The two most popular rideshare options in Louisiana are Uber and Lyft. Many of our local residents, as well as the millions of tourists who visit the state use these services because they are convenient, more cost effective than renting a car, and are generally considered safer than driving on your own, particularly if you are unfamiliar with the area or you plan on an evening out involving partying and drinking.
What many people do not consider however is that drivers who operate under the banner of Uber and Lyft are not specifically trained by the company. Unlike a taxi operation, there are no special training or licensing requirements to be a rideshare driver. Driver need only display to Uber or Lyft they have clean driving records, a reliable vehicle with four doors, and pass a criminal background check. While there are some other requirements, these are the primary ones along with meeting the state’s minimum required insurance coverage. Therefore, everyone should know what they should do when they are involved in an accident involving a rideshare company — passengers and other vehicle operators need to know what steps they should take.
Steps to Take at Scene of a Rideshare Accident
If you are involved in an accident with a rideshare driver, whether you are a passenger, or a motor vehicle operator involved in the accident here are the steps you should take immediately:
- Notify Law Enforcement — by contacting the police you can be assured you will get the necessary emergency medical team on site as quickly as possible. The police will also take a full accident report and will gather other pertinent information. If you were the driver in an accident with a rideshare operator, be certain you do not say anything which may indicate you are partially or wholly at fault for the accident.
- Request Information from Driver — you should get the driver’s name, address, which rideshare company they are driving for, and their insurance information. You should also request the contact information for the rideshare company.
- Obtain Witness Information — any witnesses to the accident may be asked to clarify what they saw. Generally, when we are in an accident ourselves, we may not be fully aware of what happened immediately prior to the accident so witness statements can be extremely helpful. Obtain names, and contact information from any witness who may be willing to give a statement.
- Important to Take Photographs — whenever possible, you should document the scene of the accident. This includes any road signs in the vicinity, any roadway hazards which may have had a role in the accident, traffic signals, and damage to the involved vehicles. Photos should also be taken of any injury which was suffered by anyone who was involved in the accident.
Each of these items can be important when you are in an Uber or Lyft accident in Louisiana. Make sure you determine which police department the officer at the scene is filing their report so you can obtain a copy of the report after the fact. You may also want to determine if there may be traffic cameras or other surveillance cameras in the area.
Following Speaking with Law Enforcement and Documenting Scene
After you have addressed all the issues at the scene of the accident, you should seek medical attention. This is the case even if you think your injuries are minor because you cannot be certain this is the case. For your own protection and health, you should go to the local emergency room or contact your own physician immediately after the accident. Be certain the doctor you see is aware you have been involved in a car accident — this will help them determine what types of injuries they should be looking for.
Once you have had medical care, contact your insurance company, and notify them of the accident if you were a driver. Regardless of whether you were a driver or passenger, you should also notify the other driver’s insurance company of the accident. Contact Uber or Lyft as well using the number provided by the driver to notify them of the accident. Again, use caution when making these calls to be certain you do not indicate in any manner you had any responsibility for the accident. Simply inform them of the time and location of the accident and provide the name of the law enforcement officer who took the accident report as well as the name of the rideshare driver. This would be the ideal time to seek advice from an attorney with experience handling rideshare accidents because you will need to understand what rights you have as a rideshare accident victim.
Factors Which Can Contribute to Rideshare Accidents
As with any driver, accidents can and do happen. However, there are some situations which make it more likely — or as likely as any other driver — that a rideshare driver could be involved in an accident. Some of these include:
- Distracted driving — Uber and Lyft drivers get informed about potential new fares via their cell phone apps. Therefore, they may not be paying as close attention to the road as they should.
- Drowsy driving — drivers for Uber and Lyft often take on these jobs as a “side” gig and because of this they may not be as well rested as they should be resulting in drowsy driving.
- Mechanical issues — sometimes accidents are caused by malfunctions in a rideshare driver’s vehicle such as failing brakes, or tires.
- Roadway hazards — potholes, animals running into the roadway, and other hazards can result in an accident.
- Other drivers — in some instances, the rideshare driver may not be at fault but instead there may be another driver on the road who acted in a negligent or reckless manner and caused the accident.
What You Need to Know About Rideshare Insurance Coverage
Louisiana has a bill called The Transportation Network Company Motor Vehicle Responsibility Law which was signed into law in 2015. This bill helped ensure victims of rideshare accidents could seek legal remedies when insurers denied their claims. Remember, when an Uber or Lyft driver is operating their personal vehicle, their own insurance likely excludes coverage for any accident which occurred during the time they had a passenger in the vehicle. This law was designed specifically to allow the rideshare company to have a corporate policy that covered drivers and passengers using Uber and Lyft to recover financially after an accident.
Regardless of the circumstances which resulted in your suffering an injury in an Uber or Lyft accident in Louisiana, contact Allan Berger & Associates for at 504-618-1596 to get help getting compensated for your injuries. You should not have to bear the financial burden for medical bills, lost time from work, and other expenses incurred as a result of the accident. We can help you understand your rights, and help you take the appropriate action against any party responsible for your injuries.