- They can also ensure that all necessary documents are collected and filed, and that you meet all legal deadlines.
- Dealing with Insurance:
- Remember, insurance companies aim to minimize payouts. Always be cautious in your communications with them, and avoid signing any documents without your attorney’s review.
- Determining Liability:
- This is the cornerstone of your claim. The responsible party will be liable for damages. In some cases, both the rideshare driver and another party could share the responsibility. California follows a “comparative negligence” rule, meaning damages can be reduced by the percentage of fault attributed to each party.
- Potential Compensation:
- Other than immediate medical expenses, you could be compensated for future medical costs, therapy, rehabilitation, lost earning potential, and even psychological distress.
- Settlement or Lawsuit:
- Many rideshare companies might push for out-of-court settlements to avoid bad publicity. While settlements can be quicker, ensuring you get a fair amount is vital.
- Time Limit to File:
- The two-year statute of limitations can have exceptions. For instance, if the injury wasn’t detected immediately, the clock might start from the date of discovery. Conversely, if the claim is against a governmental entity, you might have only a few months to file a claim.
When navigating such a complex landscape, especially during a stressful time after an accident, having legal representation ensures your rights are protected and increases the likelihood of a favorable outcome. For more information on Uber and Lyft accident claims in California, go to our related pages here: