Merced Uber, Lyft,
Accident Lawyer

Over the past decade, rideshare services like Uber and Lyft have exploded in popularity here in California. It is not difficult to understand why. Anytime you need a ride, all you need to do is pull out your smartphone, tap a couple of controls, and a driver shows up ready to take you to your destination.

Of course, anytime you are riding in a car, there is always the risk of being injured in an accident. And if your accident does involve a rideshare driver, figuring out legal liability can be tricky. Fortunately, an experienced Merced Uber/Lyft/rideshare accident lawyer can help. At Heidari Law Group, P.C., we represent people who have sustained serious injuries in all types of car accidents. We can help you identify who is responsible and work to ensure they pay you appropriate compensation.

How California Law Defines Legal Liability for Rideshare Companies and Drivers

Rideshare companies have long maintained that drivers who use their app and provide rides are “independent contractors” rather than employees. Part of this reason for this is because of liability concerns. An employer is vicariously liable for car accidents caused by their employees in the course of performing their jobs. But a business is typically not vicariously liable for its independent contractors.

The actual legal status of rideshare drivers remains a hotly debated subject in California. But there are certain rules in place to sort out potential accident liability. Uber and Lyft are classified as “transportation network companies” (TNC), which means they must provide a certain amount of commercial liability coverage to protect passengers who are injured while using their services.

Rideshare Driver Status & Liability

Liability under such policies typically depend on the rideshare driver’s status at the time of the accident. The rules basically break down as follows:

  • If the driver has not activated their Uber or Lyft app and is not seeking a passenger, then any accident they cause would be covered by their personal auto insurance policy. In California, the minimum amount of personal coverage required is $15,000 per injured person, $30,000 per accident, and $5,000 for property damage.
  • If the driver has turned on the rideshare app and is waiting for a passenger to arrange a ride, the rideshare company’s insurance will generally offer contingent bodily injury coverage of $50,000 per person, $100,000 per accident, and $30,000 for property damage. This could apply to a situation like the driver striking a pedestrian.
  • If the driver is actually carrying a rideshare passenger, or on their way to pick up a passenger, then the TNC’s commercial liability policy provides accident coverage of up to $1 million.

Of course, these coverage limits only speak to the driver and the TNC’s liability. If an accident is caused by a third party, such as another driver, then an injured passenger can take independent legal action against them as well. This is one reason it is important to engage an attorney as soon as possible following an accident. When multiple drivers are involved, it often requires a significant pre-lawsuit investigation to determine who was actually at-fault. In some cases, both the rideshare driver and another party may be liable.

A TNC may also be separately liable if there is evidence that the company failed to properly screen, train, or supervise a driver. For instance, if Uber or Lyft approved a driver with a suspended license or a history of DWI convictions, an injured passenger might have a cause of action on the ground of negligent hiring.

Nearby Heidari Law Locations

car Accident

Heidari Law Group (Buena Park Office)

17901 Von Karman Ave Suite 600
Irvine, CA 92614

tel: (949) 239-1020

fax: (949) 239-1021

Contact Heidari Law Today

As with any accident, a collision involving an Uber or Lyft may cause substantial, life-threatening injuries to a passenger. If you are that injured passenger, you have the right to seek compensation from the negligent party in the form of damages, which can cover your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

So if you are injured while riding in an Uber or Lyft and need to speak with an experienced Merced rideshare accident lawyer, contact Heidari Law Group, P.C., today to schedule a consultation in English or Spanish.