Sacramento Uber/Lyft Accident Lawyers
Personal injury lawyers are lawyers who advocate and fight for people’s legal rights to receive compensation after someone else causes their injury. An experienced Sacramento personal injury lawyer seeks compensation for the physical, emotional, and mental injuries sustained by accident victims.
Rideshares like Uber and Lyft are a popular form of transportation in Sacramento, and for a good reason. These services are affordable and convenient, and eliminate the need to navigate the populous city’s overwhelming traffic. In fact, rideshares are the fastest-growing form of transportation in the California state capital. Like any other driver, though, rideshare drivers can be involved in an accident.
What do you do after being in an Uber or Lyft accident? The legal implications can be tricky and aren’t set in stone, so you need a qualified personal injury lawyer like those at Cutter Law to help.
What should I do after being involved in an accident as a passenger of Uber or Lyft?
Even if you’re not the driver, you should still call 911 and law enforcement if you’ve been in an accident. You need to have medical attention even if you don’t feel injured. Plus, it’s against the law not to report an accident to the police.
Following are several steps to take immediately after an Uber or Lyft accident. Each step is recommended to protect you:
- Call 911 for medical attention
- Report the accident to the Sacramento Police at (916) 264-5471
- Exchange information with your rideshare driver and the other driver
- Take photos of the accident scene if you’re physically able to
- Try to take pictures of any injured persons
- Take photos of the other car and license plate, especially if they try to leave
After the police and EMS have arrived and everyone has received medical attention, there are a few more steps you should take:
- Get copies of the EMS medical report
- Ask for your doctor’s reports if you seek further medical attention
- Ask for a copy of the police report or request one online
- Have follow-up medical care and keep documentation of the same
Last but not least, you’ll want to hire an experienced Lyft or Uber accident attorney.
Who’s liable in an Uber or Lyft accident in California?
Rideshare laws in California are tricky, and liability depends on the driver’s status at the time of the accident. The driver may have one of three levels of liability, depending on which of the following circumstances apply:
- They have a passenger in the car at the time
- They’re logged into the app and waiting for a passenger
- They’re logged out of the app and driving on their own time
Responsibility for vehicle accidents in California is based on negligence, including accidents involving an Uber or Lyft. If one driver is determined negligent, they’re liable for the injuries and property damage caused to the other driver and any passengers in the cars.
If a driver violates vehicle codes intended to prevent an accident or injury, they’re presumed to be negligent and thus responsible. Negligent driving is against the law in California.
There are a few examples of negligence in a car accident that can lead to a collision, such as:
- Texting and driving, or otherwise using a phone while driving
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Running a stop sign or red light
Ultimately, law enforcement, the insurance companies, your attorney, or a judge may determine who is legally at fault to decide your eligibility for compensation.
Can I sue Uber or Lyft after an accident?
Whether you can recover damages from a rideshare driver depends on their status. Their status also determines how much you can recover and which party or parties will be paying for your damages.
Typical car accident claims cover the following expenses:
- Medical bills
- Car repair bills or other property damage
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
If the driver isn’t logged into their rideshare app, then they’re considered to be on their own time and not affiliated with Uber or Lyft. In that case, they could be personally liable and their auto insurance will cover damages.
However, if a driver gets into an accident on their way to pick up a fare, or if you’re riding in the car as a rideshare passenger when an accident occurs, then Uber or Lyft may have liability along with the driver.
In order to sue Uber, Lyft, or another rideshare company in California, you have to be able to prove the company itself was negligent.
Negligence on the company’s part could involve how they screen, train, and supervise their drivers. It may also include whether the driver is distracted because they’re scrolling the rideshare’s app on their phone while driving.
Currently, rideshare drivers are considered independent contractors, not employees, so the company insurance from Uber and Lyft doesn’t always cover accidents.
How do I prove negligence after a rideshare accident?
Accident reports, police reports, medical records, and your own photographs all contribute to proving negligence. Right after the accident, or as soon as you’re able, write down everything you remember about the incident. Include who was there, what was going on, and as much of your driver’s actions as you recall.
To establish a negligence case in California, you’ll need evidence to prove the following factors:
- The defendant owed you a duty
- The defendant breached the owed duty
- The breach resulted in your injuries
- The defendant should have reasonably known that their actions or inaction could lead to your injuries
- You suffered actual losses
What are the insurance requirements for rideshare drivers in California?
Rideshare drivers must have certain types of insurance. The coverage requirements vary, depending on whether the driver is logged in to the app or transporting a passenger.
If a driver is waiting for a passenger or already has one, their policy should include a minimum of $1 million each in commercial liability and uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage.
There are different insurance requirements when a rideshare driver is logged in to the app and waiting to book a passenger. Policies should cover up to $50,000 per person or $100,000 total per accident, along with $30,000 in property damage coverage.
Finally, a driver on their own time should carry the standard California minimums of $15,000 per person, $30,000 per accident, and $5,000 in property damage.
What compensation can I receive for an Uber or Lyft accident?
If it’s established that the rideshare company was negligent in some fashion and thus contributed to the cause of the accident, there are a few types of damages you can recover.
The rideshare company may cover any medical bills you incur due to your injuries from the accident, including emergency medical care, follow-up care, and ongoing treatment (such as physical or occupational therapy).
If you missed work due to the accident, you might be eligible to recover lost wages. Lost wages for missed work can include time off to heal or for follow-up medical care. If you’re unable to perform your job duties and can’t collect your pay, the rideshare company may compensate you for that, too.
Emotional harm and pain and suffering may be compensated, but those damages are harder to prove. If you suffered a loss of a limb, disfigurement, or had your quality of life impacted, then you can recover damages for those losses, too.
How long do I have to file a claim after my rideshare accident in Sacramento?
The statute of limitations for a lawsuit to recover damages after an auto accident starts from the date of the accident, not the date that you file an insurance claim. For injuries, you have up to two years, and for property damages, you have up to three years after the accident to file.
However, your case stands the best chance of succeeding if you file as soon as possible, so contact a personal injury lawyer right away.
Why should I hire an Uber and Lyft accident lawyer?
Seeking damages after a rideshare accident can be complicated. Insurance companies may try to deny your claim or settle for as little as possible — for an amount that may not even cover your medical bills. You need an advocate who knows the law and is on your side.
The personal injury attorneys at Cutter Law can help. We have years of experience in protecting victims of car accidents, including those injured in an Uber or Lyft accident. Contact us today for a free consultation.