Rideshare Car Accident: Who Pays for the Damages and When to File a Lawsuit

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When you get into a rideshare car accident in a comparative fault city like Los Angeles, California, liability for the damages depends on the at-fault driver or drivers, even if this driver happens to be the one working for a rideshare company like Uber or Lyft.

In cases where the at-fault driver’s insurance coverage falls short, the rideshare company’s insurance may compensate for it.

How much you will receive in damages, however, is another question. The adjuster of the at-fault driver’s insurance company will investigate matters, and he’ll most likely offer an amount that is more favorable to the insurance company than you.

If you want the best settlement you can get, know how to assert your right to the amount you deserve. In this case, getting the help of a rideshare car accident attorney is a good move.

A rideshare car accident lawyer is experienced in negotiating with insurance companies and can help you determine damages. He or she will also help your assessment of the following:

  • How much should the damage claims be?
  • Who’s at fault, by what percentage, and who should pay how much?
  • Should you file a personal injury lawsuit or not?

Let’s look at them one by one.

How much should you claim as damages?

In a car accident, there are what we call economic and non-economic damages.  Economic damages are easier to compute and straightforward.  It includes:

  • Past and future medical expenses
  • Damaged property repair and replacement
  • Lost wages and loss of earning capacity
  • Burial expenses

It’s the non-economic damages that are more difficult to assign a monetary value to:

  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Physical injury
  • Disability
  • Emotional distress
  • Other losses or inconveniences

 Who should pay how much?

As mentioned earlier, damages fall on the driver who is at fault, since he is considered an individual contractor. He is not the rideshare company’s employee, and therefore, is responsible for his insurance. If his insurance cannot cover the damages, the rideshare company’s insurance policy will cover the remaining cost.

In some car accidents, multiple parties may be at fault. In California’s pure comparative negligence system, each of these parties is held financially responsible, to the degree of their fault.  Based on investigations, if your driver is 25 percent at-fault and the other driver is 75 percent at-fault, then the damages will be divided accordingly.

What if the at-fault party’s insurance company refuses to pay?

When an insurance policy does include occupational accidents or a rideshare insurance extension, your at-fault driver’s insurance company may refuse to pay for the damages. It may also have insufficient coverage. When one of these two happens, you can file claims from the rideshare company’s insurer.

Should you file for a personal injury lawsuit?

A personal injury lawsuit is tedious and stressful. And it puts you in a win-all or lose-all situation. If you lose the case, you don’t receive anything, not even the pre-litigation settlement offer by the insurance companies.

However, where outright negligence has resulted in extensive damages like permanent disability or loss of a loved one, filing for a personal injury lawsuit may be the only way you can get the compensation you deserve.

When you’re in this situation, you may want to consult an attorney who is experienced in a car accident or rideshare injury to know your chances of winning the case.  At Haffner Law, we have experienced Uber or Lyft accident attorneys who can help you determine the best course to take after a car crash in a ridesharing trip. We will thoroughly investigate your accident and negotiate for the compensation you deserve, whether through an amicable settlement or a lawsuit.

Contact us at 1-844-HAFFNER (423-3637) to schedule a consultation today.

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How is Accident Liability Proven Against Rideshare Companies?

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The convenience of ride-hailing apps such as Uber and Lyft has attracted an incredible number of users these past few years. But a study from the University of Chicago and Rice University revealed there has been a 2 to 3 percent rise in the number of fatal auto accidents at the same time that ride-sharing services gained traction.

The uptick in vehicle fatalities is a concern enough, but what exacerbates the problem is the transportation network companies’ (TNC) protocol when it comes to accidents involving their drivers.

In an Uber or a Lyft accident, the TNC doesn’t automatically become liable for the negligence of their drivers. The process of proving liability is more complex than a regular auto crash, which places an importance on lawyers knowledgeable specifically in Uber and Lyft accidents..

An Uber or a Lyft lawyer can help you prove liability in an accident in two ways.

   1. Countercheck with the TNC’s car requirements

Each state has varying regulations for TNCs and their drivers. These include car specs, driver requirements, and insurance coverage. In California, general car requirements include:

  • The TNC’s decal must be on the vehicle’s window whenever the driver is using the app
  • The car must be registered in and have a license plate from the state
  • The car must be insured by an auto insurance policy issued in the state
  • The car can’t be classified as a salvage or rebuilt
  • The car must not have aftermarket parts
  • The car must pass an annual inspection and keep the inspection form inside at all times
  • The car must have four doors and four to six passenger seats

An accident lawyer in Los Angeles or any other California city can countercheck these regulations to see if the driver committed any violations. Although you can’t sue the driver or the TNC on these grounds alone, your lawyer can use these violations to strengthen your personal injury claim in the case of an accident.

   2. Determine Whose Insurance Policy Applies

Normally, you can make a personal injury claim under the driver at-fault’s insurance policy to cover your medical and hospital expenses. But in a ride-sharing accident, two insurance providers are involved. The question of who will compensate for your damages depends on which “period” the accident happened.

Period 0: When the driver accidentally hits someone but doesn’t have the ride-sharing app on, his or her policy will apply. The TNC immediately assumes that the driver is off-duty in this case, so they can’t cover the damages.

Period 1: When the driver has the app on but hasn’t found a passenger yet, his or her personal rideshare insurance policy applies. If the driver doesn’t have this coverage, the TNC’s policy will kick in. California requires TNCs to provide at least $200,000 of excess liability insurance coverage.

Periods 2 and 3: When the driver is carrying a passenger when the accident happens, the TNC’s $1 million liability insurance policy applies. This will cover both the driver and the passenger.

An Uber or Lyft accident lawyer will identify at which period the accident occurred and collect the rest of the details of the accident. This will determine whom the personal injury claim should be directed to. Your lawyer will then help you gather evidence from the incident to strengthen your case.

Determining liability in accidents involving ride-hailing vehicles can get complex. This is why you’ll need the experience of a capable attorney who has handled similar cases.

Have a Capable Lawyer on Your Side

Our experienced Uber or Lyft accident attorneys at Haffner Lawyers can help you navigate the process and get you the compensation you deserve. We know how to investigate your accident, determine who’s at fault, and prove it in the court of law.

Contact us at 1-844-HAFFNER (423-3637) to schedule a consultation today.

(This is an attorney advertisement by Joshua Haffner)

California Tightens Rules on Ride-Sharing Companies

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In November 2017, California tightened its rules and regulations on the ride-sharing industry. The new law mandates Transportation Network Companies (TNC), like Uber and Lyft, to have annual background checks administered on their drivers. This is in line with a state legislature in 2016 that prohibits companies from hiring people with a history of certain crimes.

San Francisco’s Dilemma with TNCs

In 2016, San Francisco officials investigated two of the biggest ride-sharing services in the industry, Uber and Lyft, and issued subpoenas questioning the companies’ “records on driving and business practices.”

According to news reports, the action aimed to aid city officials in determining if the TNCs have become a public nuisance in the Bay Area’s urban and financial center. This is the same area where Uber and Lyft faced legal battles over registration, drivers’ routes, and other ride-sharing practices. The investigation also aimed to confirm whether or not the companies have created dangerous traffic conditions on city roads and whether or not the services of these TNCs are accessible to low-income neighborhoods and people with disabilities.

As a result, Uber settled a civil enforcement case and agreed to adjust its business practices to properly accommodate the people of California.

California Enforces Stricter Rules on TNC

In the same year, California passed a legislature that requires TNCs to have their drivers undergo local and national criminal background checks. The new rule was made effective in 2017, which companies claim to have tightened the existing regulations.

The California bill prohibits TNCs from hiring people who have been convicted of violent crimes, terrorism-related felonies, sexual crimes, and any other from a specified list of felonies within the previous seven years.

Personal Injury Claims Against TNCs

The emergence of TNCs like Uber and Lyft brought an entirely new category of personal injury claims. Ride-sharing has become such a popular mode of transportation in California that for many residents, it has become the primary means of getting around the city.

With ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft, just like other public utility vehicles, you are putting your safety in the hands of the driver. If a driver is reckless and negligent on the road and causes you serious injuries, you as a passenger have the right to sue for damages.

Personal Injury Lawyers in California

Proving liability is what we do best at Haffner Law. We investigate your case with the level of thoroughness and attention to detail you deserve.

We take away the hassles of dealing with insurance companies involved in your case. We understand your situation and know that the last thing you need is to answer troublesome calls from insurance adjusters.

As your Uber accident lawyer in LA, we will help you keep your head up throughout the process. We will handle all the calls so you may continue with other priorities. Focus on other things that matter to you and let us take care of the rest. We will negotiate and fight on your behalf until you receive the compensation you deserve.

Talk to us today. Contact us at 213-514-5681.

(This is an attorney advertisement by Joshua Haffner)