In most respects, Uber and Lyft drivers are just like any other drivers. They need to have valid licenses, keep their cars in safe and working condition, follow the rules of the road and drive responsibly, and maintain insurance as required under the law. But like all drivers, those transporting passengers using ridesharing apps can and do get into motor vehicle accidents.
Accidents involving ridesharing vehicles can result in severe injuries to passengers, occupants of other cars, and pedestrians. When that happens, and the injury victim wants to pursue a claim against the Uber or Lyft driver, the differences between them and other drivers become more apparent.
In the shock and immediate aftermath of an Uber or Lyft accident, your first priority is the same as in any accident: medical attention for yourself and anyone else who may be hurt. Provide police with your information and your accurate recollection of the events surrounding the accident and get the names and contact information from any witnesses who may have seen the accident.
It’s crucial that you get the name and insurance information of the Uber or Lyft driver, as well as the insurance information for the ridesharing company for whom they work. Then, as soon as possible, contact an experienced auto accident attorney to discuss the incident and ensure that your right to seek compensation for any injuries is preserved and protected.
Multiple Insurers May Be Involved
When you’re driving your own vehicle on your own time and get into an accident with another driver who is doing the same, there will likely be two insurance companies involved – yours and the other driver’s. But when a ride-share driver is involved, he or she may have more than one insurance policy and company that may cover liability and damages caused by the accident. That is in addition to the insurance policy covering any other driver who was involved and may be responsible for the crash.
Since Uber and Lyft drivers use their own vehicles to transport passengers, and also drive those vehicles for their personal use, they must have their own liability insurance like all drivers in Louisiana. But New Orleans also requires ridesharing companies to provide liability insurance to cover injuries that happen when drivers are “on the clock.” Specifically, drivers are covered under the ridesharing company’s primary insurance policy from “app on” (the time at which a driver activates the app and is ready to pick up riders) to “app off” (when the driver is no longer accepting ride requests).
This means that if you get in an accident with an Uber or Lyft driver who is not accepting ride requests and is driving on his or her own time, any claim for injuries will be handled by that driver’s personal insurance. If, however, you were a paying passenger or were hit by an Uber or Lyft driver who had the app on and was accepting ride requests, both the driver’s and the ridesharing company’s policy may be implicated.
It should be noted that many drivers’ personal policies have a “commercial activity” exclusion which may apply when they are using their vehicles for ridesharing purposes, leaving the ridesharing company’s policy as the primary policy for claims arising from an accident.
It May Be Another Driver’s Fault
If you’re injured in a ridesharing motor vehicle accident, you can make a claim against the driver as well as the ridesharing company. However, as in any car accident, whom you can recover compensation from or whether you can obtain any compensation at all depends on your ability to prove who was at fault. Just because Uber and Lyft and their drivers carry insurance doesn’t mean their insurance companies will accept responsibility if you make a claim against them. They may assert that the accident wasn’t their driver’s fault but that another driver is to blame. And when a claim is made against the other driver, his or her insurer will no doubt try to pin the responsibility on the ridesharing driver.
Don’t Get Bullied by Insurance Companies After Your Ridesharing Accident
These attempts by insurers to shield themselves from any liability can make recovering compensation a complicated and frustrating process for injury victims. Additionally, these insurers may try to bully injury victims into accepting quick and cheap settlements which may be far below the amounts they deserve.
These nickel-and-dime tactics are one reason it is so important to speak with an experienced New Orleans car accident lawyer if you’ve been hurt in a ridesharing accident. At Lamothe Law Firm, we don’t allow insurance companies to take advantage of our clients and fight tirelessly to get the maximum amount of compensation available for ridesharing accident injuries and losses.
Please contact the Lamothe Law Firm to arrange for a free initial consultation to discuss your ridesharing accident claim.