Understanding Liability in a Ridesharing Accident in Los Angeles, California
Ridesharing has exploded in the United States, with California being the pioneering state to first accept and regulate ridesharing like Uber, Lyft, and other companies. Since that time, more than one-third (1/3) of all Americans have reported using a ridesharing app, with many of these individuals being repeat users. While ridesharing has become a big part of commuting or getting home safely after a night out with friends, the truth is that some studies have found ridesharing has increased traffic fatalities by 3%. While that does not sound like a large percentage, California already has over 3,500 traffic facilities and 277,000 injuries each year due to traffic accidents. A common issue in all of these accidents is liability for the ridesharing company in a rideshare accident.
Here at the Broadway Law Firm, our experienced auto accident lawyers in Los Angeles, California know that ridesharing accident are not like normal motor vehicle crashes. They are much more complicated and complex. This is largely due to the fact that ridesharing accidents involve many moving parts and players, including the driver, the company, and sometimes a third-party who is partially or completely at fault for an accident. Victims who are injured in a ridesharing accident in California should call our law firm for a FREE consultation to learn how we can help protect their rights to compensation under the law by dialing 213.344.0067.
Liability in a Normal Car Accident Case
Generally, in a normal car accident case liability would be premised on the driver of the vehicle and the owner of the vehicle. This is because California is a “permissible use” state. Under California Vehicle Code section 17150, the Golden State imposes liability against the owner of a vehicle for allowing a driver to use the vehicle. This is a form of vicarious liability, meaning that the driver’s negligence in, for example running a red light, is also the owner’s negligence.
Another common and relevant example of vicarious liability is between employers and employees. However, this form of vicarious liability is known as respondet superior, which means that an employee’s actions within the scope of employment will impose liability on the employer. Thus, a victim injured in a trucking accident can commence a lawsuit against the truck driver and the trucking company.
These are generally the normal rules for car accident cases.
Liability in a Ridesharing Accident
Unfortunately, ridesharing accidents are a little different from normal car accidents—at least that is how Uber and Lyft want you to think. Both of these ridesharing companies label their drivers as independent contractors or freelancers. This is because vicarious liability or respondet superior does not apply to independent contractors or freelancers—just for permissive use or employee/employers. As a result, Uber and Lyft will often argue they have no liability. Their insurance companies will reject any effort to submit a claim and fight back.
However, this just is not fair. Ridesharing companies have the benefit of making profit through their driver’s efforts while shielding themselves from the burdens of their employee’s negligence. That leaves victims the most harmed.
How We Can Prove Liability
With the right lawyer and bodily injury law firm like the Broadway Law Firm in Los Angeles, California, you can hold both the driver and the ridesharing companies liability for your personal injuries. This is because we can help you establish liability for you injuries by doing the following:
- Checking app data to show you were in a sanctioned ridesharing vehicle and ride when the accident occurred
- Demonstrating the pickup and drop off locations, and showing how the accident occurred inside that zone
- Using electronically stored information (ESI) to prove your claim
- Investigating a driver’s insurance coverage
- Investigating and determining Uber, Lyft, or another ridesharing company’s insurance coverage
- Handling difficult insurance adjusters to establish your valid claim
- Fighting back against defense lawyers trying to protect dangerous drivers
- Investigate liability of the driver and ridesharing company, as well as any third-parties who may have caused or contributed to your accident
- Check the ridesharing company’s screening of a driver, including any previous accidents or incidents, and
- Other investigations to help prove you ridesharing accident case.
Who Should I Sue in a Ridesharing Accident in California?
The answer to this question is anyone and everyone possibility involved in the ridesharing accident. This includes the following:
- The driver
- The ridesharing company
- Any third-party who may have caused or contributed to the accident
- A municipality, county, state, or federal entity responsible for roadway maintenance
- A mechanic or repair company that otherwise repaired, maintained, inspected, or passed the vehicle for driving
- The owner of the vehicle because California is a permissive use state
- Insurance companies that will not be a party to the action (in a declaratory judgment action), and
- Any other party that may have caused or contributed to your serious personal injuries in a ridesharing accident California.
Why Commence a Lawsuit Against All of Those Parties?
California law allows a plaintiff to commence an action against any number of defendants who may have been liable for your injuries. This includes defendants who may even be 1% at fault. You can also argue that all defendants were negligent in the near-same manner, and then allow the discovery process (the fact and evidence gathering part of a lawsuit) to uncover what really happened. This is known as “alternative pleading” and it is allowed. As the lawsuit continues, your lawyer may decide to let out some parties, change allegations against some parties, or even add others.
Injured in a Ridesharing Accident? Ask Our Experienced Car Accident Lawyers for Help
If you or a loved one were seriously injured in a Los Angeles car accident involving a ridesharing vehicle, call the Broadway Law Firm to learn how we can help you. We will not let these giant ridesharing companies rake in the profits while refuse to pay your valid claims. We offer FREE consultations and accept cases on a contingency fee basis meaning we only get paid after you get paid in a settlement or court verdict. Schedule your FREE consultation by dialing 213.344.0067 or by using our easy-to-use contact us box available by clicking the link here.