Over the last few years, rideshare services like Lyft or Uber have made getting around practically effortless. Pull up the app on your smartphone, enter an address, and soon you’ll be comfortably on your way to your destination. Ridesharing normally provides a carefree travel experience—after all, you’re letting a professional do the driving for you.

Even if you have the best driver in the world, though, there’s always the chance that you’ll be involved and possibly injured in an accident.  While rideshare accidents remain relatively rare, a 2018 study associated a 2-3% increase in traffic accident fatalities in the U.S. with the introduction of ridesharing services.

As with any automobile accident, there are many potential causes, like driver negligence, faulty car maintenance or repairs, and poor driving conditions, to name just a few. And there are several ways to be involved in a rideshare accident—as a passenger, driver, pedestrian, or cyclist.

Regardless of your role, if you were injured or incurred damage to your vehicle, you may be entitled to compensation. If you’ve been in a rideshare accident in Bakersfield that wasn’t your fault, contact the Bakersfield personal injury attorneys of OnderLaw. We offer a free consultation so we can discuss your case and determine whether you’re eligible for compensation.

Why Do I Need a Lawyer?

Determining responsibility in California rideshare accidents can be very complicated. Such accidents may involve not only the rideshare company’s insurance provider but also that of the driver. Legal responsibility for a rideshare accident is often less straightforward than a collision between private motorists since several unique factors can determine whether the rideshare company or the driver is liable for damages. A good lawyer can clearly establish fault and often negotiate a fair settlement relatively early on. And if a settlement can’t be reached, and the case must go to court, it’s better to have a skilled attorney on your team who is already familiar with the particulars of your case and with whom you have an established relationship.

A skilled lawyer with experience in rideshare personal injury cases can make sure to build a case that will reach the most positive outcome in your situation. Your lawyer from OnderLaw can investigate the crash, gather evidence, interview witnesses, and deal with the insurance company’s representatives. You should engage an attorney before you talk with anyone from the insurance company so that you don’t accidentally accept fault for the accident yourself. We will handle all communication with the insurance adjusters to help you avoid giving away your rights by accident.

Even beyond providing legal advice and representing you in settlement negotiations or in court, a superior legal team will advise you on all the steps you’ll need to take along the way, often performing them for you. Your primary responsibility is to recover your health and well-being. By hiring an experienced law firm like OnderLaw, you’ll be getting more than expert legal help—you’ll have a powerful, compassionate, and effective advocate in navigating the complex and often confusing process of obtaining the compensation you deserve.

Types of Rideshare Accidents

It’s not only Uber or Lyft passengers who may be victims in a rideshare accident. If you were injured in a rideshare accident and it wasn’t your fault, no matter whether you were a pedestrian, a passenger in the rideshare vehicle, or the occupant of another vehicle, you may be entitled to compensation. Pedestrians or bystanders may be struck directly or hurt as a result of a crash. Bicycle riders, motorcyclists, scooter riders, occupants of stationary vehicles: all the people who were injured in a rideshare crash that wasn’t their fault are potentially eligible for compensation for their medical expenses and other losses.

Typical Injuries in Rideshare Accidents

Rideshare accidents can result in varied injuries, depending upon the circumstances of the crash. What follows is a listing of the injuries our clients have most often experienced in rideshare accidents.

  • Whiplash (a neck injury caused by the head suddenly snapping forward and backward or vice versa)
  • Other neck injuries (such as a ruptured disc or ligament damage)
  • Back and spine injuries (such as broken vertebrae, disc or ligament damage, muscle strain, spinal cord damage)
  • Traumatic brain injuries (abbreviated as TBIs, such as concussions, swelling of the brain, hemorrhage, brain damage)
  • Skull fracture
  • Cuts, lacerations, abrasions, and bruising
  • Internal injuries
  • Broken bones
  • Burns
  • Paralysis
  • Emotional trauma (such as anxiety, panic attacks, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder)

Even if you don’t seem to be injured at first, be alert for symptoms that may develop in the hours, days, or even weeks following the accident. Whiplash symptoms sometimes appear well after the injury has occurred. These symptoms may include headache, neck stiffness and pain, loss of range of motion in the neck, and tenderness in the shoulder, upper arms, or back.
While whiplash is considered a subtype of traumatic brain injury, symptoms of even more serious TBIs can also be slow to appear. Difficulty concentrating, slow thought processes, speech difficulties, headache, loss of coordination or balance, sensitivity to light or sound, erratic emotions, dilated pupils, numbness in the extremities, or extreme exhaustion may indicate a critical brain injury requiring prompt medical attention.

If you develop these or any symptoms that you suspect may be the result of an accident, see a physician immediately. By seeking prompt medical care, you are not only looking after your health. You’re also generating medical records that will serve as documentation of your injuries and medical expenses in case you file a personal injury claim. And even if you don’t think you’re injured, it never hurts to play it safe and see a doctor immediately after the accident.
In the worst cases, death may also result. If a loved one has died in a rideshare accident in which another party is at fault, you should discuss a wrongful death claim with an attorney.

What Compensation Is Available?

Ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft carry insurance to cover liabilities from a car accident, but they also require that their drivers have insurance of their own. When an accident is the driver’s fault, the driver’s insurance carrier bears primary responsibility for any damages. When the damage amount exceeds the driver’s coverage limits, the rideshare company’s insurance picks up the rest of the payment, up to their coverage limit.

The dollar limits on the company’s insurance coverage vary, depending on the company and on the “period” of the driver’s activity at the time of the accident.

In the first period, the driver is not logged into the app. The rideshare company has no liability whatsoever, and the driver’s insurance is responsible for any damages.
In the second period, the driver is logged into the app, waiting on a ride request. Payout limits can vary depending on the rideshare company and the scope and types of damages incurred, but they generally top out at $125,000, as is the case with Lyft.

In the third period, the driver is logged into the app, has accepted a ride request, and is either driving to pick up a passenger or transporting them to their destination. Because one or more passengers are now present, the rideshare companies carry considerably more insurance to cover accidents during this period—up to $1,000,000 for liability and the same amount for uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage if the driver’s insurance does not pay the full amount of damages.
While you can claim compensation for medical bills, car repairs, lost wages, and pain and suffering, the insurance coverage limits maintained by the rideshare company and the driver do not guarantee any particular amount or that you will receive any compensation at all.

The process to determine any potential compensation may involve negotiations, settlement offers and counter-offers, and possible action in the courts. Having a qualified, dedicated legal team in your corner will make the whole episode much simpler for you while you recover and get your life back on track.

What to Do After a Rideshare Accident

If you have been in a rideshare accident and are still conscious and able,

  • Immediately call 911 or have someone do it for you. Securing medical treatment and law enforcement assistance is top priority. If you need to, go in the ambulance to the hospital. If not, once the police arrive, file a police report.
  • Collect the other driver’s insurance information.
  • Contact your insurance company.
  • Take photos or videos of the scene, and document everything with detailed notes.
  • Gather contact information from witnesses.
  • See a doctor right after you leave the accident scene if you didn’t go in the ambulance. If your doctor recommends a course of treatment, follow it to the end.
  • Keep copies of your medical records, of all receipts, and any other documentation pertinent to the accident, as they can be used to prove your claim later on.
  • Maintain a journal to document the progress of your injuries and how they have affected your daily life.
  • Contact an experienced car accident attorney.

Why Choose OnderLaw?

At OnderLaw, we put people first. We understand how stressful dealing with an accident can be, especially if you’ve been injured. Our practice focuses on making the injury claim process as easy and painless for you as possible while relentlessly pursuing the maximum compensation you deserve.

We have a track record of success that speaks for itself. We’ve obtained more than $3 billion in awards and settlements for our clients, and we’re ready to apply the same excellence and experience to your case.

We’re here to provide you with expert legal advice, but that’s only the beginning. We will guide you through, step by step, not only advising you along the way but listening as well. And OnderLaw will not charge you for any services unless we get compensation for you. If we don’t obtain money for you, you owe us nothing.

Call OnderLaw Today

For nearly 20 years, we’ve been helping personal injury victims in Bakersfield and elsewhere secure the highest awards possible for injuries and losses they’ve suffered through no fault of their own. Our attorneys are experienced, compassionate, and committed to winning for you.

If you or a loved one have been injured in a rideshare accident in the Bakersfield area, call us today. We’re standing by, ready to fight for everything you deserve.