No, it isn’t a fad – or even a trend. Ridesharing – specifically ride share apps – are here to stay. In fact, there are expectations for significant growth in the worldwide ridesharing market in the near future. Some experts even predict that the total value of the global ridesharing market will hit approximately USD$185 billion in just four years. Experts also attribute growth expectations to the cost of motor vehicle ownership, and congestion –especially in urban centers such as Los Angeles.
But as with anything else, ridesharing’s popularity may likely come at a cost. With more demand, more rideshare drivers, and more vehicles on crowded California roads, it stands to reason that there could be more rideshare accidents, too. In the meantime, there’s a more pressing question. What should you do after a California rideshare accident now? Keep reading to find out.
Common causes of LA rideshare accidents
At the Law Office of Parag L. Amin P.C., (LawPLA), we routinely represent plaintiffs in personal injury cases. Because a lot of our clients have been injured in car accidents, we can easily list some of the most common causes of LA crashes. These include but are not limited to speeding, distracted driving, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and “drowsy driving” (driving while fatigued).
Not surprisingly, distracted driving ranks among the top causes in California rideshare accidents, too. Rideshare drivers may distracted by:
- Using GPS (or other navigational aids) to try to pinpoint where to pickup or drop off a passenger.
- Checking their app
- Looking for passengers at pickup locations
- Talking with passengers
Fatigue also contributes to accidents involving Uber, Lyft, and other rideshare providers. This often happens when a rideshare driver has spent an extensive amount of time behind the wheel, or he or she has been driving after working his or her “regular” job.
Different types of California rideshare accidents
People injured in California Uber, Lyft, or other rideshare accidents may be:
- Passengers in the rideshare vehicle
- Drivers or passengers in vehicles that hit or get hit by rideshare vehicles
- Pedestrians hit by rideshare vehicles
- Bicyclists/motorcyclists hit by rideshare vehicles
- Rideshare drivers whose vehicles are hit while they are driving, or making pickups or drop-offs
For the purposes of this article, let’s assume you get hurt when the rideshare vehicle you are riding in is involved in a crash. In this case, there are several things you can do straight away.
First, if you can get out of the vehicle and find a safe place where you are easily visible to wait for help, do so. Secondly, don’t assume that the driver or bystander called the police. If possible, go ahead and do that yourself. Also, be prepared to talk to someone from the rideshare company about the accident while you are still on the scene. Don’t forget to get your driver’s information, including his or her name, points of contact and insurance information. While you’re at it, be sure to get the names and contact information for any witnesses. Last but not least, be sure to seek medical attention – even if you don’t think you were seriously hurt. Doing so is critical not only for your own wellbeing, but also for any claim you end up making.
Seeking legal and/or financial recourse after a rideshare accident
Unlike most taxi drivers, who lease their cabs, rideshare drivers use their personal vehicles for work. In California, this means they are legally obligated to have insurance coverage providing at least: $15,000 for injury/death to one person, $30,000 for injury/death to more than one person, and $5,000 for damage to property.
However, California law also mandates that rideshare companies provide additional insurance for drivers. The catch is that these requirements only apply at certain times. Specifically, they apply when a driver’s app is activated. Furthermore, there are different requirements for minimal insurance coverage amounts once the app is turned on.
There are three “periods” when the additional insurance coverage kicks in. “Period 1” is defined as the time when a rideshare driver has activated his or her app, but does not have a passenger in the car. During this “stand by” period, Uber and Lyft, the two best-known California rideshare companies, only provide coverage if the driver’s personal auto insurance doesn’t cover the full amount of the claim. In this case, the rideshare companies provide extra coverage in the amounts of $50,000 and $100,000 per accident and per person, and $25,000 for property damage.
“Period 2” and “Period 3” are defined as the time during which the rideshare driver’s app is activated and he or she has a passenger in the vehicle. This is when the rideshare company’s $1 million insurance policy covering both the driver and the passenger(s) would take effect.
What does this mean? Simply put, the driver’s own insurance or additional insurance should provide coverage for passengers injured in Uber or Lyft accidents. Of course, this is based on the assumption that the rideshare driver is at fault.
Contact experienced LA rideshare accident lawyers today
If you were hurt in a California rideshare crash, it is crucial that you contact a knowledgeable rideshare injury lawyer as soon as possible. This is because getting the compensation you deserve after a LA rideshare accident isn’t always easy.
At LawPLA, we can quickly evaluate your unique circumstances to determine whether you have a viable case. Specifically, we can determine whether you can pursue legal recourse from the rideshare driver and/or the rideshare company. More importantly, we can do so regardless of whether you are an injured rideshare passenger, or you were otherwise involved in a rideshare crash. Don’t leave anything to chance. Schedule a free consultation with LawPLA’s dedicated personal injury attorneys by giving us a call or using our online contact page, today.