San Jose Lyft Accident Attorney
Rideshare companies have become ubiquitous in the Bay Area; whether you live in Santa Clara, San Francisco, Oakland, or San Jose, you have probably used a rideshare company like Lyft at some point. Although Lyft customers appreciate the value and convenience offered by the company’s service, they also face the risk of being involved in an accident while riding. Other motorists who share the road with negligent Lyft drivers also face the risk of an accident.
If you sustained injuries in an accident caused by the negligent driving of a Lyft driver, California law entitles you to sue for damages to recover losses related to your injuries.
Successfully navigating the complex legal issues surrounding a claim involving a large company like Lyft requires the services of a skilled San Jose Lyft accident lawyer. Contact the experienced car accident attorneys in San Jose at Bohn & Fletcher at (408) 279-4222 to discuss the details of your Lyft car accident and to learn how we can assist you.
Causes of Lyft Car Accidents
The scenarios typical of Lyft accidents are similar to other motor vehicle accidents, but Lyft drivers are prone to specific types of accidents. Examples of situations that might lead to a Lyft car accident include:
- Cell phone usage while driving – Distractions might lead to an accident, but Lyft drivers are especially prone to distractions from their cell phone. Driving for Lyft means a driver is signed into an app that’s also used for navigation. When searching for pick-up and drop-off locations, a Lyft driver might use a cell phone and take his eyes away from the road, causing an accident.
- Drowsy driving – Lyft requires their drivers to take a minimum six-hour break for every 14 hours they are signed into the app and driving; however, these 14 hours are not consecutive. This means a Lyft driver might have a 20 hour day. Drivers might also work for another rideshare company and switch between apps, or they might have another full time job, causing them to grow tired while driving. In either case, a sleepy or fatigued Lyft driver might fall asleep at the wheel, or slowly react to road hazards, causing a serious accident.
- Driving under the influence – Using controlled substance while driving is not only dangerous for the driver, occupants, and other motorists, but it is also illegal. Alcohol and drugs slow reaction time and impair a driver’s ability to accurately judge time and space, often leading to severe collisions.
- Speeding – Lyft drivers and their riders are rushed to get to their destinations. Speeding isn’t always the direct cause of an accident, but drivers lose control of vehicle more easily when they are speeding, especially in inclement weather.
- Tailgating – Rushed Lyft drivers sometimes follow the vehicle in front of them too closely, failing to allow a safe distance to react if the vehicle makes an erratic maneuver or stops quickly.
- Improperly maintaining a vehicle – Lyft drivers in the Bay area must have a vehicle that is 2004 or newer. It cannot be a rebuilt car or have a salvage title and drivers must have an inspection at a licensed California facility before they are approved to give rides. Vehicle inspections expire after one year or 50,000 miles, whichever comes first. When negligent Lyft drivers don’t comply with California law and don’t adequately maintain their vehicles, issues such as a tire blowout or worn brake pads might cause an accident.
Does Lyft Have Insurance Coverage for its Drivers?
California law requires rideshare companies to provide drivers with insurance while they are transporting riders; Lyft provides $1,000,000 in coverage. This policy can stand alone or supplement another policy; however, Lyft’s company policy only applies when the driver has riders in the vehicle. When a Lyft driver is in between fares, or signed out of the Lyft app when a car accident occurs, then Lyft might not provide coverage for injuries.
If you are injured while a passenger of a Lyft vehicle as a result of another motorist’s negligence, Lyft provides $1 million in uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage that might compensate some or all of your losses. When an accident occurs when the Lyft driver is signed into the app, but not transporting any riders, California law requires Lyft to provide backup coverage. Minimum requirements include $50,000 per person, $100,000 per accident, and $25,000 for property damages. Lyft does not provide coverage when a Lyft driver isn’t using the app.
What Damages Can I Recover After a Lyft Accident?
Recovering damages after a Lyft accident begins with filing an insurance claim. If the carrier denies the claim or refuses to offer an adequate settlement, then you will need to file a personal injury suit to receive the compensation you deserve. Depending on the circumstances of the accident, you might file a suit against the driver, Lyft, and/or Lyft’s insurance carrier. In the event that your attorney negotiates a settlement or the court rules in your favor, you might receive compensation for some or all of the following damages:
- Medical costs including ambulance and emergency services, hospitalization, surgery, radiology, follow-up doctor visits, and prescription medication
- Future medical treatment costs when an accident results in a catastrophic injury that causes a permanent disability requiring lifelong care or a severe injury that requires extensive recovery
- Rehabilitation expenses for physical therapy and assistive devices such as wheelchairs, crutches, and artificial limbs
- Lost wages for missing work due to the accident, injury, hospitalization, and recovery
- Future lost wages when a severe injury prevents a Lyft accident survivor from returning to their job, or requires them to change careers
- Pain and suffering
- Reduced quality of life
- Loss of consortium with a spouse
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Other non-economic costs that might apply to your case
If you are a surviving family member of someone who died in a Lyft accident, you might also be eligible for compensation depending on your relationship with the deceased. You might recover some of the previously mentioned losses, as well as funeral expenses and burial costs. California law entitles survivors to pursue legal action for a wrongful death in two ways. A skilled Lyft accident attorney who has experience with wrongful death claims and survival actions in San Jose will advise you on the best path forward for you and your family. Under California law, you have two years, in most cases, to take action after a wrongful death, so you must contact a San Jose Lyft accident lawyer as soon as possible to assert your right to seek compensation.
The Lyft Accident Attorneys at Bohn & Fletcher, LLP, Will Fight for You
The injuries, pain, and stress that come with being involved in a Lyft accident aren’t much different than any other car accident that leaves you injured. Yet, critical differences separate these two experiences, especially in terms of your legal remedies. Most importantly, Lyft is a large corporation with a team of lawyers ready to protect the company’s interest. Additionally, Lyft’s insurance carrier will go to the ends of the earth to protect its bottom line and avoid paying claims. While some Lyft accident survivors consider going it alone, it’s always in your best interest to enlist the help of a qualified attorney when dealing with these complex cases involving large corporations.
Parties to the defense will do what they can to shift blame away from the Lyft driver. In some cases, they even shift blame to the injured party. They might also make a settlement offer to avoid paying large claims or court-order damages later on. These offers are often attractive, but typically do not provide full and fair compensation. In any case, it’s best to let your attorney handle all communications and negotiations to protect you from these tricky tactics.
Reach out to a San Jose Lyft Accident Lawyer Today for a Free Consultation
Lyft is a large, powerful corporation with a legal team that will fight to protect its reputation and bottom line. This means that if you choose to take legal action against Lyft or one of its drivers, you need an advocate who anticipates their strategies and who can aggressively pursue full and fair compensation after your accident. Bohn & Fletcher, LLP is ready to be that advocate.
Our San Jose attorneys serve clients throughout Northern California. No matter where you live, from Santa Rosa to Sacramento to Salinas, we can help.
Contact one of the San Jose Lyft accident lawyers at Bohn & Fletcher, LLP at (408) 279-4222 or online to schedule a free consultation. If you choose us to represent you after a Lyft accident, we handle cases on contingency. This means we deduct attorney fees only from any settlement or verdict in your favor, so you don’t have to worry about upfront costs.