Uber & Lyft Rideshare Accidents Lawyer in California

rideshare accident Attorney

Rideshare companies, like Uber and Lyft, have become a significant part of the mainstream transportation network. The ease of ordering a ride through a smartphone has made Uber and Lyft a more attractive service over taxis. Pricing through Uber and Lyft also tends to be cheaper than taxis, which has contributed to its growing popularity. Even though there are some instances when the demand for rides increase and a “surge” price may boost the fare rate, rideshares have become dominant players in the transportation sector.

What’s the difference between a rideshare and a taxi?

The most obvious difference between rideshares and taxi companies is the way a car is hailed. For taxis, you can simply stand on a sidewalk, or in line at an airport, and hail a taxi. Once you’ve arrived at your destination you pay with cash or credit card for you ride. Rideshares operate differently. In order to “hail” an Uber or Lyft you need to use an app to call a driver. Also, your credit card is on file with the app and payment is handled through the app. 

Another difference is the way that taxi companies and rideshares “hire” their drivers. A taxi is owned, inspected, and maintained by a taxi company and leased to a driver. A city or county usually maintains regulations on taxis and their drivers. A taxi driver is also typically required to have a special type of driver’s license. 

Uber and Lyft drivers are independent contractors who use their personal vehicles and charge fees. Unless the rideshare driver has a commercial policy, the driver’s personal policy will not cover accidents. That’s because most typical insurance policies only cover the car during personal use. Ridesharing is not personal use. For that reason, if an accident happens, the driver’s insurance will likely deny the claim. 

Uber and Lyft Drivers and Car Insurance

California law requires that rideshare drivers have additional insurance. However, those requirements only become active when a driver turns on the app. Both Uber and Lyft have adopted similar insurance policies which depend on when the accident occurs. 

  • Period 0: If the driver is not logged onto the Uber/Lyft app, then Uber/Lyft does not provide any coverage. In this situation, the driver is acting as a private person and their driving is unrelated to their status as a contractor for the rideshare company. 
  • Period 1: If the driver is logged onto the Uber/Lyft app, but has not yet accepted a ride request, Uber/Lyft provides liability coverage for their driver if the driver’s personal insurance does not fully cover the amount of the claim. Uber/Lyft provide up to $50,000 per person injured and $100,000 total injury liability per accident, and $25,000 total property damage.
  • Period 2: Once the driver has accepted a trip and is driving to pick up that rider, liability increases to $1 million.  
  • Period 3: If the rider is in the car, liability coverage is up to $1 million, plus limited coverage for damage to the driver’s car and uninsured motorists’ coverage. 

When are rideshare drivers liable?

If you were injured in a rideshare accident as a passenger, you would handle that accident like any other personal injury case. That means that the injured party must prove that the defendant owed a duty of care, breached that duty is some way, and directly caused damages. 

Rideshare accidents are often more complex than regular car accidents. If you were injured in a rideshare accident, experienced personal injury attorney Christopher Kreeger. For a complimentary consultation of your case, contact us today at (916) 782-8400.


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