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One of the major fears many bicyclists have is getting hit by a car. Since car collisions can cause serious injuries, cyclists are generally on high alert. While this type of accident doesn’t happen often, the risk is still there. And when they do happen, catastrophic injuries and death can occur.
While a collision with a regular car is chaotic and complex, what happens when a pedestrian is hit by an Uber vehicle? Arash Law, founded by famous attorney Arash Khorsandi, Esq., knows what happens and what you can do when a rideshare driver causes your bicycle accident.
Uber cars are more inconspicuous than taxi drivers or commercial trucks. When you see a taxi, you know it is a taxi. However, when you see a car, you can’t really know if they are a rideshare. Even if they have signage, you may not know if the drivers are on the clock.
Additionally, the process of using a rideshare is more complicated than the traditional taxi. Taxis typically pick up passengers who wave them down or call a general line. Rideshare drivers must look at an app, sometimes while driving, to accept rides and get directions.
With these ideas in mind, bicycles are more likely to get into an accident when approaching a rideshare, like Uber, than a taxi. Cyclists might not know when an Uber driver is pulling over or what they are doing as they approach, giving them little time to change their direction. Using the rideshare app can cause more distractions than other drivers experience. It can lead to chaos and collisions with cyclists.
As rideshares’ ease of access and popularity increases, more motorists are enticed to be rideshare drivers. Rideshare vehicles are becoming increasingly popular. That has also led to more accidents involving bicycles and rideshare vehicles.
One notable news involving a rideshare vs bicycle crash happened in Alameda in 2017. According to reports, the rideshare driver who has just accepted a fare on her app backs into a cyclist who is stopped behind her at the stoplight. There was also a hit-and-run incident in Texas in 2019, where a rideshare driver ran down a bicycle-mounted police officer and left the scene.
Rideshare vehicles fall into a gray area involving liability. So, determining who pays for your accident can be tedious. You must work with experienced Uber accident lawyers to handle these complexities.
Determining Negligence in An Uber and Bicycle Accident
As a cyclist in an accident with a rideshare, the first hurdle when filing a claim is determining negligence. In an accident, you will negotiate with the insurance companies to obtain compensation for your losses. Typically, if it were an everyday motorist, you would file an insurance claim with the driver’s insurance company. However, when the crash involves a rideshare driver, other options apply. You may have many complex questions to address, such as:
- Is the driver’s insurance company responsible for my losses?
- Does the rideshare company’s insurer pay for losses?
- Will I be negotiating with multiple insurance companies?
- Who is accountable if it was a dooring accident caused by the passenger?
The answers to these questions are complicated. It will vary by individual circumstances. Ultimately, your bicycle accident attorney will focus on determining negligence and which insurance company to negotiate with. We will also review the degree to which each party contributed to the collision. Cases settle when cyclists and insurance companies agree on negligence and damages.
However, if all parties cannot reach an agreement, the next step is a lawsuit. You must prove that the person was negligent to the court. You will then have to provide evidence of the damages of your injuries. Most cases are settled through negotiations since a lawsuit can be expensive. However, due to the uncertainty of the process of establishing negligence and other issues, it is best to work with a rideshare accident lawyer. If you have more than minor injuries, you must get legal representation. Talk to a lawyer before you speak to the driver or their insurance company.
Who Should Pay for Bicycle Accidents in California?
Aside from determining negligence, another major concern is who will pay for your losses. The rideshare’s insurance company will ideally compensate you for your losses. However, getting this compensation can be difficult. Uber and Lyft insurers are notorious for finding loopholes to prevent paying for your losses. They will often disagree on liability for paying your losses. Both companies insure their drivers to varying degrees. They also require drivers to carry individual insurance policies.
Where things can get tricky is with the policy limits. The insurance company responsible for paying your losses will depend on what part of the rideshare process the driver is on. Arash Law has a breakdown of how the insurance process works depending on the rideshare passenger cycle.
“Off-duty” means the driver is not logged into the rideshare app. That means the rideshare company’s insurance policy will not apply. However, all rideshare drivers must have individual policies. These policies will be responsible for liability when the driver is not working or on the app.
Logged On and Available
The rideshare company’s insurance may apply when a driver is available for rides and logged onto the app. These policies provide up to $50,000 in coverage for bodily injury. They also have $100,000 for injury liability per accident caused by their driver and $25,000 for property damages. These limits do not cover driver injuries or vehicle damages.
Driving to the Passenger
When the driver accepts a ride and is en route to pick up a passenger, Uber has liability insurance coverage. The limit is $1 million.
Driving with Passenger
The driver is fully working when they have picked up a passenger and is taking them to their destination. The coverage begins when the passenger enters the vehicle and ends when they are dropped off. Liability coverage is $1 million, and bodily injury coverage is $1 million. The rideshare insurer will also cover the driver’s vehicle damage. One caveat for drivers is they must have collision or comprehensive coverage. Rideshare companies also provide uninsured motorist coverage during this phase of the rideshare process.
Examples of Potential Problems You May Encounter
There are various examples of rideshare versus bicycle accidents. Each of these previous examples also had some problems when seeking compensation. Staying aware of these potential problems can help with your case.
In the aforementioned rideshare accident in Portland, Oregon, the cyclists first filed a claim with the driver and rideshare insurance companies. The driver’s insurer denied the claim because the driver was logged into the app. They were also en route to pick up a passenger when the cyclist was doored. Months after obtaining this denial, Uber’s insurer was responsible for paying. Uber continued to assure the cyclist the incident would be covered. However, compensation amounts were a contentious topic.
In a Boston incident, an Uber passenger doored a passing cyclist. The passenger does not own the car and, therefore, does not have a corresponding insurance policy. The passenger believed Uber’s policy would cover him. Uber disagreed. They denied the claim, stating, “Opening a door into a bicyclist does not constitute ‘use’ of a covered auto.”
You might think there is a straightforward answer to who pays for your losses. Unfortunately, there is rarely a simple answer to this question. Liability and negligence can be a minefield. Sometimes, the rideshare company will impose requirements, like having you file a claim with the driver’s insurance first. Doing so does not make sense in many cases. If the rideshare driver was at fault, it falls under Uber. Even so, the company wants you to jump through hoops and hurdles.
Another way that rideshare companies get out of paying claims is by denying that drivers are their employees. Since these are not employees, Uber or Lyft cannot be sued. While they can try to get out of paying you using these and other tactics, our Arash Law’s dedicated accident attorneys will fight back.
What to Do If Injured by a Rideshare Driver or Passenger
When you are in a collision, you should not assume that the vehicle involved is a “private vehicle.” Rideshares are not as evident as taxis. You should check for Uber, Lyft, or other rideshare stickers on the vehicle, which can indicate whether the individual is a regular driver. It can also help you understand what your next options might be.
You should always wait for the police to arrive at the scene. They will file an official accident report detailing the incident. Sometimes, injuries appear later, the report can be considered a piece of strong evidence in this case. When both parties leave the scene without an incident report, it can hurt your chances of recovery later. Once you leave, it can be nearly impossible to identify the Uber driver or passenger.
Often, at-fault parties apologize at the scene and accept responsibility for their actions. Sometimes, they change their story when they get home. They will then begin to deny negligence to the insurance company and others. Some people dare to deny they were ever at the scene. When police respond to the scene, they have an unbiased view of what occurred. They also have the authority to demand information from drivers, passengers, and other relevant parties.
When dealing with the insurance process, you should not attempt to negotiate. Refrain from negotiating with the driver or passenger without an accident lawyer. However, you can engage with the driver or passenger to get information. You will need identifying information such as their name, contact, insurance coverage, and vehicle ownership.
Getting information from the driver, passenger, and witnesses is essential. However, ask a bystander to accomplish this task if you cannot. Additionally, the scene should be investigated for evidence. This information can help determine who is at fault. Some evidence that police can look for includes skid mark measurements, accident scene pictures, and witness statements, as well as measuring and diagramming the scene.
A rideshare passenger can be an invaluable witness. Signage indicating the vehicle is rideshare can mean the passenger does not know the driver. However, they might not have been paying attention to the driver’s actions since they are passengers. If they don’t pay attention, their statement can hurt your claim. They might say something like, “I didn’t even see where the bike came from.”
It may be polite or intuitive to say that you are “OK” to the police, driver, or passengers. This statement can be harmful to obtaining compensation. You are unsure of your condition until you get a medical evaluation. You might be injured and not realize it yet. When you tell the police or insurance company that you are “OK,” they will note that in your file or report. Once it is noted, it is challenging to argue. Do not make any statements about your condition. Arash Law’s proficient attorneys for bike accidents will work with your doctor to document your condition.
When police create accident reports, they can get some things wrong. This report will be essential to your claim. You will want to ensure that all the information is accurate. The report will also include witness statements. If police suspect wrongdoing, they may also issue tickets to the driver. If a ticket is issued, that can also help build your case.
The accident report should also include a cyclist statement. Unfortunately, that does not always happen. Without the cyclist’s view, the report can be biased. The officer can blame the cyclists for the crash. If possible, make a statement to the police afterward.
Seek Immediate Medical Attention
Following an accident, you should not assume you know anything about your injuries. You might not feel anything in the minutes and hours following a collision. Adrenaline can often get in the way of your body responding to the trauma of the crash. Instead, the first thing you should do is seek medical attention. You should not make decisions about your injuries. The only person who can dictate your treatment plan is a medical professional.
Seeking prompt medical attention means you can identify a serious condition. Waiting can hurt your chances of finding an underlying or severe injury. Conversely, if you do not have a serious injury, you can get a clean bill of health and know where you stand after a collision. An example of waiting to get medical attention leading to a worse outcome involves rock musician Stiv Bators. After being struck by a taxi in Paris, Bators went to the hospital. Unfortunately, he waited so long at the hospital that eventually, Bators went home without being seen. He died that night from a traumatic brain injury received in the accident.
Medical attention is vital for reasons other than your health. It can also help with your insurance claim. You will likely be dealing with the driver’s insurance company. They will want to review your medical files when evaluating your claim. When you get treatment at the scene, or immediately afterward, a paper trail links your injuries to rideshare and bicycle crashes.
Arash Law, led by Arash Khorsandi, Esq., will also review these medical files, working with experts to determine the severity of your injuries. It is best that we know how your injuries will affect your life. When negotiating with the insurance company, we will also show how these injuries connect to your collision. We also advise that you take pictures of your injuries from all angles. You will also want to start a pain or injury journal. You will write all of your physical symptoms beginning after the accident. You can make entries daily or every other day.
Consult With A Personal Injury Attorney Before Talking to the Insurance Company
The best thing you can do after a rideshare and bicycle accident is not to communicate with the other party. You should not speak to the driver or rideshare’s insurance company. Instead, you should talk to a bicycle accident attorney from Arash Law for guidance. We understand you want to cooperate with the insurance company.
You might assume they will be fair and reasonable. When you communicate with the insurance company, they gather information against you. The insurance company looks at your communication as a way to lower your claim. They are looking for evidence that helps them pay less. You can circumvent these actions by having a rideshare accident lawyer handle all third-party communications.
Choosing the right attorney is also essential. While many personal injury attorneys can handle bicycle accidents, you must find the one that works. Rideshare claims are full of complexities. You need a lawyer who handles bicycle accidents and rideshare incidents.
When speaking to a personal injury attorney, ensure they have experience with the following:
- Bicycle traffic laws
- Bicycle skills and techniques
- Handling bicycle cases at trial
- Negotiating with insurance companies
- Handling rideshare accident cases
- Managing prejudice against cyclist
- Working with bicycle accident reconstruction experts
- The functionality of the bicycle components
- Braking and cornering that involve accidents
- Accurate estimates for replacing your bicycle
- Establishing lost riding time
- Determining the value of permanently diminished riding ability
- Uber and Lyft insurance policies
The best thing to do is avoid an accident, but that may not always be possible. You can try to reduce your odds of a crash by riding with situational awareness. You should check your bike before you ride and practice emergency maneuvers. You might already know to look for commercial vehicles and taxis. They are more likely to be driving recklessly or to cause injury.
Unfortunately, many Uber drivers are more unfamiliar with the area than regular drivers and may be paying more attention to their app than the road. The drivers might not be familiar with cyclists or bike lanes. A rideshare driver can promptly turn into the bike lane to pick up or drop off a passenger, which can turn your daily commute into a life-changing crash. You cannot prevent these actions. The only thing you can do is watch out for the possibility that a driver may be getting ready to pull over.
However, while you can take steps to try and anticipate a crash, you are not responsible for preventing it. Cyclists are not legally accountable for anticipating illegal or unsafe behavior from a driver. You cannot be liable when another driver is careless. Drivers cannot blame you for failing to protect yourself from their irresponsible actions.
Another consideration is ensuring that you have insurance coverage before accessing it. Your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) and “uninsured motorist” or “underinsured motorist” (UM/UIM) coverage can help when you are involved in a car accident. Your health insurance and other policies can also help with your claim. The more coverage you have, the better for your recovery.
Your Compensation Options in A California Bicycle Accident
In California, you have legal rights when you are a cyclist struck by an Uber or Lyft driver. However, you have limited time to take legal action. California has limitations on personal injury claims. The statute of limitation for these cases is typically two years from the accident date. Arash Law is familiar with these and other deadlines that may apply to your claim. We will move swiftly to ensure we do not miss these deadlines.
You will want to file a claim with the relevant insurance company when you are hurt. When Uber or Lyft drivers are operating a vehicle negligently, you should speak to an experienced California bicycle accident attorney. We will begin the legal process and seek compensation for your losses.
Some types of payment you can recover include:
- Lost income
- Medical expenses
- Emotional trauma
- Pain and suffering, bicycle repairs, or a replacement
Your case may also qualify for punitive damages if the driver was egregious. Our bicycle accident lawyers can guide you on the damages you can request and how much your case may be worth.
Distractions are a significant contributing factor in Uber and Lyft crashes. The service is convenient and available statewide. Many people use these vehicles daily. However, the service requires the driver and passenger to be on the app.
Rideshare drivers often partake in distractions, such as:
- Accepting and ending rides
- Speeding to a destination
- Changing the GPS to find the quickest route
A driver can become distracted for many other reasons not listed here. Many actions can cause a driver to drive carelessly. You must have a legal team to prove your case to the insurance company. Speak to a bicycle accident lawyer at our firm today to protect your rights.
Types of Injuries
Injuries are common in most collisions. You must seek immediate medical attention to determine if you have injuries and their severity. Some of the most common injuries cyclists suffer in accidents with Uber or Lyft vehicles include:
- Broken bones
- Head or brain injury
- Neck or back pain
- Facial trauma
You should get medical attention even if you believe your injuries are minor. Allow medical professionals to assess the extent of your injuries. All of this information is essential for proving your claim. The best way to determine what to do next is to schedule a free case review with Arash Law.
What Makes Rideshare Cases Special?
Being in an accident with a rideshare like Uber or Lyft can complicate your case. The most considerable complexity is often the status of the driver. They are not considered employees. Instead, these companies identify them as independent contractors. This classification means holding the company liable for driver actions is more challenging. When a company refuses to take accountability for the actions of its drivers, it can make the settlement process more tedious than it actually is.
The lack of accountability and excessive insurance rules make these cases unique. Being hit by a rideshare driver ends up being the same as being hit by a regular driver. However, it might be easier to file a claim with the driver instead of the company that allows them to operate on the app. Arash Law can help determine the best route to get you the compensation you deserve.
Will Insurance Help if an Uber or Lyft Driver Hits You?
If a rideshare driver hits you, the biggest obstacle is dealing with the insurance company. Uber and Lyft like to brag that they require their drivers to have individual policies. However, they are not going above and beyond. California has the exact insurance requirements. These companies also have coverage for their drivers. While these policies exist, they do not guarantee a monetary award for your losses.
There might not be enough to cover your damages because drivers get coverage through private insurance companies, meaning they are not different from the ones you purchase for your vehicle. These personal policies are intended to cover losses if you are using a car to commute and not for professional usage like Uber and Lyft services.
Many private policies do not cover any commercial use incidents. That can mean that the driver has no coverage for your damages, even though they have insurance coverage. That means you are left with one less option. Rideshare companies are aware of how these insurers work, and they use it to their advantage. Arash Law’s knowledgeable Uber accident attorneys know the unique factors in these cases. We are ready to fight for you and review all relevant insurance policies.
What You Can Do If You Are Hit by an Uber or Lyft Driver?
After being hit by an Uber or Lyft driver, the best thing you can do is speak to a competent and experienced California bicycle accident attorney. Since Uber and Lyft are relatively new companies that can raise many issues, the laws might not be moving fast enough to address issues like collisions. It is often uncharted territory. When you work with an attorney from Arash Law, they will help you find ways to hold the driver or rideshare company liable for your accident.
You can do your part by collecting evidence and solidifying your case. At the scene, you can call the police, take pictures and gather information. Take a picture of your clothing, bicycle, and other details of the crash scene. You can also write down your version of events while it is fresh. You should also follow all doctor recommendations and restrictions. Stay patient and focus on your healing. Let our personal injury lawyers handle the legal process. We have decades of experience helping bicycle accident victims.
Speak to a California Personal Injury Lawyer Immediately
While ridesharing is seen as a safer alternative for commuting, it’s vital to remember that most accidents still stem from human negligence. If you are a cyclist who was injured by an Uber or Lyft driver, you should speak to one of our attorneys immediately.
Under the leadership of Arash Khorsandi, Esq., Arash Law offers dedicated guidance and representation to accident victims all over the Golden State. We are here for you during this challenging time. We have collected over 500 million dollars for clients across the state. Call (888) 488-1391 for a free initial consultation.