Uber and Lyft Driver Injury
As Los Angeles Uber and Lyft driver injury attorneys, we know that the Uber and Lyft apps offer a great way for people to supplement their incomes. When you are approved to be a driver, you are able to make extra money by picking up people who use the ride-share app. At the same time, being an Uber or Lyft driver means that you will spend more time on the road. The more that you drive, the greater the chance that you have of being involved in an accident. When an Uber or Lyft driver is injured in an accident, there are multiple liability and insurance issues that may come into play. An experienced Los Angeles personal injury attorney may help to sort out the insurance issues and to assert all of the claims that are available to you so that you can maximize the compensation that you might receive after a crash.Liability Issues in Accidents That Injure Uber or Lyft Drivers
If you were not at fault in your accident and you were injured or your car was damaged, you will be able to file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. If you shared some fault for the accident, comparative negligence rules will apply. California is a pure comparative fault state. This means that a plaintiff who shares fault for his or her accident will have his or her damages reduced by the percentage of fault that he or she had. For example, if you are determined to have been 20 percent at fault, your damages will be reduced by 20 percent. Insurance companies often argue about liability in an effort to try to place at least a portion of the fault on the injured victims. They do this in order to try to reduce the amounts that they will ultimately be forced to pay. Because insurance companies are always looking for excuses not to pay, it is always best to get a lawyer retained as soon as possible after the accident to act as a buffer and legal advocate with any insurance representatives.Insurance Issues Particular to Uber/Lyft Driver Claims
If you were driving around without your app engaged, your personal auto insurance coverage may cover you. However, many insurance companies attempt to deny coverage for whatever reason they can. They sometimes argue that Uber drivers were using their vehicles for commercial purposes in an attempt to deny coverage. It is important for you to avoid providing recorded statements to your insurance company about what happened in your accident. The insurance adjusters try to get people to make statements that the companies can use against them in their claims. Instead, simply tell the company when you are contacted that you want to talk to a lawyer before you will be willing to give any statements.Overview of Coverage Periods
Period 1: Driver has the app “on” and is waiting for a request. Uber and Lyft provide no collision coverage (i.e. for damage to your vehicle) during this stage, and limited liability coverage (for injury to a passenger or other people involved in the wreck) — up to $50,00 for bodily injury with a total of $100,000 per accident.
Period 2: Driver has app “on” and has accepted a request or is on the way to a pick up a passenger. Uber and Lyft provide both liability and collision coverage during this stage but, collision insurance comes with a $1,000 deductible for Uber, and a $2,500 deductible for Lyft.
Period 3: Driver has a passenger in the car. Uber and Lyft assume the same liability and collision coverage as period 2.
If you were carrying a passenger or if you had your app engaged without a passenger being in your vehicle, your personal auto insurance coverage will not cover you unless you have also purchased an insurance policy that is specific to rideshare situations or if you are using the driver injury protection plan from Uber (a new program that offers drivers additional personal injury protection). The company has partnered with Farmers Insurance to provide third-party liability coverage in rideshare accidents while you are on duty. Rideshare policies and the Uber driver injury protection plan may also provide coverage if you are injured in an accident with a driver who had no insurance or who had a very low policy limit (Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage). (NOTE: If you click on the “Rideshare policies” link above, it will take you to an overview of the many major auto insurance carriers that are offering coverage to Uber and Lyft drivers).Workers’ Compensation or Employment Claims
It is unsettled in California whether Uber and Lyft drivers are employees or independent contractors for purposes of workers’ compensation and employment claims. It is possible for you to assert workers’ compensation or employment claims against the company with proper legal representation. This may provide you with an additional source of recovery. In 2014, an Uber driver sued Uber for reimbursement of her business expenses. Uber argued that she was an independent contractor, but the Labor Commission disagreed and awarded her $4,000 in expenses plus interest. The decision in her case does not necessarily apply to all Uber or Lyft drivers, however. The claims are evaluated on a per-driver basis, which means it may or may not be possible to prevail on employment claims and workers’ compensation claims for benefits following an injury accident while you are driving for Uber but, it is certaintly more likely to for a driver to prevail on these types of claims with a skilled lawyer representing their interests.Contact Los Angeles Uber Driver Injury Attorneys
There are many complex legal issues that are involved when an Uber driver is injured in an accident in California. If you have been injured and are an Uber driver, you may need legal help. It is always best for you to retain an attorney who can properly advise you about your potential rights. Your attorney may work to identify all potential sources of recovery and all of the claims that are available to you in an effort to secure the maximum compensation for your losses. Contact our law firm today to schedule your free consultation so that you can learn more about your case.