Ride-share accidents can happen for a variety of reasons, including:
Uber and Lyft drivers may feel pressured to get passengers to their intended destinations as quickly as possible. Speeding and reckless driving put Uber drivers, their passengers and other vehicles on the road at risk. In 2015, speeding was cited as the primary factor in 24 percent of all Orange County accidents.
Driving between the hours of 9 p.m. and 3 a.m. is dangerous. Drivers tend to be more fatigued and more likely to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Driving at night was cited as the primary cause of 8% of Orange County accidents in 2015.
All drivers on the road can become distracted. Uber drivers have a lot more going on inside of their vehicles (e.g., passengers, smartphone apps) and can become distracted more easily.
Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol poses a threat to everyone on the road. Uber and Lyft drivers who offer their services while drunk put passengers in harm’s way. Alcohol was cited as a primary factor in 9% of Orange County accidents in 2015.
Uber drivers are not always responsible for an accident. Other drivers on the road or dangerous road conditions may also play a role. When a road contains hazards, Orange County or the local city government may be liable for accident-related damages.
Sometimes Uber and Lyft passengers want to be dropped off at an inconvenient location. Drivers who choose to stop in the middle of a busy roadway, rather than pulling off to a safe nearby location, increase the likelihood of a crash.
As an accident victim, you have the right to request monetary compensation from the person who is responsible for your accident or injury. When you are injured in an Uber or Lyft accident, who is to blame? What if more than one person is at fault? In California, more than one person can be held financially responsible for an accident. Each will be held liable to the degree they are at fault.
The rideshare company employing your driver is required by California law (Vehicle Code 5430 VC) to maintain an insurance policy to cover accident-related costs. The $1 million coverage is effective from the moment a driver accepts a ride to the moment the ride is complete. You can file a claim with Uber or Lyft to collect insurance benefits for your injuries. Be warned, however, that these companies will try to deny responsibility if the rideshare driver’s negligence caused the accident.
Your Uber or Lyft driver has a legal obligation to drive safely. This means that they must obey posted traffic laws, operate the car in an objectively safe manner and avoid distractions. When a driver breaches their duty of care, they can be held responsible for the damage they cause.
Uber and Lyft drivers are not alone on Orange County roads. Instead, they share the road with other cars, motorcycles, bicycles and pedestrians. Anyone on the road (or sidewalk) has an obligation to act safely. When another car speeds through a yellow light or a pedestrian decides to jaywalk, the chances of being involved in an accident increase. If another third party is determined to be negligent, you may be able to recover damages from them.
Companies that design, manufacture or sell cars in California have an obligation to make sure that those cars are fit for safe use. If a defect in the car (or one of the car’s components) causes or aggravates an injury, those companies can be held strictly liable for damages.
What kind of compensation can you recover if you are injured in an Orange County Uber accident? The answer will depend on the kind of injuries you sustain. In most cases, you will be able to recover both compensatory and noneconomic damages.
Compensatory damages (also called economic damages) are awarded to neutralize your financial accident-related costs. They are paid so that you can be put in the financial situation you would have been in if the accident had never happened. Examples of compensatory damages include:
Noneconomic damages can be awarded to compensate you for the difficult-to-value injuries you suffer in a traumatic accident. There is no cap on noneconomic damages in ride-share accident cases, which is why awards can vary significantly in each case. Examples of noneconomic damages include:
If you have suffered a bodily injury in an Uber accident, you may be entitled to compensation. However, California limits the amount of time you have to take action. You must file a bodily injury claim for damages within two years of your accident. If your claim is not filed on time, you will not be able to get the money you deserve.
There are certain times when the statute of limitations may be extended (e.g., you are a minor at the time of your injury) or reduced (e.g., government fault). Make sure that your claim is filed within the applicable statute of limitations by contacting our experienced rideshare accident attorneys at the Law Offices of John Rapillo immediately after your accident at 949-675-5060.
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