Orange County Rideshare Accident Attorneys
For a long time, the concept of getting into a car with a stranger was frowned upon and dangerous. However, nowadays, finding a stranger on an app and getting into their vehicle is normal.
Ridesharing services have changed the transportation spectrum. Uber and Lyft have become household names. While this is a convenient service, it is not without peril. More cars are on the road, which has led to more collisions nationwide.
Crashes with rideshare vehicles are different from other collisions, and you must speak with Orange County rideshare accident attorneys from Bentley & More LLP, for assistance.
If you are an attorney with a challenging rideshare case involving serious injuries, reach out to discuss a referral today.
Definition of ridesharing
A person who wants to make extra income and make their schedule can sign up for a rideshare service. The company will conduct a background check and request documentation from the driver. When the driver passes, they will be ready to drive. Drivers that work for ridesharing companies are independent contractors, which is important when filing a collision claim. The employment status of a driver is essential when determining liability for your losses.
Passengers who need a ride will sign up for the app and set up payment information. When they want a ride, they will enter the pickup and drop-off information and wait for a driver to respond. Drivers in the area will get an alert and accept the ride, pick up the passenger, and drop them off. It is a straightforward process, and most passengers trust they will arrive at their destination safely. This does not always happen.
Rideshare accidents in California
While ridesharing is popular nationwide, California is a rideshare hub. Uber’s headquarters in San Francisco has made the entire state an experiment on handling rideshare concerns. There are more rideshare vehicles in the area than elsewhere, which means there are also more accidents. Lyft is not far behind, and the company had its first reported accident nearly ten years ago in California. Rideshare companies try to conceal the risk of accidents, but you should know they are always a possibility.
During the last ten years, many lawsuits involved Uber’s negligent drivers. Riders accused drivers of distracted and reckless driving and inadequate training. In one calendar year, at least seven rideshare accident fatalities occurred. Rideshare accidents reached over 1,100 in one month statewide. These statistics paint a grim picture for rideshare passengers.
Causes of O.C. rideshare accidents
Orange County is California’s third most populated county with an urban atmosphere. Roadways are full of congestion, and rideshares are often more convenient than personal vehicles. These factors are important because 90 percent of fatal rideshare accidents happen in urban areas.
Mirroring other MVAs, common causes of rideshare accidents are:
- Distracted driving
- Reckless driving
- Drugs and alcohol
- Inclement Weather
- Vehicle defects
- Improper turns
- Unsafe lane changes
- Road rage
- Driver fatigue
Unique factors that apply to rideshare accidents are drop-offs and pickups. When drivers reach a location, they do not park or stay put. They are in a rush and will block traffic and stop in areas that are dangerous to others.
Also, areas across Orange County have surge pricing, which means the driver will make more for a fare. Surge pricing attracts more drivers to a specific place, such as a sporting event or concert, and increases the dangers.
Types of rideshare accidents in Orange County
Many people can suffer injuries in collisions due to rideshare drivers’ negligent actions. Passengers are the primary parties that suffer injuries, and rideshare companies should admit liability.
Pedestrians can also be victims of rideshare accidents when a driver is negligent and hits them. Uber and Lyft should be accountable when drivers hit pedestrians on crosswalks and sidewalks. Sadly, getting compensation is often more challenging than it should be.
Injuries often occur in rideshare crashes, ranging from minor to life-altering. There is no way to predict the injuries victims suffer, but some are more common than others.
Victims often suffer injuries like:
- Spinal cord trauma
- Burns and cuts
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Fractured bones
- Internal organ damage
- Neck and back injuries
- Wrongful death
Medical treatment is essential for your health, as well as for proving your case. Even if you believe your injuries are minor, you should seek medical attention, as some injuries are challenging to pinpoint immediately after an accident. They might worsen significantly in the days following the accident.
Do not allow the costs of medical treatment to prevent you from getting proper care. Our Orange County rideshare accident attorneys from Bentley & More can help ensure coverage for your medical bills.
Complex liability issues in rideshare accidents
Initially, Uber and Lyft required their drivers to rely on their personal auto insurance only. However, there was a public outcry, and many state legislatures took action to change these rules. Now, the driver will have an individual policy, but Uber and Lyft will also have insurance policies to cover rideshare accidents in certain circumstances.
While the insurance policies of additional drivers might cover you, you will want our Orange County rideshare accident lawyers to evaluate these complex liability issues and identify who should pay for your crash.
When drivers are not using the app, they are responsible for collisions they cause and will need to use their insurance policy. However, the rideshare company’s insurance policy applies when a driver accepts a ride, has a passenger, or drops off a passenger.
Even though that distinction seems straightforward, rideshare companies will always look for ways to deny claims and shift the liability to the driver.
Rideshare safety measures
Uber and Lyft have been making changes to keep riders and others safe. These efforts serve another purpose: to reduce their liability. They have an insurance policy covering eligible collisions but they want to avoid paying out settlements whenever possible.
The first safety update is more extensive background checks on drivers, which now look for:
- DUIs and violations within ten years
- Fatal accidents
- Hit and runs
- History of reckless driving
- Gun-related violations
- Violent crimes
- Sexual offenses
- Resisting arrest
- License suspension or lack of insurance within three years
Uber looks at county and federal courthouse records, national sex offender registry, motor vehicle records, lifetime social security trace, and multi-state criminal databases. They are also implementing new driver screening technologies like voice verification and biometrics. They have GPS tracking for all their rides and have a two-way feedback system. The rating system lets riders and drivers rate their experience—bad feedback results in fewer rides and an eventual deactivation.
None of this prevents accidents and injuries from occurring, however.
While Uber is implementing some new safety measures, there are many issues they are not addressing with these changes. The driver screening technology does not include fingerprinting like taxi services do. Some drivers and passengers see GPS tracking as an invasion of privacy for the driver and passenger. Some people might falsify their records, which keeps dangerous drivers and passengers using the service.
Proving liability in an Orange County rideshare accident
Aside from the rideshare driver, another driver or entity can be responsible for causing the crash. The more parties involved, the more complex establishing and proving liability will be.
You will need a rideshare accident lawyer to provide legal analysis of the incident and gather evidence. You may need crash reports, witness statements, and expert witnesses to help with these complex legal issues. The rideshare app information will also be necessary to your claim because you must provide the status of another trip during the collision.
The app information is vital to your claim because it provides evidence of the driver’s status. The data will show the time and date of the ride and the collision. It will also provide information about the driver and their vehicle. You can use this information in tandem with the police report to establish the foundation of your claim.
Many car accident insurance claims will be contingent on the information in a police report. Law enforcement will investigate the scene, issue citations, and aid injured victims. When they complete their report, they will include information about the parties involved and details about the collision. It will also have insurance information, injuries, property damage, and diagrams.
Your medical records can \ prevent the insurer from undervaluing your claim. You must follow through with your treatment plan, as this is paramount for your physical and legal recovery efforts. Bentley & More LLP, has a network of medical professionals that can help you get the care you need. They can also serve as expert witnesses for your claim.
Traffic camera footage
Some roads have traffic cameras, or a nearby business can capture the collision on security cameras. Video footage undeniably provides an unbiased view of the accident and is challenging to ignore. It will determine who or what caused the collision.
Any witness to the accident can also help your injury claim. Uber can share your ride with a trusted contact. They can testify that you were all on the way to a destination when the accident cut your ride short. They can also attest to any information you provide about the driver. If they say the driver broke the speed limit, you may use that testimony to establish cause and liability.
Possible damages for rideshare collisions
Damages for rideshare plaintiffs resemble other personal injury claims. The main complication in getting fair compensation is the complex insurance web these accidents can involve. Sometimes, the driver will be liable. Other times, rideshare companies should be responsible, but will fight liability. Having the right attorney is critical.
Rideshare accident damages include all your medical expenses. While recovering, you might lose work and income. You can request payment for the income you would have made as damages from the collision.
Permanent disability can lead to lost earning capacity, which is a substantial loss. Pain, suffering, and psychological anguish are also damages you can seek from a rideshare collision. Bentley & More LLP, can uncover all the damages that apply to your case.
Handling Uber and Lyft insurance claims
The rideshare claims process is very tumultuous because your ability to recover compensation depends on the driver’s actions. Uber and Lyft review claims based on driver phases. A driver marked as ready but without a current fare has limited liability coverage by the rideshare company.
When a driver accepts a fare, the third-party coverages are higher at $1,000,000 per accident. The coverage includes uninsured motorists, comprehensive, and collision coverage. These options are available but are challenging to obtain without legal assistance.
Uber and Lyft will find any loophole possible to avoid paying for your losses. You must work with a law firm that can adequately handle rideshare insurance claims.
Adjusters are not your friends
The insurance adjusters and rideshare companies will pretend they want to help and that they feel empathy for your injuries and losses. This is all a front to get you to trust them. Once they have the information they want from you, they will remove the mask and show their true intentions.
They want to minimize your claim and pay as little as possible. Protect yourself by speaking to experienced Orange County rideshare lawyers.
Bentley & More LLP, handles insurance claims daily, and we know the insurance company’s tactics to take advantage of injury victims. We will take over any communication, and if you must make a statement, we will prepare you for it.
Contact Orange County rideshare accident attorneys immediately
Bentley & More LLP, fights for the rights of accident victims in rideshare collisions. We have a network of experts that we can access to help your case. We will also evaluate and establish liability for your claim. Reach out to a Orange County personal injury lawyer. Rideshare accidents are very complex, and that opens the floodgates for errors. Rideshare victims have legal options, and we are here to help you. We can offer aid if you are an attorney with a rideshare case that is solid but out of your wheelhouse.
After a rideshare crash, contact us at Bentley & More, LLP, at (949) 617-0938 for your initial consultation and protect your rights.
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Bentley & More LLP – Orange County Office
Phone: (949) 617-0938