Ridesharing has surely been an economic phenomena in many states across the nation, and especially in areas with traffic congestion issues. Los Angeles was actually a forerunner for the service that has become so popular. But, there has also been a rash of ridesharing accidents that have left the injured victims in difficult situations when trying to obtain equitable damages following accidents that produce significant injuries. Cases have been strongly contested when ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft are pursued for damages, forcing injured parties to retain a ridesharing attorney for any type of successful outcome in the claim. Not only has it been difficult to obtain damages for injured passengers, drivers are often injured as well. Both companies have vigorously claimed no responsibility when injuries are suffered by either riders or drivers. The only option for the injured in California and the local area has been retaining a Los Angeles personal injury law firm to represent their claims.
Injury Claim Issues for Passengers
The first claim issue for passengers is that typically the driver’s insurance policy will be the first financial pool that can be filed against if the driver is found at fault for the accident. Rideshare drivers are not commercially licensed, so their auto liability level is usually the state minimum for the most part. California state minimums are $15,000 per passenger and $30,000 per accident. Some drivers may carry more liability protection, but their insurance company will be the first avenue of damage pursuit. Technically the claim is against the driver, but their insurance provider is the entity that will provide the financial damage payments. California is a pure comparative negligence state, and even though passengers usually have no fault percentage assignment, the comparative negligence percentage of the ridesharing driver will be the limit to which they are responsible for damages. Drivers totally at fault are responsible for the total amount of damages. Any other drivers who were partially at fault can also be pursued for damages up to the level of their comparative negligence percentage. All accident fault total will amount to 100% liability in multiple vehicle accidents, but claims must be filed with each party.
Injury Claim Issues for Rideshare Drivers
Claim complications can actually be worse for Uber and Lyft drivers than for passengers in many cases. Depending on the rideshare software company, they will also need a Lyft accident lawyer or an Uber accident lawyer when taking a case to court. And it is always best to retain legal counsel beforehand. Having a Los Angeles personal injury law firm representing the claim shows you mean business in regards to damages, and it also means the ridesharing attorney can have access to all communications from the onset. Fault is also central to driver claims as well, and many times the driver’s level of fault in an accident can be very problematic, Drivers who are found totally at fault will typically be denied any coverage unless they have a personal injury protection clause in their auto insurance policy.
Both Uber and Lyft have vehemently denied any responsibility when accidents occur to those using their app as a communication method. Their claim is that they are a software company providing communication tools and are not responsible for how the app is used by their independently contracted app-user drivers. However, there have been some instances where the companies were found liable. Each company boasts that they have liability protection up to $1,000,000 when they are required to pay damages. However, that does not stop them from being vigilant in contesting claims of any sort. Just as in any accident claim, injured parties are filing claims against a primary driver and their insurance provider as well, and the insurance company also also has legal input when defending the claims. Claim denials actually come from the insurance providers, and a denial is the first typical response when approaching either Lyft or Uber for damages following an accident. A Lyft accident lawyer or an Uber accident lawyer will be prepared for this reaction.
Potential Damages in a Ridesharing Accident
The amount of damages available will generally be restricted to the level of liability insurance the ridesharing driver carries on their personal auto policy. This amount can also be reduced when they have a limited comparative negligence percentage, and possibly no availability at all if they are not found at fault in any way. This will mean the auto insurance injury claim payment coverage will come from the “at fault” driver, or drivers depending on the details of the accident. When ridesharing drivers are struck on the highway by a drunk driver, punitive damages could be available in some instances. Punitive damages cannot be claimed with the insurance company per se, but they can be awarded by a sympathetic jury under certain circumstances when gross negligence can be proven in a trial. The potential for punitive damages can also impact settlement negotiations in situations where funds are available. Typical damages from an Uber or Lyft accident injury claims include standard compensatory financial recovery for:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages when the injured party cannot work
- General damages for pain-and-suffering
- Associated expenses
- Ongoing medical coverage in serious injury cases
Contact an Experienced Los Angeles Personal Injury Law Firm
It is clear that being properly compensated for injuries occurring in an Uber or Lyft accident can be complicated and challenging for all parties involved. And the attorney you choose to represent your case matters significantly. Never attempt handling your own ridesharing accident injury case personally because it could be more valuable than you realize and navigating the California legal system can be complicated. And this is not to mention these injury cases are highly contested in most situations. Always call an experienced Uber accident lawyer or Lyft accident lawyer when pursuing whole damages because they understand the nuances and potential problems that will arise as the claim moves forward. The ridesharing attorney you hire assuredly makes a difference for equitable financial compensation in your personal injury case.