Ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft operate digital transportation networks that link passengers to drivers who will carry the passengers from points of origin to destinations for a charge. Sometimes, two or more independent customers will share the same car. That would be ridesharing in its truest sense, but that really doesn’t happen very often. For purposes of personal safety and privacy, it’s almost always a single rider or a couple who use ridesharing companies. People just don’t want to ride in a car with strangers. That’s why ridesharing companies are more appropriately known as transportation network companies (TNCs).
TNC Vehicles are Private Vehicles
When working with a TNC like Uber or Lyft, drivers use their own personal cars. They’re inconspicuous in traffic There are no markings on the vehicles, and drivers have no set hours of service. Rideshare vehicles can’t be hailed like taxis either. If a driver is parked and awaiting a ride request, that driver isn’t required to pick up an individual if he or she doesn’t want to.
Becoming a Customer
All that potential customers need to get connected with Uber or Lyft are a smartphone and a credit or debit card. They need only pull up the app, enter their personal and banking information, and they become a customer. When a ride is needed, customers just open the TNC’s app and enter their location and destination. A nearby Uber or Lyft driver will accept the pickup and take the customer to that destination.
Physical Attacks by TNC Drivers on Passengers
If a driver wishes to associate with Uber or Lyft, he or she must supply the TNC with appropriate documentation through the company’s app. The lack of fact-to-face interviews increases the chance that a driver might be retained without a thorough background investigation. Accounts of physical and sexual attacks by TNC drivers on riders exist across the United States.
TNC Accidents Have Increased in Frequency
There is no question that rideshare services have filled a transportation gap. TNCs increase the convenience of getting from place to place. Riding a rideshare vehicle is also a more comfortable and less expensive alternative than a taxi. What comes to issue is that along with Uber and Lyft, other rideshare companies have started to compete against them. As a result, there has been a significant increase in motor vehicle accidents across California that involve TNC drivers who are logged into a TNC app at the time of an accident.
The Insurance Issues
What comes to issue in rideshare accidents that involve personal injury is insurance coverage. TNC drivers are only required to be insured at California’s minimum level of $15,000 per person and $30,000 per accident through their own personal coverage. When a driver is logged into the TNC app and has started on the way to pick up a customer, $1 million of liability and uninsured motorist insurance coverage is triggered. When personal injury accidents occur, victims are often caught in the middle with two or more liability insurers pointing their fingers at each other. You don’t want to be put in that spot while medical bills continue to accrue and you’re still unable to go back to work. That’s why no matter where you’ve been injured in a rideshare crash in California, representation from an experienced and aggressive California rideshare accident lawyer from our law offices is needed. Whether you were a rideshare passenger, a driver or passenger of another vehicle, a motorcyclist, bicyclist or a pedestrian, our objective is to maximize any settlement or award that you might receive. We can probably even help you if you were the driver of a rideshare vehicle who was injured as a result of the carelessness and negligence of somebody else.
We Focus Our Practice on Uber Accidents Throughout California
California rideshare accident cases require the experience and skill of an attorney with a strong background in both motor vehicle accident law and insurance law. For many years, our law firm has obtained top dollar compensation for accident victims in cases that involve a wide variety of motor vehicle accidents and injuries. Given our experience, we sympathize with accident victims who have suddenly been thrown into the middle of insurance company disputes through no fault of their own.
Uber’s Three Stages
Whether it’s the rideshare company’s insurer or the driver’s personal insurer that covers a personal injury accident depends on what the driver was doing at the time that an accident occurred.
Those times have been classified into the three following stages:
Stage One: During this first stage, the rideshare driver has logged into the TNC’s app. He or she is now awaiting a ride request from a customer. Before logging into the app, drivers are covered by their own personal insurance. Upon logging in, they’re covered by Uber’s policy for personal injury liability at $50,000 per person and $100,000 total per occurrence. There is also $25,000 of property damage coverage.
The Second Stage: This segment begins when a driver puts his or her vehicle in gear to fulfill an Uber customer’s request for transportation services. The $1 million in liability and uninsured motorist insurance is triggered. This is when two or more insurance companies might start pointing their fingers at each other, especially when a driver is in an accident on the way to pick up a customer. Our California Uber accident attorney advises drivers to take a screenshot of the app showing that he or she was on the way to pick up a customer.
The Third Stage: This final stage begins when the passenger who requested a ride gets in the car. It’s the most favorable stage for purposes of proving Uber’s insurance coverage. That coverage reverts to stage one as soon as the passenger gets out of the vehicle, closes the door and walks away.
What You Should Do After an Uber Accident
Call 911 to report your accident and ask that police be dispatched to the scene for purposes of an investigation. Because you’ve been injured, ask the 911 operator for paramedics to be dispatched too. They can stabilize you and transport you to an emergency room for an examination, a diagnosis and treatment. Don’t get talked out of calling 911 under any circumstances. Without a police report, your chances of proving that you were the victim of an accident and suffered injuries diminish drastically. Police, paramedic and emergency room records will be pivotal in the context of the cause of your injuries. If possible, you’ll also want to try to note all available information surrounding the accident. Try to get that screenshot of the app too. After you’ve been released from the emergency room, call our offices right away to arrange for a free consultation and case evaluation with a California rideshare accident lawyer from our law firm.
Don’t Give any Type of Statement
You were injured as a result of the carelessness and negligence of somebody else. Before that individual’s insurance company pays out a penny, it will want to conduct its own investigation into all of the facts and circumstances surrounding your accident. Part of that investigation will likely involve a request for a written or recorded statement from you about how the accident occurred and the injuries that you suffered. California law doesn’t require you to give a statement of any kind to an opposing insurance company after being injured in any accident. No matter what the opposing insurance adjuster says, don’t give any type of a statement. It’s entirely possible that your own words will be used against you in efforts to attack your credibility and minimize any amount that might be required to be paid to you in the future.
Don’t become a victim a second time by allowing yourself to be put in the middle by insurance companies that are looking out for their own best interests. Rather than letting that happen, contact our offices for that free consultation and case evaluation right away after being injured in any accident involving a rideshare vehicle anywhere in California. You can tell us what happened and how it has affected you, and we can answer your questions for you. Based on our analysis, we’ll then advise you on what we believe the best legal strategy might be to keep you from getting caught in the middle. We want to keep you from getting put in that position and have the proper party or parties held accountable for your injuries and damages. Upon being retained to represent you, our continued objective will be to obtain the maximum settlement or award that you deserve. Contact our California rideshare lawyer at your earliest possible opportunity after being injured in any rideshare accident. No legal fees are even due unless we obtain a settlement or award for you.