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Uber and Lyft: Can I Claim Personal Injury After a Ridesharing Accident?

There is a growing number of ridesharing companies in California, such as Lyft, Uber, Waze Carpool, Summon or Sidecar. 

While their drivers undergo a strict verification process, accidents still happen. If you’ve been injured as a passenger while using one of the aforementioned services, here is a primer on how you could claim compensation, beyond what is covered by the company’s insurance policy.

ridesharing accident

Establishing Responsibility 

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

  • Been distracted

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. 

Women with a cast looking at her medical bills

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.  

Should I Hire an Attorney For a Claim Against a Ridesharing Driver 

Provided your case is eligible for a personal injury claim, it is highly recommended to consult a lawyer. While you may receive compensation from insurance companies, a lawyer will go the extra mile to: 

  • Ensure you receive the maximum compensation
  • Negotiate out of court settlement
  • If applicable, build a case against the ridesharing company themselves
  • File, aggregate, and manage all the paperwork pertaining to the case

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