Rideshare Services Injury & Insurance Information
Until 2011 and 2012 respectively, if you were without a vehicle and needed car transportation, a taxicab was your only option until San Francisco-headquartered Uber and Lyft ridesharing (also referred to as “transport networking”) appeared on California roads. Uber started as a luxury service, but quickly expanded its service with “Uber X” to compete with Lyft for those of us just seeking a reasonably priced ride in an average vehicle.
These services made getting a ride much easier and less expensive than cabs had been. Pickups by the nearest Uber or Lyft vehicle are typically fast. The drivers are usually friendly, but professionally untrained.
Uber & Lyft Services Currently Lack Driver Training
Unlike Uber and Lyft, traditional taxi companies normally require their prospective cab drivers to go through a training program that includes defensive driving, safety and health issues, local traffic laws, customer service, communication, and geography, followed by passing a licensing exam. Some taxi companies also require their drivers to have a specific taxi or chauffeur’s license.
Not so for Uber and Lyft drivers, who have to watch a training video but not much else.
Of course, accidents happen. While taxicabs are commercially owned, operated, and regularly maintained, Uber and Lyft vehicles are privately owned and operated by average citizens who can begin driving after they pass a simple application process and background check. Though their vehicle is required to undergo an initial inspection and be adequately insured, it is the responsibility only of the owner to ensure that their vehicle continues to be safely maintained and continuously insured.
Uber & Lyft Drivers are Classified as Independent Contractors
Just about anyone who has a driver’s license, auto insurance and a newer vehicle can potentially taxi or chauffeur’s license, they may not have the experience, training or professional licensure to transport passengers as safely as taxi or other drivers.
And when a rideshare accident occurs, establishing who is monetarily responsible for injuries and damages has proven to be complicated, which has led to numerous lawsuits and lengthy, expensive negotiations and litigation.
Why? Because Uber and Lyft drivers are legally categorized as independent contractors rather than employees, those companies have used the independent contractor status as a reason to deny injury claims, particularly when the driver’s app is turned off. There have been some cases when a driver’s insurance has lapsed, unbeknownst to the rideshare company, and when an accident has occurred, the injured person has been denied monetary recourse for related medical and rehabilitation expenses, as well as other related damages, such as lost income and/or diminished quality of life.
Between the lack of driver training and professional licensure and vehicle maintenance not being monitored by an outside source, problems of safety inevitably arise.
As more Californians use Uber and Lyft, responsibility only of the owner. And getting proper compensation for injured riders fairly, justly, and quickly is a challenge.
Even when the driver’s app was “on” indicating the driver was available to transport passengers and an accident occurs, both Uber and Lyft have historically fought responsibility for injury claims, attempting to make the driver monetarily responsible. In many cases, even if the driver could be proven to be exclusively responsible for the accident, their responsibility only of the owner. In the case of a wrongful death caused by an Uber or Lyft driver, a fair settlement might be in the millions of dollars, an amount that a rideshare driver will rarely if ever have, either in insurance coverage or assets. Certainly, it makes common and legal sense that the company should be held liable in these circumstances.
When a rideshare passenger has been injured through no fault of their own because of a driver’s negligence or recklessness, they have an absolute legal right to be compensated for their injuries, losses, and damages. However, when multi-billion-dollar companies like Uber and Lyft deny injured passengers their monetary rights, aggressive attorney representation may be critical to obtaining fair compensation.
The Bay Area personal injury legal team of Callaway and Wolf have won multi-millions for victims injured in Uber, Lyft and other vehicle accidents. With over 25 years’ experience representing car accident victims, we have the specific knowledge, skills, and resources necessary to vigilantly and vigorously fight for the full and just compensation you legally deserve when you’ve been injured in a rideshare accident.
When we get involved in a rideshare claim, we’re taken very seriously, thanks to our well-established reputation within the legal community and with powerful insurance companies and their attorneys for winning hundreds of cases for our clients since 1995. Backed by our strong reputation with major insurance carriers who may otherwise resist, oppose or delay paying our clients’ claims, we have settled a majority of our clients’ cases quickly and favorably. And for those insurance companies that refuse to negotiate fairly on your behalf, we proceed into litigation or trial if necessary.
Not only does the legal team at Callaway & Wolf provide personal, attentive, and conscientious legal services and representation to our clients who are suffering from the pain and trauma of injuries caused by a vehicle accident, but we also strive to build close working relationships with them. As a priority, we focus on our client relationships so we fully understand their physical, emotional, and financial complications to optimally help them through a very difficult experience. Our goal is not to just win cases but also to lift from our clients some of the burdens of their stress, worry, and fears that accompany serious injuries or the death of a loved one.
Contact an Experienced Law Firm
If you have been injured in an accident involving Uber or Lyft, whether as a passenger, in another vehicle, or as a pedestrian or bicyclist, Callaway and Wolf attorneys will help you recover through a monetary settlement. As a law firm experienced with rideshare litigation, if you or a loved one was involved in an accident because of Uber or Lyft driver negligence or recklessness, we’re here to help.
With our solid reputation of caring about and fighting for our clients, you can be assured that your best interests and financial well-being is our highest priority so you can focus on recovery.
To put your mind at rest and let us take some of your worries away, call us today at 415-541-0300 for a free, respectful and compassionate consultation in our San Francisco or Oakland office. During your private meeting, we’ll listen carefully to what happened, discuss your right to monetary compensation and answer the many questions you have. Or if you’re too injured to visit our office, we’ll gladly come to your home, hospital or rehab facility.
Boone Callaway is a personal injury & medical malpractice lawyer in San Francisco who has been working with clients in the Bay Area for over 25 years. Mr. Callaway is one of only a few personal injury litigators in San Francisco who is a Super Lawyer, AV Rated and is also a member of ABOTA – American Board of Trial Advocates.