Are Rideshare Companies Liable For Accidents Involving Drivers?


Imagine you are in a rideshare vehicle in Los Angeles near Universal Studios Hollywood or Griffith Observatory. Suddenly, the rideshare driver is in a car accident, and you suffer serious injuries. Who will pay for your damages? Is the rideshare company liable?

The insurance depends on several factors when you are hurt in a rideshare accident involving Uber or Lyft. Read more about rideshare accident liability below, then contact Glendale personal injury attorneys for assistance and legal representation.

Responsibility For Rideshare Accidents In California

The first thing to understand about California car accidents is liability is based on negligence. This includes all vehicles, including accidents involving Uber and Lyft. If a driver was negligent and caused an accident, that person must pay for other drivers’ and passengers’ damages. To recover compensation for your losses in a California car accident, you must prove:

  • The other driver owed you a duty of care
  • The other driver breached their duty of care
  • Their negligence was a factor in your injuries and damages

All drivers in California must use ‘reasonable care’ when driving a car. Drivers must watch for other vehicles, pedestrians, and obstacles and drive safely. They are negligent if they do not use a reasonable car and cause an accident.

Accidents Involving Uber And Lyft

Under state law, Uber and Lyft are transportation network firms. As a result, passengers who are hurt when they are Uber or Lyft passengers are usually covered under the rideshare company’s commercial insurance policy.

Injured passengers might have a claim against the Uber or Lyft driver. However, the company’s $1 million commercial policy may also cover their losses if their losses are more significant than the driver’s coverage.

If another person caused the accident and you were a rideshare passenger, you would probably file a claim against the negligent driver. However, if the negligent driver does not have insurance, Uber or Lyft’s commercial policy may cover your damages.

What If The Rideshare Driver Caused The Accident?

If you were hurt as a passenger and the rideshare driver caused the crash, you would probably make a claim against your driver. However, liability depends on these factors:

  • If the driver was carrying a passenger or driving to pick up a passenger
  • Had the rideshare app on and was waiting for a passenger
  • Did not have a passenger, and the rideshare app was off

Depending on which of these scenarios occurred, different levels of insurance could be in play. For example, if the driver did not have the app on, then the driver’s personal insurance would cover damages.

However, if the rideshare driver had their app on and was waiting for a fare, $50,000/$100,000 contingent coverage could be in effect. If the rideshare driver had a passenger in the car or accepted a fare, the $1 million commercial insurance policy is in effect.

The rideshare driver might be dishonest if they had the app turned n when the crash happened. If a rideshare driver hurt you, you should talk to a Glendale personal injury attorney. They can subpoena the driver’s electronic records to determine the driver’s status.

Rideshare Accidents Involving Bicyclists And Pedestrians

Bicycle and pedestrian accidents involving vehicles depend on who was negligent for the accident. The big difference with these incidents is the pedestrian usually suffers severe injuries that may be fatal. Common accidents involving pedestrians may involve:

Rideshare drivers not yielding to pedestrians

Rideshare drivers pulling in front of pedestrians

Rideshare drivers opening a door into a bike rider or pedestrian

Rideshare Driver Liability Coverage

All California drivers are required to have basic liability coverage. The coverage level depends on whether the car was being driven for personal or business use. Liability insurance is higher for commercial rideshare vehicles than for personal vehicles.

In California, these are the minimum insurance requirements for personal vehicles:

  • $15,000 per person per accident
  • $30,000 per accident
  • $5,000 for personal property damages

Who To Sue In A Rideshare Accident?

Who you sue in a California rideshare accident depends on who caused the crash. As noted earlier, the negligent party is liable for damages and injuries. If the rideshare driver crashed into someone, the injured party would sue the rideshare driver.

However, the injured party may not know what caused the accident. Therefore, they could file a claim against all possible liable parties. During the discovery process, it often becomes clear who caused the crash.

Also, California has ‘Respondeat Superior’ laws. This means an employer is usually liable for a worker’s negligence when they were working at the time of the accident. For example, in a rideshare crash, this may mean the company is liable for the driver’s actions.

But, rideshare drivers are considered independent contractors in many cases. Therefore, whether the driver was an employee or contractor at the time of the accident could be a gray area in the law. You should speak to your personal injury attorney right away if you are in a rideshare accident. It may take time to determine who is liable and whether the driver was an employee or contractor at the time of the accident.

If the rideshare company’s commercial policy had been in effect during the crash, more money would be available if you had severe injuries. However, many personal insurance policies have low policy limits.

Contact Glendale Personal Injury Attorneys Now

Were you hurt in a rideshare accident? You could have massive medical bills and months of lost work time. How will you recover and move on with your life?

Glendale personal injury attorneys Ourfalian & Ourfalian have represented rideshare accident victims for years. Our attorneys know how to negotiate the best settlements with insurance companies and can go to trial and win if needed.

Ourfalian & Ourfalian represent rideshare accident victims in Encino, Alhambra, Arcadia, Burbank, Glendale, El Monte, Granada Hills, Los Angeles, Monterey Park, North Hollywood, Pasadena, Van Nuys, and surrounding communities in Southern California and the San Fernando Valley. Please contact us now for a complimentary consultation at (818) 550-7777.