Who is Responsible for Uber or Lyft Accidents in California?

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If an accident occurs involving a rideshare vehicle, who is responsible? This isn’t a “chicken or egg” type of question – rideshare accidents are not uncommon throughout our area of California. 

If an Uber or Lyft accident occurs, there will need to be an extensive investigation into the incident to determine liability. However, if you have been involved in a rideshare accident, we encourage you to contact an attorney to make sure that you are treated fairly throughout the process of recovering compensation.

Determining Fault After an Uber or Lyft Accident

The immediate aftermath of an Uber or Lyft accident can be chaotic and scary. The last thing on any person’s mind, at least at first, is gathering evidence to determine what happened. However, the moments right after a crash occurs are when much of the evidence used to determine liability is recovered.

Just like any other vehicle accident in California, an incident involving an Uber Lyft vehicle must be reported to law enforcement officials. In California, collisions must be reported if there is an injury or death or if the likely property damage is $1,000 or greater. 

Some of the evidence gathered immediately after the incident will be used to determine fault, including: 

  • Video footage from cameras on nearby homes, businesses, or dashcams
  • Photograph taken at the scene of the incident
  • Statements from eyewitnesses or others involved in the collision
  • The police report

Other types of data may also be needed to determine fault after an Uber or Lyft crash. This can include mobile device data, particularly the data from the rideshare driver. Additionally, vehicle black box data may be obtained and examined. 

Does the Rideshare Company Pay for the Crash?

Yes and no. In general, both Uber and Lyft have done a good job of insulating themselves from liability in the event a collision occurs, even if the rideshare driver is at fault. Every rideshare driver is an independent contractor, at least as far as personal injury claims are concerned. Exactly who pays for a rideshare accident depends on liability and the status of the driver at the time the incident occurred.

  • Driver not logged into the app to work. If a rideshare driver is not logged into the rideshare company app to work and they cause an accident, then the driver’s personal auto insurance will be responsible for compensating others for their injuries or property damage.
  • Driver logged into the app, but no passenger. If the driver is logged into the rideshare app to work but does not have a passenger when they cause an accident, then responsibility for paying compensation still falls primarily to the driver’s personal auto insurance. However, both Uber and Lyft do provide supplemental coverage that kicks in if the driver’s personal insurance limits are exhausted.
  • Driver has a passenger or is on the way to get one. If a rideshare driver has a passenger or is on the way to pick one up when they cause a crash, both Uber and Lyft provide $1 million insurance policies to cover all involved.

If you or somebody you care about has been injured in a rideshare accident, we encourage you to reach out to an attorney as promptly as possible. A skilled Long Beach rideshare accident lawyer can investigate your case and help determine the best steps moving forward for you to recover compensation.