Rideshare Accident Attorneys in Metairie, Louisiana
If you’re out on the road in your own vehicle and someone rams into you and causes you personal injuries, the path to seeking compensation for your injuries and damages is pretty clear. You can report the accident to your own insurance company, which will then seek compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurance, or you can file your claim directly with the at-fault driver’s insurance company, or you can simply file a personal injury and/or property damage lawsuit against the other driver.
But what if you’re being transported in a rideshare vehicle (like an Uber or Lyft) and your driver crashes into a lamppost and you suffer injuries? Or perhaps your rideshare vehicle is struck by another vehicle. How do you go about making a claim to recover damages for your injuries, including medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and everything else?
Rideshare drivers are required to have auto insurance, but auto insurance for private vehicles doesn’t cover damages when the vehicle is being used for commercial purposes, that is, when transporting people for pay. Can you sue Uber or Lyft? What exactly can you do?
If you or a loved one has been injured in a rideshare accident in or around Metairie, Louisiana, contact our legal team at the Law Office of Bruce C. Betzer.
Our personal injury/rideshare accident attorneys understand the intricacies of filing claims or lawsuits in accidents involving Uber or Lyft vehicles. We can help you navigate the system to seek the just compensation due to you. We proudly serve clients in Jefferson Parish, Orleans Parish, St. Bernard Parish, St. Tammany Parish, and throughout the state of Louisiana.
Who Is Liable in a Rideshare Accident?
When it comes to rideshare accidents, matters aren’t as clear as when two privately-insured drivers get involved in an accident. Rideshare drivers have insurance for their vehicles, but that insurance won’t cover any accident while they are engaged in commercial activities, that is, when carrying passengers for a profit. So, who is going to be liable and pay for any injuries or property damages you suffer because of a rideshare incident?
Let’s take one example to show you the complexity. You’re crossing the street in a clearly-marked crosswalk and a rideshare driver strikes you, causing injuries. Where do you turn to recover from your injuries? If the driver does not have his or her rideshare app turned on, then that driver is personally responsible under his or her own insurance policy.
If the app is on, but there are no rideshare passengers, that presents one scenario. If the app is on, and passengers are being transported for a fee, that’s still another option. Both Uber and Lyft have implemented liability policies when drivers have their apps on, but the limits are different depending on whether there are passengers who have been picked up or are being picked up.
When the app is on and the driver is waiting for a ride request, Uber and Lyft offer $50,000 in bodily injury coverage for one person and $100,000 for all injured persons, along with $25,000 for property damage. When the app is on and the driver is picking up passengers or has passengers onboard, the rideshare companies offer $1 million in liability protection.
Can I Sue Uber or Lyft Directly?
The rideshare parents have two means to deter lawsuits. One is that they claim their drivers are independent contractors and not employees, and thus, they are not “vicariously liable” for the actions of their drivers. The other deterrence comes from the terms and conditions contained in the app that people use to arrange a ride.
These terms and conditions require riders to submit to arbitration rather than suing the parent company. The question remains, however, whether this applies to passengers who accompany someone who requested the ride on the app. For instance, Joe requests the ride on the app, but Frank and Cecilia merely ride along. Do Frank and Cecilia have to submit to arbitration?
What to Do After a Rideshare Accident
Both Uber and Lyft have forms on their websites by which to report an accident. Similar to making a claim with an insurance company, a representative will likely contact you to get the details of the accident, but beware. These representatives serve a similar role as that of a claims adjuster for an insurance company. They’ll try to probe you to pin the blame on you, at least partially, so they can lowball or even deny any settlement. Don’t let them. Get an attorney to deal with the rideshare parent.
What you need to do immediately following the accident is report it to 911 and get the police to come and investigate. It's also best to call for immediate medical attention.
If you’re not that injured, then you need to collect evidence, which includes taking pictures of what happened, getting the driver’s contact and insurance information, and talking to witnesses and getting their statements and contact information. When you get a chance, write down or record every detail as you remember it. Then contact an experienced personal injury attorney.
Rideshare Accident Attorneys in Metairie, Louisiana
Rideshare accidents are complicated. Uber and Lyft also have attorneys on staff ready to challenge any claim coming their way. You don’t want to deal with the legal team they can array against you on your own. If you or your loved one has been injured in a rideshare accident in or around Metairie, Louisiana, contact us at the Law Office of Bruce C. Betzer. We will aggressively and diligently fight to secure your compensation.