There were at least 107 traffic accident deaths involving Uber vehicles between 2017 and 2018. Over that same timeframe, thousands of Uber and Lyft vehicles were involved in collisions that caused serious injuries. If you were harmed or lost a family member in a bicycle accident that involved a rideshare service, you may be entitled to monetary damages.
Unfortunately, auto insurance companies use all sorts of strategies to reduce the amount of compensation paid out to claimants. This is especially true in cases that involve severe injuries or wrongful death since the damages tend to be significant. A rideshare accident lawyer can make sure the insurance adjuster treats you fairly, gather evidence, and approximate a fair settlement figure.
Read on to learn the answers to some frequently asked questions about bicycle accident claims involving Lyft and Uber vehicles:
1. Who Might Be Liable for Bicycle Accidents Involving Rideshare Vehicles?
Determining liability is not always straightforward after a bicycle crash. Most of these accidents are caused by negligence either on the part of the cyclist or a motor-vehicle driver, but there are other parties who might be partially or entirely at fault. And in some cases, multiple parties share liability for a single wreck.
Some of the most common liable parties in these cases are:
- The Rideshare Driver: Uber and Lyft drivers make mistakes just like all other motorists. When their negligence causes an accident, those who are injured may be able to bring a claim against the rideshare company’s commercial auto insurance or the driver’s personal auto insurance, depending on the circumstances.
- Another Driver: Just because an Uber or Lyft vehicle was involved in the bicycle accident doesn’t mean the rideshare driver was at fault. Your lawyer can investigate whether another motorist played a role in causing the crash.
- The Bicyclist: How familiar are you with bicycle laws? If you were violating the law when the crash occurred, the opposing party may try to shift at least some of the blame to you.
- A Government Entity: If poor road maintenance was a contributing factor, it may be possible to seek damages from a government agency.
- The Employer of the Liable Driver: If a motorist other than the rideshare driver caused the crash, you may be able to name his or her employer in the claim. Employers can be held vicariously liable for their employees’ negligence when performing duties within the course and scope of their employment. This may apply to your case, for instance, if you were hit by a commercial truck.
The list above is non-exhaustive; there are many other parties who might be held liable for a bicycle accident including a negligent mechanic, auto part manufacturer, or careless pedestrian. A seasoned personal injury lawyer can help you identify all potentially liable parties.
It is important that all liable parties are named in your claim because in the state of California, defendants in a tort case can be held jointly liable for the plaintiff’s economic damages. That means if one defendant does not have the insurance or assets to pay for your lost wages, medical bills, and other monetary losses, you may be able to pursue the difference from the other defendants.
2. What Damages Can I Pursue After Being Injured in a Bicycle Crash?
Any successful bicycle accident claim will yield compensatory damages of some amount, which include economic and non-economic damages. Depending on the circumstances, the following compensatory damages may be available:
- Healthcare bills;
- Lost income and benefits;
- Property damage;
- Other economic losses;
- Emotional distress;
- Hedonic damages;
- Pain and suffering; and
- Loss of consortium.
If the defendant’s actions constituted malice, oppression, or fraud, the court may also award punitive damages. Such damages might be available, for instance, if you were hit by a drunk driver or if the at-fault motorist fled the scene.
3. Can I Sue If My Family Member Was Killed in a Bicycle Accident?
In the state of California, only certain loved ones of the deceased can bring a wrongful death claim. Generally speaking, the closest living relative of the decedent has the right to bring the claim. Those parties, in order of priority, are the spouse, children, dependent stepchildren, minors who lived in the deceased’s home for a minimum of half a year, dependent parents, surviving parents (regardless of whether they were dependent), siblings, grandparents, and then the children of a spouse who passed away.
These parties can opt to have the action brought by the personal representative of the deceased’s estate. Any proceeds garnered from the action would be distributed to surviving family members in accordance with the wrongful death statute.
4. Can I Bring a Claim Against the Rideshare Company’s Commercial Auto Insurance?
There are many insurance policies that might be in play after Lyft and Uber accidents. If a motorist other than the rideshare driver caused the crash, their personal auto insurance would be the first source of compensation to consider. If the rideshare driver caused the accident, you would either bring the claim against the driver’s personal auto insurance or the rideshare company’s commercial auto insurance, depending on whether the driver was on the clock at the time of the wreck.
Uber provides the following coverage when a rideshare driver has the app turned on and is waiting for a ride request:
- $50,000 in bodily injury per individual;
- $100,000 in bodily injury per crash; and
- $25,000 in property damage liability per crash.
If the driver causes a collision while on the way to pick up a fare or while transporting a fare, the coverage limits increase to:
- $1,000,000 in uninsured/underinsured motorist bodily injury; and
- $1,000,000 in third-party liability.
Similar coverage limits are provided by Lyft.
Call (562) 206-1939 to Set up a Free Consultation with an Uber or Lyft Accident Lawyer in Long Beach
Your Injuries Are Personal to Me
If you or someone in your family was seriously injured in a bicycle crash involving an Uber or Lyft vehicle, contact the Law Office of Michael D. Waks for a free consultation. Call (562) 206-1939 or send us a message to speak with a member of our team.
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Our Car Accident Response .PDF can help you record essential information after a crash. This will prevent you from overlooking crucial details, thus putting you in a favorable position to file an auto accident claim. Download it HERE and keep it in your glovebox.
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