In a bustling community like Thousand Oaks, riding in a Lyft vehicle continues to be a popular transportation option. With the Ventura Freeway taking riders to Los Angeles and Route 23 taking them to the neighboring Moorpark, traffic is moving 24 hours a day. City streets like Thousand Oaks Boulevard and Hillcrest Drive are major city streets that are surrounded by subdivisions, many of them walled for purposes of keeping traffic out.
The TNC Model
Lyft is a commercial enterprise that operates as a transportation network company (TNC) in and around Thousand Oaks. People who wish to become Lyft customers merely provide some personal information and a credit card number to the company, and they become a customer. No cash is exchanged between Lyft riders and customers. The TNC matches passengers and drivers that use their personal vehicles for hire through an online app and mobile phones. Lyft service is almost always more efficient and less costly than that of a conventional taxi cab service. As Lyft vehicles are scattered throughout the town at all hours of the day and night, a driver can be at a customer’s location in a flash.
Lyft Driver Distraction and Accidents
Regardless of the fact that Lyft performs background checks on its drivers and only works with those with good driving histories, some Lyft drivers do cause accidents. When they’re working, they’re competing for customers with other TNC drivers through one or more mobile devices and trying to earn as much money as possible during the hours that they’re on the road. It’s those distractions that commonly lead to accidents. Here are some typical Lyft driver distractions:
- Inputting or receiving messages from a mobile device while in motion.
- Using a navigational device while in motion.
- Visually scanning an area for a passenger’s location and not paying attention to traffic ahead.
- Responding to ride alerts while driving with a passenger.
- Otherwise multitasking.
Neither Lyft nor its customers want drivers to pull over to safe locations in order to attend to distractions. The Virginia Tech Traffic Institute reports that simply responding to a text message for five seconds at 55 mph is tantamount to driving the length of a football field with one of a driver’s hands off of the steering wheel, eyes off of the road and mind off of the task of safely transporting one or more passengers.
California’s Mandatory Lyft Insurance
For purposes of shielding itself from potential financial exposure in personal injury lawsuits, Lyft has classified its drivers as independent contractors as opposed to employees. Applicants are required to acknowledge this status before they’re allowed on board. In accordance with California law, Lyft does provide insurance for its TNC drivers, but that coverage is secondary to the driver’s personal coverage.
Personal coverage in California is only mandated at $15,000 per person and $30,000 per occurrence. Lyft’s maximum liability coverage for drivers is $1 million with another $1 million of uninsured and underinsured motorist insurance. An injured Lyft passenger or third party must first exhaust the driver’s personal policy limits before Lyft’s coverage is triggered. Then, Lyft’s insurance only applies if its driver was on the way to pick up a customer or transporting that customer. Once that individual exits the vehicle, Lyft’s liability coverage is reduced to $50,000 per person and $100,000 per occurrence, so long as the TNC’s app remains on. If the driver logs out of the app, liability coverage reverts back to his or her personal coverage.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Should I call 911 if I was injured in a Lyft Accident?
Yes, make that call, even if somebody else says that they called. You’ll want paramedics to come to the scene too. They can transport you to a local emergency room for further care and treatment.
Do I really need an attorney after being injured in a Lyft accident?
While you can technically request a settlement on your own, you will likely receive a lower offer than if you work with an experienced Lyft accident lawyer.
Does California law allow a passenger to bring a personal injury claim or lawsuit against a Lyft driver?
Assuming that the Lyft driver was partially or totally at fault for the accident and your injuries, you can bring a claim or lawsuit against him or her.
Contact a Thousand Oaks Lyft Accident Lawyer Today
Don’t get caught in the middle of two or more insurance companies pointing at each other to compensate you for your injuries and damages when you did nothing to cause the accident. After being injured in a Lyft accident as a passenger, driver, or occupant of another vehicle, motorcyclist, bicyclist, or pedestrian, contact our experienced and aggressive Thousand Oaks Lyft accident lawyer here at the Rideshare Law Office. You can even contact us if you were an Uber driver who was injured by the negligence of another motorist. All initial consultations are free and confidential.