Most car accidents in the state of California prove responsibility based on negligence. The passenger must have been owed a duty of care, which the driver breached by acting negligently. This may have been by:
Driving too fast
Running a stop sign /red light
Using a telephone
Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
For accidents where the Lyft or Uber driver wasn’t at fault, the passenger may also benefit from compensation. The driver at fault must be shown to be negligent, using the same parameters.
It is worth noting at this stage that the companies will not be liable at this stage. You will be suing the driver (who may still be protected by the company’s insurance policy).
What Kind of Injuries Can Be Considered?
Like with other personal injury claims, the state of California will consider bodily injuries, but also emotional or mental injury valid for a claim.
Moreover, economic costs will also influence the outcome of your claim, for instance, due to:
- Medical bills
- Hospital bills
- Long term therapy
- Lost wages
Commercial Liability of Uber and Lyft
California law considers Uber and Lyft to be transportation network companies (TNCs). They must offer a commercial policy for damages, set at $1 million per accident limit. There is also a further $1 million uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance.
Note that these insurance policies change if:
- The driver was waiting for a passenger
- The driver wasn’t logged into the app (driving on their own time)
However, it’s possible that Uber, Lyft or other ridesharing companies could be liable if they act negligently in supervising, training or vetting their drivers. This would change the nature of the claim and may incur punitive damages against the company.