Rideshare services, such as Uber and Lyft, are becoming more popular, especially in urban areas, such as Los Angeles. They are a convenient method of transportation for those who do not have their own vehicle or are visiting a new area; they are also a practical solution for those going out for the evening who do not want to drive under the influence. As more of these ridesharing vehicles hit the road, however, the risk of an accident involving a rideshare car increases. There are unique legal concerns with an accident involving a rideshare driver.
About Rideshare Drivers
Uber and Lyft, the leaders in the rideshare market, began operations in 2009 and are still relatively young. Rideshares differ from traditional taxi or limo services in certain ways. Drivers use their own vehicles, rather than ones owned by the company, and they decide for themselves when they are on the clock. Drivers connect with riders through an app, and they have the right to refuse or cancel rides, if the rider has not yet entered the vehicle.
Rideshares have requirements that both drivers and their vehicles must meet to join the company. Drivers must have a valid license and pass a background check with no violent felonies on their record. Their vehicles must meet safety standards and be insured under the driver’s personal insurance, which must meet California’s 15/30/5 rule, which has the below maximum payouts:
- $15,000 in damages for injury or death sustained by a single individual
- $30,000 in damages divided among multiple parties who are injured or killed
- $5,000 in damage to property, including other vehicles
Liability in Rideshare Accidents
California’s recently passed AB-5 law classifies rideshare drivers as employees of rideshares, rather than independent contractors. This means that Uber, Lyft, and their competitors can be held liable for the actions of their drivers while they are on duty. If a rideshare driver’s actions result in an accident, the company may be liable, depending on when the accident occurred. There are three distinct rideshare periods that determine how much the company is liable for:
- No period: If the driver is not logged into the app at the time of the accident, they are not considered on duty and the company’s insurance will not kick in.
- Period 1: If the driver is logged in and available to take a passenger but does not have a ride, the company provides limited liability coverage; Uber and Lyft both have 50/100/25 policies for this gap period, offering $50,000 per person and $100,000 per accident for injuries sustained, as well as $25,000 for property damage.
- Period 2: If the driver accepted a fare and is en route to the passenger, Uber and Lyft both have $1 million in liability, uninsured, and underinsured coverage, but collision coverage will be dependent on whether the driver has their own collision coverage.
- Period 3: If a passenger is on their way to the destination, the same coverage as Period 2 applies.
When a rideshare accident occurs, rideshare passengers, drivers, passengers in other vehicles, pedestrians, or others may suffer severe injuries or even death. Determining liability in a rideshare accident can be challenging, given the complex liability issues involved. Having an experienced catastrophic injury lawyer by your side can help ensure that you receive the best possible outcome.
Los Angeles Catastrophic Injury Lawyers at Abir Cohen Treyzon Salo, LLP Provide Comprehensive Solutions to Victims of Rideshare Accidents
If you were injured in a rideshare accident, the LA catastrophic injury lawyers at Abir Cohen Treyzon Salo, LLP will thoroughly review the facts of your case to determine who is liable for your injuries and obtain the maximum compensation to which you are entitled. With offices conveniently located in Los Angeles and San Diego, we help victims of rideshare accidents throughout California. Call us today at 833-ACTS-LAW opens phone dialeror contact us online for a free consultation.