Going out and deciding to leave the car behind in Long Beach, CA, is much easier with the vehicle ride share services, like Uber and Lyft. They allow you to schedule a vehicle and have them show up right on time, using GPS, social networking, and algorithm matching. In 2018, 36% of people in the U.S. have used ridesharing apps.
As their popularity continues to grow, although they have one crucial difference from traditional taxi services, namely the lack of regulatory and licensing requirements. While states are attempting to address this issue, today’s vehicle ride share services have a competitive pricing advantage over traditional taxi services due to less requirements.
However, along with their popularity, questions come up regarding the legal protections that you have as a rider. Essentially, do you have any rights when you are injured in one of these vehicle ride share service? Let’s explore what legal rights are available and what you need to do to protect them throughout this legal process, as well as if a Long Beach car accident attorney is necessary.
Who Is At Fault?
The most important thing to remember is that whoever is at fault for the accident, be it the Uber or Lyft driver or another driver, is the one responsible for paying the costs and claims associated with the accident. If the Uber or Lyft driver is at fault, you would file a claim using their liability insurance through Uber or Lyft. However, there is a caveat to that.
The liability insurance from these companies will only cover your claims if the driver was logged into the Uber/Lyft app. If they are logged in, but have not yet accepted a ride request, then the liability coverage for an accident is capped at $50,000 per person injured per accident, $100,000 total injury liability per accident, and $25,000 property damage liability.
Those numbers go up when a driver has the accident after they have accepted a trip and is on the way to pick up their client. Once the driver picks up the rider, then their liability coverage goes up again. It is possible to hold them financially responsible if the Uber or Lyft driver is at fault, whether you are the rider or the other driver that was hit due to their negligence.
However, if the other driver is at fault and not the Lyft or Uber driver, then you will proceed to file a claim with their insurance company. This option would apply if you are the driver of the other vehicle or a passenger.
Are You A Passenger of the Ride Share Service?
If you are injured as a passenger of the vehicle ride share service, then you would file a claim with their commercial insurance policy or their personal insurance if that has the special provision for them to engage in ride sharing. Keep in mind that personal insurance is likely going to have to deny the claim or exhaust their benefits before the commercial liability polices of the ride sharing companies come into play.
Obviously, if the at-fault driver is not the Uber or Lyft driver, your claim would be against the at-fault driver. If they do not have insurance, then you could file a claim against the uninsured or underinsured liability coverage offered through the ride sharing company itself. Still, you won’t be able to tap this coverage unless the driver can’t be found, doesn’t have car insurance, or simply doesn’t carry a sufficient amount of insurance to cover all the costs associated with the accident.
What To Do After the Accident
Like any other car accident, the first thing that you need to do is get names, contact information, and insurance details for those involved. Also, get the contact information for any witnesses that saw the accident. If you were injured, it is important to get checked out medically and keep all the documentation related to any injuries resulting from the accident.
If possible, you should also get as many pictures from as many angles as possible, showing the accident scene, the cars involved, and any other details. The result is that now you have information to give to any legal representation that you may end up hiring.
While it seems like a no-brainer, also make sure that you call the police and have a proper police report filed. Once you have completed all these steps, it may also be appropriate to consider consulting with a Long Beach car accident attorney. Legal representation can help you to protect your rights and make sure that any personal injury claims relating to the car accident are covered.
If you have been in a car accident in a ride share vehicle, contact our car accident attorneys today to determine your legal standing and what your options are.
Gabriel and Associates is a full-service law office based in Long Beach, California for over 30 years. Areas of practice include personal injury, workers’ compensation, slip and fall, defective products, medical malpractice, bankruptcy, and other business matters.