Heavy traffic has become a way of life in San Francisco, and ridesharing offers many residents and tourists a convenient means of getting around the city. Uber and Lyft both match commuters and travelers with drivers via their apps. What if there’s an accident? How do you recover compensation for your injuries? It can be difficult to determine who is at fault: the driver of the car you’re riding in, the operator of another vehicle, Uber or Lyft themselves, or some other party.

You need someone on your side that understands the liability involved in San Francisco ridesharing services as well as California auto accident law. The San Francisco personal injury attorneys of OnderLaw have handled many difficult rideshare cases, and we can help you pursue the compensation you deserve so that you can move forward with your life.

Why Do I Need A Lawyer?

An accident in an Uber or Lyft vehicle can be a painful experience. Besides the injuries that result from any car accident, there are likely several parties involved, and determining who is at fault can be a complicated process. Uber and Lyft, the two largest rideshare companies, are massive corporations with a strong interest in reducing their liability. These businesses have millions of drivers nationwide, and every accident has the potential to cost them a fortune in insurance payouts. Further, recently enacted state law attempts to protect these drivers as employees and may affect who can be found liable in your case.

When you’ve been injured in a car accident, your primary focus needs to be on your health and your recovery. Accident liability law is complex and daunting, and you need a team of seasoned advocates who will investigate the crash and build a strong case against the party responsible for your injuries.

Types of Rideshare Accidents

Your pursuit of compensation and the success of your case will depend on the circumstances of the Uber or Lyft crash. One important factor is whether you were a passenger in a car operated by a Lyft or Uber driver, or you were driving your own car and got into an accident with one of these drivers.

California’s comparative negligence laws mean that the amount of your compensation may be reduced by the percentage you are found to be at fault for the accident. If you were one of the drivers in the crash, other parties may attempt to argue that you contributed to the accident in order to protect their own financial interests. A knowledgeable accident lawyer can provide an essential defense against this tactic.

Rideshare drivers sometimes attempt dangerous maneuvers when they try to pick up passengers or arrive at a destination quickly. Accidents may occur for several reasons:

  • The driver makes an illegal or dangerous u-turn or left turn against traffic.
  • The driver is following the vehicle ahead too closely and is unable to stop when traffic slows down.
  • The driver is distracted by their use of the rideshare app to map out their destination or accept their next fare.
  • The driver is drowsy or under the effects of medication, alcohol, or illegal drugs.

A lawyer with experience litigating Uber and Lyft accidents can perform a thorough investigation of the crash to determine whether the driver was at fault and if the rideshare company can be held liable.

Common Injuries Suffered in Rideshare Accidents

An accident in an Uber or Lyft, as with any car accident, may lead to a variety of injuries, from minor to severe or even life-threatening. Cuts, scrapes, and bruises are very common, as are more serious injuries such as broken bones and head trauma. Some of the injuries possible in a Lyft or Uber accident include:

  • Whiplash, including neck and back injuries from sudden stops or rear impacts
  • Bone fractures and breaks
  • Lacerations and deep cuts due to jagged metal or glass debris
  • Punctured lungs and damage to other organs
  • Crushed or severed extremities
  • Severe burns from fire or hot metal parts
  • Facial cuts, burns, and scarring
  • Wrenched and strained joints
  • Spinal damage, which can lead to partial or full paralysis
  • Head injuries resulting from blunt impacts, possibly leading to brain damage

No matter how minor your injuries may seem, you need to seek medical attention right away after any car accident. Some problems don’t manifest until hours or days after the crash but may cause permanent damage if not treated immediately. Also, it’s important to have a diagnosis and treatment plan from a doctor, which can help build a strong case for compensation.

What Compensation Is Available?

The amount and type of compensation available in a rideshare accident will depend largely on who is determined to be at fault. The negligent party may be the driver of the car in which you are a passenger, the driver of another car, the rideshare company, or a combination of these. Compensation for a car accident can be used to defray medical costs and get your life as “back to normal” as possible. Some compensation you may be eligible for includes:

  • Coverage for prescription drugs and painkillers
  • Hospital and emergency care
  • Reimbursement for damaged or destroyed property
  • Long-term and rehabilitative care
  • Replacement of wages or household income

Your attorney can help you determine the type and amount of compensation you may qualify for depending on the circumstances of your case.

It’s important to note that Uber and Lyft have special insurance policies in the event of an accident involving one of their drivers. The level of coverage will vary depending on the status of the driver at the time of the accident.

  • Period 0: When the driver is not logged into the rideshare app (not transporting a passenger), they are covered by their personal insurance policy. Uber and Lyft do not provide coverage during this period.
  • Period 1: The driver is logged into the app but hasn’t accepted a fare. Coverage during this period in California is $50,000 per person, $100,000 total injury per accident and $25,000 (Uber) or $30,000 (Lyft) property damage liability.
  • Period 2 (driver is on the way to pick up a fare) and Period 3 (rider is in the car): Combined single automobile liability of $1 million, as well as $1 million underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage. Comprehensive/collision deductibles at $1,000 (Uber) or $2,500/max coverage $50,000 (Lyft)

What to Do After a Rideshare Accident

If you’ve just been in an accident involving a ridesharing service, there are a number of steps you should take to make sure that your case is as strong as possible.

  • Document as much as you can. Write a detailed account of the accident while the event is still fresh in your mind. Keep a pain diary to track the progress of your recovery.
  • Take pictures. If you have the opportunity, it’s helpful to take pictures of the scene as soon as possible after the crash. Photos of your car, of damage to the roadway, and of your own injuries before they begin to heal will be important evidence in your case.
  • Call the police. This is an important step, even if the accident seems minor. In many cases, especially those involving injuries or property damage, California requires you to report a car accident. Besides, a police report can provide important details about the scene of the crash, current weather and traffic conditions, witnesses, and the mental state of the driver. Lack of a police report may weaken your claim.
  • See a doctor, and follow all medical advice and treatment plans. Focus on your health and recovery. Medical evidence is essential to your claim, especially if your injuries are severe.
  • Speak with your lawyer before anyone else. Do not discuss your accident with an insurance company or representatives for Uber or Lyft before talking to your attorney. This can put your claim at risk. Your lawyer is the best person possible to represent your case and knows all the legal and verbal tricks these companies employ to avoid paying what they owe.

Call OnderLaw right away to ensure your case is as solid as possible.

Why Choose OnderLaw?

The rideshare accident attorneys at OnderLaw have many years of experience handling the toughest cases for our clients. Our firm has been recognized by legal associations such as Super Lawyers, the Million Dollar Advocate Forum, and the National Trial Lawyers Top 100 Trial Lawyers, among others. Our proudest recognition, however, comes from the people we represent every day, facing difficult situations just like yours. We work hard to make sure our clients get the top-quality legal representation they deserve.

Talk to an Uber/Lyft Accident Attorney Today

Living with the aftermath of a car accident is painful and hard to endure. You have injuries, medical treatment, and bills on top of your legal worries. But you don’t have to face these things alone. OnderLaw is here to help. Reach out to us immediately so we can get started on your case. Fill out our contact form or call us to set up a free consultation.