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If you were in an accident that involves a rideshare driver, liability was once in the hands of the rideshare driver if he or she was at fault for the accident. However, since AB 5 went into effect, Uber, Lyft, and other rideshare companies are supposed to classify California drivers as employees instead of independent contractors. Rideshare companies and other companies that rely on independent contractors are fighting back by filing lawsuits to overturn the law.
Depending on which way the court decides the lawsuit, you may potentially collect damages after a California rideshare accident from the driver or the company, usually Uber or Lyft. At Gomez Trial Attorneys, our team of California personal injury lawyers are prepared to seek compensation for victims of rideshare drivers whether the new law survives its court challenge.
We already have years of experience helping people whom Uber and Lyft’s drivers have injured. Rideshare drivers, after all, get into accidents every day, whether it is the driver’s fault or another party’s fault. If you suffer from injuries from an accident with a rideshare vehicle, contact Gomez Trial Attorneys for a free consultation. We want to see if we can help you.
While every case is unique and we cannot promise that you will recover a specific amount, our case history shows how much some of our lawsuits and settlements brought our clients, depending on the circumstances:
If you suffer from injuries in a rideshare accident, you could recover three types of damages, depending on the circumstances.
Special damages, or economic damages, are meant to make you whole again. While money does not remove injuries, shorten the recovery time, or bring back a lost loved one, it does reduce the financial stress on your family. Economic damages include:
General damages, or non-economic damages, are also meant to make you whole. Defendants and/or their insurance companies usually pay non-economic damages for long-term injuries. General damages include:
In most cases, you will only receive non-economic damages if your injuries are considered long-term. While insurance companies may have a different definition of a long-term injury, Social Security considers a long-term injury an injury that doctors expect to last longer than 12 months.
Unlike economic and non-economic damages, the court does not order punitive damages to make you whole. Instead, it orders the defendant to pay punitive damages as a punishment for the grossly negligent or intentional behavior that caused your injuries. While you might receive economic and non-economic damages without going to court, punitive damages must be awarded at trial.
Additionally, you have to prove that the defendant’s actions were grossly negligent or intentional. A court might find behavior such as driving under the influence, texting while driving, or driving at excessive speeds as grossly negligent behavior.
According to an article in theSan Francisco Public Press, rideshare companies such as Uber and Lyft hide their safety records. Though it seems as if Uber released all of the safety incidents in a report, another article by Rosenfeld alleges that Uber did not report several fatalities.
The Public Press conducted an investigation and found that:
Rosenfeld said that Uber tries to defend the lawsuits with excessive demands for secrecy, but that at least three California judges determined that these were not trade secrets and could not be held confidential. One judge found that Uber’s secrecy claims as “seriously misleading,” according to Rosenfeld.
Finally, Rosenfeld quoted a joint study by the California Department and Insurance and the California Public Utilities Commission that showed rideshare vehicles had 9,388 traffic accident claims, which caused insurance companies to pay out $185.6 million over three years.
Both Uber and Lyft stated that they added safety features to their apps. Uber added a safety toolkit of in-app features, including a feature that allows friends to follow the rider’s ride in real-time and to report emergencies. Uber also provided sexual misconduct literature for drivers and riders. and bike lane alerts in the app.
Lyft states it now continuously monitors drivers to see if they have new criminal convictions, have better identity verification to make it easier for the rider to identify the driver, vehicle, and the vehicle’s license plate, a 911 button in the Lyft app, and an app that allows riders to forward their route, including their estimated time of arrival, to their friends.
When you are a passenger in a rideshare vehicle, you take a chance on getting into an accident like with any vehicle. Your driver could be negligent, or someone else, whether a rideshare driver or not, could be at fault. Or, you could be walking or biking down the street, or driving your own car, when an Uber or Lyft driver hits you.
After an accident, take the following steps, if possible:
Even if your injuries are minor enough that you think you can settle with the insurance company yourself, contact an attorney to ensure you pursue the proper liable party. A rideshare company may insist that its drivers are independent contractors when, in fact, the rideshare company may have liability for the accident. If you try to settle the matter yourself, you could get the runaround—and you have a short window to file a claim.
A rideshare driver could get into an accident for many reasons.
Depending on the reason for the accident, the rideshare driver could be fully at fault or partially at fault. If the rideshare driver is partially at fault, other entity might share in the liability, including:
If a driver gets into an accident because he or she did not properly maintain the rideshare vehicle, the driver and/or the company the driver works for could be liable. If the rideshare driver was not at fault, he or she could still share in the liability, simply because the driver was at work when the accident happened. This will also depend on whether the court overturns AB 5 or exempts rideshare companies.
You might prevent some injuries if you wear your seat belt when you ride with a rideshare driver, but if the accident is severe enough, you could still suffer from a variety of injuries, including:
Maybe you are in a rideshare vehicle when you sustain an accident, or a driver causes an accident while you are driving your vehicle, walking, or biking along city streets. If you suffer from injuries or lost a loved one in an accident that involves a rideshare driver, contact Gomez Trial Attorneys at (619) 237-3490 for a free consultation. We look forward to hearing from you and seeing how we can help.
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