Car accidents involving Uber or other rideshare vehicles can get complex. On one level, they are just like any other accident. The driver found to be at fault is liable for the injured person’s damages, and the at-fault driver’s insurance company will cover the damages. But if the rideshare driver is at fault, determining who is liable in an Uber accident in CA can be challenging. Liability and insurance coverage may be different depending on the status of the Uber driver’s app when the crash occurs.
Who Is at Fault for an Uber Accident?
In California, most auto accident cases are based on negligence law. You must prove the other driver’s negligence to recover compensation for your injuries or losses. So, how do you prove negligence? There are essentially two ways to prove negligence. One is by proving the four elements of negligence, and the other is by showing that a party violated the law and is, therefore, per se negligent.
Four Elements of Negligence
The four elements of negligence are as follows:
- Breach of duty,
- Causation, and
In other words, a driver owes a duty to others on the road to operate the vehicle carefully. When the driver fails to do this, they have breached the duty of care. If that breach causes a crash and you suffer losses, the driver is liable for damages caused by their negligence.
Violating Traffic Laws
A driver can also be negligent when violating the California Vehicle Code. These laws were intended to prevent accidents, so breaking a traffic law is negligence. For example, if the Uber driver was drunk, speeding, texting while driving, or if they ran a stop sign, the driver could be considered “negligent per se.” That means they are liable without the need to prove the four elements of negligence.
You can file a claim even if you were partially at fault. California is a pure comparative negligence state. That means you can be up to 99% liable and still collect compensation. But your recovery is reduced by your percentage of fault. For example, if you were 60% responsible for the accident, you could only recover 40% of your damages.
What Is the Liability of a Rideshare Company?
The negligent driver is responsible for all the damages they cause. If the Uber driver caused the accident, liability coverage depends on the status of the app at the time of the accident.
The Uber Driver’s App Is Off
If the Uber driver caused an accident while they had the app turned off, you would have a claim against the Uber driver alone. It is presumed that the driver was on personal business. The rideshare company has no liability in these instances. The driver’s personal insurance coverage applies.
The Uber Driver’s App Is on, But No Rides Accepted
If the Uber driver’s app is on, but the driver has not yet accepted a ride, both the Uber driver’s personal insurance and Uber’s insurance are implicated. If the driver’s coverage is insufficient to cover the damages to the injured third party, the Uber-provided coverage supplies additional coverage up to $50,000 for bodily injury per person.
The Uber Driver Accepted a Ride or Has a Passenger
If an Uber driver has accepted a ride or has a passenger in the vehicle when the driver caused an accident, Uber’s full insurance coverage applies. Passengers and third parties have access to $1,000,000 in third-party liability coverage.
When Is Uber Liable for an Accident?
There are situations when Uber is negligent and shares liability for the accident and your injuries. Uber may be liable if, in the hiring process, it failed to properly:
- Train, or
- Supervise potential employees.
For example, if Uber approved a driver with prior DUIs on their record or increased distracted driving through its app, Uber may be liable for creating the risk that caused your injuries.
Speak to Yousefi Law Today
If you sustained injuries in an Uber accident, contact the Law Offices of Ali Yousefi, P.C. We will listen to your side of the story and explain your legal options. There are any number of variables that impact liability coverage and which parties you may sue in an Uber accident.
Our legal team will aggressively pursue all available compensation and handle all aspects of the claims process. As an accident victim himself, our attorney, Ali Yousefi, approaches each case with the utmost diligence and compassion. Call us today or contact us online to see how our firm can help you.