Who Is At-Fault in a Rideshare Accident?
Uber, Lyft, and other rideshare companies make it easy and affordable for Californians to obtain the transportation they need. However, with millions choosing this mode of transportation every year, more and more people are becoming involved in rideshare accidents. In fact, a 2018 study concluded that traffic fatalities have increased 2 to 4% each year since ridesharing services have been widely available to the public.
If you have been injured in one of these accidents, a Bakersfield car accident attorney can help you determine who is responsible for your injuries so that you can recover the compensation you deserve.
Determining Fault in a Rideshare Accident
Just like a normal auto accident, you must establish liability to recover damages from the right source. Under California law, a person is determined at-fault for an accident if their actions were negligent, meaning they failed to utilize the same level of caution a reasonable person would use in a similar situation. If that negligence resulted in a crash, they would be considered responsible for the damages.
Some forms of driver negligence include:
- Distracted driving such as texting or eating behind the wheel
- Driving under the influence
- Aggressive driving behaviors such as speeding
- Failing to follow posted traffic laws
- Driving while fatigued
- Failing to properly maintain the vehicle
Often, fault can be determined at the accident site by the law enforcement officer who arrives at the scene, but there are instances when further investigation is necessary. At the Law Office of Kyle W. Jones in Bakersfield, we can review the circumstances surrounding the accident and help you establish fault so that you can move on to pursuing the compensation that you deserve for your injuries.
Special Considerations Involving Compensation in Rideshare Accidents
The rules surrounding ridesharing accidents are a little more complicated when it comes to pursuing compensation. There are certain conditions that must be reviewed, including:
Was the accident caused by the ridesharing driver?
Most major rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft have established corporate policies to protect those who may have been injured in an accident caused by the contracted driver. If you were hurt in one of these accidents, you may be eligible to seek damages from this policy.
Was the driver’s rideshare app on?
If the rideshare app was on during the accident, your method of recovery will depend on what the driver was actually doing at the time. If the driver causes a collision while waiting for a ride request, both Uber and Lyft provide third-party liability insurance to cover claims for bodily injury and property damage. If the driver was on their way to pick up a passenger or was already providing a ride at the time of the accident, these rideshare companies offer primary third-party liability coverage up to the amount of $1,000,000.
Was the driver’s rideshare app offline?
If the driver’s rideshare app was offline during the accident, then they will be personally responsible for any damages they cause. You will not be able to obtain compensation from the rideshare company, so you will need to work with the driver’s insurance policy to recover damages. Uber and Lyft require that each driver carry liability car insurance for such instances.
Did another driver cause the accident?
If you are a rideshare passenger who has been injured in an accident caused by the other driver, you will approach this much like you would any other claim and pursue compensation against the other driver’s insurance company. The rideshare driver may also have uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage to protect you in the event the other driver has no insurance or insufficient coverage. To ensure the best outcome possible, it’s a good idea to hire a personal injury attorney to investigate the claim and help you determine the maximum damages that you are entitled to.
Important Steps to Take After a Ridesharing Collision
After a car accident, you may feel overwhelmed, but it is essential to take the following steps to ensure your health and protect your legal rights.
- Call the Police
In the case of a ridesharing accident, it is recommended to call 911 and report the incident. An officer will come to the accident site, interview each party involved, and gather the necessary details for the police report. This report is key to determining fault so that you can pursue compensation against the responsible party.
- Collect Contact Info
Before leaving the accident scene, get the contact information of both of the drivers involved, any other passengers, and any witnesses to the collision. You may need these if the driver later changes their story to avoid being held responsible for the claim.
- Get Medical Attention
In serious accidents, medical personnel should treat you at the scene. However, if you don’t have obvious injuries and decide to waive care at the time of the accident, see a physician as soon as possible after the date of the accident. A full medical evaluation will help identify injuries you may not have noticed right away. Be sure to obtain copies of any exam results should you need to prove the severity of your injuries at a later date.
- Speak With a Lawyer
It’s in your best interest to consult with an attorney before discussing the accident with the driver’s insurance company. Insurance representatives may try to get you to say something that will reduce your claim. You need someone on your side who knows how to work with insurance companies so that you can recover the most compensation possible for your case.
Hire a Bakersfield Auto Accident Lawyer
If you have been injured in a rideshare accident, one of the most important things that you can do is to hire a lawyer to represent you. The Law Office of Kyle W. Jones is highly experienced in auto accident cases and will fight for your right to fair compensation. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation with an auto accident lawyer in Bakersfield.