California residents rely on drivers hired through Uber or Lyft for transport more than ever before. Because the companies operating the ride-hailing services generally are not responsible for the damages resulting from their workers' accidents, passengers or other parties harmed in a crash must turn to the driver's insurance policy.
The companies designate their drivers as independent contractors. This separates the companies from liabilities that might normally emerge from the actions of direct employees. Someone hurt by an at-fault rideshare driver can make a claim upon a $1 million liability policy that the ride-hailing companies make available to their drivers. Ideally, a victim will collect as much evidence as possible at the time of the accident. For example, screenshots of the transport receipt and pictures of the wreck can be helpful. Claims should be directed to the driver and insurance company rather than the ride-hailing service. Only narrowly defined circumstances open the door to directly suing the companies that connect driver with fares.
When another driver causes an accident, a victim could first make a claim upon that driver's personal insurance policy. If that coverage proves insufficient, then the policy covering the Uber or Lyft driver could provide additional compensation for injuries.
A person hurt in a crash that involved an independent service provider could consult an attorney familiar with personal injury claims. The lawyer could notify the ride-hailing service to preserve the data about the fare. Additionally, an attorney could organize evidence about the at-fault driver and examine applicable insurance policies to identify coverage. The support of an attorney could allow a victim burdened by medical difficulties to prepare a well-documented claim.