Ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft provide easy access to on-demand transportation throughout the United States. In large cities with limited and expensive parking like Los Angeles, many residents use such services for everything from quick shopping trips to evening outings. It can provide a safe and convenient alternative to hailing taxis or to driving under the influence. Rideshare vehicles, though, can still be involved in auto accidents, and those Uber or Lyft accidents still cause injuries and even fatalities.
Because rideshare drivers are classified as independent contractors — and not employees of a company — it can be difficult for passengers injured in Uber and Lyft accidents to determine exactly what to do and who is liable for damages, especially in cases of great bodily injury or disability.
Conexión Legal offers free legal advice and can connect you with attorneys who are experts in the laws governing these new modes of transportation. By writing to us through WhatsApp, or by calling 1800 201 1220, victims of rideshare accidents can get free advice and connect with attorneys who can help with your case.
What are my legal options if I am injured while riding as a passenger in an Uber or Lyft car?
When you take a ride in an Uber, Lyft or other ride sharing vehicle, you agree to the company’s terms of service. Those terms of service limit your legal options. When you agree to the terms of service, you waive your right to a public trial, your right to a jury and (for the most part) your right to an appeal. Instead, any legal action a passenger brings against Uber or Lyft must take place through binding arbitration. Plaintiffs are also banned from bringing a class action or other group legal action.
Limiting group actions means that Uber and Lyft protect themselves against legal action where multiple plaintiffs and attorneys can share information and pool resources, which would lead to very large group settlements. However, there are still options to recover damages should you be injured in an accident as a rideshare passenger.
Uber and Lyft each have a $1 million commercial liability insurance policy for passengers, with up to $50,000 per person for personal injury. If you are injured in a rideshare accident, you can file a claim to recover compensation from these policies, whether your driver or another party is at fault. If the at-fault driver does not have insurance, Uber or Lyft covers damages. However, that may not be enough.
Injuries from an auto accident can be debilitating, and medical care can go on for years. Wages lost due to injury or disability, future wages, and medical care past and future can easily surpass Uber and Lyft’s insurance policy.
While you may not be able to bring a class action suit, you can file a personal injury lawsuit. In California, accident victims have the right to file a personal injury lawsuit after an accident involving a rideshare vehicle, and can recover compensation from any party who contributed to their injury. That means an injured rideshare passenger can name both the rideshare driver (if they are at fault) and other negligent third parties as defendants in a personal injury lawsuit.
Negligence is key in determining liability. If the at-fault driver ran a red light or was driving distracted, they hold liability. If they ran a stop sign that was obscured by tree branches, the city may also hold some liability for not ensuring all traffic signs are visible.
California has a two-year statute of limitations on personal injury claims, so be sure to file as soon as possible. An experienced personal injury lawyer will know how best to proceed.
Can I sue Uber or Lyft if I’m a rideshare passenger in an accident?
The short answer: In California, yes, but it’s complicated. Because rideshare drivers are not employees — but rather independent contractors — the companies can not be held liable for their actions.
Whether you can sue depends on the facts of the case, which an experienced rideshare attorney can help evaluate. It can be difficult to sue a rideshare company directly for your injuries, unless you can prove that the company was somehow at fault. If Uber or Lyft were negligent in engaging with the at-fault driver, you need to sue the driver and try to file a claim against Uber or Lyft’s insurance company to get compensation for your injuries.
As rideshare companies grow, so do the amount of auto accidents involving their drivers: In 2014, Uber logged 140 million trips, according to data released by Forbes. Just five years later in 2019, that number had ballooned to 6.9 billion. Just as the services expand and change, legal issues surrounding the use of rideshare services are constantly evolving. Experienced personal injury attorneys specializing in rideshare accidents keep up to date on the latest changes and cases, and will be able to navigate the complicated legal processes you may face.
Conexión Legal offers free legal advice and can connect you with Uber and Lyft accident attorneys. By writing to us through WhatsApp, or by calling 1800 201 1220, victims of rideshare accidents can get free advice on their case, and get connected with attorneys who can help.