In California, there are various ridesharing services, with Uber and Lyft being the most well-known. Additionally, other companies are joining the market by providing vehicle-sharing services, particularly with specialized vehicles like trucks and vans. One of the most well-known companies in this regard is U-Haul, which has recently introduced a truck-sharing program for its customers.
At Rideshare Law Office , our experienced team of California accident lawyers are here to assist you and your loved ones in case of an accident involving a U-Haul truck or van. Contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation to get started.
Is U-Haul Truck Share a Ridesharing Service?
Under the traditional definition, U-Haul’s truck share is not a ridesharing service because it doesn’t involve:
- People using their private vehicles to transport passengers from one location to another for a fee.
U-Haul Truck Share, on the other hand, allows customers to rent U-Haul trucks and vans for transporting cargo or personal belongings, but it is not a ridesharing service for transporting passengers.
With that said, there are still important things to know when it comes to accidents with these vehicles and how the law approaches them. Generally speaking, once a customer rents a U-Haul truck or van, they assume the responsibility that they would have if they were driving any other vehicle. So, when there’s an accident, liability hinges on proving negligence by showing there is:
- A legally binding duty owed to you by both the driver and U-Haul.
- The driver or U-Haul fails to meet that duty (breach).
- Injury suffered by you, a passenger, or someone else.
- Establishing that the breach of duty by the driver or U-Haul directly caused your injury (often called the “proximate cause”).
Once negligence is proven, various parties could potentially be responsible for your injuries in the event of an accident:
- The driver of the vehicle
- Maintenance crews that worked on the vehicle
- The manufacturer of defective parts
The determination of who is liable heavily depends on the circumstances of the accident. For example:
- If the driver was reckless or failed to check their blind spot, resulting in the accident, they could be held responsible.
- If U-Haul didn’t properly screen the driver, and that driver caused the accident, the company might be accountable.
- In cases where the truck or van experienced brake failure or a tire blowout, the manufacturer could potentially be liable.
Often, it’s a combination of these parties that share responsibility for the damages, as some degree of fault may lie with each of them.
Additionally, it’s important to know that California follows a “comparative negligence” law, which means your potential compensation is reduced based on your percentage of fault in the accident. Regardless of the circumstances, it’s crucial to take steps to recover financial support and strengthen your claim.
What Damages Can You Get in a California U-Haul Truck Accident?
There are two ways to pursue legal action after you’ve been injured in an accident with a U-Haul truck or van: filing an insurance claim against the driver and U-Haul itself or filing a personal injury lawsuit. The ultimate goal of a claim is, obviously, to recover certain financial support that California law makes available to you as an injury victim. In legal terms, this support is known as “damages.” While every accident is unique, common damages that could be awarded include:
- Medical expenses and bills -This includes not only immediate medical costs but also ongoing expenses related to your treatment and recovery. It covers doctor’s visits, hospital bills, medication, and any necessary medical procedures.
- Lost wages – If your injuries lead to time away from work, you may be eligible to receive compensation for the income you’ve lost due to the accident.
- Mental anguish – The emotional impact of an accident can be substantial. It includes anxiety, depression, and the distress you experience due to the accident.
- Pain and suffering – Your physical pain, as well as emotional suffering, are significant components of your claim. These encompass the discomfort and distress you endure as a result of your injuries.
- Loss of enjoyment of life or companionship – If the accident diminishes your quality of life or hinders your relationships, you can seek compensation for these losses.
- Wrongful death expenses – In the tragic event of a fatal accident, expenses related to the wrongful death can be claimed. This includes funeral costs and other associated expenses.
Another important aspect to be aware of is the statute of limitations, a legal deadline in California. For personal injury claims following a U-Haul truck accident, you typically have two years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit. It’s crucial to act within this time frame to protect your rights and seek the financial support and benefits you deserve.
What Should You Do After a U-Haul Truck Share Accident in California?
What you’ll need to do in the immediate aftermath of an accident with a U-Haul truck or van is pretty simple: get to safety and find medical care to address any injuries. After you’re able to do that, though, you’ll need to carefully approach other things to make sure your potential claim remains viable. This includes doing things like:
- Exchanging contact information – Like in any accident, exchange contact and insurance information with all parties involved. Write down names, addresses, phone numbers, and insurance details.
- Gathering evidence at the scene – If it’s safe to do so, take pictures of the accident scene. Capture images of vehicle damage, road conditions, and any relevant road signs or signals. This evidence can be valuable later.
- Reporting the accident – In many instances, it’s necessary to inform local law enforcement about the accident. They can create an official accident report, which is often essential for insurance claims and legal proceedings.
- Notifying U-Haul – Report the accident to U-Haul as soon as possible. They may have specific protocols and requirements for accidents involving their rental vehicles.
- Seeking further medical attention – Even if you don’t feel severely injured, it’s wise to seek further medical evaluation. Some injuries might not present themselves right away, but could develop later.
- Speaking with witnesses – If there were any witnesses to the accident, gather their contact information. Their testimony may be vital later.
- Preserving evidence – Refrain from repairing or disposing of your damaged vehicle until you’ve consulted with an attorney or your insurance company. The vehicle may serve as evidence.
- Contacting your insurance – Inform your auto insurance company about the accident. They will assist you in the claims process and provide information about your coverage.
- Remaining calm and not admitting fault – In conversations with the other party, the police, or insurance adjusters, refrain from admitting fault or making statements that could be used against you in the future.
- Keeping records – Make sure to keep all documents related to the accident. This should include medical records, repair estimates, correspondence with U-Haul and insurance companies, and any other pertinent information.
Remember that the amount of financial support you may receive is influenced by the severity of your injuries and the extent of your suffering from the accident, whether you’re seeking it through an insurance claim or lawsuit. As such, these actions and evidence will be the primary method of building your case, and ultimately, what you can recover.
Rideshare Law Office Can Help You
Dealing with any rideshare accident, especially one involving a U-Haul vehicle, is a significant challenge. In these circumstances, our team of California rideshare accident lawyers at Rideshare Law Office will be there to help you through the claims process to get the benefits and support you deserve.
We manage all aspects of your claim, enabling you to focus on your well-being and your loved ones. Contact us today for a free consultation to get started.