Transportation has changed in a big way since Uber and Lyft came into the public sphere
. Drivers essentially set their own schedules and drive when they wish; this flexibility allows them to have a lot more freedom than they otherwise would have. Initially, Uber and Lyft claimed that the drivers were purely independent contractors
and any accidents or crashes they got in would have to be dealt with independent of the companies. A lawsuit influenced a ruling that declared that the companies can be held liable and the drivers are technically employees. As such, the drivers acquired certain rights. As Uber and Lyft grew, so did the need for expansion, and they began to partner with rental car companies to provide vehicles to those who needed them to drive
. Now, there are many individuals on the road who drive rental cars for Uber and Lyft
instead of using their own vehicles. In the event of an accident, there may be confusion and uncertainty, though. Therefore, it is in your best interest to consult with an expert attorney at the Downtown LA Law Group
if you wish to file a lawsuit after an Uber or Lyft rental car accident
Rental Companies and Rideshare
Uber and Lyft both have partnerships with various rental car companies to provide vehicles to prospective drivers. A few of these companies are Fair, Hertz, and Maven
. Each one has specific policies and costs for the drivers. Hertz, for example, is the most commonly used rental system across both rideshare programs. It costs $219 per week to rent a vehicle (alongside a refundable $200 security deposit), but that does not include gas and other fees. Fair is cheaper, coming in at $195 per week
with the same amount for a security deposit, while Maven offers numerous types of vehicles, the baseline being $199 per week for compact cars, but moving all the way up to $325 per week for electric vehicles.
It is important to understand what you receive by signing up with these rental companies. In general, you get roadside assistance, insurance coverage, routine maintenance, and more. Therefore, you are off the hook for a lot of the basic needs that vehicle owners have.
However, that does not mean that you forfeit certain rights merely because the rental company or Uber or Lyft pick up the slack for you. Drivers have the same rights as everyone else; they can file claims, follow through on lawsuits, and receive compensation if they are victims of negligent action.
Accountability in Rideshare Rental Car Accidents
Uber and Lyft drivers in rental cars may get into auto accidents, and if you were injured in such a crash, you may want to pursue compensation for your injuries. You have to be aware of who you can sue, though, and what you can do for your lawsuit.
With any rental car company, you cannot primarily sue the business if you rented the vehicle from them and you were in an accident. This is the same as if you were borrowing a car for a friend; merely not having your own car at the time of the accident does not automatically transfer liability to another party or the owner.
You can only sue Fair, Maven, or Hertz if the rental car you rented was defective in some way and was not properly inspected prior to the rental. If there were brake problems, engine troubles, tire issues, and other things wrong with the car but they went unnoticed or they were not made apparent, you can take legal action against the company after an accident. Further, if you were hit by a rental car driver, you may be able to sue the company if it can be proven that they unlawfully rented the vehicle in the first place. The baseline requirements to rent the cars include being 21 years of age or older, having a valid debit or credit card, being in a present state of mind at the time of the rental, and more. Some companies elect to simply rent vehicles for profit without checking anything at all, which can lead to underage drivers behind the wheel and those who were inebriated or intoxicated getting on the road.
Still, if you were driving a Fair, Maven, or Hertz vehicle for Uber or Lyft
at the time of an accident, you have the same rights as other drivers. You can take legal action against the responsible party, file a claim with your own insurance company, or even sue Uber or Lyft.
Causes of Accidents
Accidents are generally cased because of negligence and inattention. Drivers are not as careful on the road as they should be, especially in the age of smart phones. A lot of drivers tend to drive with their phones in their hands, texting and using their GPS systems to navigate. Others are simply dangerous drivers.
It is not uncommon for drivers to run red lights, run stop signs, speed, tailgate, turn without signaling, stop in the middle of intersections, drive while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, drive while tired, and more.
There is also the potential that outside forces could influence how a driver behaves and whether or not an accident will happen For instance, inclement weather like rain and fog will cause a driver to be more cautious, but it will make driving conditions more dangerous. It is easier for drivers to lose control and visibility will decrease, causing them to see less of the surrounding environment and fewer approaching vehicles. The terrain may also have a part in accidents, such as sharp hills and sudden curves, but not to the same extent that driver error causes accidents.
Further, because rental cars are essentially handled by many different drivers over the course of a few months, the maintenance may be faulty. Although basic maintenance is included in the cost of the car, some companies may forego it or ignore it simply to save costs. There may be a number of issues with the vehicle that could cause accidents, as noted above.
If you have been hurt, it is recommended that you contact an attorney.
Rights of Rental Car Drivers
When you are driving for Uber or Lyft and using a rental car, you have the right to sue someone who has caused an accident and harmed you. You can file a personal injury claim
against the party and receive compensation for your damages in the form of lost wages, medical bills, property damage, pain and suffering, and more.
Rental car drivers may also be able to sue Uber or Lyft if the companies refuse to abide by the limits they set on their insurance policies. If Uber or Lyft does not cover liability, for example, the company can be sued. If you were in a rental car and you were involved in a hit and run accident, you could collect uninsured or underinsured coverage through the company or through Uber or Lyft. If they refuse the payment though, you can take legal action.
As a driver on the road, you have every right to your safety and health. You should not be in situations that could compromise your safety, and many drivers violate these basic cases.
Insurance Coverage for Rental Cars and Uber and Lyft Drivers
Each rental company offers its own insurance to cover you during the time you have the vehicle. The weekly fees go into paying these costs. The insurance coverage varies from company to company, but for the most part, they cover the state minimums for auto damage, liability, and uninsured/underinsured motorist damages while you are not using the app to drive and pick up passengers.
If you are using the app, you are in one of two periods. You may have the app on but no rides requested, which means you have limited coverage ($50,000 for liability and damages
), or you may be en route to a passenger or completing a ride, which means you have maximum coverage ($1,000,000 in liability and $250,000 in uninsured/underinsured motorist damage).
Let Us Help
Our law firm, the Downtown LA Law Group
, has been handling claims against Uber
and Lyft for years, and we have also litigated numerous lawsuits against the rental car companies providing rideshare vehicles for the businesses. We know the best tactics to succeed and will do everything in our power to win your claim for you. We have recovered hundreds of millions of dollars for our clients and we won’t stop negotiating the right compensation for you until we are satisfied with the result.
Call our offices today for a free legal consultation to discuss your case. We will tell you what we feel you can win and what steps you ought to take. We will also give you our zero fee guarantee if you hire us. This promises that you won’t pay a dime out of pocket for our services, and we will only get the money from the insurance company if we win. If we lose, we get nothing at all.
For more information on your rights as a rental car driver for Uber or Lyft, call the Downtown LA Law Group
today at (888) 649-7166
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