Los Angeles Rideshare Accident Attorneys
We Help People Injured in LA Rideshare Collisions
Ride-hail services like Uber and Lyft are increasingly popular and offer a great way to get around Los Angeles. But as more drivers for these ridesharing services flood the streets, the chances of one of them being involved in an accident becomes higher. Fortunately, California requires all rideshare drivers to be properly insured in case one of them is involved in a car accident or causes injury.
If you have been injured in a vehicle collision, you deserve to have an experienced LA accident lawyer to represent you. Do not talk to any insurance company or sign anything without first speaking with an attorney to make sure your rights are protected. Call the car accident attorneys at Novik & Stanley, A Professional Law Corporation, at (818) 305-6041. We’ll sit down with you and talk about the options you have after a rideshare accident.
Insurance Requirements for Rideshare Drivers
California law requires rideshare drivers to have minimum amounts of insurance coverage. Some ridesharing services provide some or all of this coverage for their drivers while signed in to the app. Requirements change depending on what "period" drivers are in - that is, whether they have passengers or not.
- Period 0: When a driver does not have his ridesharing app turned on, he is effectively off the job. The driver's personal insurance is active during this time but the rideshare company is not involved or liable in any way. A driver in California must have at least $15,000 bodily injury coverage per person, $30,000 bodily injury coverage per accident, and $5,000 property damage coverage per accident.
- Period 1: When a driver's ridesharing app is on but he has not been paired with a passenger yet. During this time, the driver must have $50,000 bodily injury liability coverage per person, $100,000 bodily injury coverage per accident, and $30,000 property damage coverage per accident.
- Period 2: When a driver's app is on and he has been paired with a passenger, but the passenger is not yet in the vehicle. During this time, the ridesharing service must carry a $1 million liability insurance policy. This covers the driver, other drivers, and passengers, though the ridesharing driver may have to pay a deductible.
- Period 3: When a passenger is actually inside the ridesharing vehicle. The same coverage is required as during Period 2, with a deductible based on the rideshare service the driver works for.
Due to a recent law passed in California, ridesharing drivers are held to the same blood-alcohol content (BAC) requirements as commercial drivers. A ridesharing driver cannot provide services for passengers if he or she has a BAC over .04%. This means a ridesharing driver will be guilty of driving under the influence of alcohol at a lower BAC level than private drivers.
Other Legal Concerns for Uber and Lyft
There are some specific legal concerns for Uber and Lyft. Most of these pertain to customers who use them, but even drivers operating as independent contractors should keep them in mind.
Driver Background Checks and Security
Businesses that employ drivers, like taxi companies and bus or limo services, are often held liable for the actions of their drivers if proper security measures are not taken. For example, a bus driver with a history of drinking and driving can be held liable for a collision he causes. But that driver's employer might also be liable if they failed to screen him and take that history of drunk driving into account before giving him the keys to a massive bus.
Drivers for Uber and Lyft are not actual employees - they are independent contractors who use the service to get matched with passengers. While Uber and Lyft claim to perform some degree of background check on potential drivers, this does not include fingerprinting, so any criminal record a driver has is often missed. Since these drivers do not technically work for Uber or Lyft, the companies try to avoid all liability for their actions.
This has led to a fair amount of opposition to these services in some cities, since anyone using the app should feel comfortable getting in the car of the driver they are paired with. But Uber and Lyft have little in place to prevent a driver with a history of violence or sexual assault from picking people up to give them a ride. Whether these businesses can be held liable for the lack of background checks and security is something yet to be tested in many civil courts, but it is likely to be an issue in the future.
Lack of Wheelchair Accessibility
Public transportation, like buses, are required to offer access for passengers in wheelchairs or with limited mobility. Even though ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft are beginning to replace such transportation in many areas, they are not required to have any kind of wheelchair accessibility. Many disability advocates have been highly critical of this fact, and the lack of accessibility could result in a civil case at some point in the future. After all, at what point does excluding passengers in wheelchairs become discrimination?
Violence Between Passengers
Initially, Uber and Lyft provided a simple one-on-one service: a passenger would request a ride, a driver would accept, pick up the passenger, and take him or her to the destination. However, both Uber and Lyft now allow multiple passengers who do not know each other to share a single ride and split the cost. In other words, two or three strangers can end up in a car together on a ride.
While this is not necessarily a bad thing, there is certainly potential for a group of strangers, when alcohol has been consumed, to become violent with each other. If a passenger punches another passenger, and they had no prior contact before getting into the vehicle, who is liable? Is it the passenger who became aggressive? Or does Uber or Lyft share some degree of liability for creating that situation in the first place? If the driver is assaulted by a passenger, where does liability rest?
These issues are complex and largely untested in California's civil courts. That is why it is so important to have an experienced Los Angeles injury attorney to represent you if you are involved in any kind of accident or assault while riding with a service like Lyft or Uber.
After a Rideshare Accident in LA, Give Us a Call
We’ve noticed many rideshare drivers weaving dangerously on the roads, busy looking up direction for their next fare. A person driving faster than the speed limit, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or becoming distracted is unacceptable – especially when that person is driving passengers.
If that person's negligence causes an accident, he or she can certainly be held liable for the victim’s injuries. But proving negligence is essential in any civil case, and most Angelenos don’t have the tools to do that all on their own – especially when suffering from a serious injury.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a vehicle collision involving a rideshare driver, call Novik & Stanley. Our Los Angeles rideshare accident lawyers know car crashes, and we know how to take care of our clients. We have successfully won MILLIONS for injury victims and taken cases all the way to jury trial and verdict, if we needed to. Call (818) 305-6041 to schedule your free consultation.
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