Ridesharing continues to be a popular transportation resource for individuals in metropolitan and expanding areas and is a great way to minimize traffic and drive times. Uber and Lyft stickers on car windows are now abundant just about everywhere you go, and Louisiana roadways are no different. Part of the mass appeal of these services is that they give riders a safe alternative to driving drunk or taking public transportation, and they eliminate the need for parking concerns. While an overall safe mode of transportation, Uber accidents, and Lyft accidents do still happen. Following an accident, you should seek legal advice from an experienced car accident attorney. Reach out to a Baton Rouge rideshare accident lawyer to discuss your rights and legal options for compensation.
Accidents & Rideshare Services
Ridesharing does help to decongest roadways, leading to fewer accidents overall. However, there are still reported accidents for ridesharing in Baton Rouge. Many of these are correlated to inexperienced drivers; tired, fatigued, or distracted drivers; or those in a hurry to make sure that they make it to their destination on time in the hopes of a better tip.
When such accidents occur, it can become difficult and confusing for ridesharing passengers to understand their rights and seek fair compensation from the at-fault parties. If you or a loved one have been injured in a Baton Raton ridesharing accident, you need to seek the help of an experienced rideshare accident lawyer serving Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Uber and Lyft may be decreasing the number of individual drivers on the road, but they aren’t putting much of a dent in the overall number of accidents nationwide.
In 2010, traffic-related deaths were at their lowest of 32,885 since 1949. 2010 was the same year that Uber launched in San Francisco. Possibly coincidentally, traffic-related deaths started to climb in US cities – increasing as much as 2-3% according to The University of Chicago – following the Uber launch. And accidents continue to rise. In 2015, road fatalities increased by 7%, up from 35,000 in 2014. These numbers rose another 5.6% in the following year.
This possible correlation between ride-sharing services and traffic accident deaths has left many wondering if Uber and Lyft truly are safer alternatives to driving.
Rideshare Regulations in Baton Rouge
In June of 2019, Louisiana passed a bill into law regulating app-based ridesharing services. This law is designated under a state-wide regulation from the Department of Transportation and Development.
Most agreed that rideshare services should be held to the same accountability and regulations that taxicab companies must adhere to already. The majority of taxi cab services regulate driver applications, background checks, trip records, and fees for their drivers.
By December 2019 both Uber and Lyft were given specific rules and regulations to follow in the state of Louisiana. According to House Bill No. 575 (Act No. 286), this law will address several points, including reducing impaired driving, better enforcement of traffic laws, and enforcement of background checks both at state and national levels for company drives. Better regulations for insurance and driving records for Lyft and Uber drivers are also expected.
But laws don’t go into effect overnight. There will continue to be bumps in the road and discrepancies in reporting until the new regulations are fully enforced.
Uber and Lyft drivers typically are contracted service workers. So who is liable for damages related to an Uber or Lyft accident in Baton Rouge? How do rideshare industries handle accident claims?
Unsurprisingly, these accident cases can be some of the most complex to handle, filled with pitfalls and legal deep waters. If you are faced with an auto accident involving a rideshare service, you need to contact a Baton Rouge rideshare accident lawyer. Don’t hesitate to get an experienced accident attorney in your court to help you fight for fair compensation on your behalf from major companies like Uber and Lyft. Call (225)500-5000 today.
Stephen Babcock has been a practicing personal injury lawyer in Baton Rouge since 2003, partnering with attorney Chase Tettleton to form what would become Babcock Injury Lawyers. Backed by years of experience in Baton Rouge, our attorneys will work with you every step of your case, and you won’t pay a dime unless we win.
Why do you need an Accident Lawyer Experienced with Uber & Lyft?
Rideshare drivers are considered independent contractors; they are not employees of the company that they drive under. Because these drivers are their own entities, there is not a company to hold accountable in the event of an accident. Instead, the burden of an accident claim rests on the driver, their passengers, and any additional vehicles in the accident claim. And there are more details to consider:
- Several factors determine a rideshare driver’s responsibility in an accident
- The driver’s status with the rideshare service at the time to the accident – whether or not they were active and available for rides or off the clock – also matters
- Whether or not the driver has liability insurance for their vehicle
- What available coverage might the particular rideshare company offer their drivers, if any.
In most cases, Uber and Lyft will require their drivers to carry liability insurance, which is a state law. Some rideshare companies also provide extended coverage for their drivers when they are actively driving.
It is also important to note that there are four status periods or phases for a rideshare driver and the amount of coverage the driver has available will depend on this status.
Period 0: Driver is not available to accept rides. The rideshare app is off – typically means this driver is out of service.
When the app is turned off and a driver is not accepting rides, they are only covered by their own liability insurance. Limited liability coverage can vary from driver to driver, starting at $15,000 per person, $30,000 for bodily injury, and $25,000 for property damage. In this situation, you need to file a compensation claim with the driver’s insurance company.
Period 1: Driver is available to accept rides. The rideshare app is on, the driver is waiting on a ride request.
If an accident occurs during this period, just like period zero, the driver’s personal insurance will be responsible for handling the claim. If the damages exceed the coverage limit of the driver’s insurance, Babcock Injury Lawyers can help you to file a civil suit to recover additional damages.
Period 2: A ride request has been accepted and the driver is en route to collect a passenger. This is typically when a rideshare company’s additional insurance coverage will be in place.
During this time, a rideshare is only liable for the driver, with third party liabilities in place. However, this coverage does not include loss of life for the driver. Your local rideshare attorney will need to prove that the driver had accepted a ride and was on the way to pick up a passenger when the accident you were involved in occurred.
Period 3: Passengers or riders are in the car – rideshare insurance is in full force.
If an accident occurs while a driver has passengers in the car, the rideshare company is fully responsible for damages. Uber or Lyft insurance covers the driver and passengers, as well as third parties, typically including pedestrians, passengers in other vehicles, cyclists, and property damage.
Only 50% of a rideshare company’s insurance covers the victims of an accident. To this end, there are 3 different types of insurance coverage that you should be aware of when it comes to covering accident damage for an Uber or Lyft driver.
Q: What is the difference between Uber and Lyft?
A: Both Uber and Lyft are rideshare companies designed to help you get to your end destination safely. As of now, Uber is a bigger company than Lyft, making it more readily available to passengers in need in the Baton Rouge area.
Uber is available in many countries throughout the world while Lyft is currently only available in America.
Q: What are the requirements for becoming an Uber or Lyft driver?
A: Uber and Lyft drivers don’t need to go through any sort of extra training before starting their jobs. However, Uber drivers do need to meet certain requirements before starting, such as:
- Must be at least 21 years old
- Drivers under the age of 23 need to have at least 3 years of driving experience
- Must have a valid U.S. driver’s license
- The vehicle must have four doors
Lyft drivers must be at least 21 years old, have a valid U.S. driver’s license, and have at least one year of driving experience.
Q: What happens if my driver was at-fault for an accident while I’m in the car?
A: Our rideshare accident lawyer serving Baton Rouge and surrounding areas can only imagine how scary and unsettling this feeling is. Take a breath and know that both Uber and Lyft offer insurance coverage to kick in during these unfortunate situations. This insurance should pay for any injuries that you endure.
Because your claim has the potential to get a little messy, it’s best to lean on a team of Baton Rouge car accident lawyers to help you navigate the ins and outs of your case.
Q:What if another driver was responsible for the accident?
A: There is coverage for these scenarios as well, and there are also policies for underinsured or uninsured drivers as well. While both Uber and Lyft have policies in play, it’s always recommended to get in touch with our Baton Rouge rideshare accident lawyers for guidance throughout the process. This gives you a chance to ask any questions that arise as well.
Q: Is it possible to sue Uber or Lyft as the result of a rideshare accident?
A: It might be a possibility to sue Uber or Lyft directly, but this depends on the specific accident in which you were involved. Because Uber and Lyft drivers are considered independent contractors, it can be more difficult and complicated to file a lawsuit.
In the case that an accident occurs without a passenger in the vehicle, the driver’s personal insurance will kick in.
An insurance policy that covers and protects the driver’s liability from the time the driver has accepted a trip until the end of the trip at the passenger’s destination – including coverage for all passengers while they are inside the vehicle and third parties if the accident was not the driver’s fault. The Uber or Lyft coverage supplied to their drivers precedes this personal auto coverage, but not commercial auto coverage.
Uninsured & Underinsured Motorist Bodily Injury Coverage
This type of insurance policy pays for a rideshare passenger’s physical injuries caused by hit and runs. Also covers uninsured and underinsured motorists in the event of an accident that is the fault of the rideshare driver.
Coverage Between Trips
When a driver does not have adequate coverage between ride trips, this insurance will kick in and cover liability from $25,000 for property damage, $50,000 for personal injury, and $100,000 for bodily harm.
At Babcock Injury Lawyers, we understand that it can be difficult and confusing to figure out what insurance you need to file claims with if you have been the victim of a ridesharing accident in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. We will not stand for a denied claim. We will fight for you and your rights both in and out of court to ensure that you are given fair compensation for your injuries. Start your claims process with a free consultation.
The Typical Uber and Lyft Defense
In a perfect world, the company in charge of a particular service should do everything in their power to provide compensation to victims of an accident caused by or involving their service providers. In this same vein, insurance companies should be eager to correct the wrongs to their clients and help to ease the healing process of accident victims.
But the truth is that many companies – insurance providers included – work harder to avoid payouts than to help accident victims. Under the defense that their driver’s are independent contractors, Uber and Lyft put the responsibility of an accident on the personal insurance of their drivers.
We’ve spent years learning the ins and outs of car accident defense in Louisiana and have handled more than a few cases related specifically to Uber accident claims and Lyft accidents. We know how to counter any rideshare defense. We’ll dig deep examining previous driving records, traffic violations, and even potential criminal records to prove that the ridesharing company in question knowingly contracted a driver with a record. No matter what situation you find yourself in when it comes to a Louisiana accident involving a ridesharing company, Babcock Injury Lawyers can help.
Avoid these Mistakes When in an Uber or Lyft Related Accident
Anything that you say or do after an accident can be used against you in our out of court. This could negatively impact the outcome of your case if it goes to trial. The first thing to do is to remain calm and seek medical attention. Many times, stress and anxiety can cause you to overlook certain aspects of your accident or lead you to make poor decisions related to your case. Correcting these mistakes can be a lot of work for your attorney, which is why it is best to hire a ridesharing accident attorney for Louisiana as soon as you have been cleared medically.
Here are some tips to follow if you have been involved in an Uber or Lyft accident in the state of Louisiana.
Don’t Neglect Medical Assistance
In an accident, adrenaline sets in. Thanks to this fight or flight response, many accident victims are not aware of their injuries. Refusing or neglecting your medical treatment at the time of your accident can lead to long-lasting repercussions, including medical and financial strain. Even if you do not believe that you have sustained injuries in a ridesharing accident, you should still seek medical attention as soon as possible. This will not only ensure that you have been treated for any underlying injuries that you might not be aware of from the crash, but that any injuries you have are properly documented as a direct result of the accident.
Don’t Forget To Report It
Accidents are messy and they’re complicated. There are a lot of steps that you need to make sure you go through to ensure the validity of your case in the event that you have difficulty seeking compensation for your injuries. Lyft and Uber accidents are no different than any other car accident in that you will need to make sure that certain protocols are followed. And one of the very first things you should do if you are not severely injured is to call the police and file a report. A police report makes sure that witnesses and evidence are properly cataloged and that your claim has validity.
Following a police report and medical attention, you will also need to file with your insurance company in order to start the claims process. Always report the accident to the rideshare company before you file you contact an insurance agency or an attorney. Uber or Lyft may not have the full story of the accident from their driver, or they may feel that the driver is entirely responsible and may be willing to assist you in getting compensation.
Gather Information From All Parties
During the police report for your accident, an officer should take note of any witnesses and relevant evidence for your case. However, there are things that you can do to make sure that this info is recorded.
If there are witnesses to your accident, ask that they stand by for the police in order to give a statement on your behalf. If they are unable or unwilling to stay put, request their contact info so that an office or attorney may follow up with them as needed.
If you are able to take photos of the scene, be sure to do so. Take photos of the vehicle(s) involved in the accident and any persons directly related, including witnesses. Do not rely on your memory of the events. You are under a lot of stress, whether you know it or not, and your memories will most likely be unreliable at a later date.
Make sure that you exchange info with any drivers related to the accident. This includes your Uber or Lyft driver. Include contact info, insurance info and policy number, driver’s license, vehicle registration, and the info of all related witnesses if you can. If it is possible to take a video of the accident and your gathering of info, doing so is in your best interest.
Without the majority of this info collected, you or a practiced Louisiana ridesharing attorney will not be able to effectively argue your case in court. Remember, the opposing party isn’t going to want you to win in a court case, and they will have their own lawyers doing the work to make sure that every misstep or inaction in your case is brought forward against you.
Watch What You Say
Just as you will be gathering information, so will the other party. Be careful what you say. Do not disclose too much information. Do not feel like you need to apologize for injuries or damages you or anyone else sustained. Everything you say or do can be used against you or twisted to their advantage. Do not get so wrapped up in talking that you disclose too much, do not try to express theories, or analyze vocally your “opinion” on how the accident occurred. Keep the facts as facts. Regardless of anything else, do not waive your rights.
Contact An Experienced Rideshare Accident Lawyer
Uber and Lyft are major companies that can easily intimidate accident victims who bring claims against them, even if their driver was at fault. While companies like these may seem like they have the money to back their faults, their case is not always won. It takes an experienced attorney that has settled and won Uber and Lyft traffic accident claims to handle these big companies.
These big companies are still susceptible to big mistakes, often ones that can cost them their own case. But without the help of seasoned Baton Rouge rideshare attorneys from Babcock Injury Lawyers, you most likely won’t catch any of these mistakes, big or small, that could help you secure a clear win for your case.
Never Accept Settlements Without Representation
It is not uncommon for insurance companies to try and settle out of court. Many times, insurance agents will realize the victim’s confusion and offer a settlement in hopes of saving their client money – typically much lower than what an accident attorney could obtain if the victim was represented.
Keep in mind; you may be entitled to more compensation than just medical and property damage. You may be entitled to loss of earnings, emotional pain and suffering, and even compensation for physical pain or loss of companionship. Legal reimbursement, trial costs, home health care, and reimbursement of travel to and from medical appointments are just a few of the many compensations that you may be entitled.
Never accept a settlement without representation. We can negotiate for you; we know what the typical fair compensation rates are for traffic accidents that result in injuries.
Don’t Put Your Rideshare Accident Claim On Hold
We know that recovering from an accident – both mentally and physically – is your top priority. But remember that time is of the essence in any legal matter, and that it is better to call an attorney sooner rather than later. Waiting until you’re completely recovered could lead to questions about the extent of your injuries. And waiting until you realize that you might not recover leads to questions about whether or not you would have filed for damages had you recovered in the first place. Many times, the recovery time after an accident can be longer than the insurance companies will give you for filing a claim. Don’t let your health and financial well being hang on the line.
Statute of Limitations in Louisiana
You have a period of one year after an accident in which you can file a claim for compensation. However, this statute does not apply to insurance claims. Cases involving injury or property damage from a vehicular accident must be filed within one year of the date of the accident, according to Louisiana lawmakers. Typically, there are no caps on the amount of compensation that you could receive for your claim, provided it is filed in the timeframe allowed.
Seeking The Aid of a Baton Rouge Rideshare Accident Lawyer
If you have been the victim of a ridesharing accident, whether that was bodily damage to your person or property damages, you need to consult with a Baton Rouge rideshare accident lawyer who knows the ridesharing industry and the Louisiana legal system intimately in order to stand a chance of getting the compensation you are entitled to in such an accident claim.
Let us assess your case and determine what right you have, give you an estimate of the damages you may be entitled to, and help you begin the process of filing your claim. We’ll even work directly with the insurance companies! Partnering with Babcock means you’re taking the guesswork out of your Baton Rouge rideshare injury claim and letting the professionals iron out the tough details. We will always make sure that you are kept up to speed on your case, with none of the complicated legal jargon.
Benefits of Working With a Skilled Attorney
When you’re on the road, things can go wrong at any time. And when you aren’t the one driving, your accident claim can be even more complicated and stressful. Parts can fail and tires can slip. Weather can make visibility and traction a nightmare. But when you are the victim of negligence, there are too many legalities to consider on your own.
When you want the best representation in Baton Rouge, all you need to do is call Babcock Injury Lawyers. We’re confident that we can help you win your case, and that’s why we offer you a free consultation and a promise of a 100% satisfaction guarantee.
Stephen Babcock & Chase Tettleton are both experienced Baton Rouge injury attorneys, well versed in Louisiana’s accident laws, and with a comfortable grounding in the Louisiana law space.
When we work with insurance companies, they realize we know our business inside and out, and we are serious that we will take the case to court. This alone increases the success rate for our clients.
Our history says it all.
- Check us out on the Better Business Bureau
- 10 star Client Review Rating with Avvo®
- We are listed as one of the Best Law Firms
- Listed in the Louisiana Super Lawyers® (2011-2019)
- Listed in Best Lawyers
- “Preeminent” judge and other lawyers rating in Martindale-Hubbell®
What Can You Expect?
- Your best interests in mind – we always listen to our clients
- Full case review – we’ll thoroughly review your case and advise you on the best steps
- Full Compensation – We will always fight for your full compensation and rights
- 100% Guarantee – We will not charge you a dime unless we win your case
- No Termination Fee – no cost to terminate your case within 30 days.
Contact a Baton Rouge rideshare accident lawyer today for a free consultation and case review.