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Considered one of the best cities for Lyft drivers, hundreds of rideshare vehicles travel through San Diego daily. Ride-app drivers frequently transport passengers between local airports, hotels, and attractions. The Lyft app also provides needed services to recently transferred military families for a fraction of local taxi and rental car costs. Its innovative network forever changed the private transportation industry and California’s accident liability laws.
Lyft California does not employ drivers or own rideshare vehicles. Instead, private drivers contract with Lyft after passing driving record and criminal background checks. Drivers utilize personally-owned vehicles while Lyft provides the driver-rider connection platform (Lyft app). This unique relationship strategically protects Lyft from rideshare accident liability, potentially limiting injured claimants’ compensation rights. The dedicated San Diego Lyft accident attorneys at The Ride App Attorneys understand the legal complexities surrounding rideshare crash liability. If you were involved in a Lyft collision, discuss your compensation rights with us today.
Rideshare drivers often provide services when users wish to avoid drinking and driving, work during heavy traffic conditions, or travel to unfamiliar destinations. Many dedicated Lyft users actually prefer ridesharing to driving. As such, ride-app drivers frequently operate during late-night hours and in poor weather and traffic conditions. Many also transport passengers to unfamiliar destinations. These factors exacerbate the following common car crash causes:
Unlike many professional and commercial drivers, rideshare operators do not require special licenses or road training. They’re subject to the same risk factors facing everyday San Diego commuters. Driving for Lyft also requires near-constant interaction with rideshare and GPS applications, increasing drivers’ chances of causing distracted driving accidents.
Lyft California operates under Prop. 22, now officially the Protect App-Based Drivers and Services Act (Cal. BPC §§ 7448, et seq.). Drivers remain independent contractors under this legislation if Lyft provides them with complete scheduling and employment freedoms. These freedoms must include the right to drive for competitors. Injured claimants – including Lyft drivers, riders, and third parties – cannot generally sue Lyft (the corporation) after car accidents. Instead, traditional car crash liability rules apply unless Lyft violated certain app-based driver and safety provisions. Experienced Lyft liability attorneys in San Diego frequently scrutinize ride-app evidence to ensure rideshare companies abided by the following laws.
All California ride-app companies must conduct traffic and criminal background checks on potential drivers. Under BPC § 7458, applicants may not drive with Lyft if they committed certain reckless driving, violent felony, hate, or sexual offenses. Personal injuries resulting from background check violations often support strict liability claims against Lyft.
Likewise, rideshare companies must use discretion when approving drivers with poor but not disqualifying driving records. A few speeding tickets might not prevent San Diego drivers from providing rideshare services, but Lyft could bear responsibility for subsequent speeding accidents. Rideshare lawyers frequently begin claims investigations by pulling the negligent driver’s DMV and criminal records. Any red flags could support negligent hiring or strict liability litigation against Lyft California.
Before driving with Lyft, the company must ensure drivers undergo mandatory education and safety training. This safety program must include the following areas outlined in BPC § 7459:
Lyft drivers must satisfactorily complete this training before engaging with the platform. Safety training failures could result in strict liability for driver negligence. Likewise, consumers subject to sexual harassment while riding with Lyft might demand specialized compensation from Lyft California. Drivers often receive multiple complaints in such cases, which Lyft must record. An attorney could request previous rider reviews and suspension records to determine whether Lyft unlawfully contacted dangerous drivers.
Rideshare companies must take a zero-tolerance stance on driver impairment. California law requires taking affirmative action to suspend drivers after receiving DUI reports from consumers or police. Once reported, Lyft must prevent the driver from utilizing its services during the investigation. Reports might include allegations that the driver operated the rideshare under the influence of alcohol, prescription drugs, illegal controlled substances, or marijuana. Any substance impacting the driver’s ability to provide safe rideshare services should result in suspension.
According to the CDC, fatigue impairs drivers in similar ways to alcohol. California’s app-based driver rest statute (BPC § 7461) places certain activity limitations on drivers. Drivers may not remain logged in to the Lyft app for more than 12 hours over a 24 period. Lyft must automatically log drivers out of the application after hitting these limitations and lock drivers out for six continuous hours. Practically, these limitations do not prevent drivers from simply switching applications, i.e., from Lyft to Uber, but they can place liability on negligent rideshare companies.
Lyft may bear direct liability to injured third parties – including pedestrians, riders, and other drivers – if Lyft violated the above California rideshare laws. Ride-app lawyers frequently demand statutory compliance information to determine whether any legal violations contributed to the accident. Lyft’s responsibility for paying personal injury judgments also depends on the negligent driver’s employment status. It’s only vicariously liable for injuries caused by working employees, not independent contractors. Provided Lyft follows California’s driver independence provisions (BPC § 7451), its drivers remain independent contractors protecting Lyft from injury liability.
Despite these legal complexities, Lyft still provides drivers and third parties with up to $1,000,000 in accident injury coverage. However, this coverage only protects riders, pedestrians, and other drivers only if the Lyft operator:
Drivers injured while logged into the application but not providing services may demand injury and lost wage compensation under separate injury policies. However, Lyft’s umbrella policy does not cover third parties in such cases. It also does not cover injuries incurred while the driver is logged out of the Lyft application. Drivers often change their activity status and app services multiple times an hour. As such, it’s essential to link app engagement with the accident. Injured claimants should immediately contact San Diego police following the crash and request Lyft preserve user activity evidence.
You must qualify for this high-value umbrella coverage before demanding injury compensation. A San Diego Lyft accident lawyer can help claimants gather eligibility evidence, including:
This evidence opens the door for Lyft insurance settlements following common accident injuries such as fractures, contusions, concussions, whiplash, shoulder strains, knee damage, and herniated discs. Claimants with severe injuries, including paralysis, burns, or brain trauma, should immediately contact San Diego rideshare injury counsel for assistance. Injured Lyft drivers and their families might also demand certain specialized coverage following disabling car accidents.
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Despite the specific liability laws addressing ride-app services, rideshare accidents generally result in liability and coverage disputes between auto insurers. Unrepresented claimants should expect initial insurance denials, delays, or lowball settlement offers following Lyft accidents. Some rideshare drivers hide details about the crash to prevent potential app suspension, leaving passengers to litigate personal injury claims.
Because California law requires Lyft and related transportation network companies to provide umbrella insurance coverage, your attorney could challenge bad faith claims denials in court. An insurer’s liability determination does not establish your compensation rights or prevent you from demanding injury judgments in San Diego.
Unfortunately, claimants without attorneys seldom recover fair settlements following Lyft accidents. High-value insurers frequently overwhelm families with evidentiary and medical requests, forcing many claimants to accept low settlements. Do not let Lyft’s corporate lawyers prevent you from demanding just compensation. You may demand reimbursement for the following actual damages following rideshare accidents:
Represented clients often recover five to ten times more damages than unrepresented claimants, and most injury lawyers do not charge claimants any upfront service fees.
The dedicated San Diego Lyft accident team at The Ride App Attorneys offers contingency fee arrangements to eligible clients. This delayed payment structure means we don’t get paid unless you successfully recover your needed compensation after devastating Lyft accidents, and you pay nothing out of pocket. Schedule your free and confidential injury consultation today by calling or connecting with us online.