Ridesharing is a term used to describe services such as Uber, Lyft, and others that provide transportation services on demand. Many people arrange rides through mobile apps. The price for trips varies depending on factors like the time of day, demand from other riders, and the distance traveled.
Unlike a traditional taxi service, rideshare companies use private vehicles driven by their owners, and come with risks. The drivers typically do not have special driver’s licenses and seldom carry their own commercial insurance coverage. Uber and Lyft view their drivers as independent contractors rather than employees.
Because ridesharing has exploded in popularity and there are more and more vehicles being used for ridesharing, accidents involving these vehicles have increased significantly. People may be harmed while they are passengers in these vehicles, while others could be injured while they are occupants of other vehicles. Pedestrians or bicyclists can be struck by rideshare vehicles as well.
Did you suffer catastrophic injuries or was your loved one killed in a rideshare vehicle accident in the greater Sacramento area? If so, you don’t have to handle all of the complications of seeking compensation on your own. Demas Law Group is here to help. Our Sacramento auto accident lawyers have the experience needed to get you the compensation you deserve.
We have a record of success that includes numerous six- and seven-figure settlements and verdicts. Call us or contact us online to take advantage of a free consultation.
Rideshare Laws in California
Most ridesharing companies are considered transportation network companies (TNC) regulated by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). TNCs have to satisfy licensing requirements that include mandatory insurance.
TNCs are required to provide reports on providing accessible vehicles, providing service by ZIP code, problems with drivers, hours logged by drivers, miles logged by drivers, and drivers completing driver training course annually. The CPUC could also require reports on driver training programs, accessibility plans, and plans on avoiding a divide between able and disabled communities as well as annual updates on accessibility plans.
TNCs are required to ensure that their drivers’ Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) records have no more than three points in the preceding three years, no “major violations” (convictions for hit and run, reckless driving, or driving with a suspended license) in the preceding three years, and no driving under the influence (DUI) convictions within the past seven years.
The DMV has an Employer Pull Notice (EPN) program that can notify a company when a driver’s record has any new convictions, accidents, failures to appear, driver’s license suspensions or revocations, or other actions taken against a driving privilege.
Who Is Liable for a Rideshare Car Accident?
When you are involved in an auto accident involving a rideshare vehicle, liability can be challenging to determine. Many TNCs will claim that they are not liable for crashes because their drivers are independent contractors.
In truth, rideshare companies can be held liable in some cases for the acts of their drivers. Many cases depend on whether a driver was actively involved in picking up or transporting a rideshare passenger.
Not all accidents are solely the fault of a ridesharing driver or company. Some crashes may be the result of other negligent parties such as other drivers, parts manufacturers, or maintenance companies.
The complex liability in ridesharing cases makes the need for a lawyer even more crucial for accident victims. An experienced attorney can conduct an independent investigation to determine the cause and all potentially liable parties.
Types of Insurance Coverage for Rideshare Car Accidents
The CPUC requires different levels of automobile insurance depending on which of three periods a driver is involved in. The three periods are when:
- A driver has the app open and is waiting for a match.
- A driver has accepted a match but does not yet have the passenger.
- A passenger is in the driver’s vehicle until the moment they exit.
During the time when a driver has no match, TNCs are required to provide primary insurance of at least $50,000 for death and personal injury per person, $100,000 for death and personal injury per incident, and $30,000 for property damage. A TNC can satisfy this requirement through insurance maintained by the driver, insurance maintained by the TNC that provides coverage when a driver does not have the required insurance or their insurance ceases to exist or is canceled, or a combination of those two.
TNCs are also required to maintain insurance coverage providing excess coverage insuring the TNC and the driver in a minimum of $200,000 per occurrence to cover any liability arising from a participating driver using a vehicle in connection with a TNC’s online-enabled application or platform. A TNC can satisfy this requirement through insurance maintained by the driver and verified to cover the use of a vehicle for TNC services, insurance maintained by the TNC, or a combination of those two.
During the times when a driver has accepted a match but does not yet have the passenger and times when the passenger is in the vehicle, TNCs are required to provide primary commercial insurance of at least $1 million. This requirement can be satisfied through insurance maintained by the driver and verified to cover use of a vehicle for TNC services, insurance maintained by the TNC, or a combination of those two.
When the passenger is in the vehicle until the moment they exit, TNCs also must provide uninsured motorist coverage (UM) and underinsured motorist coverage (UIM) in the amount of $1 million. This requirement can be satisfied through insurance maintained by the driver and verified to cover the use of a vehicle for TNC services, insurance maintained by the TNC, or a combination of those two.
How Can Demas Law Group Help Me after a Rideshare Accident in Sacramento
If you sustained serious injuries or your loved one was killed in a rideshare crash in Sacramento or a surrounding community in California, make sure to hire an attorney who understands rideshare laws and the insurance policies that might be available to you. Demas Law Group is ready to fight to pursue every last dollar of compensation you are entitled to.
Demas Law Group represents rideshare accident victims on a contingency fee basis, meaning you won’t have to worry about paying us anything unless and until we win your case. We can discuss the specifics of your accident as soon as you call us or contact us online to set up a free consultation.