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Rideshare Accident Attorney

California State has always been the life of the party and one of the most popular states in the U.S. With dazzling cities and a unique charm, the state has been the birthplace of both artistic and technological innovations. And it still is- everything new and trending will most likely appear in California first.

This was the case when rideshare companies first came on the scene. Uber and Lyft were all the rage for both those looking for easier means of commuting, but also for those looking for a job. Becoming independent from the taxi network was a plus, but the biggest allure was the use of smartphones and apps to schedule a ride from point A to point B. The whole idea behind ridesharing screamed ''Welcome to the digital era!'', attracting mostly the younger generations.

It was all fine and well until rideshare vehicles flooded the streets of many of California's cities. The traffic was in disarray due to the increased number of vehicles on the streets and the pollution quickly climbed to dangerous levels. And with so many vehicles and rides per day, accidents are bound to happen.

Rideshare Idea May Not Be So Perfect

The rideshare accidents showed that no matter how innovative and cool this business model is, it failed to protect its users in reality. Besides not having a proper driver's selection process, training course, or even proper monitoring of their drivers for years, companies like Uber failed to offer insurance coverage in case of a rideshare accident. It caused many issues to both their drivers and their customers who've been injured as a passenger in Uber.

The biggest problem with Rideshare Business Model is that the drivers are not considered as employees, but only as independent contractors.

The biggest problem with Rideshare Business Model is that the drivers are not considered as employees, but only as independent contractors. This means that, in case of a rideshare accident, the rideshare companies will not be liable, or even partly, for the accident.

The plaintiffs (the injured party) were not able to recover their damages or get the compensation they deserve since they could only collect from the rideshare driver's personal auto insurance.

 In California in December 2013, Uber was actually sued for misclassification of contractors in order to fix this problem. In the summer of 2020 the California Supreme Court judge actually ordered both Uber and Lyft to classify their drivers properly as employees.

The only chance rideshare companies had was to wait for elections when the Californians would vote on Prop. 22. The majority voted in favor of the rideshare companies, so the companies were exempt from having to consider their workers as employees and give them benefits that naturally go with the status.

Rideshare Accident Attorneys in California

In all stories surrounding the rideshare companies, those who were injured in a rideshare accident were the ones to get the shorter end of the stick. Car accident attorneys in California were frustrated for years because they were not able to give their clients better results or decent compensation for their injuries.

Many of California's best accident attorneys filed petitions and propositions to move the rideshare companies to a place where they should, in some cases, be held responsible, financially, for an accident caused by their driver.

Today, the law surrounding rideshare accident claims is very complicated but when you have an experienced rideshare accident attorney by your side, things get a bit easier. In these types of claims everything ''depends'' on something. Were you a passenger in Uber/Lyft when the accident occurred?

Did a rideshare vehicle cause a crash while you were driving your own vehicle? If so, was the driver alone, or did they have a passenger onboard? The insurance coverage, both the rideshare driver's auto insurance and Uber's liability coverage, is only active if certain conditions are met. Take a look at when that insurance coverage applies and in what conditions:

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Period 0

This is the period of time when the driver is making a personal errand in their car, with their rideshare app turned off. If a car accident occurs during this period, the driver's personal insurance is active. In California, the minimum coverage is $15,000 bodily injury coverage per person, $30,000 bodily injury coverage per accident, and $5,000 property damage per accident.

Period 1

The rideshare driver is still in their car, only now they have turned on their app. They still haven't accepted a ride, but technically they are on the clock. For the accident that happens during this period, both Uber and Lyft can cover the insurance limits with their own coverage of $50,000 for each person per accident, $100,000 total injury per accident and $25,000 for property damage. The ridesharing companies also provide a $200,000 minimum liability excess coverage for each accident during this period of the ride.

Period 2

Rideshare companies provide a pretty big amount of insurance coverage for period 2. This period begins when the driver accepts the ride and is en route to pick up the passenger. Uber, for example, will provide up to $1 million total liability coverage, up to $1 million uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, and a full vehicle damage coverage ($1,000 deductible).

 That's all nice and well, but here is where Uber accident attorneys can really help. What rideshare companies like to do is to claim that the driver was in period 1 due to the lack of evidence. And in order for a rideshare driver to have the evidence, he would have to screenshot the app when they receive a ride request and once more when they accept it.

They would have to do this every single time and for every ride, which is why so many of the drivers end up paying for damages as if they were in period 1 when they were actually in period 2.

Why Is Having a Rideshare Attorney Important in California?

Due to the traffic congestion and the sheer number of rideshare vehicles in California, you have more chances of getting involved in a collision with a rideshare company vehicle than any other vehicle on the road.

The fact that rideshare companies do not recognize their drivers as employees made a very complex scheme of insurance companies and liabilities only a rideshare attorney can make sense of.

Another thing that is confusing and problematic with the rideshare accidents is the number of people that are involved. You have two, or maybe more drivers, and then there are passengers, but also you have to take the rideshare company into consideration. Your rideshare attorney can help you by:

  • Collecting documentation (evidence, police, and medical reports)
  • Writing demand letters
  • Negotiating with multiple insurance companies
  • Filing a personal injury lawsuit
Nathalie Nicole Smith states that working hard and staying true to yourself are sure ways to win in life.

By hiring a rideshare accident attorney, you don't have to feel the stress of dealing with so many parties and insurance companies, all the while trying to get a fair compensation on your own. But by having legal help, your recovery will run smoothly and get you back on your feet to enjoy those sun-kissed California days.