Two of the fastest growing companies in the tech industry over the past few years have been Uber and Lyft. Uber and Lyft hire drivers as independent contractors and provide the service for them to find work.
How does this work? The Uber and Lyft app let the consumer share their location with the network of drivers, the first driver to claim the ride request gets to pick up that passenger. This has provided millions of individuals with part-time jobs that function as a freelance opportunity. In other words, they can work whenever they have time. Some contractors have even gone as far as making this their full-time position; in some cases bringing in over $100,000 per year.
Even though you are not driving, you are still at risk of injury if you are involved in a car accident. The laws on ridesharing are broken down into three individual periods if you are the driver. If you are the passenger you will also have your own set of rules. As with any accident, someone will be at fault and be held liable for any damages that happen to the individuals involved in the accident.
The Three Periods
Period 1: When the Uber/Lyft app is on and the driver is waiting for a request
When the app is on and the driver is waiting for a request, Uber can NOT be held liable for any accident you are involved in. The reason for this is that drivers are independent contractors. In other words, they are not technically an employee of Uber at this juncture.
There are a couple of reasons Uber set the company up like this. For one, this provides a bevy of liability benefits to Uber. One of those benefits is that you do not become an employee of Uber until you have answered a pickup request. While Uber does not provide accident coverage during this period, Uber does provide liability coverage.
Period 2: When the driver is en route to the passenger
When you have accepted a pickup request, Uber’s insurance technically begins to cover you. Although, this is a gray area, so I will take you through some specifics.
Usually, after an accident, the driver will not be able to pick up a passenger. This will require the driver to cancel the trip. However, when it comes time to claim liability, Uber is not aware of when the accident happened and they are not aware if the passenger canceled the request and not the driver. This means, even if you were on your way to pick up a passenger, Uber can fight the claim stating that you were actually looking for a passenger, which would allow them to follow the rules in period one.
Claiming liability in during period two will need the most evidence that you were on your way to pick up a passenger. One thing you can quickly do is take a screenshot of the date and time. This will show that you were in fact on your way to pick up a passenger at the time of the accident.
Period 3: After you make the pickup
During this period, Uber’s liability will cover you Since there is a passenger in the car, it will be easy for any lawyer to prove that you were “on the clock” at the time of the accident.
Contact an Experienced Los Angeles Car Accident Attorney
Anytime you are in a car accident and the result is an injury to you or the other party, you should contact an experienced car accident attorney. Los Angeles Personal Injury Law has a team of attorneys that are experienced in ridesharing cases. Our attorneys know the ins and outs of the laws and will fight for Uber/Lyft to assume liability. Contact our office today if you have been in a ridesharing accident and suffered an injury.