If you suffer a crash in Orange County, recovering damages is relatively easy when the other driver is at fault. This is particularly the case when you are one of the drivers involved in the crash. However, recovering compensation as a passenger injured in a crash is somewhat complicated. And things get even more complex when your crash occurs while you are traveling in a rideshare vehicle. This is where an Orange County Uber accident attorney can help you.
When you are a passenger in the vehicle of a rideshare company such as Uber or Lyft, the company owes you a duty of care. When the company fails to uphold this duty, it can be held liable for any damages. However, it is also possible to hold other parties liable in a crash involving a rideshare vehicle. Here is a look at these.
Who Is Liable?
Before determining how you can get compensation as a passenger in a rideshare accident, it is first important to understand how liability works in such cases. As noted above, different parties may be liable in a rideshare accident. These include:
The Rideshare Driver
In many rideshare crashes, the driver operating the rideshare vehicle at the time is responsible. The driver may be driving recklessly, speeding, or otherwise not following the traffic rules. When a crash is directly caused by the driver, he or she can be held liable for it. However, you may not be able to recoup the full amount of compensatory damages directly from the driver.
The Rideshare Company
A rideshare company can be held liable for a rideshare crash in many situations. If the company failed to ensure that the driver was qualified and licensed, for instance, liability for an eventual crash rests with the company. Similarly, if the rideshare vehicle was not properly maintained or inspected and a vehicle defect caused the accident, this can also be deemed as negligence on the part of the company.
Sometimes, another at-fault driver may collide with a rideshare vehicle and cause passenger injuries. If you were injured in a crash like this, your first recourse for compensation will be against the at-fault driver. The at-fault driver will be legally obliged to pay up damages for your injuries from the crash.
Seeking Damages as a Passenger
When you travel in a rideshare vehicle as a passenger, you are covered for damages by the company’s insurance policy. Companies like Uber have a $1 million commercial liability policy that kicks in as soon as you enter an Uber vehicle. An additional $1 million uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance coverage is also available to you as a passenger as long as you are traveling in the rideshare vehicle.
However, you may not always be able to seek damages under the company’s insurance coverage. Your actual options for compensation will depend on who was at fault.
When the Rideshare Driver Is at Fault
When the Uber or Lyft driver is at fault for causing a crash, your first option would be to seek damages under the driver’s personal insurance policy. However, most personal auto insurance policies do not cover losses suffered during the commercial use of a vehicle. So the driver’s insurer may turn down your claim on these grounds.
Under California laws, an Uber or Lyft driver is regarded as an independent contractor, not an employee. That being so, a rideshare company may still be held negligent over the grounds that it failed to properly screen and train the driver. In either case, you may have the option of seeking damages under the company’s insurance coverage once the driver’s personal policy is exhausted.
When the Company Can Be Held Liable
As noted above, a rideshare company can be held liable for a rideshare driver’s negligence. There are other scenarios where the company can be held directly responsible. In either case, this means that you are able to seek damages for your injuries as an Uber or Lyft passenger under the company’s million-dollar liability coverage.
When Another Driver Is at Fault
If another driver caused your injuries as a rideshare passenger, your first option will be to file a claim for damages with that driver’s insurer. If the at-fault driver is uninsured or underinsured, you can then tap into the rideshare company’s million-dollar uninsured/underinsured policy coverage.
How Can an Orange County Car Accident Attorney Help?
Can accidents involving rideshare vehicles can be complicated. You need to identify the liable party, explore your options, and then file a claim backed by the right evidence. Here at the Crockett Law Group, we can help you if you have been injured in a rideshare vehicle as a passenger. Our lawyers strive to seek the maximum compensation for Uber or Lyft crash victims. Reach out to us now to discuss your Orange County crash claim with our lawyers.