Ridesharing applications have revolutionized the ways in which we get around today in Louisiana. Ridesharing refers to a vehicle service in which drivers are paired with customers in need of a ride, and the drivers chauffeur their customers in their private vehicles. Ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft have spiked in popularity in the last few years and have rapidly taken over the transportation industry with the ridesharing industry being estimated at nearly $61 billion. For instance, Uber alone has over 3.8 million drivers while Lyft has about 1.4 million drivers in their global network.
Because of the influx of ridesharing users and more drivers on the roads in large cities, it is not uncommon for accidents to occur involving these drivers and their passengers. Due to the fact that drivers are not classified as employees but rather as independent contractors, many of these companies make attempts to avoid liability when an accident occurs. Because of this, it is important to have an attorney with experience handling ridesharing cases to assist you with your claim and assure your rights are protected. So, here are some steps to take when reporting an Uber/Lyft-involved accident.
Steps to Take After an Uber/Lyft-Involved Accident
The moments following an accident as a passenger in a ridesharing vehicle can be very confusing. However, the following steps can be taken to assure that you, the driver, and other drivers are safe and the proper information and documentation is collected at the scene. This information can be used by an attorney to support your claim if you are injured in the accident.
- First, call emergency services and seek medical attention if you or any of the other drivers are injured. Even if the injuries are not visible, seeking medical attention is the best way to assure there are no head or internal injuries. Be sure to make the physician aware that you were involved in an accident so they can meticulously evaluate you for any potential injuries.
- Next, Louisiana law requires that accidents be reported to police if there is damage in excess of $500. When speaking with law enforcement, allow the drivers to explain the incident. Police reports will contain important information for your case, and typically officers will assign fault if the accident indicates that a driver was operating their vehicle in violation of the law.
- Next, you should contact the company. Using the phone application or their website, both Uber and Lyft have options for reporting an accident to their company.
- Next, exchange information with the other drivers and take photographs of the scene. Obtaining photographs and documenting the area surrounding the accident as well as the damage is done to the vehicles will help a doctor or your attorney better assess your injuries. Additionally, if any of your injuries are outwardly visible, take photographs of them as well.
- Next, check for witnesses. Witnesses can offer valuable reports to help your case. They will provide an unbiased story of how the accident happened. If there are witnesses, collect their information. You can also scan the area for any businesses with surveillance cameras that may have video recorded the accident.
- Lastly, if you see a physician, keep copies of these medical records. It is important to maintain a record of all of your injuries and the treatments you’ve gotten. Continuing all recommended treatment is pertinent to the success of your case in order for your damages to be reasonably calculated.
Rideshare Insurance Requirements
When a person is injured in an accident as a ridesharing passenger, different types of insurance coverage may apply. When you are injured in an accident in Louisiana involving a rideshare driver, you can seek compensation from the rideshare driver’s personal auto insurance policy, the rideshare company’s third-party liability insurance policy, the other driver’s personal auto insurance policy, or from your own policy providing uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.
However, important to note is that the coverage which is provided by a rideshare company’s third-party liability insurance policy usually will depend upon the point the driver is at in completing a ride. For example, Uber’s insurance coverage is as follows:
- When the driver is offline or the driver application is off: During this time, the driver’s personal insurance coverage applies.
- When the driver is available and waiting for a request: During this time, if your personal insurance does not apply, Uber maintains policies covering $50,000 in bodily injury per person, $100,000 in bodily injury per accident, and $25,000 in property damage per accident.
- When the driver is en route to pick up or drop off riders: During this time, Uber maintains policies covering $1,000,000 third-party liability, uninsured/underinsured motorist bodily injury, and contingent comprehensive and collision. This last category includes UM coverage, but La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 45:201.1 permits Transportation Network Companies, such as Uber or Lyft, to waive the underinsured motorist coverage. The same statute shifts the responsibility of acquiring UM coverage for ride-sharing activity under personal insurance policies to transportation network company drivers.
The Importance of Using Caution When Discussing Rideshare Accident Claims
One tricky aspect of accidents involving rideshare drivers is establishing liability and discussing your claim with an insurance company. If you end up contacting the insurance company and making a statement before speaking with an attorney, it is vital that you use caution. When there are multiple insurance companies involved in an accident, they will attempt to place the blame on the other drivers or their insurance companies. Additionally, they will try to provide as little compensation as possible for your claim. Hiring an attorney, having access to their knowledge regarding these types of claims, and having them handle these types of communications can help you steer clear of any of these potential issues.
Our attorneys at Cueria Law LLC have valuable experience with these types of claims. If you have been injured in an accident involving a rideshare vehicle like an Uber or Lyft, it is important to speak with an experienced attorney. The laws and insurance practices that apply to these situations differ from those of a normal auto accident. Call our experienced and dedicated team of attorneys at the Cueria Law Firm for a free consultation today!