San Jose Uber & Lyft Rideshare Accident Lawyers

The benefits of ridesharing are easy to list. There is the convenience of “door-to-door” drop-offs and pickups without having to worry about parking or feeding a meter. There is the safety issue–with easy access to an immediate lift, people out for social events do not have to designate a driver or figure out what to do with a car when they have had one too many. Though these benefits are significant, there are downsides to ridesharing. Rideshare vehicles have significantly increased the number of cars on the road, and with more traffic comes more congestion and more opportunities for motor vehicle crashes.

A San Jose car accident lawyer from Suits Litigation, Inc. can help if you or a family member has been hurt or killed in a rideshare accident. The San Jose Uber & Lyft Rideshare Accident Lawyers from our team will work to get you the highest possible financial compensation for your injuries and losses. 

Rideshare Accidents by the Numbers

Uber and Lyft conduct their own safety reports, and each company boasts of its impressive record. According to Uber’s report, the company’s record shows a fatality rate for Uber-involved cars as less than half the national average. The report also indicates that for 94% of those accidents, third-party drivers were contributors.

Lyft’s report shows that 99% of their vehicles’ rides were devoid of any safety event, and of those that did experience issues, only .0002% could be categorized as a “critical” safety event. Uber shares those same statistics.

While the statistics show impressive numbers, information from a study included in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows there are reasons for safety concerns regarding rideshare vehicles, stating, “Ridesharing contributes to increased injury burden due to motor-vehicle crashes.” This risk is especially significant for motorists and pedestrians at “trip nodes”–or drop-off and pick-up sites. 

Whether you are hurt at the higher-risk trip nodes, or just unfortunate enough to be one of the .0002% of victims hurt in a critical safety event, you deserve just compensation for your damages. Partnering with a car accident lawyer is the best way forward after any motor vehicle accident, but as rideshare accidents carry their own unique set of complexities, it is critical to secure representation from experienced San Jose Uber accident attorneys following an Uber rideshare incident.

How Rideshare Company Insurance Coverage Works

In California, victims of car accidents can pursue compensation from the party who caused the accident, even if the victims themselves bear a substantial percentage of fault, under California’s pure comparative fault statute. However, the compensation they collect is reduced by that same percentage. Typically, victims collect their financial award from the at-fault party’s insurance company. For a car accident between private individuals, the victims would collect from the other driver’s insurance policy. 

Victims of rideshare vehicle accidents first have to determine which insurance company is responsible for paying their claim. The rideshare company protects itself from lawsuits by hiring its drivers as independent contractors. All California drivers must carry insurance policies as established by California law. For accidents occurring while the driver does not have the rideshare app activities, that personal policy applies. 

Rideshare companies offer their drivers insurance coverage, but the extent of that coverage depends on the timing of the accident. 

Lyft’s insurance structure aligns with Uber’s policy design. When drivers have the app activated and wait for a fare, they have third-party liability coverage if their policy does not apply. This coverage includes: 

  • $50,000 for bodily injury per person
  • $100,000 for bodily injury per accident
  • $25,000 for property damage per accident

These scenarios can create gray areas and insurance companies will likely each point the finger of responsibility at the other. A San Jose Uber accident attorney can help sort through those complexities.

Drivers with the app activated and who are traveling to a pickup or traveling with a rideshare passenger, the company provides coverage for the following:

  • $100,000,000 in third-party liability for bodily injury and property damage when the rideshare operator is at fault.
  • Repair cost for the rideshare vehicle up to the car’s cash value and after a $2,500 deductible. This coverage is contingent, only applying if the operator’s personal insurance includes collision coverage. 

No matter how clear-cut a case may seem, insurance companies are businesses focused on protecting their assets. Partnering with a seasoned rideshare accident attorney in San Jose, CA, ensures you have someone keeping your best interests at the forefront of insurance negotiations.

Finding the At-Fault Party

Victims of a rideshare accident can include the rideshare driver or passengers, a third-party driver, and passengers in a third-party vehicle, pedestrians, cyclists, or anyone else sharing the roads. To collect from the at-fault party, victims first have to identify that party. And again, while the culprit may seem obvious (and may often be the obvious choice), what “seems to be” does not always match with the reality of the situation. A Lyft accident lawyer will investigate your case to find its cause and properly identify the at-fault party. 

The responsible party may be:

  • The rideshare-vehicle operator: Of course, it is in any driver’s best interest to practice safety and avoid accidents, especially for rideshare drivers whose unsafe records could get them fired. However, rideshare drivers are often distracted–by their very jobs. They must constantly check their routes on their devices and check the rideshare apps for fare opportunities. Some drive for many consecutive hours in a row and may experience driver fatigue, making them more prone to accidents.
  • A third-party driver: Driver error, negligence, recklessness, or driving under the influence (DUI) subject all other vehicles on the road, even those driven by rideshare operators, to risk.
  • A car or part manufacturer: Drivers may do everything right, but if a vehicle malfunctions, there is little they can do to prevent an accident. If the car part manufacturer puts defective products on the market, they may be culpable.
  • Vehicle inspectors or mechanics: If inspectors fail to notice defects or dangerous vehicles or a mechanic does shoddy repair work, either of those parties may be responsible for the resulting accidents.
  • Government Departments: When unsafe road conditions, non-functional traffic signals or streetlights, obstructed traffic signs, or other government-office roadway responsibilities go unfulfilled, the relevant government department may be accountable for resulting accidents. The legal process for holding government entities accountable differs from filing against a private person or company, but the San Jose rideshare accident lawyers from Suits Litigation Inc. can handle those special considerations. 

Managing the Legalities

By connecting with a Lyft accident attorney as soon as possible after your accident, you not only reduce your stress and allow yourself to put all your energy into recovery, but you also put yourself in the best position to collect a substantial settlement. 

California has a two-year statute of limitations for filing personal injury claims. When you partner with an Uber accident lawyer promptly after the incident, you ensure your attorney has time to investigate the accident and file against the appropriate party well within that deadline. Through that thorough investigation, your attorney will work to collect the evidence needed to prove the at-fault party’s negligence. You cannot collect a settlement without proving the following:

  • The party at fault owed you a legal obligation, called a standard (or duty) of care, to preserve your safety. For example, drivers owe all others on the road a duty to follow the rules of the road and avoid unsafe driving behaviors. Rideshare drivers also owe this duty to their passengers.
  • The party at fault did not fulfill their legal duty. Perhaps a third-party driver blew a red light, and that failure to obey the traffic signal caused the driver to crash into the rideshare vehicle transporting you. Or, a distracted rideshare driver may have collided with you, a pedestrian, while trying to find a pickup.
  • The at-fault party’s failure to fulfill their duty, and not some other factor, caused the accident.
  • The accident left you with quantifiable damages.

The Uber accident lawyers from our firm know what kinds of evidence to collect, how to acquire it, and how to use it to present the most convincing case possible. Depending on the specifics of your accident, they will consult with accident reconstruction experts, vehicle and roadway experts, your medical team, other relevant medical professionals, and accident witnesses. They will request available security or traffic camera evidence, as well as any other applicable source of information, to support your claim and prove the negligent party’s fault.

What a Rideshare Accident Settlement Covers

Every accident has its own unique circumstances and these circumstances affect a settlement amount, making it impossible to offer an “average” rideshare accident settlement amount. You can expect your rideshare accident attorneys to assess your situation with painstaking care, accounting for every loss when making a settlement demand.

Most settlements cover or acknowledge

  • Property damage
  • Medical care costs, both current and anticipated future costs
  • Lost income during recovery time
  • Lost future income and job benefits if victims are rendered unable to work again
  • Physical pain and emotional suffering
  • Losses to quality of life
  • Other related expenses. For example, victims may need to hire others to help with childcare or other household responsibilities or pay for public transportation if injuries prevent them from driving. 

Some car accident cases warrant punitive, also called “exemplary” damages. When victims can present “clear and clear and convincing evidence that the defendant has been guilty of oppression, fraud, or malice,” the court may impose an additional financial penalty on the defendant as punishment for their horrible behavior. You can count on your rideshare accident lawyer in San Jose to pursue exemplary damages if they apply. 

How a Lawyer Can Help

Representation from knowledgeable Lyft accident lawyers can make all the difference to your case outcome. Your attorneys will investigate thoroughly and gather comprehensive evidence, value your claim with accuracy, and make a just settlement demand.

Our Lyft accident attorneys are skilled negotiators–they will handle all communication with the at-fault party’s insurance representatives. In taking on this important task your attorneys protect you from inadvertently saying anything the other side could use to unfairly inflate your level of blame to reduce your settlement. They also protect you from accepting unfair offers that insurance companies present as “generous” or “the best you can hope for.” Your attorney knows what your case is worth and will be intimidated into accepting less than you deserve. 

Usually, personal injury cases settle through out-of-court negotiations. However, sometimes the at-fault party just will not play fair and intentionally slows negotiations down or refuses to offer fair compensation. The team at Suits Litigation, Inc. will advise you of your options in this situation, and if you decide to go to court, we will fight aggressively for you at every trial date.

You can trust us to put the full power of our legal knowledge, experiences, and resources into your case–and to treat you like a person, not a case-file number, throughout the process. We are confident you will be as pleased with our service as our previous clients have been. There is no risk in reaching out. We offer free consultations and work on contingency, collecting no payments until we secure your settlement. 

Get the Best Possible Results 

Suits Litigation, Inc. is committed to making difficult situations easier for injured victims. When we take your case, you no longer have to worry about navigating laws and insurance companies or wonder if you are being treated fairly. Instead, we handle all legal matters and fight for your just treatment so you can concentrate on reaching a full recovery. The rideshare accident attorneys on our team will manage your case with integrity and compassion while fighting fiercely to get you the settlement you deserve. Getting in touch is easy–you can call or send a message today to arrange a free consultation. We look forward to hearing from you and helping you get through this difficult time as swiftly as possible.