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June 14, 2024

Injured in an Uber or Lyft Rideshare Accident?

by Evan Breaux | Auto Accidents | 0 comments

Filing a claim after a rideshare accident with Lyft or Uber in New Orleans, Louisiana can be tricky. In this article, we’ve got all the info you need to know for dealing with the rideshare driver’s auto insurance policy, insurance coverage, corporate attorneys, and receiving the compensation you deserve.

Rideshare services in New Orleans offer convenience, flexibility, and safety. This might mean arriving at a festival without the hassle of parking, spending a wild night out in the French Quarter and not driving under the influence, or getting a ride to an appointment when you find yourself without a car. However, the increasing prevalence of rideshare vehicles on the streets has also given rise to a new set of legal challenges, particularly when accidents occur.

The experienced personal injury attorneys at Breaux Law Firm have closely observed and navigated the intricate landscape of rideshare accident claims in New Orleans. We know the challenges faced by accident victims seeking compensation and the nuanced legal considerations that arise in these cases. And we know all too well the tactics used by the insurance companies of corporations like Uber and Lyft to avoid paying an injured rider.

But we’re here to help. Our motto? “Personal injury, personal attention.” As a family-owned and -operated business, we treat our clients as if they were members of our own family. We care about getting an injured car accident victim on the road to recovery and equipped with the compensation they deserve.

Complex Liability Determination

One of the primary challenges in rideshare accident claims is establishing liability. Traditional motor vehicle accidents typically involve two parties: the plaintiff and the defendant. However, rideshare accidents often involve multiple parties, including the rideshare driver, the rideshare company, and potentially other motorists. Determining who is at fault requires a thorough investigation into the circumstances surrounding the accident, often requiring legal expertise.

As we’ll cover below, much of the liability depends on if the driver was “on the clock” or not at the time of the collision.

Hiring a lawyer like our team at Breaux Law Firm takes all of the guesswork out of filing a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. In working with Breaux Law Firm, for example, we emphasize the importance of promptly collecting evidence, such as witness statements, surveillance footage, and accident reports. Identifying and proving who caused the accident is a crucial first step in pursuing a successful claim.

Insurance Coverage, Apps, and Timing

Rideshare companies typically provide insurance coverage for their drivers, but the extent of coverage can vary depending on the driver’s status at the time of the accident. Rideshare drivers are classified into 4 main periods:

(1) The driver is online, and the app is active, waiting for a ride request.
(2) The driver has accepted a ride request and is en route to pick up the passenger.
(3) The driver has a rideshare passenger in the vehicle.
(4) The driver has no passengers and the app is not active, meaning they are not “on the clock.”

The insurance coverage during each period differs, and understanding these distinctions is crucial for accident victims seeking compensation. The legal team at Breaux Law Firm is well-versed in navigating these intricacies and advising clients on how to receive full and fair financial compensation.

As we discussed in our article “What Happens If the Lyft or Uber Driver Caused the Accident in Louisiana?” if the driver has not turned on the rideshare app, the crash would be treated like any other car accident, meaning the insurance coverage would be limited to the driver’s personal insurance coverage.

If the driver has a Lyft or Uber passenger in the vehicle or has accepted a passenger and is picking up the passenger, there is likely a $1,000,000 commercial coverage from Uber or Lyft that will pay for damages if the rideshare driver is at-fault.” It’s important to distinguish that that level of coverage will not be afforded if a third-party driver was not at fault for the accident.

If the hit by the rideshare driving who falls into categories #1, #2, or #3 above, then the rideshare company’s insurance policy will cover the accident. If the rideshare driver at fault for the accident falls into category #4, then that individual’s personal automobile insurance policy will cover the accident. 

Rideshare accident claims often involve coordination between multiple insurance policies, including the rideshare company’s policy or the personal insurance policy of the rideshare driver. 

Breaux Law Firm stresses the importance of a meticulous examination of insurance policies and a strategic approach to ensure that all available avenues for compensation are explored.

Coordinating between insurance providers and negotiating with them on behalf of clients is a key component in rideshare accident cases — and one more reason why hiring professional help to deal with documentation, information, and insurance companies is your best option.

Unique Legal Considerations for Rideshare Companies

Rideshare corporations have robust legal teams dedicated to protecting their interests. Navigating the legal landscape becomes more challenging when dealing with these corporations and their lawyers.

Breaux Law Firm recognizes the importance of understanding the unique legal considerations associated with rideshare companies, such as contractual agreements, terms of service, and the applicability of state and federal regulations.

The legal team at Breaux Law Firm is well-versed in handling negotiations with rideshare companies and their insurers. Our experience allows us to anticipate potential challenges and strategically approach the legal nuances involved in ridesharing car accident cases.

Issues Surrounding Independent Contractor Status

Rideshare drivers are classified as independent contractors, not employees of the rideshare companies. This classification can have implications for the rideshare company’s liability in the aftermath of an accident.

Establishing the employment relationship — or lack thereof — is a critical factor in rideshare accident claims, as it can impact the level of responsibility the rideshare company acknowledges for the actions of its drivers. To deal with this challenge, the team of lawyers at Breaux Law Firm analyze contractual agreements to understand the driver’s status as an independent contractor and the ensuing responsibility of the rideshare corporation.

Time-Sensitive Nature of Rideshare Accident Claims

Like any personal injury claim, rideshare accident claims are subject to statutes of limitations. In Louisiana, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims is one year from the date of the accident. The time-sensitive nature of these claims underscores the importance of prompt action. A rideshare accident victim should seek professional legal advice as soon as possible after a rideshare accident.

Early involvement allows the legal team to gather evidence, assess liability, and initiate the claims process within the required timeframe. Don’t hesitate to decide if working with a personal injury attorney is the right step! Reputable personal injury firms will offer a free consultation, and will not accept payment until you win your case. 

Emotional and Physical Impact on Victims

Beyond the legal complexities, rideshare accidents often leave victims grappling with physical injuries, emotional trauma, and financial burdens. At Breaux Law Firm, we recognize that each client’s situation is unique. We provide compassionate support to accident victims while pursuing compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, past and present pain and suffering, and other damages.

At Breaux Law Firm, we understand what happens after a car accident and how you might be feeling. Our goal is to ensure that our clients receive the medical care, personalized attention, and full compensation that they deserve.

If you’ve been in an accident, either while a passenger in an Uber or Lyft or via a collision with a person driving for a rideshare company, reach out to us today at (504) 882 0545 or for your free consultation.