Who is Responsible for Uber and Lyft Accidents in California?

Car Accidents,Motor Vehicle Accidents | September 25, 2023

Rideshare services have become immensely popular as a means to get individuals from point A to point B relatively easily and conveniently. However, when an accident involving a rideshare vehicle occurs, liability issues can become complicated.

Who is Responsible for Uber and Lyft Accidents in California?

Determining Liability for an Uber or Lyft Crash

After an accident involving an Uber or Lyft vehicle, there will need to be an investigation into the incident in order to determine liability. Just like most other accidents that occur in California, an incident involving an Uber or Lyft vehicle will almost certainly need to be reported to law enforcement officials.

When the police come to the scene of an accident, not just accidents involving Uber and Lyft vehicles, they will conduct a preliminary investigation. This will include filling out an accident report and possibly even writing in the report who the officer thinks caused the incident. In some cases, the officer may indicate that there was a shared fault for an Uber or Lyft accident.

However, the police report should not be the final say when it comes to determining liability. Often, this is just a starting point for an investigation into a rideshare accident. We suggest that rideshare accident victims obtain assistance from a Sacramento rideshare accident attorney who can get involved in their claims as soon as possible and begin a more thorough investigation. Some of the types of evidence that can help determine liability after an Uber or Lyft accident include:

  • Data from the rideshare service app
  • Vehicle black box data
  • Mobile device data
  • Statements from those involved and the eyewitnesses
  • Photographs taken at the scene of the incident
  • Possible video surveillance of the incident

Liability is especially important to determine for a rideshare accident because of how rideshare insurance policies work.

Dealing With the Insurance Issues

The biggest complications after an Uber or Lyft accident come from determining insurance liability. Both rideshare companies use a tiered system to determine which insurance will pay for an accident if the rideshare driver caused the incident.

  • Driver not on duty. If a rideshare driver causes an accident when they are not signed into their app to work, then their personal auto insurance coverage will be responsible for paying compensation to the injury and property damage victims.
  • Driver signed in to work. In the event a rideshare driver is signed into the app to work but does not yet have a passenger and is not on the way to pick one up, their personal auto insurance carrier will still primarily be responsible for paying compensation to victims. However, in the event the personal carrier limitations are exhausted, Uber and Lyft provide supplemental insurance at this level to pay for the remainder.
  • Driver has passenger. If a rideshare driver has a passenger or is on the way to pick one up, then both Uber and Lyft have $1 million liability insurance policies to pay damages to all parties involved.

If you or somebody you care about has been injured in an accident involving a rideshare vehicle, we encourage you to reach out to an attorney as soon as possible. A car accident lawyer in Sacramento can conduct a full investigation into your claim and help you recover the compensation needed to make a full recovery.