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Personal Injury Blog

What Happens When an Off-Duty Lyft Driver Causes an Accident?

Thursday, August 15, 2019

When Lyft drivers cause accidents while actively transporting a passenger, you know how it works: you contact the insurance provided by Lyft while they are on the clock. That insurance then pays the fees associated with your accident: damage to your vehicle as well as your medical bills, lost time at work, and other expenses associated with the accident.

What if the Lyft driver doesn't have a passenger at the time of the accident? Does Lyft insurance still cover them?

Rideshare Driver Insurance: The Basics

Rideshare drivers, like other drivers, carry basic car insurance that covers them any time they're in the car. Most rideshare drivers don't just use their vehicles for rideshare driving. They also use them for personal uses: running their own errands, getting to and from work or school, or simply puttering around town. 

When they drive completely off the clock--that is, they are not working for Lyft in any capacity--drivers use their personal car insurance to cover them in the event of an accident. Personal liability insurance will pay for the damage to your vehicle, up to the limits of their policy, as well as offering some coverage to help with your medical expenses or to cover your missed time at work because of an accident. Comprehensive insurance or collision insurance will provide coverage for their vehicle along with yours. 

When a driver is working for Lyft directly--that is, they have a passenger in the car--they are covered by Lyft's comprehensive insurance policy. This policy offers coverage regardless of who is at fault for the accident and will help cover injuries to any Lyft passengers, your injuries, and damages to your vehicle. 

If the Lyft driver is running their app but has not accepted a passenger, they are still covered by Lyft insurance. The contingent collision policy, according to Lyft, provides coverage "when the app is in driver mode before you've received a ride request in the event your personal insurance does not respond." In this case, the driver still has coverage (even if they don't have personal insurance), and you have options for ensuring that the accident is paid for. 

How Should You Proceed After an Accident with a Lyft Driver?

After an accident with a Lyft driver, regardless of whether they had a passenger at the time of the accident, start by collecting the same information you would collect from any other driver: license information, contact information, and insurance information. The Lyft driver may not carry a little card in their wallet that lets you know what coverage they have on their Lyft insurance policy; instead, they may need to give you a screenshot from the app with their policy number, driver number, and other relevant information. Store this information on your phone or in another location where you won't lose it since it will help you obtain coverage. 

If you suffered only minor injuries in the collision, contact your insurance company. Provide them with access to that information. You may need to make a statement about the accident, which you should write down as soon as possible before those events become scattered in your mind. 

If you suffered serious injuries, on the other hand, you may need a lawyer who specializes in Lyft accidents to help navigate the claims process. A lawyer can often increase the compensation you're able to receive from the accident and make it easier for you to collect evidence or prove the extent of your injuries. 

Did you suffer injuries in a crash with a Lyft driver, either on or off the clock? Contact us today to learn more about how we can help.


Auto Accidents on California’s Interstate System

Thursday, August 01, 2019

When you get behind the wheel in California, you're surrounded by many beautiful environments, including mountains, beaches, and deserts. Life feels good, and it's easy to get lost in disbelief that such a paradise exists. However, there are many types of drivers about when you're traveling the roads, and, quite frankly, some are just not paying attention. Using the national highway system in the Los Angeles metro, which includes Interstates 5, 10, and 15, means you could be stuck hours in traffic and risking your life due to the carelessness of other drivers. If you get in a car accident, you could be seriously injured or killed and there could be a devastating effect on your family. It's important to learn about your rights as a crash victim if you've been involved in one of these auto accidents on California’s interstate system to determine if you should pursue a personal injury claim against the defendants in your case.

The Background

California drivers and tourists who visit throughout the year due to the warm climate and popular Hollywood attractions often expect that all motorists on the Interstates will follow the speed limit, which is typically 70 miles per hour. In a perfect world, drivers are always paying attention because they're ignoring frequent distractions from their cell phones, passengers and pets traveling in their vehicle, and events happening on the highway. These statistics about driving on our Interstates might surprise you:    

  • One report found that Interstate 5 was the fourth-deadliest highway in the U.S. 
  • A 2015 report from the Insurance Information Institute found 15 percent of California drivers were uninsured, which is 11 percent lower than the worst state (Florida). 

Tips for Driving Safely on the Interstate 

Using the Interstate system does not have to claim the lives of you or your loved ones. It's possible to use these highways for efficient commuting by remembering these safety tips:

  • Talk to your boss about changing your work shift. This could enable you to use the Interstate system at non-peak times. For example, starting at 7:00 am instead of 8:00 am could get you off the Interstate before most commuters are using it. Then, you could leave work and get home before rush hour in the afternoon.
  • Watch your GPS for alerts on accidents and construction zones. Most sections of the Interstate have an alternate route. A serious accident could shut down the highway for hours, especially to accommodate onlooker delays.
  • Pack a cooler with drinks, sandwiches, and snacks. Then, you can stop at rest areas and minimize stops on the exits.
  • Schedule sections of your trip when you're likely to be tired for non-peak hours. You need all of your wits about you on the road.
  • Avoid driving late at night and during inclement weather. If you must drive at night, travel with at least one other person. This person can talk to you and help you stay awake when the road is dark and less traveled. 
  • Keep your gas level above half a tank. If there is a long traffic delay, worrying about running out of gas could distract you.
  • Stop and rest your eyes. Take a walk. Relieve the stress of being on the road.

For more information about filing a claim for injuries sustained in a California car accident, contact us at Freeman & Freeman and schedule a free consultation. We help clients in the Los Angeles metro and nearby communities. There is a statute of limitations, which is a time limit on when you can file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver in a car crash case. Typically, you have only two years to pursue a claim for injuries sustained in a motor vehicle accident. Damages can include medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. We will determine if our dedicated legal team can aggressively pursue your rights under the law. 


Rideshare Accidents - When you or a Loved One Suffers an Injury

Friday, June 21, 2019

Many residents of Los Angeles prefer not to drive when they are joining friends for the evening, commuting to work, or simply running errands. In fact, a dissertation published by Anne Elizabeth Brown for her Doctor of Philosophy in Urban Planning (awarded) degree at University of California, Los Angeles shows that "between September and November 2016, riders made over 6.34 million Lyft trips to, from, and within Los Angeles County". That's a staggering amount of usage. But sometimes, things go tragically wrong when using a rideshare.

Accidents Resulting in Injury and Death

Those who are dependent on ridesharing are trusting their safety to others. Even though rideshare drivers are screened carefully and required to undergo background checks, this does not mean they are not going to be involved in an accident when you are a passenger in their vehicle.

Recently, there was a serious accident in San Diego involving a Lyft driver who was carrying two passengers and a second vehicle carrying a drunk driver. One of the Lyft passengers was ejected from the vehicle and died as a result of the accident while the Lyft driver and the other passenger suffered serious injuries. While this is outside of Los Angeles, the potential for this type of accident exists everywhere. Let's face it, the potential of being involved in an accident on Los Angeles roadways is great with the sheer number of vehicles on the roadways and the number of miles traveled on average. So, what happens when you're a passenger in a Lyft when an accident occurs?

Lyft Passengers Safety and Security

California takes insurance coverage seriously, even for rideshare services. When an accident does occur, the rideshare driver, as well as Lyft, the company they are contracted to can be held liable for your injuries or the loss of a loved one. Lyft is required to have $1 million in insurance coverage in the event an accident results in personal injury, property damage, or the death of a passenger. Assuming the driver has accepted you, or your loved one as a passenger, you are considered covered by this insurance.

Holding Lyft Accountable for Injuries

One of the challenges you may face as a victim of an accident involving a Lyft driver, or if you have lost a loved one in an accident involving a Lyft driver is understanding your rights and the obligations Lyft has to you and your family. You have the right to file a personal injury lawsuit, but you may not know where to turn, and you may not know your rights under California law. That is when we can help.

Contacting a Rideshare Accident Attorney

One of the most important things you can do after being involved in an accident as a passenger in a Lyft vehicle is to contact a Lyft accident attorney. This is important for numerous reasons but most importantly so you can understand what rights you have.

A rideshare accident lawyer can help you obtain the necessary accident reports, speak with insurance companies on your behalf and take other steps to preserve your rights. The right attorney can also help you if you have suffered the loss of a loved one in a Lyft accident. Contact Freeman & Freeman LLP at 818-992-2919 if you are involved in an accident while a passenger in a Lyft. We offer a free consultation to victims and their families in the greater Los Angeles area including North Hollywood, Encino, Van Nuys, Woodland Hills, Thousand Oak, and the San Fernando Valley as well as in Los Angeles.


The Differences of Being Injured in an Uber or Lyft vs a Taxi

Monday, May 20, 2019

Rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft do not employ their drivers. They are contracted as independent contractors. Under current circumstances, many insurance companies may deny coverage if the driver is driving "for profit."  Uber and Lyft drivers carry "excess insurance coverage," beyond the coverage that the driver carries for him or herself. This means if you are injured in the backseat of a rideshare car, the liability insurance the company carries covers for damages, even if your claims are denied by the driver's own liability insurance.

Taxi Companies vs. Rideshare Companies

Although taxicab companies have been advertising that Uber and Lyft do not carry adequate insurance to cover passenger injury, in practice, this is not the case. According to Uber and Lyft, the rideshares carry up to $1 million in coverage. Taxicab companies' coverage varies from state to state, usually between $250,000 and $500,000. This comes to about $30,000 maximum coverage for each case. The maximum coverage for collisions in a taxicab is around $60,000 for all passengers involved in the accident.

Uber and Lyft drivers are required to carry their own personal insurance policies. The rideshare companies carry a million dollar personal liability coverage policy and one million dollars in uninsured/underinsured property damage coverage. However, it gets more complicated; rideshare drivers are simply private drivers using their own vehicles. If you have an accident while the driver is not formally logged into the Uber or Lyft system, only the driver's personal insurance will cover you and these claims are often denied. If the collision happens while the driver is logged in, but waiting for a ride request (is in an on-call mode) the driver's personal insurance will have primary responsibility, but the rideshare company may provide some additional coverage. The full insurance policy of Uber or Lyft will apply only if the driver is en route to pick up a passenger or has a passenger in his or her car.

What Has to Be Done in Case of Accident?

Accidents are complicated from the standpoint of the Uber or Lyft driver as well as their passenger. In a normal accident, what happens is pretty clear-cut. The at-fault party is liable for property damages, medical bills, and other liabilities. However, for the Uber or Lyft driver, they have a passenger to worry about. They have to keep in mind Uber's or Lyft's terms and conditions. They have to consider what state they are driving in. They have to follow procedures in the aftermath of the accident. 

  • Assess any injuries and call emergency services (911).
  • Photograph damage to both cars.
  • Collect information from witnesses if possible.
  • Call the company's hotline.
  • Call their personal insurance company.
  • They must never admit they are at fault. Even if they believe they are, they must not say so.
  • They must never escalate the situation by acting angry or threatening.

Accidents in rideshare vehicles are complicated. If your Uber or Lyft driver has an accident which injures you, it's important that you treat the collision as a legal matter.

  • Consult an Uber Accident Attorney or Lyft Accident Attorney or Rideshare Accident Attorney.
  • Seek necessary medical attention and save the medical documents.
  • Obtain all of the driver's insurance information including both the Uber policy and the driver's own personal insurance.
  • Take pictures and the accident scene and your injuries.
  • Find out exactly what the driver's log-in status was at the time--try to document it.a
  • Inform law enforcement and file a police report.

Freeman & Freeman are rideshare accident attorneys who know the nuances of ridesharing laws in California. There are many benefits to having an experienced personal injury attorney on your side.  Please contact us to learn more.

How is Liability Assigned in a Multi-Car Accident?

Thursday, May 02, 2019

While assigning liability is always a complex matter in auto accidents, multi-car accidents are an entirely different matter. If you were rear-ended, the car in the back would be saddled with liability. However, it is more difficult to assign liability when more than one vehicle is involved. Furthermore, because of the number of vehicles involved, the damage to your own vehicle as well as your body can be extensive and costly. Unfortunately, when there are a number of different cars responsible for the accident, it can be difficult to pinpoint liability for the damage.

Assigning Liability

In a multi-car crash, you don't file insurance claims for damage caused by different cars. Instead, typically liability is assigned for the crash. In most cases, the driver that started the chain reaction will be held liable for the accident. However, all drivers involved have a certain liability to an extent in the accident as well.

Most commonly, lawyers will work with police officers to try and find out who started the chain reaction in the accident as well as why it happened. It is easier for all parties if the person responsible confesses, but things don't always work out like that. Once the cause of the accident has been determined, if it was caused by negligence, such as distracted driving, then it is likely their insurance will be paying for all the damages. However, if something that was beyond their control caused a multi-car accident, then the liability for it may not solely rest on their shoulders. By not being able to brake in time to prevent the accident, all the cars involved have some liability. So if the initial driver lost control of the car due to something like ice (a rarity in California, but a good example) then they would not maintain sole liability for causing the accident.

The Biggest Complications in Multi-Car Accident Cases

As one would expect, if you were in a multi-car accident, the whole affair is going to take more time and money to resolve than your standard two-car auto accident cases. In truth, the biggest hang-up is often assigning liability for the accident to see whose insurance will be covering the damage. This requires the gathering of evidence and reconstruction of the accident to concretely prove. If you are lucky, the accident will happen in front of a traffic camera, a piece of evidence that will speed things up significantly, but not always a viable option.

Furthermore, as these accidents are often of a lethal nature, it is even more unlikely that a person will claim the fault if they are also looking at a wrongful death suit. If you have been in a multi-car accident, you should expect that it will take exponentially longer for the case to conclude. As it takes time to gather the necessary evidence as well as assign fault, it could very well be years before it reaches its conclusion.

Need Help?

Have you been involved in a multi-car accident and want to know when or even if you will receive compensation for damage and injuries related to the crash? You will want to find yourself legal representation to make sure your interests are fully represented in the matter of the crash so that you will get the compensation you need to get back on track. Contact us today to see what the Law Office of Freeman and Freeman can do to help you. We are dedicated to being an advocate of those injured in California and we are ready to fight to make sure you get the compensation that you need.


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From our offices in Woodland Hills, California, Freeman & Freeman, LLP, provides legal advice and representation for clients in communities throughout the state, including those in Burbank, Glendale, Encino, Sherman Oaks, Van Nuys, Tarzana, Santa Clarita, Agoura Hills, Reseda, Canoga Park, Chatsworth, Northridge, Granada Hills, Pacoima, Panorama City, North Hollywood, Thousand Oaks, Simi Valley, Lancaster, Palmdale and Alhambra.