What Drivers Need to Know About When Getting Into a Car Accident With an Uber or Lyft Driver

Charbonnet Law Firm

Car accidents are the last thing we think about when we head out to work, to run errands, or to take our children to school or after school activities. The Louisiana Department of Transportation indicates during 2019, more than 44,000 accidents occurred resulting in more than 72,000 injuries. These numbers are sobering.

While we do not know the number of accidents involving rideshare drivers, what we do know is they stand a greater chance of being involved in an accident for several reasons including:

  • More time on the road – rideshare drivers tend to spend more time on the road than those of us who simply travel back and forth between work, errands, and school. There is little doubt more time on the road increases the likelihood of an accident.
  • Drowsy driving potential – while not all the drivers for Uber and Lyft are part-time, many of them are moonlighting after their full-time job. This puts them at greater risk of being tired behind the wheel which could lead to drowsy driving accidents.
  • Distracted driving – rideshare drivers make money by keeping passengers in their cars. This means they are “looking out” for new fares by monitoring the application and this could lead to distracted driving accidents.

Every driver is prone to doing foolish things on the roadway. Actions such as speeding, ignoring traffic flow, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol are not unique to those who are not operating as a rideshare driver.

Following an Accident With an Uber or Lyft Driver

Since Louisiana’s House Bill 575 passed and increased the number of areas which are able to have Lyft and Uber drivers, Louisiana has seen a significant increase in the number of rideshare operators. Here are some steps you need to take following an accident involving a rideshare driver:

  • Make sure everyone is safe – you should check to make sure you, your passengers, the rideshare driver, and their passengers are safe from additional harm. Move vehicles out of the line of traffic.
  • Contact law enforcement – call 911 immediately following an accident. Any accident involving more than $500 in damages and/or where there is an injury must be reported. Wait for law enforcement to arrive on the scene.
  • Documentation while on scene – drivers should get contact information from the rideshare driver (who should also be reporting the accident to either Uber or Lyft). Make sure you get the driver’s personal insurance information as well as the insurance information for the rideshare company. Obtain contact information for the driver, any passenger(s) they may have been transporting, and all witnesses to the accident. Additionally, you should also take photographs at the scene whenever possible. Photos should include damage to the vehicles involved, any traffic signs in the area, and pictures of the accident scene including glass or auto parts in the street.
  • Speaking with law enforcement – provide factual information about the accident. Do not speculate about what might have happened. Do not give law enforcement any reason to believe you had any responsibility.
  • Seek medical care – regardless of how you feel, you need to be checked by a medical professional. Seek attention at the scene from EMS, go to the emergency room, or contact your personal physician immediately and get checked. Because of the stress from the accident, you may not realize you are injured so this is an important step.
  • Notify your insurer – contact your insurance company and provide them the details of the accident. Just like when you spoke with law enforcement, be certain you do not give any indication the accident may have been your fault. Ask your insurer if you should contact the other driver’s insurer or if they will handle that matter.
  • Contact an attorney – you may think you do not need a car accident attorney but it is important to remember rideshare accidents can get complicated. There may be multiple insurers involved including the driver’s insurer as well as the rideshare company’s insurer. This means you may receive numerous calls from adjusters and you will need to know what rights you have. Only a skilled attorney who has experience handling rideshare accidents can help you understand the opposition and how to handle each aspect of the case.

The immediate aftermath of an accident is often a blur. The more serious your injuries are, the more likely you are to need an attorney to assist you with your claim. Keep in mind, if you are going to be out of work for an extended period of time following an accident, the insurers involved will attempt to get you to accept a quick settlement. Making you a “speedy” offer is one of the methods insurance companies use to absolve themselves of further liability.

Insurance Companies and Liability Policies

When you are involved in an accident with a rideshare driver, you are going to have to determine what the driver’s status was at the time of the accident. This is often complicated since there are numerous “states” where the driver’s coverage is applicable and others where the Uber or Lyft company insurance would apply. Your attorney will obtain a copy of the police report which was filed to determine which is applicable. The more complicated the claim process, the more challenging it will be to handle the claim on your own.

Once you have scheduled a free consultation with an attorney and made the decision to have them pursue a claim following an accident with a rideshare driver, all calls from the insurer should be routed through your attorney. This step will help protect you in the long run. Keep in mind, insurance companies have legal teams, and they understand what questions to ask you in an attempt to reduce their losses, which of course occur when insurers have to pay out claims.

Why Hiring the Right Attorney Matters

When you hire an attorney following a car accident, you are hiring someone who is going to serve as an advocate on your behalf. The more experience an attorney has with the type of accident you are involved in, the more likely you are to see a positive outcome. In the event of an accident involving a rideshare company, experience is even more important. That is because of the complexities involved in these accidents. At Charbonnet Law Firm, we have been representing those injured in rideshare accidents since rideshare began in Louisiana in 2015. 

Results matter – you want to work with a law firm who is committed to making sure you get compensated for your financial losses following a rideshare accident. This means finding an attorney who can handle not only personal injury but property damage as well. In addition to your injuries, your car is damaged.  Therefore, in addition to personal liability for your medical bills and other financial costs associated with your physical care, you will need compensation for your car via either repair or replacement.

Charbonnet Law Firm is committed to providing personalized service to every client. For nearly five decades, the firm has successfully represented victims of personal injury accidents. We know how to work with insurance companies to get the best possible settlement for our clients. Contact Charbonnet Law Firm today at our Metairie office at (504) 888-2227 or our New Orleans office at (504) 897-3700 for a free consultation. Let us help you understand what options you have following an accident involving a rideshare driver and help you get the compensation you deserve.