Cypress Rideshare Accident Lawyer
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Uber and Lyft are the two best-known “rideshare” services, or what California law refers to as “transportation network companies” (TNCs). Unlike a traditional taxicab service, TNCs rely on individual drivers using their own vehicles to transport customers who arrange trips through the company’s smartphone app. This arrangement offers convenience, but it can also lead to confusion when there is an auto accident.
Can you sue Uber or Lyft if you are injured while riding in a driver’s car? What if another driver causes the accident? An experienced Cypress Uber/Lyft/rideshare accident lawyer can advise you on these and other questions. At the Heidari Law Group, we represent individuals who have been seriously injured in accidents involving rideshare drivers and TNCs, and we can help you obtain fair compensation for your losses.
Assigning Fault–and Insurance Liability–for an Uber or Lyft Accident
California requires drivers who are at fault for an accident–and their insurance companies–to pay for any damages suffered by third parties due to negligence. In simple terms, if you are involved in an accident caused by another driver, you can demand that driver and their insurer pay for your losses. This is true even if you happen to be riding in someone else’s vehicle, like an Uber or Lyft, at the time of the accident.
Now, if you are injured due to the negligence of your Uber or Lyft driver, things can get a bit more complicated. California does require TNCs to carry commercial general liability insurance of at least $1 million to insure their vehicles. This coverage only applies, however, while you are actually a passenger in an Uber or Lyft. Fortunately, such coverage also included uninsured motorist protection, meaning it is available if your accident is caused by another driver who lacks sufficient insurance to cover your injuries.
On the other hand, say you are hit by an Uber or Lyft driver who does not currently have a passenger. Does the TNC’s policy still cover you? It depends. If the Uber or Lyft driver is not actually logged in to the rideshare app or accepting passengers, then no, only that driver’s personal auto insurance coverage applies to an accident. But if the driver is “logged into” the app and available, then there is additional coverage available for accident victims. This coverage is far more limited than the $1 million commercial general liability policy applicable when the driver is actually engaged in providing a ride. Instead, these “contingent” liability policies are just $50,000 per person and $25,000 in property damage. This is not substantially higher than California’s minimums for personal auto insurance coverage.
A TNC may also be separately liable for negligence in screening a potential driver. Although companies like Uber and Lyft continue to dispute the legal status of drivers as “employees,” they are still responsible for ensuring anyone providing services under the app meets certain minimum standards. For example, if you are involved in a rideshare accident and later learn your driver did not have a valid license, the TNC could be sued for negligent hiring.
Similarly, California law requires Uber, Lyft, and other rideshare companies to conduct criminal background checks of anyone who seeks to be a driver. By law, a TNC cannot hire any driver who is required to register as a sex offender or has a prior conviction for certain violent and white-collar crimes, including drunk driving.
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As with any car accident, you have the right to seek a variety of damages following a collision involving an Uber or Lyft, including your medical bills, lost income, and pain and suffering. A skilled Cypress Uber/Lyft/rideshare accident attorney can provide you with more specific advice based on your situation. Contact the Heidari Law Group, P.C., today to schedule a consultation in English or Spanish.