Who is Liable in an Uber Accident/Lyft Accident?
Most people are understandably confused regarding liability in a standard car accident. Therefore, when it comes to an Uber or Lyft car accident, victims are oftentimes left bewildered by the legal process and shortchanged in receiving compensation.
Customers assume the rideshare company is legally liable for all accidents. Others assume the driver has legal liability if his or her negligence caused the accident. Complicating Uber and Lyft car accidents all the more is the potential for another driver to be partially or fully responsible for the crash after acting negligently.
There is even the potential for an Uber or Lyft accident to be the fault of the city for failing to post the proper signs or ensure stop lights are functional. In rare instances, the rideshare passenger also bears legal liability for causing or contributing to the accident. Let’s take a closer look at legal liability in Uber and Lyft accidents in Victorville.
Liability for Car Accidents and Rideshare Accidents is Unique
Accidents with an Uber driver or Lyft driver are not the same as regular car accidents. Because these drivers are hired on as independent contractors, the company they are contracted with cannot always be held liable for their actions. Unlike ride-hailing companies, such as taxis, if the driver is solely responsible for causing a car accident, then the driver’s car insurance company will have to pay out the damages.
The unique circumstances of these crashes with an Uber or Lyft driver ultimately make the challenge of proving legal liability that much more difficult. All in all, Uber provides more than three million rideshare trips each day, meaning the company’s vehicles are likely to be involved in several crashes on a daily basis. Making matters worse is that KQED reports nearly one-third of California rideshare trips occur in the evening hours after the sun has set, meaning the limited visibility is likely to heighten the chances of an accident all the more.
Every rideshare customer should be aware that Uber and Lyft drivers are not employees; they are independent contractors. Therefore, rideshare drivers must carry their own auto insurance in the event a car crash takes place.
In addition, Uber and Lyft are required to carry a million-dollar auto insurance policy. This coverage usually kicks in after the contracted driver’s insurance has capped out. Another scenario where the accident qualifies is when Uber or Lyft are found liable for contributing to the car accident. For instance, if these major rideshare companies were negligent in their hiring process and contracted an unqualified Uber or Lyft driver with bad driving history, the courts can find Uber or Lyft liable in a car accident case.
When the Uber or Lyft Driver is En Route or Transporting Customers
Both Uber and Lyft have their own supplemental insurance coverage as determined by the driver’s status when the car crash took place. Uber drivers and Lyft drivers have third-party insurance for an accident involving specific acts. For instance, an Uber accident that occurred before the customer is picked up will hold a different value than an accident that takes place after the customer enters the vehicle.
If the rideshare driver’s app is off or disconnected from the company network, the personal insurance policy of the Lyft or Uber drivers will apply. In such an instance, there is likely to be a $25,000 cap for property damage, a $100,000 cap for personal injury per accident, and a $50,000 cap for bodily injury per person.
Alternatively, if the car crash occurs when the vehicle is on its way to pick up the customer or during the trip in which the customer is being transported, third-party liability jumps up to the aforementioned million dollar level. Contingent collision and comprehensive coverage along with underinsured/uninsured motorist injury coverage may also apply in this type of car accident case.
There is also coverage applicable to the vehicle’s cash value in such an accident with a $2,500 deductible. It is interesting to note that Uber and Lyft originally did not offer any such coverage for drivers involved in accidents. However, the industry has evolved as time has progressed.
What is Respondeat Superior in a Car Accident Case?
Respondeat superior means an employer has the potential to be found legally liable for an employee’s actions. This component of the relationship between rideshare drivers and rideshare companies is not always applicable to cases in which independent contractors are involved.
In other words, rideshare companies rely on respondeat superior to separate their corporations from rideshare drivers involved in rideshare accidents in Victorville, ultimately placing legal liability on the driver who is an independent contractor. As a result, it is not always clear who the at-fault driver is in these types of car accident cases.
What is almost certain is that the insurance company will try to reduce a personal injury claim as much as possible. This is why it’s recommended to seek legal guidance from a personal injury attorney following the Uber and Lyft accident. An experienced attorney will be able to explain respondeat superior, how Uber and Lyft’s liability coverage works, and any other complicated details related to how the car accident occurred.
Rideshare Accident Liability is Determined On a Case-by-Case Basis
California’s vicarious liability laws hold all liable parties at fault for the accident. In the end, the party or parties determined legally liable for your car accident in Victorville will be determined by the facts of your case. Therefore, if another party aside from the rideshare driver or rideshare company is responsible for the accident, the insurance carriers of that other driver will also be financially responsible for damages. Alternatively, if the rideshare vehicle malfunctioned while transporting you to your destination, the car manufacturer or the mechanic who last worked on the car might be legally liable.
Furthermore, if the rideshare driver turned into oncoming traffic or acted negligently in another manner, then the driver will be legally liable under his third-party insurance coverage.
Free Consultation with a Personal Injury Attorney
Regardless if it was an employee’s negligence, Uber or Lyft contributing to the accident, or the other driver driving recklessly, the injured parties deserve to be compensated for their personal injury. Let our personal injury law firm at Rockview Accident Lawyers sort out all the details pertaining to liability coverage. Our legal team has worked tirelessly to get our clients the financial compensation that is owed to them.
The attorney-client relationship is important to us, and we will earn your trust by remaining honest about your case. We push to hold the negligent parties accountable and maximize settlements. It is not enough to get injured victims reimbursed for medical bills; they should also be compensated for their pain and suffering. Schedule a free case evaluation with our Victorville law office today.