Even a slow-speed motorcycle crash has the potential to cause devastating injuries. When an accident victim incurs significant medical bills and other damages, insurance companies have more incentive to deny or undervalue their claim. The process of recovering fair compensation can be especially complicated when a rideshare service is involved.
Read on to learn the answers to some frequently asked questions about Uber and Lyft accidents involving motorcyclists:
1. Who can I sue after a motorcycle accident involving an Uber or Lyft vehicle?
There are many insurance policies that might be in play after a rideshare accident. When determining insurance liability, your attorney will have to answer the following questions:
- Who or what caused the accident?
- Was the rideshare driver’s app turned off when the crash happened?
- Was the rideshare driver available to take passengers, waiting for a ride request, en route to pick up passengers, or transporting a passenger?
If the rideshare driver caused the accident, you would pursue damages from either the rideshare driver’s personal insurance coverage or from the insurance provided by the rideshare company. If the rideshare driver’s app was off, you would seek compensation from the driver’s personal insurance company. If the rideshare driver was available to take passengers, waiting for a ride request, en route to pick up passengers, or transporting passengers, you would bring the claim against the auto insurance provided by the rideshare service.
If the rideshare driver was waiting for a ride request, the coverage provided by the rideshare company would be lower than if the driver was en route to pick up passengers or transporting passengers. For example, Uber provides the following coverage when the driver is waiting for a request:
- $50,000 in bodily injury coverage per person
- $100,000 in bodily injury coverage per accident
- $25,000 in property damage coverage per accident
From the time a fare has been accepted until the ride ends, Uber provides the following coverage:
- $1,000,000 third-party liability coverage
- $1,000,000 Uninsured/underinsured motorist bodily injury coverage
- Contingent comprehensive and collision coverage
Lyft provides similar coverage limits under similar circumstances.
It is important to note, however, that if the rideshare driver did not cause the accident, you would pursue compensation from another party. For example, if another motorist caused the crash, you would seek compensation from that driver’s liability insurance company. If the accident was caused by a defective auto part, you might have a claim against the part manufacturer. Other potentially liable parties include a negligent mechanic, the employer of the driver that caused the crash, or the government entity responsible for maintaining the stretch of road where the collision occurred.
2. What if my family member died in a motorcycle accident involving a rideshare vehicle?
In this scenario, you would bring a wrongful death claim and perhaps a survival action rather than a personal injury claim. A wrongful death claim is brought to pursue damages suffered by surviving loved ones as a result of the death. A survival action is brought to seek damages incurred by the decedent between the fatal accident and his or her death. Survival actions can only be brought if the decedent did not die immediately in the accident.
3. How long will it take to resolve my case?
The duration of the proceedings will depend on a number of factors. Your rideshare accident lawyer can help you take the necessary steps to avoid delays. For instance, your attorney can prepare the necessary paperwork, gather evidence, and take over negotiations with the insurance company. Sometimes just having a skilled attorney by your side can give the insurance company more incentive to pay a fair settlement rather than taking the risk of entering litigation, which can speed up the proceedings considerably.
Below are a few more factors that could influence the amount of time it takes to resolve your case:
- The Severity of Your Injuries: When do doctors expect you to reach maximum medical improvement (MMI)? Your lawyer might advise you to wait until you’ve reached MMI before commencing the settlement negotiations.
- The Strength of Your Evidence: If you have sufficient evidence to prove liability, causation, and damages, the opposing party will be less likely to dispute your claim.
- The Number of Liable Parties: If multiple parties share fault, one or more of them might dispute how liability is apportioned.
- Whether You Make Any Mistakes: If you give a recorded statement to the insurance company or ignore your doctor’s orders, you may end up facing a dispute that extends the proceedings. You could also face a dispute if you or someone else posts photos of you taken after the accident, or a written description of the accident.
4. What does “pure comparative negligence” mean?
When multiple parties share liability for a motorcycle accident, fault is apportioned in accordance with the state’s comparative negligence laws. California follows a pure comparative negligence system, so even if you were 90 percent at-fault for the crash, you could still pursue compensation for 10 percent of your damages. In other words, your award of damages will be reduced by your own percentage of fault, but California does not have a 50-percent or 51-percent bar rule like modified comparative negligence states. In those states, personal injury victims are barred from pursuing damages if they were 50-percent or 51-percent at fault for the accident. There are also “pure contributory negligence” states, where injury victims are barred from pursuing damages if they were even 1 percent liable for the accident.
Discuss Your Case with a Long Beach Motorcycle Accident Attorney
Your Injuries Are Personal to Me
Call the Law Office of Michael D. Waks today at (562) 206-1939 to schedule a free consultation. You can also send us a message using our Contact Page. We are available to take your call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Download Our Car Accident Emergency .PDF
If you’re ever involved in a serious crash, it’s important that you document the scene properly. Failure to do so could make it difficult to obtain a fair settlement. Our Car Accident Emergency .PDF can serve as your guide for collecting information after a collision. Download it for free HERE, and be sure to store it in your glove compartment.
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