You’re driving behind the wheel of your car. Then all at once, another car collided without warning. You may not have had time to swerve in the opposite direction, or unable to come to a full stop. There is more to the accident scene than meets the eye. While the rideshare driver may be apologetic, the legal claim you may decide to pursue is slightly different from a regular car accident case.
Companies like Uber and Lyft provide ride services in cities across much of the United States. In the case of Uber, you will now find their carpooling services in cities worldwide. These companies not only compete with established taxi cabs, but provide much needed eco-friendly and affordable transportation services to a wide range of the population.
Uber and Lyft are similar to traditional taxi cab companies in some ways, yet operate under very different rules in other respects. These two companies primarily use drivers employed by them as Independent Contractors. Rideshare drivers simply open an app on their smart-phone to indicate Uber or Lyft when they are available to work, so the companies are able to alert them to driving opportunities nearby.
Drivers pick up, drive and get passengers to their destination under the umbrella of Uber and Lyft. Each driver is given instructions from awaiting customers like location and pick-up details through the smart-phone app. But prospective passengers can not hail Lyft or Uber vehicles from the street as one would do a taxi. In addition to that aspect, both leading companies do not own the vehicles that bear their emblem either. Rideshare drivers operate on their given routes or control the manner in which their cars are operated.
If I am hurt in an accident, whose insurance is responsible for my claim?
Auto accident attorneys in Newport Beach advise that you must prove that the other driver was at fault for your injuries and property damage. Since they were negligent, their insurance policy is supposed to cover your losses. You will be required to provide proof of your medical issues, including current and forthcoming bills that need to be paid.
Rideshare drivers may have two types of insurance depending on the number of jobs he/she is employed with. If he/she was driving their car outside of Uber or Lyft, you may only be negotiating with one’s personal insurance policy. If he/she were logged into the Uber or Lyft app and on their way to drop a passenger off, you will be negotiating with either company’s strict insurance policy.
Personal auto insurance policies specifically state that the driver will use their vehicle strictly for personal use. Accidental injury lawyers in Newport Beach explain this to mean just the driver. If the vehicle contains paying passengers, the insurance company retains the right to deny accident claims.
Anticipating situations like this, Uber and Lyft provide liability coverage to drivers whether employee or independent contractor. This coverage is intended to start when the rideshare driver’s policies deny a claim. With this in mind, as a victim of an auto-collision you can therefore hold ride-hailing companies financially responsible when injured by one of their drivers on the job.
The liability insurance offered to drivers works in conjunction with a driver’s time on the road. It is based on the three periods of applicable employment. Depending on which period their driver is based, their liability coverage will cover them accordingly.
Period Zero – Uber and Lyft provide no coverage when the driver is not logged into their app.
Period One – At this time the driver has logged into the app, but no ride request has been accepted. Their coverage provides for accidents that are the fault of their driver. Limits are “up to $50,000 per person injured in an accident, and $100,000 total injury liability per accident and $25,000 property damage liability.”
Period Two – At this point, the driver has accepted their next trip and is on their way. Liability coverage now increases to up to a million dollars per accident.
Period Three – Now the driver is in the car, along with their paying passenger(s.) The liability coverage has increased above the one million dollars, with “limited coverage for damage to the driver’s car and uninsured motorists’ coverage.”
If your automotive accident case wasn’t stressful enough, now you’ll have to ascertain a number of facts before proceeding with your claim. This is exactly why the best advice is to work with experienced lawyers in Newport Beach, instead of on your own. As a personal injury attorney in Newport Beach, they are well experienced with complex claims against corporations like Lyft and Uber.
When you work with a lawyer, they have access to investigative tools to pry open the details of the case. This includes what time period the ride share driver was operating within, as well as the limits of their company liability insurance at that exact time. Lyft operates in much the same manner as their biggest competitor Uber.
The best advice is to contact an attorney in Newport Beach immediately following your accident. This is easily accomplished with a request for a free consultation, either via their website or over their toll-free telephone lines. You will be asked specific information about your accident, so ensure you have your insurance information and are ready to answer important questions.
Your attorney may also ask for photographs or video evidence taken at the scene of the car crash. If there were bystanders at the scene or passenger(s) in your car, it is helpful to have their contact information on hand as well. One thing is certain, with an Uber and Lyft accident lawyer in Newport Beach by your side, your chances of a generous settlement by their insurance carrier is far more likely to occur.