HOW MUCH IS YOUR RIDESHARE ACCIDENT WORTH?
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California Rideshare Accident Lawyers
Ridesharing services have quickly taken over the transportation industry. They are simply the most convenient and affordable way for many Californians to get around. Unfortunately, like any other form of transportation, using Ubers and Lyfts can result in serious injuries.
Fortunately, in many cases, people who are hurt in ridesharing accidents can recover compensation for their losses. For this reason, it is essential to consult with a rideshare accident attorney about your legal rights as soon as possible after an accident involving a rideshare vehicle.
At Arash Law, we believe in fighting to protect injury victims’ legal rights. We have over twenty years of experience, and our personal injury lawyers have collected over 200 million dollars for our clients.
Our experienced rideshare lawyers have helped accident victims in San Francisco, Riverside, San Jose, San Diego, Sacramento, Sherman Oaks and throughout California. Call (888) 488-1391 to schedule your free consultation with an experienced California Uber accident lawyer.
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions our attorneys get about rideshare accidents:
When should I contact a California Uber car accident attorney?
It is essential to contact an experienced personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after an accident. Of course, after many accidents, “as soon as possible” does not mean immediately. You might have to be transported to an emergency department in an ambulance. Even if you choose not to leave the scene of the accident in an ambulance, you will likely want to be checked out by a doctor as soon as possible. Visit an urgent care facility, emergency room, or primary care doctor right away. Follow all recommendations for medical testing and treatment. Then, once your medical needs have been addressed, take care of your legal needs.
While you might not be able to contact an attorney immediately after an accident, it is still important to consult with one as soon as possible. Your legal rights can be placed at risk as soon as the accident occurs. Even off-handed statements you make on the scene of the accident could be used against you later.
The insurance company might try to twist your words and claim that you weren’t injured at the scene of the accident, so your injuries can’t be that serious now. The insurance company will also likely try to call you and get a statement about the accident soon after it happens. This, too, can be used to contradict your statements. You should not discuss the accident at all with any insurance company except your own. As soon as you notify the insurance company that you have a lawyer, they are prohibited from contacting you about the accident. All communications must be made through your attorney.
What steps should I take after an accident involving a Lyft or Uber in California?
Your first priority after an accident should be getting everyone to safety. If the vehicles are still driveable, they should be moved to the side of the road. If they are not, everyone should get out of the vehicles and out of the way of traffic. Collisions often cause secondary accidents by drivers who aren’t paying attention. It is vital to get yourself out of harm’s way and avoid sustaining further injuries.
You should call 911 as soon as you get to safety. The dispatcher will help you determine whether ambulances or just law enforcement are needed at the scene. When the police respond, they will take your statement about what happened. They will also facilitate the exchange of insurance information. If you have the chance, ask how you can obtain a copy of the police report. (This is usually available one or two days after the accident, once it has been finalized and approved by a supervisor.) If the other driver tries to leave the scene of the accident before the police arrive, be sure to get the license plate of the vehicle.
If you have the chance, take photos of the vehicles and accident scene. Capture any damage to the vehicles. You can also get the names and phone numbers of any witnesses who saw what happened.
If you are a passenger in the Uber or Lyft, you will likely have ride data available in your app. This will tell you the name and vehicle information of your driver. Screenshot this information, so you have it for later. There is also an option in the app to report the accident. If you will be consulting with a lawyer soon, it might be helpful to wait and get legal advice before reporting the accident. Otherwise, it is fine to report the accident as quickly as possible.
Who is responsible for compensating my losses after a rideshare accident in California?
The person who is legally responsible for causing an accident also has a legal obligation to compensate the victims of that accident. This is why insurance companies conduct an investigation to determine who was at fault for causing the accident. In many cases, each driver was partly at fault. California law allows liability to be apportioned between two or more drivers.
Companies can also be at fault for causing car accidents. Auto manufacturers, for example, have an obligation to prevent defects in both the design and manufacture of their products. If they fail to do so, they are liable for all the damage that occurs as a result of the defect. This is why car companies will pay for expensive recalls. The recalls are often far less costly than compensating accident victims.
Uber and Lyft can also be liable for accidents involving their drivers. Because of this, they carry extensive commercial insurance policies with high limits. Injury victims can be covered for up to one million dollars in damages under these supplemental liability policies. The commercial policy issued by Uber or Lyft supplements the driver’s own personal insurance policy. If the driver has no insurance, or that policy limit is met, the commercial rideshare policy will supplement liability coverage (for up to one million dollars).
What happens if the rideshare company’s insurance denies the claim?
Uber and Lyft are big companies with a lot of assets to protect. They have many lawyers protecting their interests, and their large insurance companies also hire teams of attorneys. This can make it challenging to get a claim accepted or negotiate a fair settlement offer from the commercial insurer.
First, it is crucial to understand how this supplemental insurance works. The level of coverage depends on the driver’s status at the time the accident occurred:
- Period 1: If the driver is not logged into the ridesharing app, they are considered off the job. Their personal auto insurer must handle any accident claims that arise while the driver was not working for Uber. No supplemental liability coverage is available.
- Period 2: If an accident occurs while the driver is logged into the app and awaiting a fare, supplemental liability coverage is available. The driver’s personal insurer must handle the claim first. If the policy limits are met, the supplemental insurance policy will cover up to $50,000 per person and $100,000 per accident. There is also $25,000 of coverage for property damage to third parties. (The rideshare driver and their vehicle are not covered under the commercial policy.)
- Period 3: Once the driver is en route to pick up a customer, $1 million in liability coverage is available. This coverage applies once the customer is picked up and throughout the ride. Again, the driver’s personal auto insurance policy must be used first. Once these limits are met, injury victims can be supplemented by up to $1 million in coverage under the commercial rideshare policy.
Sometimes, the commercial insurance carrier will deny coverage based upon the driver’s status. Other times, the insurer might claim that you were partly or wholly at fault for the accident. In these circumstances, you need a skilled personal injury lawyer who can prove that your claim should be accepted.
Sometimes these are issues of law. In other cases, it is a logistical challenge of establishing what, exactly, happened in the accident. Your lawyer will know the best way to get your claim accepted. Sometimes, the insurer will accept the claim but make an unfair settlement offer.
Here, too, you need a skilled personal injury lawyer fighting for you. An experienced attorney will know how to prove that your injuries are worth more than the amount offered by the insurance company. A lawyer will also have experience in dealing with the insurance company and going up the chain of command when necessary. Finally, an attorney will know when it is time to stop negotiating and file a lawsuit on your behalf. This gives you the chance to prove to a jury how much your injuries are fairly worth.
What if the insurance limits are not enough?
Unfortunately, sometimes drivers simply do not have enough insurance to fairly compensate their victims. The State of California has enacted minimum insurance coverage rules to combat this problem. Some drivers, however, still choose to drive without insurance. In other cases, the driver carries the minimum legal coverage, which is simply not enough to compensate for the most severe injuries.
The California Insurance Code only requires coverage of $15,000 per person per accident. This barely covers many emergency room visits. And if the victim needs even one minor surgery, $15,000 won’t be enough to cover it.
This is why the supplemental insurance carried by Uber and Lyft is so important. Many, many personal injury cases are worth far more than $15,000. With the supplemental policy, you can recover the remainder of what you are owed. An experienced California rideshare accident attorney can help you access this coverage by filing a claim, proving your eligibility, and negotiating fair compensation.
There might also be other supplemental policies that are available. For example, many drivers carry uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage on their own policies. If another driver hits you and either doesn’t have insurance or doesn’t have enough insurance, this UM/UIM coverage can compensate you for the difference. It is crucial to work with an attorney to make sure that you are accessing all available sources of compensation for your injuries.
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What can I recover in a car accident suit in California?
For most accident victims, the most important question is how much they will get for their personal injury claim. Insurance companies like to answer this question with a simple formula. They take the amount of your medical bills, add a simple multiplier to calculate pain and suffering, then create a settlement offer by combining the two numbers together. In most cases, this not a fair way to determine what losses the victim actually suffered. Each case is different, and each victim is different. A “one size fits all” formula is not a fair way to protect your legal rights. This is why it is difficult for your attorney to predict what your claim is worth.
It is helpful to understand the different losses you have suffered and how each is valued individually. Here are some of the most common losses auto accident victims will experience:
Lost Wages due to Rideshare Accident — Almost all accident victims end up missing some work after a car crash. If your injuries are minor, you might need a day or two to rest. You might also have ongoing appointments with your doctor, physical therapist, or other medical providers. A negligent party is obligated to compensate you for all this time you lost at the office because this lost time translates to lost wages. Lost wages are calculated by multiplying your hourly rate by the number of hours you missed from work. (If you are a salaried employee, your hourly rate is calculated by dividing your salary by a forty-hour workweek.)
When injuries are more severe, however, a victim will likely miss far more time at work. Some injuries even permanently affect a victim’s ability to go to work and earn wages. An accident victim might have to return to work in a part-time position, or with physical restrictions (such as no standing or lifting).
Some victims are never able to return to work again. In these cases, lost wages can be far more complicated to calculate. The goal is to find the difference between the victim’s wages before the accident and the victim’s wages after the accident. For example: if a victim made $50,000 per year before the accident, but can now work only part-time and make $30,000 per year, then her lost wages would be $20,000 per year. If her doctors state that she will never be able to work full time again, then the defendant is obligated to compensate $20,000 per year for each year until her retirement.
This calculation requires economists and other expert witnesses to project the expected retirement age, inflation, and other complicated mathematical factors.
In addition to the lost wages, a negligent defendant is also obligated to compensate the victim for lost benefits. This can include health insurance, retirement contributions, bonuses, and other benefits of employment that the victim can no longer access. Some of these benefits are difficult to prove. If, for example, a bonus is discretionary, it will be almost impossible the prove the amount the employee would have gotten if he or she were able to work.
On the other hand: a salesperson might have a commission ready to go when the accident happens. If this commission does not go through, it will be easy to show the exact value the victim would have received had he or she been able to work. It is important to work with an experienced rideshare accident lawyer who knows how to handle these complicated lost wage issues.
Medical Bills after a Rideshare Accident — Medical bills are often the simplest calculation to make in a personal injury settlement. Sometimes an insurance company will question the amount of treatment you receive, but if you have good documentation from licensed medical providers, this is not generally a problem. Be sure to follow all treatment recommendations from your medical providers. In cases where you will need medical attention or care well into the future, however, the calculations become much more complicated.
Pain and Suffering caused by Rideshare Accidents — Pain and suffering is usually the largest component of a personal injury award. Insurance companies like to make offers based on a simple calculation of the number of your medical bills, but this method is often inadequate. Each of us experiences pain differently. Defendants are responsible for compensating all of your pain, even if it is greater than another person’s would be in the same circumstances.
For example, a woman with a high-risk pregnancy might not be able to take prescription pain medications after an auto accident. She might also be unable to receive chiropractic services that would reduce her pain. In this case, she would be entitled to greater compensation for her increased pain and suffering. It is important to work with a skilled personal injury lawyer who knows how to prove your specific pain and suffering in order to fight for fair compensation.
Call Us Today to Schedule a Free Case Evaluation with one of Our California Rideshare Accident Lawyers
If you or a loved one has been injured in an auto accident involving a rideshare vehicle, you need an experienced lawyer who can protect your legal right to compensation. Our experienced rideshare accident attorneys at Arash Law have decades of experience helping California injury victims. We know how to fight for the compensation to which you are entitled by law.
We know how existing personal injury laws apply to new technologies like Uber and Lyft. We can handle your personal injury claim so that you can focus on getting better. Unlike other personal injury firms in California, our trial attorneys have the financial resources to keep fighting the insurance companies until a fair settlement is reached. Call (888) 488-1391 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation. Case reviews are always confidential and come with no strings attached.