Los Angeles Lyft Passenger Injury Attorney
- What Do I Do if I Am Injured While Riding in a Lyft in California?
- What Insurance Issues Are Specific to Lyft Accident Claims in California?
- How Long Do I Have to File a Lyft Accident Claim?
- What Type of Damages Can I Recover After a California Lyft Crash?
- What Are Common Types of Injuries That Happen to Lyft Passengers?
- What Are Some Common Causes of Lyft Accidents in California?
- What Is the Benefit of Hiring an Experienced Lyft Accident Attorney?
As a Los Angeles Lyft passenger injury attorney I know that the use of ride-sharing apps has skyrocketed in Los Angeles, and many residents and visitors alike are choosing Lyft to get them to their destinations. Overall, the number of people who used this service in L.A. during 2017 reached 23 million, which was double the number of riders in 2016. As the app becomes increasingly popular, it is important for riders to know what to do if the vehicle in which they are riding is involved in an accident. An experienced Los Angeles rideshare attorney may help injured riders to recover damages that sufficiently compensate them.What Do I Do if I Am Injured While Riding in a Lyft in California?
If you are riding in a car that you hailed through the ride-sharing app that has a collision, there are several things that you should do to protect yourself and your rights.Stay Calm and Conduct Injury Self-Assessment
You should begin by remaining as calm as you can. Assess yourself of any injuries that you might have, and ask for medical help. Keep in mind that some injuries may not show symptoms for hours or days after your collision, so you should err on the side of caution. You should not hesitate to seek treatment or to request transportation to the hospital by ambulance if needed.Take Photographs
If you are able to do so, take photographs of the damage to and positions of all of the vehicles that were involved. The camera on your smartphone is good enough to do this. You should not place yourself in harm’s way in an attempt to get pictures, but pictures that are taken immediately after a collision can be crucial pieces of evidence. In addition to photographing the damage and positions of the vehicles, take pictures of the license plates of all of them as well.Get the Drivers’ Information
While drivers are required to exchange information after an accident, you should also ask for the information as an injured passenger. Take pictures of your driver’s insurance card and driver’s license as well as those of the other involved drivers.Keep Your Receipt for Your Ride
Make sure that you save a copy of the receipt for your ride. You can save a digital copy, and it provides proof that you were a passenger.When Officers Respond
If officers arrive at the scene or come to the hospital, tell them what happened from your perspective. Do not deny that you were injured. Simply say that you would like to get examined by a doctor. Ask for the investigating officer’s name and badge number along with the NCIC number for the incident. In most cases, the officers will write this number down on the officers’ business cards for victims.Legal Liability Issues
If you are a passenger, you are considered to be an innocent party under California law. You should not be worried about holding fault. The legal fault will likely be with either the driver of your vehicle or the driver of the another vehicle involved in the crash. In some cases, all of the drivers will share some fault. While police reports and photographs are helpful, they are not completely determinative of legal fault. An experienced car collision lawyer understands how to analyze legal fault issues.What Insurance Issues Are Specific to Lyft Accident Claims in California?
Liability in a wreck involving a ride-sharing app driver will depend on if you were an occupant of the driver’s car and what the driver was doing at the time. If you were in a different vehicle, the driver was not carrying any passengers and was on his or her own time, the company will not be liable. In this type of case, you may recover from the driver’s own policy. The driver may carry the minimum amount of insurance that is required under California law, which might provide only $15,000 per person up to $30,000 per collision and $5,000 for property damage. Some insurance companies also offer rideshare insurance, which is a type of gap insurance that is available to rideshare drivers, but it is not required.
If the rideshare driver was on the app but was not transporting passengers at the time of the wreck, the company has contingent liability insurance available. This insurance provides coverage to the extent that the rideshare driver’s personal insurance does not up to $50,000 for injuries and $25,000 for property damage.
If the rideshare driver was actively carrying you on your ride when the wreck happened, the company has commercial insurance that offers protection for up to $1 million per person or up to a maximum of $2 million per collision.
In addition to the rideshare driver, you may also need to file a claim with the insurance company of the other driver. If that driver was not insured, you may need to file a claim with your own auto insurance for your uninsured or underinsured motorists coverage as we have discussed before.
Attorneys who are familiar with collision claims involving Lyft or Uber are normally best suited to analyze how much your claim might be worth and with which companies it should be filed. Within a few days, you will likely be contacted by a representative from the rideshare company as well as representatives of the other insurance companies. It is important that you understand that these representatives do not have your best interests at heart and are instead tasked with minimizing the amounts that their companies might be forced to pay.How Long Do I Have to File a Lyft Accident Claim?
Technically, you have two years from the date of the incident to file a lawsuit or demand arbitration under the California Statute of Limitations. You would not want to wait this long to make a determination to file suit or demand arbitration. You always want to obtain as much information as possible immediately following the lawsuit, hire expert legal counsel, and try to resolve the case without the need for formal litigation. All of this takes time and can't be done until medical treatment has completed. This makes it crucial to seek out expert legal advice as soon as possible.What Type of Damages Can I Recover After a California Lyft Crash?
In California, if you're involved in a Lyft rideshare accident, you may be entitled to recover various types of damages, depending on the circumstances of your case. These damages typically include:
- Medical Expenses: Compensation for medical bills incurred due to injuries from the accident. This includes hospital stays, surgeries, medication costs, physical therapy, and any future medical care related to the injuries.
- Lost Wages: If the accident led to time away from work, you could recover lost wages. This also covers loss of earning capacity if the injuries impact your ability to work in the future.
- Property Damage: Compensation for repair or replacement of any personal property damaged in the accident, such as your vehicle or personal belongings.
- Pain and Suffering: This covers physical pain and emotional distress suffered due to the accident and the resulting injuries. It's a non-economic damage and can vary significantly in amount.
- Loss of Enjoyment of Life: If the injuries affect your ability to enjoy daily activities and hobbies, you might be compensated for this loss.
- Punitive Damages: In cases where the Lyft driver's behavior was especially reckless or egregious, punitive damages might be awarded. These are intended to punish the wrongdoer and deter similar conduct in the future.
- Wrongful Death Damages: If the accident resulted in a fatality, the deceased's family might be entitled to damages, including funeral and burial costs, loss of companionship, and loss of future income and support.
The specific damages you can recover will depend on various factors, including the severity of your injuries, the circumstances of the accident, and the insurance policies involved. It's advisable to consult with a personal injury attorney who can evaluate your case and guide you through the legal process to recover the compensation you deserve.What Are Common Types of Injuries That Happen to Lyft Passengers?
In Lyft accidents, similar to other types of vehicle accidents, passengers and drivers can sustain a variety of injuries. The most common types of injuries in such accidents include:
- Whiplash and Neck Injuries: These are common in rear-end collisions. The sudden movement of the head and neck can cause soft tissue damage, leading to pain and stiffness.
- Head Injuries and Concussions: Impact with parts of the vehicle or loose objects can cause head injuries. Concussions, a mild form of traumatic brain injury, are common and can have lasting effects.
- Broken Bones: The force of a collision can easily break bones, particularly in the arms, legs, ribs, and pelvis.
- Lacerations and Bruises: Broken glass or metal can cause cuts, while the impact can cause significant bruising.
- Back and Spinal Cord Injuries: These can range from herniated discs to more severe spinal cord damage, potentially leading to paralysis or other long-term disabilities.
- Internal Injuries: The impact can cause internal bleeding or damage to organs, which might not be immediately apparent after the accident.
- Psychological Trauma: Beyond physical injuries, individuals involved in Lyft accidents can experience psychological distress, such as anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and depression.
- Soft Tissue Injuries: Injuries to muscles, tendons, and ligaments, often in the back or neck, can cause long-term pain and discomfort.
- Knee and Shoulder Injuries: The sudden impact can cause passengers to strike the vehicle’s interior, leading to knee injuries like torn menisci or shoulder injuries like rotator cuff tears.
It's important for anyone involved in a Lyft accident to seek medical attention immediately, even if they don't feel hurt right away. Some injuries, especially internal ones, may not be immediately apparent. Additionally, a medical record starting from right after the accident can be crucial in any legal claim for compensation.What Are Some Common Causes of Lyft Accidents in California?
Lyft rideshare accidents, like other vehicular accidents, can occur due to a variety of reasons. Some of the top causes of these accidents include:
- Distracted Driving: This is one of the most common causes of road accidents in general. Drivers may be distracted by their phones, navigation systems, passengers, or other activities that take their attention away from the road.
- Speeding: Exceeding speed limits or driving too fast for road conditions can lead to accidents, as it reduces the driver's ability to react to changes or hazards on the road.
- Driver Fatigue: Rideshare drivers often work long hours, and fatigue can impair reaction times and decision-making abilities, increasing the risk of accidents.
- Driving Under the Influence: Accidents can occur if the Lyft driver or other drivers on the road are under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or certain medications.
- Poor Weather Conditions: Rain, fog, snow, and ice can all lead to hazardous road conditions, making accidents more likely.
- Inexperienced Drivers: Some Lyft drivers might not have extensive driving experience, leading to mistakes or poor judgment on the road.
- Mechanical Failures: Vehicle malfunctions, such as brake failures or tire blowouts, can cause accidents. Regular maintenance is important to minimize this risk.
- Violating Traffic Laws: Running red lights, illegal turns, improper lane changes, and other traffic law violations can lead to collisions.
- Road Conditions: Potholes, poorly marked roads, lack of signage, and construction zones can contribute to accidents.
- Other Drivers' Actions: Even if a Lyft driver is operating safely, the actions of other motorists can lead to accidents, such as being hit by a driver who is speeding or distracted.
It's important to note that in the event of an accident involving a rideshare vehicle, determining liability can be complex due to the involvement of multiple parties, including the rideshare company, the driver, and potentially other motorists. Hence, legal consultation is often advisable in such situations.What Is the Benefit of Hiring an Experienced Lyft Accident Attorney?
If you have been injured in a wreck involving a rideshare driver either as an occupant of his or her vehicle or as an occupant of another, it is important that you remain calm, take photographs and get medical help. The insurance and other issues may be complex in accidents involving rideshare drivers, making it important that you get help from a personal injury lawyer who is experienced in handling claims involving rideshare drivers as soon as possible. Contact our office today to schedule your consultation.