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Ridesharing services such as Uber and Lyft provide a convenient and relatively affordable alternative to public transportation. These services remove all the stress and responsibility of driving so that you can relax and enjoy a fun night out. Having the option of riding in a comfortable vehicle to the destination of your choice at any time is one that many in the Bakersfield area are fully taking advantage of. 

However, an unintended consequence of this cultural shift is that there are now more cars on the road in Bakersfield than ever. Naturally, the risk of being involved in a collision has greatly increased, especially when some ridesharing drivers engage in reckless behaviors, such as speeding or driving while under the influence. 

Ridesharing accidents are becoming more common, which has left many pondering a very important question: who is liable in the event of an accident while riding in an Uber or Lyft?

Despite their convenience, accidents happen. And it’s important to understand your rights in the event of an Uber or Lyft accident. Please don’t hesitate to contact our Bakersfield Uber/Lyft accident attorneys 24/7 at (661) 347-3610 or feel free to email us at [email protected] to schedule a free consultation with our experienced, caring and compassionate legal team. These types of claims are notoriously complex, especially with the passing of Senate Bill AB-5. 

At West Coast Trial Lawyers, we are always here to answer any questions you may have about ridesharing injury claims and damages you may be entitled to.

I Was Hurt In An Uber/Lyft Accident

First and foremost, there are legal options you can resort to if you were injured in an Uber/Lyft related accident. If you suffered injuries as a passenger in an Uber or Lyft accident, you are covered by their commercial liability coverage. Furthermore, you are entitled to file a claim against Uber/Lyft if you were injured as a result of a rideshare driver. 

Fortunately, these companies have an infamous $1 million commercial policy. For example, if your damages exceed the drivers’ personal insurance coverage, then Uber/Lyft’s commercial policy may cover the difference. In addition, if responsibility for the accident was in the hands of another driver, you may file a claim against the at-fault driver. 

However, in the event that the driver who caused your injuries and financial losses was uninsured or underinsured, Uber/Lyft’s UM/UIM policy will generally cover your damages up to $1 million per accident.

When The Uber/Lyft Driver Is Responsible

No one expects to be involved in an Uber or Lyft accident. However, if an Uber/Lyft driver injures someone, the injured party will be able to file a personal injury claim against the responsible driver. 

Liability will depend on whether or not the rideshare driver: 

  • Has the app turned on and is waiting to pick up a passenger.
  • Does not have a passenger in the car and does not have the app turned on.
  • Is transporting a passenger or is on the way to pick someone up.

Let’s analyze this information. If a driver has the app turned off, any accidents they are involved in will be treated like a normal car accident. This means that insurance coverage is strictly limited to the rideshare driver's personal insurance coverage. In other words, being involved in an accident with a ridesharing driver who has the app turned off is just like being involved in an accident with any driver. In these cases, Uber and Lyft insurance policies are irrelevant. 

But if a driver has the app turned on and is waiting for a ride, contingent coverage with limits of $50,000/$100,000 will apply. Furthermore, if a rideshare driver already has a passenger in the vehicle or has accepted a rider and is on the way to pick up that person, then the $1 million commercial coverage plan will go into effect.

If that wasn’t complicated enough, it’s important to understand that California is currently in the process of enforcing AB 5. This new piece of legislation goes into effect as soon as 2020 kicks off. This means that the laws regarding rideshare drivers’ employee classification are changing dramatically. Most importantly, these laws will significantly alter the way ridesharing claims are handled from now on. 

According to AB-5, many of California’s independent contractors, including rideshare drivers, are now considered as employees. Previously, ridesharing drivers were classified as independent contractors, which means among other things, that Uber and Lyft could not be held responsible for their negligent or criminal behavior. 

In short, if you were involved in an accident involving personal injury and property damage, the ridesharing company may be held responsible. If you were involved in an Uber or Lyft accident and are unsure about your rights or don’t know whether you are entitled to file a claim for damages, please contact the experienced Uber/Lyft attorneys at West Coast Trial Lawyers.

Uber/Lyft Driver Negligence And Liability

How is liability determined in a ridesharing accident? In other words, how does a Bakersfield personal injury attorney determine who was responsible for the accident? It typically comes down to negligence of some kind. Negligent behavior is typically some form of irresponsible and dangerous behavior which is also against the law. 

California law requires all drivers, including Uber and Lyft drivers, to follow a duty of care and drive responsibly. In the most basic sense, this means that ridesharing drivers must be careful, obey traffic laws, and focus on the task of safe driving. If you were hurt because of an Uber or Lyft driver’s negligence, your Bakersfield Uber/Lyft attorney will have to show that negligence caused your injuries. 

In summary, if you wish to file a personal injury claim for the recovery of damages, you must prove that the Uber/Lyft driver who caused your injuries:

  • owed you a duty of care
  • violated this duty of care through negligence, and 
  • that an act of negligence caused your injuries.
West Coast Trial Lawyers Is Always Here To Help

If you have sustained injuries in an Uber or Lyft related accident as a result of someone’s negligence or deliberate acts of malice, you have the right to hold the guilty party responsible for your losses. A Bakersfield Uber/Lyft accident attorney at our firm can recover financial compensation for the losses you have suffered. Call us today at (661) 347-3610 or email [email protected] to schedule a free consultation with our experienced, caring and compassionate legal team.

CONTACT WEST COAST TRIAL LAWYERS TODAY


If you have been injured in an accident, you can count on the legal team at West Coast Trial Lawyers to fight for your rights every step of the way. Contact us today to schedule your free case evaluation with a personal injury attorney.
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