Have you ever been a passenger in a California rideshare accident? Here’s how it goes.

In the moments before the accident, you and your friends are zipping happily down a California city street in your Uber. But in a split second, everything changes. The Uber accident happens so fast, you don’t even have time to react.

Your Uber driver tries to make a fast left turn on a fading yellow light, and the last thing you remember is seeing a speeding car coming straight at your side window. You wake up in the hospital thanking your lucky stars you’re alive. And good news, your friends are all alive too.

Slowly you realize you have a fractured collarbone, a broken wrist, a broken leg, and a bad concussion. Your doctors say you’ll recover, but it will take a while. You head home to a new normal where you struggle to do daily activities like brushing your teeth and changing your clothes.

There’s no way you can work, so you have no income rolling in. Soon you receive an envelope from the hospital containing your bill. It’s almost $50,000!

It sure seems like someone else should pay that bill, right? You wonder if maybe your car insurance will take care of it, or the Uber driver’s insurance, or Uber itself. Who will cover the costs of an accident where you were merely the passenger?

Insurance and Your Uber or Lyft Passenger Accident

An Uber or Lyft accident as a passenger is scary and confusing. Although every crash is unique, Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers can provide some general insight into how insurance works and how you can hold someone liable for what happened.

First of all, if you weren’t the driver and it wasn’t your own car, your auto insurance almost certainly won’t be involved. You’ll need to look to the rideshare company’s and/or the Uber driver’s insurance company for compensation.

Uber and Lyft drivers are required to have auto insurance. Drivers usually arrange it through one of the rideshare companies’ partner policies from Allstate, Progressive, Liberty Mutual, and many others. However, these policies don’t guarantee coverage for rideshare passengers. Coverage depends on the circumstances and you’ll discover that the insurance companies often try to wriggle out of paying Uber and Lyft passenger injury claims.

You may have heard about a huge change in how the state of California views rideshare drivers. You should know that California law regarding rideshare services is constantly evolving. Lawmakers are scrambling to update the law. Learn the latest here.

The Details Matter in a Rideshare Accident

Uber and Lyft drivers might be presumed employees, but they’re only on the clock at certain times. Before the passage of AB 5, when an Uber driver’s app was off, coverage defaulted to their personal car insurance. When the app was on and they were waiting to accept a request, Uber liability coverage was triggered. While a passenger was on board, Uber provided a higher level of coverage.

Under the previously-established law, called AB 2293, Uber was required to cover drivers when the app was active, not just when a driver had accepted or was actively carrying a passenger. It also required rideshare companies to hold liability policies of $1 million in the event of an accident injuring someone.

Now, with the passage of AB 5, we’re in new and somewhat uncharted waters. Either the Uber driver’s insurance or Uber’s own insurance should kick in to provide coverage, but there will likely be some heated legal battles fought over Uber passenger injury claims.

What if Both Drivers are at Fault in a Rideshare Passenger Accident?

This is a great question. Sometimes both drivers are at fault, but of course, the passenger can’t control anything about how fault is assigned.

Let’s say you’re part of a Lyft passenger injury claim where the police have concluded that both drivers are at fault. As the passenger, you’re now caught in the middle between two insurance companies – the Lyft insurance and the other driver’s individual insurance. Ideally, you could recover proceeds from both Lyft’s liability policy and the other driver’s liability policy, but you’ll need to make two separate claims.

Confused? You’re not alone. Any experienced rideshare accident attorney has seen plenty of clients just like you, caught in the crossfire as an innocent passenger in a complex accident claim.

Plus, there’s always the added confusion of what happens when there are multiple passengers. Now you and your friends are all making claims. There’s probably a dollar-value maximum limit to the insurance policies, which means you’ll be battling your own friends over a limited pool of funds.

What if the Other Driver Was Uninsured?

Here’s another headache to consider: an uninsured driver. You should be able to take advantage of uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage (UIM), but California law does not allow you to “stack” the amount of money you receive from a UIM claim on top of a third-party liability policy.

Clear as mud? We understand that it’s hard to grasp how all of this insurance stuff works. That’s why Sally Morin Law is here to lend a helping hand after your Lyft or Uber passenger accident. If you’re a rideshare passenger who has severe injuries from an accident, contact us right away.

You need an experienced Uber accident personal injury attorney to help you navigate the process and make sure that the insurance companies don’t leave you hanging in the middle. Contact Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers for your FREE online rideshare accident case evaluation now.

We Handle Your Personal Injury Claim So You Can Focus on Your Life

The moral of this story is that being involved in an LA Uber or rideshare accident can become quite complicated. Even more so when there are multiple people making personal injury claims with multiple insurance companies involved. You need an experienced Uber accident personal injury attorney to help you navigate the process and make sure that the insurance companies do not leave you hanging in the middle. Contact Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers: Los Angeles for your FREE online Uber accident case evaluation now to see if we can help with your Uber accident claim or Lyft injury claim.

Video Transcript

Hi, my name is Annie Heller, and I’m one of the attorneys here at Sally Morin Law. I’m here to talk to you, today, about being a passenger in a ride share accident, which can be complicated because there are multiple levels of insurance, multiple drivers, multiple vehicles involved. And when you are injured, as a passenger, you’re not always sure where you fit in the situation.

So, for example, we get calls all the time from passengers who are involved in ride share accidents. And a good example would be you’re sitting in the back of a Lyft or an Uber vehicle. You were heading through an intersection, your driver is driving perfectly fine, and suddenly they are T-boned by somebody who ran a red light. This is a very serious accident, so you’re lucky to be alive. And after the dust settles, you start to wonder, “Well, who do I make a claim against? Who’s going to compensate me for my injuries? Who do I even talk to about my accident?”

So, in this specific situation, you would be dealing with the other party, the person who hit the Uber’s or Lyft vehicle’s insurance. And whether or not they have insurance is another investigation. Luckily, ride share companies have something called uninsured, or underinsured motorist coverage. Here in California, the minimum coverage that all drivers must have is $15,000. However, that’s likely not going to cover you, be enough coverage in a situation like this, because it’s a serious accident. So, as you can see, this is a complicated scenario, and one that you’re going to have to sort of piece together to figure out how to move forward with your claim.

So, there are three things that you can do as a passenger in a ride share accident to help yourself. Number one, if you were in an accident, a serious accident, and you need medical treatment, get help right away. Call an ambulance, go to the hospital, do it as soon as possible. The longer you wait to treat your injuries, the worse off they will be, and the harder it will be for us to piece together your injuries later, when we are dealing with things like a demand letter going to the insurance company.

Number two, get help, get professional help. Don’t go at it alone. Don’t try to do this by yourself. Call an experienced ride share accident attorney. Let them lead you through the process, help you understand the way that multiple levels of insurance do work together in a case like this.

And number three, pay attention to the details. A lot of times when people are in Uber and Lyft vehicles sitting in the back, they are not paying attention to what’s going on. They’re on their phone, they’re talking, they’re listening to music. But it’s very important to pay attention to what’s going on inside and outside of your vehicle. Is your driver following the traffic laws? Is the driver driving safely? If not, and you’re not comfortable, it’s okay to let the driver know that you’re not comfortable, and you’d like to get out. Either way, it’s important to pay attention to the details because when an accident happens your story and the information that you can provide will be very, very important. So, I encourage you to look at what’s happening around you, and make sure you understand what’s happened during the accident.

Like I said, again, number one, get medical treatment right away. Number two, find yourself a professional ride share accident attorney, who has a lot of experience. And number three, pay attention to the details of the accident. If you have any questions, feel free to call our office. And that’s it.