Thousands of people in San Francisco rely on Uber, Lyft, and other rideshare services every year. Although these services provide a relatively safe and affordable option for navigating the city, the increase of rideshare vehicles on the road has also been correlated with higher accident rates and an increased number of traffic-related fatalities.
At Ayala, Morgan & Buzzard, we know that rideshare accidents happen a lot more often than many people realize. We also know that accident victims face significant challenges when it comes to working with rideshare companies and their insurance providers. Our San Francisco rideshare accident attorneys are here to help you navigate this process and seek the maximum compensation you are owed.
When you have been injured, you don't just need an attorney. You need an advocate.
Who Is Liable in a Rideshare Accident?
Just like regular car accidents, rideshare accidents often result from the negligence of one or more parties. When the rideshare driver is partly or wholly at fault, they may be liable for victims’ resulting damages. However, unlike in standard car accident claims, victims may also be entitled to compensation from the rideshare driver’s employer.
Most rideshare companies, including Uber and Lyft, recognize three driving periods in which insurance coverage is available to accident victims:
- Period 1: The rideshare driver has the app turned on or engaged and is awaiting a ride request
- Period 2: The rideshare driver has accepted a ride and is on the way to pick up the passenger
- Period 3: The rideshare driver has a passenger in the vehicle and is on active ride
If an accident occurs during any of these three driving periods, victims may seek compensation from the rideshare company’s insurance carrier. The amount of insurance coverage available will depend on various factors, including the driving period in which the accident occurred, the cause of the accident, and whether the person seeking compensation was partly at fault for the crash.
Types of Rideshare Accidents
Ayala, Morgan & Buzzard recognizes different types of rideshare accidents. We can help you if you were:
- Injured as a passenger in an Uber or Lyft
- Injured as a pedestrian or cyclist by an Uber or Lift driver
- Injured by an Uber or Lyft while driving your car or parked
We can also provide our legal services if you are a relative of someone who was killed in a rideshare accident. You can file a claim if you were the spouse, domestic partner, child, or grandchild of the victim. (If none of these exist, then another relative may be permitted to file).
There are also a few common types of accidents that Uber and Lyft drivers are more prone to getting into. These include:
- T-Bone Accidents - Drivers who are focused on getting to their destination more quickly may make illegal or risky U-turns.
- Sideswipes - Unfortunately, rideshare drivers are frequently distracted while driving and can easily veer off of the road.
- Rear End Collisions - The driver in the back is always at fault, right? Actually, not always. If an Uber or Lyft driver brakes unexpectedly, such as in the case of a missed turn or looking for passengers, they can be found responsible for the accident.
Why Are Rideshare Accident Claims More Complex Than Other Vehicle Accident Claims?
Rideshare accident claims tend to be much more complex than standard motor vehicle accident claims, even including those involving other forms of paid private transportation, such as taxi accidents. This is because Uber and Lyft both classify their drivers as “independent contractors,” not employees.
In November 2019, California passed Proposition 22, which allowed “gig economy” companies, such as Uber and DoorDash, to continue classifying drivers as independent contractors. This has various implications, one of which involves employer liability. Because employers are not generally liable for the conduct of independent contractors, this classification could be potentially used to shield rideshare companies from responsibility in personal injury and wrongful death claims.
Laws regarding rideshare liability are complex and changing. Although the law is currently in effect, it has been challenged on several occasions and has been ruled unconstitutional by at least one judge—a finding that was swiftly appealed by Uber. Because these changing laws can affect your claim, and your right to recover compensation after an accident, we strongly recommend that you work with an attorney who has extensive experience in this area of law.
At Ayala, Morgan & Buzzard, our San Francisco rideshare accident lawyers understand the ins and outs of personal injury law, specifically how it relates to Uber and Lyft accidents. We have successfully represented numerous clients in complex litigation and have the resources, skills, and experience to effectively advocate for you. If you would like to discuss how our firm can help you with your rideshare accident claim, please contact us today for a free initial consultation.
What to Do After an Uber or Lyft Accident
If you are involved in a rideshare accident in San Francisco, there are several things you should do right away to protect yourself and your rights:
- Seek Medical Attention: After any accident, you should always be seen by a medical professional. If you have not yet sought medical attention after your accident, do so immediately. This is important not only for your continued physical health and wellbeing but also as a means of establishing evidence of your injuries.
- Report the Accident to the DMV: California law requires you to report any accident that results in bodily injury, death, or vehicle damage of more than $1,000 to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) within 10 days. Note that if the police came to the scene of the accident and filled out a police report, they will typically handle this reporting step on your behalf.
- Preserve Evidence: If you were able to collect any evidence from the scene, such as pictures of the crash or witness statements, be sure to hang on to it. You should also keep records of your medical bills, as well as vehicle repair estimates and other relevant evidence that could help with your rideshare accident claim.
- Notify the Rideshare Company: You should also report the accident to the appropriate rideshare company as soon as possible. If you were a passenger in an Uber accident, you can report the crash here. If you witnessed an Uber accident, you may report it here. If you were involved in a Lyft accident, you can report it here.
- Avoid Speaking to Insurance Adjusters Without an Attorney: While you should report the accident to the rideshare company, you should avoid speaking to anyone from Uber or Lyft (or their insurance company) without first speaking to an attorney. You may accidentally say something that could jeopardize your claim. Additionally, you should never make a statement or sign anything without the counsel of a lawyer.
- Contact an Attorney: One of the best things you can do after a rideshare accident is reach out to an attorney with experience handling Uber and Lyft accident claims. Your lawyer will be able to inform you of your legal options and develop a case aimed at maximizing your recovery.
At Ayala, Morgan & Buzzard, we understand just how complicated the aftermath of a rideshare accident can be, and we know how to help. Our team is here to handle everything so that you can focus on getting the care and rest you need.
Contact Us Today
If you were injured or if someone you love tragically died due to a rideshare accident, call the San Francisco Uber and Lyft lawyers at Ayala, Morgan & Buzzard right away. We can review the details of your situation and determine whether you have grounds for a case. Our team offers complimentary consultations and case evaluations, as well as contingency fees. This means that you do not owe any legal fees unless we recover a settlement or verdict for you.