It is important to understand that when an Uber/Lyft driver is involved an accident with you or if you are a passenger in the vehicle of a Uber/Lyft driver, you are not seeking damages or compensation from the driver him or herself. Uber and Lyft provide insurance for when an incident occurs. It is the insurance carrier, not the driver that has the financial burden to make you whole following a collision.
Following a collision, take these important steps to assure your rights are protected:
WHAT TO DO AFTER AN ACCIDENT
Step 1: Pull over to a safe place or if you are a passenger in the vehicle, have the driver pull over to a safe place.
Step 2:Evaluate your body for pain and injuries. If there are signs of injury, seek medical attention. Take pictures of your injuries immediately after the accident.
Step 3: Gather as much information as possible from everyone involved in the accident. Request a copy of everyone’s (1) driver’s license; (2) insurance information; and (3) vehicle information. If possible, call the police. The police will issue a report. If there are any witnesses, request their information. Under no circumstances, admit fault!
Step 4: Take photographs of all vehicles involved in the accident. If it can be done safely, also take photographs of the intersection or street where the accident occurred.
Step 5: Call our office for a free consultation.
IS THERE A DEADLINE TO TAKE LEGAL ACTION?
In California, a claim against Uber, Lyft, or other ride sharing company is made under the legal theory of “negligence”.
Negligence claims are subject to a two-year statute of limitations. The ‘Statute of Limitations’ is a deadline for a party or parties to bring their legal claim(s) against another. This means that if a lawsuit is not filed within two years from the date of the accident, it may be barred forever. Therefore, it is important to contact an attorney as soon as you believe you have been harmed.
WHAT TYPE OF COMPENSATION AM I ENTITLED TO?
In California, you are entitled to two categories of damages: “Economic” and “Non-Economic” damages. Both Economic and Non-Economic Damages provide compensation for past and future harm.
Economic Damages: Economic damages or “Special Damages” are those that can be quantified. Meaning, it is easy to place a monetary value on them. Economic damages include but are not limited to:
► Cost of repairing or replacing damage to your car or other belongings.
► Loss of use of your vehicle.
► Reimbursement for car rental.
► Medical costs and expenses (past and future).
► Loss of earnings or income resulting from the accident.
► Other out-of-pocket costs and expenses
Non-Economic Damages: Non-Economic Damages or “General Damages” are damages where no exact monetary value can be calculated. Non-Economic damages are awarded both for past and future harm, and include but are not limited to:
► Pain and suffering.
► Mental anguish which includes anxiety, fear, shock, and humiliation.
► Loss of enjoyment of life.
► Emotional distress.
► Loss of love, affection, companionship, sexual relations, and emotional support from your spouse.
DOES MY WIFE OR HUSBAND HAVE A CLAIM?
Yes. In California, a spouse of an injured party may make a claim for what is referred to legally as “Loss of Consortium”. Loss of Consortium is a claim for “Non-Economic” damages that can be awarded to the spouse of an injured party.
California Civil Jury Instruction (CACI) No. 3920 states that when a spouse is harmed, their wife or husband may make a claim for the loss of their “companionship and services”, which includes “loss of love, companionship, comfort, care, assistance, protection, affection, society, moral support, sexual relations, and/or the ability to have children.”