With the prevalence of ride-sharing services such as Uber and Lyft, the risk of accidents and passenger injuries increases. When a passenger is injured in an accident, they can sue the ride-sharing provider regardless of whether the driver was at fault. In any case, it’s up to the plaintiff and his or her Oakland car accident lawyer to prove liability and damages. Below is a review of the two most common injury scenarios.
The Ride-Sharing Driver is at Fault
In an at-fault situation, the passenger may sue the Uber or Lyft driver. However, it may be difficult or impossible to collect damages if that driver has only a personal auto policy, which doesn’t apply when drivers are doing commercial work. The California Legislature has imposed regulations on ride-sharing companies, in which they must carry at least $1 million in coverage for personal injury, property damage and accidental death. The coverage is in effect from the moment the driver accepts a request for a ride until the transaction or the ride is finished, whichever comes later.
The Driver Wasn’t Responsible
If the Lyft/Uber driver isn’t responsible for an accident, the injured passenger may file a claim against the other motorist. California drivers must be properly insured, but many break the law by failing to buy insurance. Add to that the number of under-insured drivers, and an injured party may find it hard to collect damages from an at-fault driver. In California, ride-sharing companies must carry at least $1 million in under/uninsured motorist coverage, which applies from the time the passenger enters the vehicle until they exit at their destination.
Damages Recoverable in Ride-Share Accidents
Under California law, a person can obtain damages for past and future mental anguish, physical impairment and pain and suffering. Injured parties can recover for medical bills, rehabilitation costs and other health related expenses, and they can gain compensation for lost wages, lost earning capacity and property damage. If a person dies in such an accident, his/her family can bring a wrongful death suit.
Just because California’s laws require ride-sharing companies to possess a million dollars in insurance, does not mean that the victim will receive the maximum allowable compensation fi they negotiate directly with the company’s insurer. An experienced auto accident attorney can tell a victim the value of his/her claim and they can work to get the highest possible settlement.