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Ridesharing services like Lyft have become incredibly popular in Irvine and throughout Southern California in recent years, offering customers an alternative to traditional taxi and public transportation services. However, if you are in an accident involving a Lyft driver, whether you were a Lyft passenger, pedestrian or driver of another vehicle, a Lyft accident lawyer in Orange County can help you get the compensation you deserve. Here’s what you need to know about rideshare accidents and how they work in terms of insurance and the legal system.
How Chudleigh Law Can Help
Because ridesharing services are still relatively new, the laws and regulations surrounding them can often be vague. This is why it is essential that you retain the services of a Lyft injury attorney to help you navigate this complex environment. Here at Chudleigh Law, we have helped countless individuals in Irvine and throughout Orange County with their Lyft accident claims, and we can help you as well. We specialize in personal injury cases, including rideshare accidents.
Our friendly associates will be happy to set you up with a free consultation to discuss your case so don’t be shy about getting in touch with us right away after you have been involved in a Lyft accident. We’ll go over all of the details of your Lyft accident and injuries so we can start building your case right away. We’ll work hard on your behalf to get you the largest settlement possible.
When you work with us, you won’t have to pay for our services until your claim is fully resolved. This means there are no upfront costs to you throughout the process of filing your claim and negotiating with insurance companies. We don’t get paid unless you receive a settlement. Then, we’ll take a small percentage of your settlement as payment for our expert legal services. It’s as easy as that!
What to Do After a Lyft Accident
As with any car accident, there are certain steps you need to take following a Lyft accident to maximize your chances of success in filing a personal injury claim later on. Here’s what you need to do.
Stay at the Scene
The most important thing to do is stay at the scene of the accident in the immediate aftermath. While you will understandably be a bit shaken up, resist the urge to head home to lie down right away. Once you have checked on everyone involved in the accident, call 911 right away to report any injuries and notify the police of the accident. You’ll need to wait until the police arrive to inspect the scene and let you know that it is alright to leave. Don’t forget to request a copy of the police report for your records.
Collect Necessary Information
You’ll need to exchange personal information with everyone involved in the accident, including the Lyft driver and any other drivers involved. Collect the following details:
- Phone number
- Email address
- Driver’s license number
- Vehicle license plate number
- Insurance policy details and contact information
- Lyft driver’s employment information
Your Lyft accident lawyer in Orange County will need all of this information so be sure to write legibly and take detailed notes or photos.
Identify Any Witnesses
If there were others in the area who saw the accident happen, even if they were not involved, they can serve as witnesses in your case. Ask any witnesses to provide a brief statement of what they saw, along with their contact information. Check the police report for any additional witnesses you may have overlooked.
The police officers who arrive at the scene will take their own photos of the accident but it is still a good idea to take a few of your own as well. Take pictures of any damage to any of the vehicles involved in the accident, and photograph any visible injuries, like cuts or bruises. Take close-up photos as well as big-picture shots that show the orientation of the vehicles, any tire tracks on the ground and any other details that you think might be relevant. It is better to have too much information than not enough so don’t be shy about snapping away. As you recover from any injuries, continue to take photos to record your progress over time.
Seek Medical Attention Immediately
Once you leave the scene of the accident, it is best to seek medical attention right away, even if you don’t feel as though you are injured. Many injuries resulting from car accidents, like whiplash and back pain, can take several days to show symptoms. You want to have a record of having visited a doctor to add to your case file as this will bolster your Lyft injury case and possibly increase your settlement.
Contact a Lyft Injury Attorney
After you have seen a doctor, your next call should be to a Lyft accident lawyer, like those at Chudleigh Law. Over the ensuing days and weeks, you’ll have to deal with insurance claims adjusters. They won’t necessarily have your best interests in mind. With a dedicated Lyft accident attorney working on your behalf, you can have confidence that your needs are being fully considered.
We’ll advise you on what you should and should not say when the claims adjuster calls to maximize your chances of receiving a fair settlement. Of course, we would never suggest that you should lie to a claims adjuster, as that could result in your case being thrown out before it even gets started. We can, however, help you avoid common pitfalls that could undermine the court’s understanding of the extent of your injuries and suffering. Our goal is to help you get the largest settlement possible, and the wording you choose to explain your case plays a large role in that effort.
Report the Accident to Lyft
Whether you were the driver of a vehicle that was hit by a Lyft driver or were a passenger in the Lyft vehicle, you’ll need to report the accident to the company directly. Lyft’s company website includes the contact details you’ll need to get in touch with its critical response team. Associates are available 24 hours a day so you can call whenever is convenient for you. Of course, you should aim to report the accident as soon as possible after it happens in order to speed up the processing of your claim.
Lyft Insurance Policies
Lyft requires that all of its drivers maintain personal car insurance that satisfies the minimum requirements in their particular states. Because the drivers work as independent contractors, they may not need to have commercial insurance like taxi drivers do. Unfortunately, many personal auto insurance policies include specific declarations that exclude commercial driving activities, including ridesharing. Because of this, Lyft maintains its own insurance policy to make up for any shortfalls in a driver’s personal policy.
Lyft’s insurance policy for its drivers includes up to $1 million in liability coverage after the driver has met the $2,500 deductible. The company also maintains $1 million coverage for uninsured or underinsured motorists to protect their drivers if they are hit by a driver without adequate insurance coverage.
Lyft’s liability insurance covers passengers as well with a coverage limit of $50,000 per person or up to $100,000 per accident. The driver or their personal insurance policy will be responsible for covering any expenses that exceed this amount. However, you have no guarantee that the driver’s policy will be substantial enough to cover your needs. This is why it is so important to consult with a Lyft accident lawyer in Orange County right away after you have been in a Lyft accident, especially if your injuries are severe.
Understanding the Three Lyft Rideshare Periods
When it comes to rideshare accidents, insurance companies break the journey down into three primary periods:
- The Lyft driver is available and ready to work but has not yet accepted an assignment. They are likely driving around, waiting for a job to come available.
- The driver accepts an assignment and is en route to pick up the passenger or passengers.
- The driver has picked up the passenger or passengers and is driving them to their destination. The cycle ends when the passenger exits the vehicle at their final stop.
The driver’s personal auto insurance policy will likely be sufficient to cover any accidents that occur during periods one and two. However, it likely will not extend to the third period, which is when Lyft’s own insurance policy takes over. The period in which the Lyft driver was at the time of the accident will determine the insurance coverage available. This can be complicated even further if there are multiple Lyft passengers going to multiple destinations, like with Lyft Shared. An experienced Lyft accident attorney in Orange County can help you identify the rideshare period to maximize your settlement.
Common Causes of Lyft Accidents
Just like standard car accidents, Lyft accidents often stem from the same root causes, including:
- Distracted Driving – This is one of the leading causes of traffic accidents, including those involving Lyft vehicles. When a driver checks the Lyft app for new assignments, adjusts temperature settings or changes the radio station, they take their attention off the road, which can lead to accidents.
- Driving Under the Influence – Although Lyft expressly prohibits its drivers from driving under the influence of alcohol, marijuana or other drugs, it is still possible for drivers to break the company’s rules, as well as California state law. If you suspect that your Lyft driver is under the influence, ask to get out of the vehicle as soon as it is safe to do so, and report the incident to Lyft immediately.
- Reckless Driving – Speeding, tailgating, changing lanes without indicating and other reckless driving behaviors can often lead to accidents. If you feel that your Lyft driver is driving unsafely, treat the situation as you would if the driver was intoxicated. Exit the vehicle safely and report the incident right away.
Common Lyft Accident Injuries
The most common injuries that occur in rideshare accidents are the same as those for any other car accident. After an accident in or with a Lyft vehicle, you may sustain one or more of the following injuries:
- Fractured or broken bones
- Back and neck injuries
- Head trauma
- Internal bleeding and bruising
- Spinal cord injuries
- Cracked or broken ribs
- Cuts and lacerations
It is also possible for your seat belt to cause injury, especially in severe crashes. However, this does not mean that you shouldn’t wear your seat belt when riding in a Lyft vehicle. A bit of bruising is a small price to pay for saving your life so buckle up every time you get in the car, whether you or someone else is doing the driving.
Frequently Asked Questions – FAQs
How Is Fault Determined in Lyft Accidents?
In order to be eligible for a personal injury claim following a rideshare accident, you’ll need to prove that the driver was, in fact, responsible for the accident. To qualify, the driver must have failed to meet basic standards of responsibility or duty of care, meaning that their own actions or inactions caused the accident to occur. This can include things like failing to follow the laws of the road, driving recklessly or while distracted or impaired, neglecting regular vehicle maintenance, ignoring vehicle recalls, and other possible faults.
The fault could also lie with another driver, not your Lyft driver. This could be the case if another driver hit the lift vehicle in which you were riding or if something fell out of the bed of a pickup truck in front of your Lyft driver, causing them to crash. Your Lyft accident attorney will work with you to analyze the details of the accident to determine who is at fault. It is also possible to divide fault between multiple drivers according to the percentage of their contribution to causing the accident, for example, if both drivers run a stop sign at the same time.
What Tactics Might Insurance Companies Use to Try to Reduce My Settlement?
It is important to keep in mind that insurance companies are businesses like any other. Their main goal is to make a profit. Because of this, it is in their best interests to pay out as little as possible in settlements. In an effort to achieve this goal, an insurance company might:
- Call You Immediately After the Accident – This is not out of concern for your well-being. Insurance companies recognize that many injuries don’t appear until several days after the accident, so they’ll try to get you to tell them that you are not injured or don’t seem to be. This way, they can use your statements against you in the future.
- Record Your Statements – Although this is common practice in the insurance world, you should never let an insurance company record your statements until after you have consulted with a Lyft injury attorney. Your lawyer can advise you as to what to say and what not to say in giving your official statement to the insurance company.
- Offer a Quick Settlement in Exchange for Releasing Your Claim – If an insurance company offers to pay you a small settlement right away if you drop your claim, you should absolutely not accept the offer. This likely means that the company is worried that you may have a much larger claim and is trying to avoid going to court. Stick it out and you’ll likely receive a much bigger settlement than what was initially offered.
These are just a few of the many tactics insurance companies employ to reduce or eliminate your settlement. A Lyft accident lawyer in Orange County can fight for you to ensure you get the compensation you deserve.
What Does a Lyft Accident Settlement Include?
The specific components of your settlement will depend on the circumstances of your Lyft accident, but it may include compensation for some or all of the following:
- Past, present and future medical expenses
- Ongoing pain and suffering
- Loss of wages while recovering from your injuries
- Property damages
How Much Does It Cost to Hire an Orange County Lyft Accident Attorney?
When you work with Chudleigh Law for your Lyft accident case, it will not cost you a single penny until your case is resolved. Once you have received your settlement, we’ll collect a fee amounting to 33 to 40 percent of your settlement amount. If you don’t receive a settlement, you don’t owe us anything!
Work with a Lawyer Who Understands Lyft Accident Cases
Here at Chudleigh Law, we are well-versed in the intricacies of ridesharing law and insurance coverage. We will be happy to assist you in gaining compensation for any injuries you sustained as a result of an accident in or with a Lyft vehicle. In many cases, we’ll be able to settle your case without ever going to court. We invite you to reach out to us today to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case. Call now to get started!
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