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Nearly half of all Lyft users prefer utilizing this increasingly popular rideshare service than driving their vehicles. In fact, Lyft has corned nearly 40% of the U.S. rideshare market. Most Los Angeles commuters spend over an hour traversing L.A.’s extensive freeway system each day, and studies indicate commuters spend nearly $10,000 per year on transportation costs. These statistics fueled L.A.’s demand for cost-effective rideshare services.
Despite Lyft drivers achieving the highest overall consumer satisfaction rating, rideshare accidents commonly occur in the City of Angels. California recently passed comprehensive ride-app services legislation addressing the unique legal issues presented by transportation network platforms. However, even some attorneys struggle to apply these abstract and complex regulations. Injured drivers, passengers, and third parties need dedicated Lyft accident attorneys to maximize available compensation following rideshare crashes. Consider discussing your rights after an L.A. Lyft collision with our dedicated The Ride App Attorneys today.
Ride request applications created a new type of transportation service. Instead of employed drivers operating company-owned vehicles, i.e., taxi and bus services, Lyft’s platform connects everyday drivers using personal vehicles with app users. Drivers don’t need special commercial transportation licenses or cars. Instead, it’s closer to paying a friend to drive you to the airport. The Lyft app offers L.A. tourists, commuters, and residents one-click ride services for a fraction of traditional taxi costs. However, it also creates confusing insurance and liability issues.
Normally, employers must compensate injured claimants for any injuries caused by working employees (vicarious liability). This system places responsibility for car accidents on negligent drivers, vehicle owners, and employers. Ride app accidents differ because Lyft drivers are not Lyft employees. They are independent contractors under California law (BPC § 7451) provided Lyft does not:
If Lyft penalized its drivers for refusing to accept requests or work certain hours, i.e., limited their application time, it could lose certain legal protections. Courts might consider the driver a Lyft employee, not an independent contractor. This status change makes Lyft legally responsible for injury judgments against negligent Lyft drivers. L.A. rideshare attorneys typically question drivers about their interaction with Lyft and demand legal compliance evidence during liability investigations.
California’s ride-app legislation, the Protect App-Based Drivers and Services Act (Cal. BPC §§ 7448, et seq.), grants Lyft legal protections in exchange for certain insurance and driver safety concessions. Injury lawyers might hold rideshare companies directly liable if they violated the following regulations.
State law (BPC § 7459) requires app-based drivers to complete passenger safety training before providing transportation services. Lyft must generally provide and certify completion before registering drivers. This training must include:
Additionally, L.A. Lyft drivers may not provide rideshare services for more than 12 hours in a 24-hour period without taking a six-hour rest break. Lyft must enforce this anti-fatigue regulation by monitoring, logging out, and temporarily suspending overworked drivers from utilizing its application. Failure to do so may result in liability for fatigue-related accidents.
After applying to drive with Lyft, the company must perform extensive driver background checks. These checks must cover national and local criminal databases and look for serious offenses, including sexual misconduct and motor vehicle crimes. Lyft should also check drivers’ DMV records and verify their license and vehicle registration status. Lyft cannot approve drivers with certain convictions, such as drunk driving and sexual harassment, on their criminal records. Doing so could make the company directly liable for related injuries, such as crashing a Lyft vehicle while intoxicated or sexually harassing passengers.
Likewise, BPC § 7460 requires the network company to suspend drivers during drug and alcohol investigations related to crashes, passenger, or third-party reports. App providers must adopt a zero-tolerance approach to impaired driving in L.A. Permitting drivers to provide Lyft services after drug/alcohol complaints could result in substantial liability. Further, attorneys might hold Lyft responsible for allowing drivers to operate vehicles after accidents or complaints about driver conduct. If Lyft knew about potential reckless driving incidents and failed to protect consumers, it might bear liability for subsequent driver accidents. Every case differs, but experienced ride app lawyers should investigate each of these potential claims.
Most car accident cases settle with liable auto insurance companies regardless of ride-app use. As such, L.A. rideshare accident lawyers realistically focus on triggering Lyft’s $1,000,000 insurance policy following crashes. This high-value personal injury coverage sufficiently compensates most claimants after rideshare accident injuries, which commonly include:
However, only certain Lyft accidents qualify for this insurance coverage.
Lyft drivers often work for multiple ride-app companies and use their vehicles for personal purposes. Because ride apps go wherever the driver does, the driver’s activity status when the accident occurred dictates the applicable insurance coverage:
Lyft’s umbrella coverage only applies if the driver caused the accident while actively providing rideshare services, such as the time between accepting and completing a request. It does not cover accidents if riders/drivers cancel or abandon the request. Ride-app drivers may cycle through each of these legal stages every hour, which complicates Lyft insurance claims.
Injured claimants often demand settlements from multiple insurers, including Lyft’s statutory policy, another driver’s auto policy, and the Lyft operator’s personal policy. Adjusters and attorneys often spend months determining which insurer bears liability for Lyft crashes and may litigate the issues. Once adjusters and attorneys agree on coverage and appropriation liability between involved drivers, injured claimants may demand traditional personal injury damages. These most often include the following:
Insurance settlement requests may include demands for reimbursement and payment for anticipated future needs. For example, economic experts can calculate the anticipated value of lost wages stemming from Lyft accident injuries. Insurers often multiply your direct economic damages, i.e., medical bills and lost wages, to estimate pain and suffering awards. Injured claimants and their families – whether Lyft drivers, passengers, or third parties – should not accept insurance payments until speaking with Los Angeles rideshare counsel. Doing so may waive your right to litigate insurance denials and receive needed compensation after Lyft accidents.
The dedicated attorneys at The Ride App Attorneys understand the complex regulations governing Los Angeles Lyft crashes. Each accident often involves multiple insurers and defendants fighting to avoid injury liability. Even if Lyft denied injury coverage, multiple California regulations protect the public from unsafe rideshare drivers. Experienced rideshare liability lawyers may challenge insurance denials, file personal injury lawsuits, and demand safety compliance information. Eligible clients may qualify for contingency fee arrangements, meaning we don’t get paid unless you recover Lyft accident compensation. This delayed fee structure allows injured claimants to retain legal counsel without any upfront fees or out-of-pocket costs. We might even front all litigation and expert witness costs. It often costs nothing to speak with our rideshare injury team at The Ride App Attorneys. Don’t challenge Lyft’s corporate lawyers without our knowledgeable attorneys on your side. Call our L.A. office today or contact us online for a free Lyft crash consultation.
Tenny Mirzayan is the best out there. She handled our car accident case, and destroyed the other side. Farmers Insurance offered us $0, and she got us deep into the six figures. She did not let us get pushed around. Thank you!!!