What Happens When a Pedestrian is Hit by an Uber or Lyft Driver in California?

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Who is Responsible for Uber or Lyft Accidents in California?

Who is Responsible for Uber or Lyft Accidents in California?

Jun 4, 2021

Although Los Angeles is primarily a driving city – we do love our cars, trucks, and motorcycles – we’re probably all considered pedestrians at one point or another throughout a typical day. And being a pedestrian in the Golden State can be dangerous.

California’s Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) reports that in 2018, 893 pedestrians were killed on California roadways – a 26% increase from 2014. There were also 18,000 pedestrians injured in California that year. From 2009 to 2018, nearly 7,500 California pedestrians died.

As we’ve discussed in previous blogs, ridesharing services such as Uber and Lyft have grown exponentially in popularity. In turn, pedestrian accidents have also increased. Whether there’s a causation effect between the increase in ridesharing service popularity and the increase in pedestrian accidents is not entirely clear at this point (although there certainly appears to be a correlation).

In October 2018, the University of Chicago Booth School of Business issued a report indicating that the arrival of ridesharing is associated with an increase of 2-3% in the number of motor vehicle fatalities and fatal accidents. This increase, according to the study, is not only for vehicle occupants, but also for pedestrians.

But what if you’re a pedestrian and the car that hits you is operated by an Uber or Lyft driver?

Below we’ll take a look at what sort of insurance coverage applies in the event of an unfortunate Uber or Lyft pedestrian accident. We’ll also discuss how to file a personal injury claim to recover financial compensation after being involved in an Uber of Lyft pedestrian accident.

Don’t wait to file a claim for your slip and fall injury. Contact our top-rated, expert slip and fall attorneys online or by phone today.

Uber and Lyft Pedestrian Accidents

While walking in Southern California can have many perils, an Uber or Lyft accident is one of the most likely scenarios give the prevalence of ridesharing. As it turns out, the car doesn’t even need to have a driver in order to cause a pedestrian accident.

In March 2018, a self-driving Uber SUV killed a pedestrian woman who was jaywalking in Tempe, Arizona. The National Transportation Safety Board reported that the SUV had “a fusion” of three sensor systems – radar, lidar, and a camera – designed to detect an object and determine its trajectory. But the report found that the system could not determine whether the woman was a pedestrian, vehicle, or bicycle.

The system design did not include a consideration for jaywalking pedestrians,” the report said.

In this case, because the pedestrian tragically died, a wrongful death claim should be filed against Uber and the manufacturer of the radar, lidar, and camera systems that failed to recognize the woman. Filing a wrongful death lawsuit allows eligible surviving family members of dependents to recover various damages, such as funeral and burial expenses, lost pension or medical benefits, loss of companionship, and more. In this particular instance, Dordulian Law Group’s (DLG) experienced wrongful death attorneys could file the lawsuit on behalf of the heirs and fight to recover a substantial damages award given the facts of the case.

While the Tempe, Arizona, Uber accident is anomaly in terms of the self-driving car, it’s not atypical in terms of the result. Many pedestrian accidents tragically end in fatalities, which is one of the many reasons behind the Vision Zero program in Los Angeles, which aims to eliminate pedestrian accident fatalities by 2025. But if you’re injured in an Uber of Lyft pedestrian accident, a personal injury civil lawsuit is the best means for recovering financial compensation related to losses such as medical expenses, pain and suffering, emotional trauma, lost wages, and more.

To file a personal injury civil suit for an Uber or Lyft pedestrian accident, contact one of DLG’s experienced and dedicated attorneys today online or by phone at 818-322-4056 for a free consultation.

How Much Liability Do Uber and Lyft Drivers Have?

In California, every driver is required to carry a minimum level of liability insurance. The actual liability limit will vary depending on whether the vehicle is being driven for personal or business use. For commercial vehicles, liability limits may be higher when compared to those for personal vehicle drivers.

The minimum liability insurance requirements for private passenger vehicles in California include:

  • $15,000 for injury/death to one person
  • $30,000 for injury/death to more than one person
  • $5,000 for damage to property

However, for commercial vehicles such as Uber and Lyft cars, the liability limits are much higher. Both Uber and Lyft provide $1 million in third-party auto liability coverage. That means that if the app is on (the Uber or Lyft driver is either picking up passengers or in the middle of a ride) and a pedestrian accident occurs, the $1 million liability coverage would apply.

What if the Uber or Lyft Driver Was Off Duty When the Pedestrian Accident Happened?

If an Uber or Lyft driver is available but not in the midst of either picking up or driving a passenger, different liability coverage applies. For both Uber and Lyft, the third-party liability coverage for an available or waiting on request driver is as follows:

  • $50,000 in bodily injury per person
  • $100,000 in bodily injury per accident
  • $25,000 in property damage per accident

If the Uber or Lyft driver’s app is either turned off or offline, his or her own personal auto insurance policy coverage would apply for any pedestrian accident that occurs.

Is Uber or Lyft Liable for Damages in a Pedestrian Accident?

Is Uber or Lyft Liable for Damages in a Pedestrian Accident?
California is a pure comparative negligence state. That means that unless one party is 100% responsible for the pedestrian accident, the involved parties will share a portion of fault. That shared liability will then help determine any monetary damages that are paid to the victim.

For example, if an Uber or Lyft driver hits you while walking through a crosswalk with the street signal clearly displaying WALK – the driver is likely 100% at fault. However, if you were jaywalking but the Uber or Lyft driver was also excessively speeding, the fault might be split 40/60, and then the final financial damages award would be reduced according to the 40% responsibility (i.e. a $1 million dollar settlement would be reduced to $600,000).

But at DLG, we employ an in-house Chief Investigator, Detective Moses Castillo, who previously worked in the LAPD’s elite Central Traffic Division. Castillo investigates every Uber and Lyft pedestrian accident case we handle, uncovering any shred of evidence that can help prove your claim and increase your damages award. In pedestrian accidents, the slightest piece of evidence can be the difference between a $25,000 settlement and a $25 million settlement. At DLG, we understand the importance of gathering evidence, which is why we always launch a thorough investigation led by Detective Castillo for each case.

What Damages Can I Recover After an Uber or Lyft Pedestrian Accident?

Depending on the circumstances of the accident, there are various types of economic and non-economic damages that could be recovered. Let’s review the most common examples below.

Economic Damages:

  • Medical expenses
  • Emergency department treatment
  • Physical Therapy
  • Rehabilitation
  • Lost Wages
  • Lost Earning Capacity

Non-Economic Damages:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional trauma
  • Reduced quality of life
  • Compensation for loss of a limb or disfigurement

Punitive damages are in a separate class and are typically only recovered in cases where an individual demonstrates wanton recklessness or disregard for human life. If the Uber or Lyft driver that caused your pedestrian accident was acting in a considerably reckless manner, punitive damages could be pursued. An example of punitive damages being applied to an Uber or Lyft pedestrian accident might involve a driver who was repeatedly involved in serious accidents, but the rideshare company continued to allow him or her to drive. In such a case, DLG would pursue punitive damages for the pedestrian accident victim.

In Uber or Lyft pedestrian accident cases where a fatality occurs, as discussed above, wrongful death damages would apply.

Can I Sue if I was Partially Responsible for an Uber or Lyft Pedestrian Accident?

Yes. California’s comparative fault laws allow a pedestrian accident victim to recover monetary damages provided the individual is not 100% responsible for the incident. In other words, if the Uber of Lyft driver played any role in terms of the responsibility of the accident, you may file a civil claim to recover your portion of financial damages.

If you believe you have a personal injury case and wish to pursue a claim, don’t hesitate to contact our award-winning expert attorneys online or by phone today.

California’s Best Uber and Lyft Pedestrian Accident Lawyers

At DLG, we care about each and every client. We’re proud of our 98% success record and history of recovering more than $100 million in settlements and verdicts for injured clients like you. If you’re involved in an untimely Uber or Lyft pedestrian accident, finding the best available legal representation is the most important move you can make.

Many mega firms treat their clients like numbers. When a case comes in, settlement mill firms will likely accept the first offer from an insurance company despite the fact that it may not cover the future medical expenses or reduced earning capacity that can impact an Uber or Lyft pedestrian accident victim.

At DLG, we never settle for less than a maximum financial damages award. Our founder and president, Sam Dordulian, previously served as Deputy District Attorney for Los Angeles County. In that role, Dordulian accrued over 100 jury trial victories. That’s the type of experience you can’t find at other personal injury firms. With Dordulian’s courtroom savvy, we never have to settle for anything less than what a client truly deserves, because if the at-fault party tries a lowball offer, we simply take the case to trial and prove it there.

Most personal injury lawyers don’t have that level of courtroom experience, which means they may have to settle for less than you deserve because they simply have no other options. But not at DLG. We prepare every case for trial and fight to ensure you receive the maximum financial compensation you need to make a full recovery – physically, emotionally, and financially.

If you’ve been injured in a California Uber or Lyft pedestrian accident, contact the best firm available to help win your important claim. Let DLG handle the stressful details while you focus on what’s most important – your recovery and well-being.

With DLG, there’s never any upfront costs or hidden fees. You don’t pay a penny until we recover a maximum damages award on your behalf. Take a moment to review some of our client testimonials and you’ll find that at DLG, we take the extra step to ensure your damages award affords you the opportunity to pick up the pieces and move forward after an unfortunate injury. Contact us today online or by phone at 818-322 4056 to learn more about why DLG is the best Uber and Lyft pedestrian accident victims firm in California.

Go See Sam