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.