Accidents caused by Uber/Lyft drivers
Everywhere you look on our roads and highways, there are vehicles with Lyft or Uber signs in their windows. These rideshare drivers help millions of people out every day across the United States—and throughout Los Angeles—by picking them up and dropping them off at their destinations with little-to-no hassle. However, the situation becomes significantly less simple when an Uber or Lyft driver causes a car accident.
Victims of rideshare driver accidents have the same rights as victims in any other traffic crash. They can, and should, hold negligent parties liable for their injuries and losses. However, when it comes to rideshare crashes, the insurance process can be even more complex and challenging than a typical claim. This is just one of the reasons why you will want to have an experienced Los Angeles Uber and Lyft accident attorney handling your claim.
How rideshare drivers cause accidents
When you pay for a driver to take you where you need to go, you expect that driver to get you there safely. Many professional drivers need training, special licensing, and other formalities to transport people. However, rideshare drivers only need a regular driver’s license and no special training. They can be approved to transport passengers after submitting their vehicle information and passing a background check.
Given this, rideshare drivers are just like any other driver on the road. This means they can easily make the same mistakes and misjudgments as anyone else. Some common driver errors that can lead to rideshare crashes include:
It is unsafe for any driver to fail to pay attention to the road. However, rideshare drivers face unique distractions. They must keep one eye on the rideshare’s app to see when and where they need to pick up passengers. They also need to use the app for directions. In addition, some rideshare passengers might distract drivers with conversation, or if they are rowdy or intoxicated. Any time a rideshare driver is distracted, it increases the potential risk for an accident.
Rideshare drivers do not have bosses looking over their shoulders each day, or worry about possible random alcohol and drug tests like other commercial drivers. This means that some drivers might be tempted to have a couple of drinks or use marijuana before they start accepting rides. In other cases, some drivers use illegal stimulants to allow them to get through their rideshare shifts—especially those late at night. Any of these substances, taken independently or in conjunction with one another, can cause impairment and serious accidents.
State laws restrict the number of hours a rideshare driver can work consecutively in one day. However, this does not eliminate the risk of fatigued rideshare drivers. Some people work full-time jobs and then complete full rideshare shifts afterward, causing them to regularly be sleep-deprived. In addition, some people sign up with both Uber and Lyft, and so they might complete two full driving shifts on the same day, increasing the risk of a serious drowsy driving accident.
The faster a rideshare driver completes one fare, the sooner they can accept another. In order to maximize the money they earn, drivers can easily be tempted to speed to get to each destination faster. Speeding—both on highways or residential streets—can lead to serious crashes, and the injuries are often more severe, depending on how fast the car was traveling.
Violating traffic laws
While it should be expected that rideshare drivers would abide by all traffic laws, they can violate these laws—intentionally or not—just like any other driver. Common violations that can cause accidents include failing to yield, running red lights or stop signs, improper passing, and more.
What happens after an Uber or Lyft driver causes an accident?
If another driver hits your car, you generally have to file a claim with their auto insurance company. However, when the driver is an Uber or Lyft driver, the process is not quite that simple. The state has different insurance requirements for rideshare drivers and companies, and different policies can come into play.
If you were a passenger in an Uber or Lyft:
When a rideshare driver has accepted a ride or has an active passenger, the good news is that Uber and Lyft must have corporate policies that cover liability for those injured by the driver. If you were a rideshare passenger at the time of the crash, it means that the corporate coverage would cover your losses. Uber and Lyft carry $1 million in coverage for these situations. Your Uber and Lyft accident lawyer can help you file and negotiate claims with these corporate policies.
If you were not a rideshare passenger:
Rideshare drivers can cause injuries to other drivers, passengers in other vehicles, pedestrians, cyclists, and others. If you were not a passenger in the Uber or Lyft, the claims you file will depend on the status of the driver when they caused your crash:
- If the driver was not on the app, the driver’s personal auto insurance coverage would apply.
- If the driver is available and waiting for a ride request, the driver’s insurance applies, and Uber/Lyft has a supplemental policy of $50,000 per injured person.
- If the driver had accepted a ride or had a passenger at the time of the crash, Uber or Lyft’s $1 million policy would apply.
To ensure you file the right claim after a rideshare driver causes an accident, make sure you have an experienced rideshare accident attorney handling your case.