uber-car-accident-attorney-los-angelesUber and Lyft have quickly become two of the most popular rideshare companies in Los Angeles. While they are convenient options for commuters and offer drivers the opportunity to make money on the side, accidents can be a major downside. There are more than 1,000 accidents involving rideshare companies in California each month and they range from fender-benders to catastrophic accidents. Being involved in a rideshare accident can bring up some additional questions and challenges you don’t normally see in a normal car accident.


Whether you are an injured driver or passenger, receiving maximum compensation without the help of a rideshare accident lawyer can be an uphill battle. Contact a proven Uber and Lyft accident attorney at Steinberg Injury Lawyers for your free initial consultation. 

What are Uber and Lyft?

Uber and Lyft are not the only ridesharing companies in Los Angeles, but they have the largest market share. They are classified as “Transportation Network Companies” (TNC) and are regulated by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and the California Utilities Code. 

Understanding Uber and Lyft Policies vs. Taxis and Normal Car Accidents

Companies like Uber and Lyft share the same goals as taxi and Limo companies, but there are critical differences in how they operate. A few examples include:

  • Rideshare drivers set their own schedules. 

  • Rideshare drivers are not obligated to pick up any specific riders.

  • Uber, Lyft, and other rideshare companies don’t always have recognizable signage. 

  • Rideshare drivers usually drive and maintain their own vehicles.

Taxi and Limo services are required to maintain insurance policies that are in effect, regardless of whether they are on duty. On the contrary, rideshare commercial insurance policies only go into effect when they have passengers in the vehicle or are searching for passengers. 

This type of insurance policy can sometimes create a gray area when drivers get into accidents when they are not logged in but are still conducting activities related to the rideshare company. If you are unsure of what Uber and Lyft commercial insurance policies cover in California, it can help consult with a Los Angeles Uber accident attorney. 

Defining Insurance Coverage and Liability in a Rideshare Accident

ride-share-car-accidentRideshare companies such as Uber and Lyft are not ordinary companies. Their business models incorporate multiple businesses that can make it difficult to determine liability if an accident occurs. To alleviate the confusion, California state legislators, insurance companies, rideshare operators, and rideshare accident lawyers worked together to define three clear periods during a rideshare driver’s time on the clock. They determine when the company's insurance coverage kicks in and when the driver’s personal insurance is used. There are three liability limits a rideshare driver may have when they are logged into the app. 

No Period

When a rideshare driver is not logged onto their app, they are not considered to be working. Therefore, they are not covered by their commercial insurance. Any accidents that they may be involved in would be covered by their personal insurance.

Period 1

Period 1 is for when an active driver is logged on to their app and is actively waiting for a passenger, but is not on the way to a passenger, or having a passenger in the car. The rideshare company must provide liability coverage of $200,000 for its driver. This results in up to $100,000 in death/personal liability coverage per incident and up to $50,000 per person. 

Period 2

This is when the driver has agreed to a request but is on their way to pick up the passenger. The commercial insurance coverage of up to $1 million kicks in whether the driver is insured or uninsured on their own personal insurance policy. 

Period 3

Period 3 occurs the moment the passenger gets inside of the driver’s vehicle. At this time, Uber and Lyft companies also provide $1 million in coverage, whether the driver is insured or not under a personal insurance company. 

 

Understanding the coverages offered during each period is essential when seeking compensation for injuries suffered in an accident. Contact an Uber and Lyft accident attorney in Los Angeles to better understand what you’re owed after an accident. 

Uber and Lyft Employees vs Contractors

Currently, Uber and Lyft employees are classified as independent contractors. Though there is a law in place (Assembly Bill 5) to change contractor designations to employees, these companies have appealed the ruling many times. Until the appeals process is concluded or a new law (Prop 22) is put into place in California, drivers maintain their status as contractors. 

Why This is Important to a Case

California labor laws stipulate that drivers can be held liable for accidents when drivers are independent contractors. However, if they are classified as employees, the company can be held responsible for its drivers’ acts of negligence. Ridesharing companies have attempted to bypass additional liability by classifying drivers as contractors. If you are in an accident due to your Uber driver’s fault, it is recommended that you seek an Uber passenger attorney’s help to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.  

Uber and Lyft Policies

Uber and Lyft vehemently fight to classify drivers as contractors. Their policies state that all drivers are independent and are not actual employees of the company. While there are some benefits of being an independent contractor, drivers are often taken advantage of under this classification. Both companies have threatened to leave California if they are forced to comply with the current labor laws. 

Rideshare Statistics

  • Overall rideshare market value is expected to top $220 billion by 2025

  • More than 25 percent of Americans use a rideshare service at least once per month

  • Taxi drivers and rideshare drivers share the same risk of dangerous passengers

  • There are more than 2 million rideshare drivers in the U.S. 

How Common are Uber and Lyft?

There are more than 15 million rideshares in California each day. Overall, Uber has more than 90 million monthly active riders spanning more than 60 countries, and Lyft has more than 2 million monthly active passengers within the U.S.  and Canada. 

The Growing Number of Employees

Rideshare companies currently “employ” millions of drivers across the world. In California, Uber contracts more than 200,000 drivers, and Lyft contracts more than 300,000. As the economy recovers, these numbers are set to expand. 

How many accidents have Uber and Lyft been involved in since the start?

While Uber and Lyft help to decrease overall accident rates by taking more intoxicated and tired people off the road, there are still many accidents involving rideshare companies. Exact numbers are unclear, but it is estimated that they have contributed to a rise of 2-3% in total fatal accidents. 

Why You Should Have an Uber Accident Attorney 

If you have been involved in an Uber or Lyft accident, it’s not always easy to get the compensation you deserve. Many times, victims are quickly offered the minimal amount and pressured into taking it. Working with an experienced Lyft accident attorney in Los Angeles can help to level the playing field. 

How difficult cases are to prove without a lawyer

uber-car-accidentEach case is different. However, proving your case and receiving fair compensation for your injuries can be difficult without an Uber accident lawyer in Los Angeles. Ridesharing companies and their insurance providers are more interested in saving money than offering fair compensation. For this reason, working with an aggressive and experienced rideshare accident lawyer can help you to get the compensation you deserve. 

Defining insurance policies and what they cover for passengers 

Lyft and Uber offer similar insurance policies for passengers. If you are associated with a rideshare accident caused by a driver, injuries, damaged property, and other damages are covered in the $1 million policy. If your damages exceed $1 million, the rest of the damages must be paid by the driver’s personal insurance. 

Available Damages to Collect from a Rideshare Accident

If you are injured in an Uber or Lyft accident, you can recover damages for losses related to your injuries. Available damages include:

  • Medical costs

  • Lost wages

  • Pain and suffering 

  • Decreased quality of life

  • Emotional trauma

  • Disfigurement or permanent scarring 

  • Additional damages depending on the overall effect of your injuries 

It’s important to note that you have only two years to pursue accident claims in California. Contact an Uber accident lawyer in Los Angeles immediately after your accident to ensure you are well represented. 

The Skilled Rideshare Accident Attorneys at Steinberg Injury Lawyers Are Here to Help You

California is a comparative negligence state. This means that if you share fault in the accident, your compensation will be reduced by the percentage that you are at fault. Just because you are involved in an Uber or Lyft car accident, it doesn’t disqualify you from receiving maximum compensation. 

At Steinberg Injury Lawyers, our rideshare accident lawyers are prepared to fight for your best interest while seeking fair compensation for your damages. Our lawyers have experience with rideshare accident cases and specific knowledge of personal injury laws that affect your case. Don’t wait until it’s too late to pursue your personal injury case. Contact us online or give us a call today at 1-800-989-635 for your free, no-obligation, initial consultation. 

Peter Steinberg
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Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney Since 1982