Ridesharing is a convenient way to get around. Apps like Uber and Lyft offer appealing options for drivers to earn some extra cash.
Despite the many advantages, any Glendale car accident attorney will tell you that it can create complex situations if you get into a car crash. Whether you’re a driver or a rider, you should know what to do in case of an accident.
How Common Are Rideshare Accidents?
Most ridesharing trips happen without any complications. However, due to the growing size of this market, crashes that involve Uber or Lyft drivers are becoming more common.
Experts believe the rideshare market could more than triple in size by 2026. As rates or urbanization and smartphone usage continue to go up, ridesharing will be even more popular.
Two giants are competing in this space: Uber and Lyft. They are the top ridesharing platforms in California and the rest of the U.S.
While ridesharing can reduce crashes linked to drunk driving, it can also increase the number of accidents in which more than one party is involved because more passengers are present. Between 2017 and 2018, Uber reported a total of 97 fatal crashes with 107 deaths. Almost a third of victims were pedestrians, of which 25% were drivers or riders standing outside of the vehicle.
Rideshare Accidents in California
In California, rideshare accidents are handled just like other car crashes. Since it’s an at-fault state, insurance adjusters determine whether the Uber or Lyft driver caused the accident or whether another party is at fault. It’s also a state where shared liability exists, which means fault can be shared between the rideshare driver and another party.
There are different possible scenarios to consider, and a Glendale car accident attorney can help determine who is at fault:
- The Uber or Lyft driver is at fault if they caused an accident or damaged property by crashing into something.
- Another driver is at fault if they caused the accident and is liable for the damages.
- Liability is shared between the rideshare driver and another party if they both engaged in unsafe driving practices.
In 2020, Uber and Lyft faced pressure to classify their drivers as employees. However, a vote that took place in November 2020 resulted in the state adopting Proposition 22, which means rideshare drivers are independent contractors.
It’s an important distinction because it means that drivers have to carry their own insurance policy when driving. Uber and Lyft offer coverage in some cases, but this coverage isn’t valid if the driver isn’t properly insured.
The coverage available varies depending on when the rideshare accident took place:
- If the rideshare app was off when the accident took place, the driver’s personal coverage applies.
- If the driver had the app on and was waiting for a ride request, Uber or Lyft will provide coverage for up to $50,000 in bodily injury, $100,000 per accident, and $25,000 for property damage, which is well beyond the minimum insurance requirements in California.
- Uber and Lyft offer up to $1 million in third-party liability and collision coverage up to the cash value of the vehicle with a $2,500 deductible if a crash takes place when picking up a passenger or during a ride.
Driving safely, such as following the Basic Speed Law in California and avoiding distractions, can lower your chances of needing this coverage as a rideshare driver. Being aware of dangerous spots in Glendale, CA, and nearby areas can also help you be a safer Uber or Lyft driver.
Brand Boulevard is a notorious hotspot for accidents with several dangerous intersections, including Sanchez Drive, Goode Avenue and Colorado Street. Glendale Avenue also has a few tricky intersections with Wilson Avenue, Chevy Chase Drive and Broadway.
For longer rides, you should be wary of I-5 heading south into Los Angeles and of I-710 for those going to East LA. While picking up passengers who need to go to the LAX airport can result in higher earnings, you should know that State Route 1 can be congested and unsafe. Highway 14 is another dangerous axis for those heading north toward Lancaster.
What to Do If You Get Into a Glendale, CA, Rideshare Accident
If you get involved in a rideshare accident, the first thing to do is make sure everyone is safe. If you or others are hurt, call 911 for medical help.
You should call the police if anyone is hurt or if property is damaged. Don’t leave the scene of the accident until an officer shows up and fills out a police report.
In California, the law states that you need to report an accident to the police if anyone is hurt or if property damages exceed $1,000. The drivers involved must also report the accident to the DMV within 10 days. Because it can be hard to assess the extent of property damage on the spot, it’s best to call the police and report the accident.
If you didn’t call the police at the time of the crash, you can call the Glendale Police Department at 818-548-4840 or the California Highway Patrol at 1-800-836-5247 to report the accident after the fact.
You should also report the accident to Uber or Lyft whether you’re a driver or a passenger. In the Uber app, you’ll find a Help section with an option called Trip Issues. Look under Adjustments to find a button for reporting accidents. The Lyft app has a similar feature in the Safety Center menu.
Because details can be hard to remember after an accident, you should write down every detail you can. This can help when you’re talking to the police or a Glendale car accident attorney later. Here are some things both the rideshare driver and passenger should record:
- Write down the name and contact information of all the parties involved. You should also ask about their insurer and policy number. The Lyft or Uber insurance might cover the accident, but it’s best to have personal insurance information in case it doesn’t.
- Note the date, time and exact location of the accident.
- You’ll need details about the vehicles involved, including the make, model, year, color and license plate number.
- Take pictures of the accident scenes with your phone. Snap enough pictures to show the accident and property damage from different angles.
- Ask the police officer who fills out the accident report for their contact information.
- If there are any witnesses, write down their names and contact information. However, be sure not to share details about the accident from your perspective, which can cause problems later.
- Open the Uber or Lyft app and take a screenshot that shows the status of the ride at the moment of the crash.
Contact a Glendale Car Accident Attorney
Rideshare accidents can be complex. Insurance adjusters will have to determine liability, and there might be questions about whether the accident should be covered by the ridesharing platform’s insurance or by the personal insurance of the drivers involved.
A Glendale car accident attorney can help you put together the documentation you need to show who is liable and help you work with insurance companies, Uber or Lyft. If you have been in a rideshare accident, a lawyer can help you move forward.
Author’s name: Jack Chemtob.
Bio: I’m the founder and CEO of Accident.com, a leading network of nationwide injury attorneys. I’m responsible for corporate strategy, executive team leadership and overall business operations across all the company’s segments. With over 10 years of experience, I have held various strategic and operating positions at companies including SOSV (the largest seed VC), Morgan Stanley (in investor relations), and Warby Parker (in customer experience operations)