California Ridesharing Accident Laws [2024 Updated]

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Rideshare services have become popular in California, especially in San Francisco and Los Angeles. People now often use these convenient apps instead of walking, biking, taxis, public transportation, or driving. Rideshare companies may claim safety is a priority, but accidents still can and do happen. If you are a frequent rideshare user, it can help to understand California ridesharing accident laws.

Additionally, knowing your rights can help you maintain safe and informed decision-making. Learning California’s ridesharing accident policies can help you with potential legal issues. If you are in an accident, it’s important to secure fair compensation.

Ridesharing Regulations in California

California treats traditional taxi companies and rideshare companies differently. Rideshare companies work due to apps that connect passengers and drivers. These drivers typically use their own vehicles to transport passengers from place to place. This arrangement is complex, so California established regulations for these ridesharing companies, which are designated as Transportation Network Companies (TNCs). The rules can ensure passenger safety and hold TNCs accountable for their operations.

Licensing and Insurance Requirements

In California, TNCs must obtain a license from the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). They must also file and maintain insurance policies covering vehicle liability and worker’s compensation.

Additionally, the state requires TNCs to have accessibility plans and TNC drivers to complete training programs before offering service.

Driver Background Checks

TNCs must perform suitable background checks on anyone requesting to drive through their platform. These background checks are crucial safety measures to protect passengers and people in surrounding areas.

Driver background checks should involve comprehensive reviews of a driver’s criminal history, driving record, and employment history. These reviews can determine a history of serious traffic violations, license suspensions, misdemeanors, or felonies. While the exact details reviewed in a background check can vary between rideshare companies, they may play a vital role in filtering out risky drivers.

Vehicle Maintenance

TNCs have a responsibility to ensure ridesharing vehicles meet safety standards. The companies can do this by requiring regular vehicle inspections to address mechanical issues.

Who Is Liable in a Ridesharing Accident?

Determining who is liable in a ridesharing accident rests on the circumstances involved. Potential scenarios include:

  • Accident Before Pickup: If an accident occurs while a logged-in driver has not yet accepted a ride request, the rideshare company’s insurance may provide compensation.
  • Accident During a Ride: When an accident occurs while a passenger is in the car, the rideshare company’s higher insurance coverage or the driver’s insurance may apply. The insurance liability depends on the situation.
  • Accident Due to Another Driver: When a third-party driver causes the incident, their insurance will likely be the source of compensation. The rideshare company’s insurance may provide additional coverage depending on the case details. If the rideshare driver shared even a small amount of fault, the other driver may sue them for damages due to California’s pure comparative negligence policies.

The Importance of Police Documentation of an Accident

Regardless of the scenario leading to a rideshare accident, police documentation is essential. A police officer’s documentation of the incident can help establish the sequence of events and serve as evidence when legal action is necessary. In many cases, rideshare companies require police reports before processing an accident claim.

Considering Legal Representation After a Ridesharing Accident

Ridesharing accident laws and claims can be complex. You do not want to be without legal assistance when dealing with changing regulations and insurance companies. Consulting with a skilled personal injury or ridesharing accident attorney can be beneficial in many ways, such as:
  • Extensive Knowledge of Your Rights: California has specific rules regarding ridesharing companies, liability, and payouts. An attorney can explain your legal rights to help you make informed decisions throughout the accident process.
  • Investigation of Your Accident: A rideshare accident attorney can help gather evidence, determine fault, and build a strong case for you. Their work may involve obtaining police reports and witness statements.
  • Insurance Claim Handling: Ridesharing accidents commonly include multiple insurance policies, complicating a claim. An attorney will have the experience to navigate this situation successfully and ensure you receive fair compensation.


Q: Does Uber Cover Accidents for Drivers in California?

A: Whether Uber covers accidents for drivers in California depends on the accident details. When the driver is at fault due to a factor like distracted driving, the driver’s primary insurance will likely hold most of the responsibility. In other instances, Uber’s insurance might cover the accident.

As an injured Uber driver in California, it is wise to seek legal representation to determine the liability in your case.

Q: Is California a No-Fault Accident State?

A: California is not a no-fault accident state. The state uses at-fault rules to determine fault and identify who is financially responsible after an accident. In rideshare accidents, this can mean that the driver may be accountable, and in other cases, the rideshare company themselves can be at fault. Understanding accident details is essential to assign blame, so if you are in an accident, safely document as much as possible to have evidence of what happened.

Q: Does California Require Rideshare Insurance?

A: California requires Transportation Network Companies (TNCs) to have driver insurance. Whether or not the insurance policy covers an accident depends on the situation. Insurance policies are one of many regulations California requires TNCs to follow to operate legally in the state. Additional regulations like background checks and vehicle maintenance can help keep drivers and passengers safe.

Q: What Is the California Rideshare Car Accident Policy?

A: California uses an at-fault car accident policy, meaning that the person who caused the accident is responsible for compensating the other parties. While multiple insurance companies may be involved in some rideshare cases, it is common for the primary at-fault party to have most of the financial responsibility.

Examining California Ridesharing Accident Laws With You

When you need to understand California’s ridesharing accident laws, our personal injury attorney at Kreeger Law Firm is here. Whether you were in an accident as a passenger or a third party, contact us today to get the help you need.