With the growing popularity of ride-share services like Uber and Lyft over the last several years, the way we get around has changed in Louisiana. New Orleans is one among several cities to award drivers the most rideshare contracts around the nation, and among the top cities where drivers of Uber and Lyft make the most money.
However, this mode of transportation has its fair share of problems, and that’s aside from the negative press in the last few years. However, there’s no need to panic because we have you covered. If you’ve ever been involved in an accident with a rideshare vehicle or want to educate yourself on the complexities of the process of filing a claim, we can help. Truthfully, when it comes to ride-share accidents, things can get a little complicated, which is why a little help can go a long way.
First, it’s good to know what a rideshare company is. A rideshare company allows self-employed drivers who use their own vehicles to pick up and drop off passengers who use their services. Usually Uber, Lyft, and other rideshare companies use mobile applications that can be accessed by a smartphone in which a passenger can request a vehicle to take him/her from one place to another. Information about the driver who will pick you up and drop you off, as well as information about the passenger will be available in the smartphone application so that once the service is complete, payment is made promptly and there is a receipt of services rendered.
With Growing Popularity It’s Important to Educate Yourself
Rideshares are more popular than ever and it’s easy to see why. They cost less than traditional cab services, are more convenient than taking your own vehicle and finding parking, especially in urban centers, and safe, most of the time, especially when coming back from a night out. Rideshare drivers are usually rigorously screened and there is always a record of who has picked you up and from where. However, that does not mean they are 100% safe or perfect, so always stay vigilant.
If There Has Been an Accident
So, if you’ve been in an accident with an Uber or Lyft vehicle in the city of New Orleans, and have sustained injuries, you may have a claim against the ride-share driver. But dependent on whether you’re the driver of a vehicle that has been in an accident with a ride-share vehicle or if you are a passenger in an Uber or Lyft, coverage will differ.
All vehicles that drivers use for rideshare companies have insurance coverage for all persons inside the vehicle. It covers any harm or injury that may be sustained from an accident and medical expenses that may come up due to the fault of the driver. So, proving fault is the first step.
Three things can help determine which driver is at fault.
- If the driver involved in the accident was driving responsibly and not being negligent.
- If the driver breached traffic laws
- If injuries were sustained due to breach of traffic law or negligence
Ultimately, determining fault is almost the same process one goes through with regular car accidents, the difference is about insurance and payouts. Most rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft carry a hefty amount of coverage for injuries caused to persons involved in an accident with a rideshare vehicle. However, compensation is difficult to obtain as a passenger or someone involved in an accident with a rideshare vehicle.
Amount of Coverage
When it comes to insurance coverage after an accident with a rideshare vehicle, things can get complicated. When a driver or passenger has been injured due to a rideshare driver’s negligence, there are certain specifications that amount to different types and dollar values of coverage. Most vehicles are covered by personal insurance policies, however, when the vehicle is being used for a business, personal coverage will not apply.
For instance, dependent on any of these circumstances, insurance coverage will differ if an accident occurs with a rideshare vehicle and the rideshare driver is at fault:
- If a driver has no passenger in the vehicle and the rideshare application is off
- When a driver is waiting for a passenger and has his/her rideshare application activated
- If a driver is picking up a new passenger
- If the driver already has a passenger in the vehicle
For example, if a rideshare driver has not yet turned on the rideshare application and is not going to pick up or drop off a passenger, the car accident will be treated as a regular accident and insurance coverage will be dependent on the driver’s own insurance coverage with nothing to do with the company.
If the Uber or Lyft application is on and the driver is waiting for a passenger but has not yet been sent a request for a ride, there is a liability of $50,000 per person with a total of $100,000 per accident. On the other hand, if a rideshare driver has been sent a request for pickup and then gets into an accident, liability coverage of around $1,000,000 is applicable for both Uber and Lyft.
It is important to be careful when establishing fault and the circumstances under which an accident takes place. Therefore, it is important to contact a law firm and personal injury lawyer who is well-versed in rideshare accidents and experienced in fighting cases for clients who have previously found themselves in this predicament.
Personal injury lawyers can help you gain access to records to determine fault and whether or not a rideshare driver had his/her rideshare application activated at the time of the accident. It is also important to note that rideshare laws are constantly changing and evolving; therefore, a personal injury lawyer can help lead you through complicated legal language and procedures to ensure you are compensated for any injuries sustained to you or your vehicle when in an accident with a rideshare vehicle.