Pedestrian accidents tend to result in devastating injuries since people on foot have no protection whatsoever from the force of impact. The cost of treating such injuries can be exorbitant, and victims are often unable to return to work for several weeks or months. Most drivers have inadequate insurance coverage when their negligence results in a pedestrian accident because those injuries tend to be very serious. However, if you were hurt or lost a family member in a pedestrian crash that involved an Uber or Lyft vehicle, the good news is that there will be at least $1 Million worth of coverage.
The insurance company may try to reduce their liability by shifting part or all of the blame to you (or to your deceased loved one). In fact, there are many potential ways for an insurance adjuster to dispute a pedestrian accident claim. It is important that you take steps to protect your rights and strengthen your case. This is where a rideshare accident lawyer can help.
Your attorney can gather evidence, take over correspondence with the insurer, handle settlement negotiations, and litigate your case if a settlement cannot be reached. Your lawyer can also answer your questions and serve as a source of legal guidance throughout the proceedings.
Read on to learn the answers to a few general questions about Lyft and Uber accidents involving pedestrians:
1. Are Punitive Damages Available After a Pedestrian Accident?
Sometimes, yes. Courts in California may award punitive damages if it is determined that a defendant acted with malice, oppression, or fraud. Malice means the defendant displayed “despicable conduct” that demonstrated a willful or conscious disregard for the rights or safety of others, or caused intentional harm.
One common example of when punitive damages may be awarded is after a drunk driving accident. It is common knowledge that consuming alcohol before driving greatly increases the risk of crashing. Therefore, courts often determine that a defendant’s decision to drive under the influence constitutes willful disregard since the defendant was aware of the probable dangerous consequences of their behavior yet knowingly and deliberately failed to avoid those consequences.
Another scenario when punitive damages might be recoverable is after a hit and run. Sometimes a driver who hits a pedestrian will flee the scene to evade legal and financial consequences. This could lead to the death of the pedestrian if they suffered life-threatening injuries and require emergency medical care. As such, the driver’s decision to flee the scene may constitute malice and warrant punitive damages.
2. What Evidence Will My Pedestrian Accident Lawyer Need to Prove Negligence?
The specific kinds of evidence your attorney may use to prove negligence will depend on the circumstances: what caused the accident, where it happened, whether surveillance cameras captured the incident, etc. The best rideshare accident attorneys know the importance of conducting an immediate investigation to compile time-sensitive evidence such as dashcam and surveillance footage.
To prove negligence, your lawyer will have to demonstrate how the defendant breached the duty of care—i.e. how the defendant failed to exercise a level of care that a reasonable person would have exercised in the same scenario. The most common form of negligence that leads to Uber and Lyft accidents is driver error.
The following evidence might help your attorney prove the defendant made an error behind the wheel:
- Surveillance and dashcam recordings;
- The police report;
- Deposition from eyewitnesses, the other people involved in the crash, and an accident reconstruction expert; and
- Photos of property damage, debris on the road, and the positions of vehicles.
Of course, there are many other kinds of evidence your lawyer might use depending on the circumstances. If a commercial vehicle was involved, for example, data from its black box might be useful for proving liability. If a defective auto part was to blame, evidence of liability may include blueprints, schematics, the part itself, recall data, and deposition from an auto part specialist.
3. How Do I Prove Causation and Damages After a Rideshare Accident?
Proving negligence is only one component of winning a pedestrian accident case. You must also demonstrate how the defendant’s negligence was a proximate cause of your injury or loss, and prove the kinds of damages incurred and their value.
Proving causation requires your attorney to demonstrate that your damages would not have accrued but for the tort. This is sometimes straightforward, but a dispute might arise if you had a preexisting injury that was aggravated by the accident. In this scenario, your lawyer may have to depose your treating physician and various medical experts to prove causation.
Evidence of damages may include your healthcare records, financial documents, personal injury journal, receipts and invoices, and photos of injuries. If your case proceeds to litigation, your attorney might depose medical experts, a vocational expert, an economist, and close friends and family to prove the kinds of damages you have suffered and their value.
If your injury is long-term or you’ve been diagnosed with a permanent disability, you may be entitled to future damages in addition to the damages you have already incurred. Calculating the value of anticipated healthcare costs and loss of future income can be complicated and often requires input from financial experts. A skilled attorney can help you account for all the damages you may be owed and gather the evidence needed to give your case the best possible chance of resulting in a fair settlement.
Call (562) 206-1939 to Speak with a Rideshare Accident Attorney in Long Beach
Your Injuries Are Personal to Me
At the Law Office of Michael D. Waks, we have many years of experience and a track record of success in accident claims involving Uber and Lyft vehicles. Attorney Michael Waks is well-versed in the statutes and case law pertaining to these cases, and he won’t let the insurance company take advantage of you.
Our law firm accepts personal injury and wrongful death cases on a contingency fee basis, so no attorneys’ fees will be owed unless we win. Dial (562) 206-1939 or send us a message to set up a free consultation.
Print Our Free Car Accident Emergency .PDF
It’s not always easy to remain calm and think clearly after a serious collision, but if you fail to record the right information, you might end up facing delays or disputes when you bring the claim. Our Car Accident Emergency .PDF can serve as your handy guide when compiling information at the crash scene. Download it for free by clicking HERE.