Rideshare services have significantly improved transportation for many Los Angeles commuters. A rideshare company usually offers those services to its passengers through rideshare apps. Uber and Lyft are currently the biggest ridesharing service providers in Los Angeles.
In fact, statistics show that Uber is one of the most popular ride-sharing apps worldwide. An Uber driver is a contractor with a personal vehicle who accepts ride requests on the app. While ridesharing services offer convenience and time-effectiveness to Los Angeles commuters, they are, unfortunately, not immune to motor vehicle accidents.
Uber’s 2019 safety report recorded 49 and 58 fatalities in 2017 and 2018, respectively. Uber accident victims who survive end up with devastating personal injuries. Fortunately, California is a fault state, and victims can get fair compensation from the liable parties.
However, the liability insurance process isn’t automatic and may be quite tedious to handle. Getting financial compensation depends on several factors, and a victim’s actions after the accident are one of them. If you’ve had an Uber accident, you must know what to do right after to help your injury claim. As the most experienced accident law firm in Los Angeles, we’d let you in on that.
Who Are the Liable Parties in Los Angeles Uber Accidents?
Finding the at-fault party in your Uber vehicle accident is an important part of your personal injury claim. Regardless of your bodily injury severity, insurance companies would disregard your claim if the at-fault party is unknown. In all cases, the liable party is the driver who breached their duty of care to other motorists/passengers. Duty of care refers to the responsibility drivers have to behave in ways that don’t endanger others.
In other words, a liable party is one whose negligence or lack of reasonable care caused the accident. That’s because they acted in an unsafe and unreasonable manner that caused the accident victim some harm. For example, drunk and distracted drivers would be liable parties if their intoxication or inattention caused the accident..
While it may be easy to find the at-fault party in normal car accidents, it’s different for Uber-related crashes. That’s because depending on the accident’s specifics, either the rideshare drivers or Uber company could bear liability. If the rideshare drivers weren’t logged into the rideshare apps when the accident happened, they’d be liable. This is because, at that point, they’d be viewed as independent contractors.
However, if the driver logged on to the Uber app when the accident occurred, the Uber company would be liable. If the driver logged in but hadn’t accepted the ride, Uber will be responsible for a portion of the liability coverage. Again, the collision may be too complex, and sometimes, more than one driver is liable for the crash. Sometimes, you may require the services of accident reconstruction experts to determine liability. In any case, your Uber accident lawyer will advise you on how to determine liability.
What Can I Do After a Ridesharing Accident?
The moments after a ride-sharing accident can be horrifying. Most times, accident victims are still in shock and can hardly think properly. However, what you do immediately after such a crash can make or mar your Uber accident claims.
It would help if you did the following after accidents involving rideshare vehicles:
- Seek Medical Care and Attention
Regardless of the type of motor vehicle accident, victims must always request urgent medical help by dialing 911. Even if you don’t think you’ve sustained any injuries, still call for medical help. That’s because, sometimes, victims get internal injuries that they can’t feel at the accident scene. These injuries, if left untreated, can cause complications for the victim.
- Call the Police
In many California auto crashes, drivers must immediately call the police or highway patrol to the accident scene. It’s a must for accidents involving bodily injury or property damage exceeding $1,000. Drivers must also call the police if any fatality occurs regardless of the damage or injury sum involved. If the accident involves property damage, injury, or death exceeding $1,000, they must report the accident within ten days.
Failure to call the police or make an accident report to the appropriate authorities attracts steep penalties. However, apart from avoiding legal issues, calling the police to the crash scene can help your claim. For example, a police report can help you prove liability in your insurance claims.
- Gather Evidence
Getting maximum compensation for your cases depends on how much evidence you have to prove the liable parties’ fault. As such, it’s important to gather as much evidence as you can, starting from the crash scene. You can start by taking pictures and videos of your surroundings from different angles if you can. Ensure that the photographs and videos cover the important details and are as clear as possible.
You can also interview any accident witness you see at the scene. Recording an accident witness’s statement while the accident is fresh ensures that no important detail is left out or forgotten. The eyewitness’ account of the crash will help to corroborate your claims. As such, it makes it harder for insurance companies to deny liability.
- Contact Your Personal Injury Attorneys
After you’re satisfied with the evidence you’ve gathered, it’s time to call your personal injury lawyer. Your rideshare accident lawyer will give you legal advice on the next steps to take. Sometimes, you may have to approach the transportation network company for compensation.
At other times, the wisest legal options may be approaching your own insurance company for compensation through underinsured coverage. Another option may be to file a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit. Your attorney will ensure that you don’t make any mistakes as you pursue your claims.
Common Types of Compensation Obtainable in Los Angeles Rideshare Accidents
California mandates all vehicle owners to have an adequate auto insurance policy to cover damages when they cause an accident. The minimum mandatory accident insurance policy is 15/30/5. That means the liability coverage should cover a minimum of $15,000 for death or injury per person. It also includes $30,000 for two or more person’s injuries or deaths and $5,000 for property damage.
Rideshare drivers must own personal auto insurance with minimum liability and uninsured motorist coverage of $50,000 per person. It should also cover a minimum of $100,000 per accident. In addition to the minimum compulsory insurance coverage, motorists can purchase an additional insurance policy. Some options include collision coverage, comprehensive coverage, increased liability insurance, etc.
Specifically, the insurance coverages encompass the following types of damages or compensation:
- Past and Future Medical Expenses
Common injuries in rideshare accidents range from mild to severe. Some of the most common severe injuries include traumatic brain injuries, broken bones, and loss of limbs from amputation. Depending on the severity of the injury, you may incur huge financial losses in the form of medical bills.
Fortunately, however, it’s the driver at fault who foots the bills through their personal auto insurance coverage. In a successful Uber claim, the insurance covers the drugs, diagnosis costs, physical therapy, etc. It also reimburses past medical expenses and covers future costs as well.
- Property or Vehicle Damage
Many vehicle accidents result in property or vehicle damages. In fact, California’s minimum mandatory insurance coverages must include at least $5,000 property damage per accident.
- Non-Economic Damages
Apart from bodily injuries and property damages, accident victims suffer other non-monetary losses. These include emotional distress, loss of enjoyment, pain, and suffering, etc. Depending on several factors, a victim’s compensation may include these types of compensatory damages.
- Punitive Damages
Not all types of damages in personal injury lawsuits are compensatory. Sometimes, they are punitive. Punitive damages refer to compensation to caution or punish the negligent party instead of paying the accident victim. This type of compensation also serves as a warning to future wrongdoers.
- Burial Costs
Burial costs usually form a part of the compensation in wrongful death claims. They cover the funeral expenses and other costs that the deceased families need to organize an appropriate burial ceremony for the victims.
Why Do I Need an Auto Accident Lawyer?
California’s insurance laws do not mandate accident victims to get an attorney. However, consulting a lawyer for your injury claim is an important part of your claims process for these reasons:
- Settlement Negotiations: Insurance adjusters usually offer ridiculous compensation for your claims. An attorney will help you negotiate a sum that suits you.
- Legal Advice: A lawyer knows all there is to insurance claims and compensation. They are in the right position to advise how best to go about your claims. They do this alongside ensuring that you don’t get into any legal trouble while at it.
- Investigations: Your attorneys can help to investigate your accident in a bid to determine who is at fault. They may also analyze your case and let you in on your success chances from the get-go.
- Legal Representations: If your claim becomes a lawsuit, your personal injury lawyers will represent your interest in court.
Contact an Experienced Uber Accident Attorney Now!
It’s a traumatic experience when your Uber gets into an accident in Los Angeles. Fortunately, California mandates the driver responsible for your accident to pay compensation for your hurt. However, personal injury insurance can be too complicated for you to handle. As such, you will need an experienced attorney to help you navigate the processes.
Our experienced lawyers at McDonald Worley Law Firm make the best legal team for your case. We are with you every step of the way to ensure that you get the compensation you deserve. Schedule an appointment with us now.