Can Uber or Lyft Drivers be Sued for Accidents?

Uber, Lyft and Juno are only three of the ridesharing options available to the public at this time. By now, millions of people rely on ridesharing services to get from one destination to another. In fact, you probably use one yourself or at the very least, know someone who does.

It is fair to have concerns about your safety when you get into an Uber, Lyft or other ridesharing vehicle. No doubt, you have heard or read stories about passengers in these cars ending up in danger, so it’s only natural to have a bit of apprehension. In terms of ridesharing accidents, in most cases, the driver is safe and you can make it to your destination in one piece. However, accidents do happen, and the truth is that you never know when or where one can take place. It’s important to understand the history of Uber and ridesharing services, in general, to get a better idea of this situation.

Uber and Other Ridesharing Services Have Exploded

Uber was the first ridesharing service to suddenly appear back in 2009. In record time, more and more people decided to give the company a fair shake by using its vehicles to get from one place to another. It is convenient and easy to call for a car; all the individual needs to do is install the ridesharing service’s app on their smartphone, open it and request a ride. It exploded into huge popularity by negating the need to stand outside on a street corner to hail a traditional taxi cab. Regular cabs have huge competition as everyone who is not driving their own car seems to want a ride. Thanks to Uber becoming so massively popular in so short an amount of time, it is no longer necessary to stand outside and fight with others while trying to hail a taxi cab.

This phenomenon also paved the way for other ridesharing services to come along. Lyft and Juno, in particular, are also popular names that offer the exact same services. Also, in addition to the convenience of summoning a car to come to pick you up, another nice perk of ridesharing services is that they are far cheaper than traditional taxi cabs.

By the summer of 2018, around 75 million users were relying on Uber and other ridesharing services. Around 3 millions drivers are using their vehicles to transport people from one destination to the next. The service has become so popular, it has expanded from the United States into 64 other countries as well.

Of course, with all the perks, there are some drawbacks to be expected as well. There are already so many vehicles on the roads as it is, especially in the Los Angeles, California area. However, considering the huge number of ridesharing vehicles that are now a regular staple on those roads, it is inevitable that a few accidents involving those cars would occur. Sometimes, the accident is not the driver’s fault, but other times, the driver may be held liable for a crash. Generally speaking, it depends on the circumstances.

Of course, if you are in an Uber or other ridesharing vehicle and the car is in an accident, it can be a truly harrowing experience, even if you have not suffered an injury. However, if you are injured, you may wonder what you can do and how you can file a personal injury claim. Unfortunately, it is not always black and white. With ridesharing companies, the situation falls under many different shades of gray. It’s important to know what course of action you can take depending on the circumstances after a ridesharing accident.

What to Do as a Passenger in an Uber or Other Ridesharing Accident

When you are a passenger in an Uber or other ridesharing vehicle, you never expect a serious accident to occur. You just expect your ride to be smooth so you can get to your destination and get on with your day like normal. However, you have to know what to do if you have been in an accident while in a ridesharing vehicle. Obviously, as a passenger, the accident is never your fault. Uber and the other companies have a $1 million insurance policy in place that is meant to cover accidents when there is a passenger in the vehicle. It’s wise to consult with an Uber accident lawyer or ridesharing accident lawyer if the vehicle is a brand other than Uber.

What to Do as a Bystander in an Uber or Other Ridesharing Accident

Unfortunately, if you are a bystander who gets injured after an Uber or other ridesharing vehicle accident, things can get a bit trickier. This is due to there being a few different scenarios involving the driver while they are out in the ridesharing vehicle. Each of these situations can determine your eligibility for insurance coverage from the company. The following scenarios may apply:

Driver does not have the app on: The first scenario occurs when the ridesharing driver is out in their vehicle but does not have the app on and is not awaiting a passenger to drive around. If you are a bystander who sustains an injury if the driver hits you, you would have to go through the driver’s own auto insurance policy to cover your medical expenses and other losses. If that proves insufficient to effectively cover your damages, you would then have to rely on your own insurance company’s uninsured or underinsured motorist policy coverage.
App is on while the driver is waiting for a ride request: In the next scenario, the driver has the app on while awaiting a request for a ride. The ridesharing company’s insurance policy would apply in this situation if the driver has an accident with a bystander. The coverage includes $50,000 per injury for each person up to a maximum of $100,000 while covering property damage up to $25,000.
Driver has the app on and is traveling to pick up a passenger: In the third situation, the driver gets into an accident with a bystander while traveling to pick up a passenger for a ride. The app is also open on their smartphone. Once again, after an accident, the ridesharing service’s $1 million insurance policy would apply. The driver’s smartphone would also show proof of their location in the form of the GPS tracking it. At the same time, in spite of the transparency of this situation, it’s wise to retain an Uber accident lawyer or ridesharing accident lawyer.
Driver was giving a passenger a ride with the app on: The last scenario involves an accident with a bystander while the Uber or other ridesharing service driver is actually driving a passenger while the app is open on their phone. Again, the $1 million insurance policy covers any damages stemming from the accident, be it medical expenses or property damage or both.

No matter what the situation, if you have suffered injuries after a ridesharing vehicle accident, you should always have an attorney on your side, fighting to protect your best interests. West Coast Trial Lawyers can assist you every step of the way. Contact West Coast Trial Lawyers immediately to discuss your case with an attorney.

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