When you have been involved in a ridesharing accident with Uber, Lyft or a similar service, you may feel understandably confused.
Besides being shaken up, perhaps injured and certainly out time and money, you likely won’t know where to turn to get the legal guidance you need.
Ridesharing itself is still such a new area of public transportation that we are only now starting to really feel its influence on the California roadways. Ridesharing has added drivers and cars to our already crowded roadways and accidents are occurring as a result.
One of the questions many ridesharing passengers have is about who should pay for a ridesharing accident insurance claim. The answer is more complicated than you might think and the reason it is smart to hire a ridesharing accident lawyer to represent you.
Is It Okay to Sit in the Front Seat of an Uber or Lyft?
Ridesharing services are generating a lot of questions that existing California traffic law rules and regulations do not answer very well, if at all.
One such question is where a passenger should sit while using a ridesharing service for transportion.
It is perfectly okay to sit wherever there is room in the Lyft or Uber. For example, sometimes you may be traveling with friends and in order to fit everyone into the ridesharing vehicle, some of you may need to sit in back and up front next to the driver.
This is especially the case if you opt to use a pooled ridesharing service where you may be in the car with one or more people you don’t know. In this case, it is always kind to ask first before simply getting in next to a stranger, especially if the front seat is vacant.
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Understanding the Three Phases of Ridesharing Drivers
This is where ridesharing law really starts to get confusing and where you will always want the best Uber accident lawyer to help you understand how California traffic law works in handling ridesharing accidents.
The first area of confusion begins with ridesharing itself.
A ridesharing driver may be in one of three separate phases, or periods, while operating a vehicle used for providing ridesharing services.
Period 1: Off.
In this first period, the ridesharing driver is using their vehicle for personal reasons. The ridesharing app is turned off. They do not want to find a passenger.
We won’t cover this first period in this post.
Period 2: Seeking.
In this second period, the ridesharing driver is “at work” because the ridesharing app is turned on. The driver is actively seeking a passenger at this time but is alone in the vehicle.
Period 3: Transporting.
In this third period, which is most relevant to this topic, the ridesharing driver has located a passenger and is either on the way to pick up the passenger or is transporting the passenger somewhere.
What Happens If the Driver Has an Accident While You are in the Uber or Lyft?
No matter when or where it happens, being in a car accident is always scary. Even if the accident is very minor and there is little damage and no one is hurt, it can still leave you with lasting memories that are unsettling to say the least.
But when you are a passenger in an Uber or Lyft and an accident occurs, the stress level goes way up. If your property is damaged or destroyed or you are injured, you may feel like you have your hands full just recovering and filling out insurance claims forms.
This is always the right moment to retain the services of a personal injury lawyer in Los Angeles to help you handle the disruption to your daily life and keep your claims process moving forward quickly and smoothly.
What you don’t want to do is get involved in negotiations with Uber or Lyft’s corporate legal teams.
You can be sure Uber and Lyft do not want to be cited as being at fault for a California ridesharing accident. They definitely do not want to pay out insurance claims. So they are likely to try to convince you the ridesharing accident was your fault or the fault of the other driver and not their driver.
The best Uber accident lawyer will be able to quickly spot this tactic and shut it down to keep your case on track and ensure you are fairly reimbursed.
Uber and Lyft Have Massive Insurance Policies to Cover Passenger Injury
Another thing Uber and Lyft’s lawyers won’t want to talk to you about is their massive $1 million insurance policies that are in place to cover ridesharing accidents that involve passengers.
They may have these policies in place, but they won’t want to use them. Like all California auto accidents, ridesharing accidents are always handled on a “fault” basis when it comes to insurance payouts, and Uber and Lyft know they will make news headlines if their driver is found to be at fault.
So they really, really don’t want to pay out any passenger-submitted insurance claims, no matter that their driver was declared to be at fault for causing the accident.
You will likely need the expert guidance of a ridesharing personal injury lawyer in Los Angeles to ensure you get the fair treatment you need and deserve after being involved in a ridesharing accident.
What to Do After Being Involved in an Uber or Lyft Accident As a Passenger
Because ridesharing is becoming so common and many people use these services weekly or daily, it is vital to know what to do first and next after being in a ridesharing accident as a passenger.
The first thing you need to do is call 911 if you need medical help.
Next, if you are medically able, write down the driver’s full name, phone number, driver license number, license plate number and car number/driver ID number.
Also keep any screenshots of the app documents verifying your order.
Get photos and videos of the vehicle, the other vehicles, other passengers or bystanders and anything else useful to document what happened. Ask for their contact information as well and get insurance information for any other drivers that were involved in the accident.
Report the accident to Uber or Lyft right away and submit your insurance claims. Even though it may take awhile to sort out fault, you may need benefits right away.
Finally, call the best Uber accident lawyer to represent you to make sure you get compensated for your experience.
Do You Need a Ridesharing Accident Lawyer? We Can Help
Here in California, ridesharing accidents are happening more and more frequently. But ridesharing law as a sub-specialty of California traffic law is still an evolving field and few legal firms are experienced enough to handle these cases on behalf of ridesharing passengers and bystanders.
West Coast Trial Lawyers is one of those legal firms. If you or someone you care about has been harmed due to the actions of a ridesharing driver, we may be able to help. Contact us today to schedule your free no-obligation initial consultation.