Drivers of ride-sharing companies such as Uber and Lyft are regulated by the California Public Utilities Commission. The California Law mandates that such companies are required to carry a USD 1 million liability insurance policy coverage for personal injury or death in a motor vehicle accident. If you (or a loved one) have been in an accident due to a ride-sharing accident, contact us here at Marino & Tye LLP. We will help you get the compensation you deserve.

The popularity of the ride-sharing service has grown by leaps and bounds as the prices often undercut the competition and afford passengers a viable option, especially in underserved residential neighborhoods where taxicabs are often not present. Uber alone has more than 200,000 drivers in California. With that number, it is not surprising to know that accidents involving ride-sharing vehicles are on the rise in Escondido – one of the reasons why you should be aware of local laws that deal with these types of vehicular accidents.

Motor vehicle accidents involving ride-sharing drivers are handled no differently than any other road accident case. Drivers are the primary defendant with the owner’s insurance policy being the first insurance used.

Types of rideshare car accidents

There are four main categories of personal injury claims involving ride-sharing vehicles:

  • A passenger was injured in a ridesharing vehicle during a ride
  • A ride-sharing driver was injured while picking up, driving, or dropping off passengers
  • A driver of another vehicle was injured in an accident with a vehicle performing ridesharing services
  • A passenger in a vehicle was injured in a crash with a rideshare vehicle on its way to pick up a fare

There have been many lawsuits against rideshare drivers who have been accused of unsafe driving because they are using their app while driving to prepare for the next pickup.

If you need legal advice concerning a ride-sharing company like Uber or Lyft, contact the attorneys at Marino & Tye LLP today. Our team will educate and advise you on your injury and liability options.

Do Escondido Ride-sharing Drivers Need to Carry Special Insurance?

California requires drivers of transportation network companies (TNCs), such as Uber and Lyft, to be covered by ride-sharing insurance at all times when a rideshare app is on. The bases for the minimum auto insurance requirements vary according to which “period” the driver is in.

Period 0: When the rideshare app is off, the driver’s insurance is active, which should meet California’s minimum auto insurance requirements.

  • USD 5,000 of property damage coverage per accident
  • USD 15,000 bodily injury coverage per person injured in an accident
  • USD 30,000 of bodily injury coverage per accident

Period 1: If the rideshare app is on but the driver has not been paired with a passenger, California law follows the minimum requirements indicated below.

  • USD 30,000 of property damage liability coverage per accident
  • USD 50,000 bodily injury liability coverage per person injured in an accident
  • USD 100,000 of bodily injury liability coverage per accident

Again, the above requirements can be fulfilled by the driver’s ride-sharing insurance policy or one provided by TNC if it offers this coverage. The driver should confirm with his or her rideshare company whether there is a need to purchase this insurance for himself, otherwise, that driver may not be driving legally in California.

As for Uber, for example, they provide this liability insurance for drivers during Period 1 if they don’t have their rideshare policy. TNC is also required to provide at least USD 200,000 of excess liability insurance coverage.

Periods 2 and 3: Once the driver has been paired with a passenger and after they’ve entered your vehicle, the rideshare company is required to carry a USD 1 million liability insurance policy in California. This covers the passengers during Periods 2 and 3. Depending on TNC, it may offer additional coverage during these periods as well.

Going back to Uber, for example, they provide drivers with USD 1 million of uninsured and underinsured motorist bodily injury coverage. It also provides comprehensive and collision coverage with a $1,000 deductible so long as the driver has collision coverage on their personal auto insurance policy.

The law requires drivers to be covered by an auto insurance policy at all times. But because the TNC can help meet that requirement, not all rideshare drivers in California need to purchase rideshare insurance to provide the ride-sharing service legally.

Note: The laws above only apply to rideshare drivers, not limousine or livery drivers, as they have their commercial auto insurance requirements.

What does a ride-sharing company do to ensure that its drivers are safe? How does this affect a passenger’s Escondido ridesharing accident case?

Screening for drivers of ride-sharing vehicles is done by the respective companies. These companies are relentless in conducting a background check on every driver before his or her first trip, and once a year after that. It helps ensure to check screens for driving violations, impaired driving, and violent crime. Furthermore, they also employ technology through their respective platforms, a system that can alert them if a driver has been charged with a criminal offense between annual screenings.

While, for the time being, ride-sharing companies, classify their drivers in California, including Escondido, as independent contractors instead of employees, they are shielded from much of the liability resulting from the actions of its drivers. Nevertheless, if there is evidence that a ride-sharing company was negligent in its background screening, the company could potentially be liable for the accident that caused injuries and damage to property. A reputable Escondido rideshare accident attorney can be a big help in getting a just compensation from a ride-sharing accident.

Do I need an attorney for my Escondido Ride-sharing accident?

You should hire an attorney to help with your Escondido ride-sharing accident case. The laws about rideshare companies are evolving as the time goes by, and an attorney with experience in this field will be aware of any changes to the law that could have a significant impact on your case.

Here are some essential services that your attorney can provide you with:

  • A valuation of your case that takes into consideration the full picture of the expenses and impacts on your life that you have incurred resulting from injury caused by the ride-sharing accident
    Guidance as to your legal options
  • Skilled negotiation with third-party insurance providers to obtain a fair settlement on your behalf.
  • A team of experts —including medical professionals and accident reconstruction specialists— who can give a supplemental testimony to strengthen your case
  • Timely filing of court-required paperwork in the proper jurisdiction as well as compliance with other court formalities (taking into account statute of limitations or perspective period)
  • A thorough investigation of your case to determine all sources of liability and all insurance resources that can be accessed to provide the compensation you deserve
  • Gathering and organizing evidence and witness testimony that supports your claim
  • In the absence of a fair settlement offer, litigating your case, which includes the delivery of opening and closing arguments, presentation of evidence, and examination of witnesses
  • Assistance in collecting your settlement or award
  • Further representation, if the defendant in your case files an appeal.

Let our seasoned ride-sharing accident attorneys help you understand your legal options in Escondido, CA. Marino & Tye LLP has been around for over 35 years and has helped hundreds of rideshare accident victims obtain just settlements or favorable trial verdicts.

Contact us today 1-760-741-7643 for inquiries.