Uber and Lyft Accidents
Uber and Lyft in New Orleans
Uber and Lyft arrived in New Orleans shortly after a city ordinance passed in 2015 that allows the companies to operate. Charbonnet Law Firm got its first Uber case the week after! Since then their popularity has exploded, with the number of trips taken using rideshare apps quickly overtaking traditional taxi trips. In fact, a 2018 Arizona State University study found that New Orleans had the second highest rideshare use per capita of any major U.S. metropolitan area (beat only by San Francisco). A whopping 30 percent of New Orleans residents reported using one of the rideshare apps in the last 30 days.
Charbonnet Law firm has represented hundreds of Uber and Lyft drivers, passengers, and people in wrecks with rideshare vehicles. We know the attorneys who represent these companies, and we have good working relationships with them.
Rideshare apps have changed the way many of us get around. We use Uber or Lyft because of their convenience. Whether we are on vacation, heading to the airport or to The Big Game, or making the responsible transit choice after a few too many drinks, we rely on ride-sharing services to get us where we need to go safely.
According to a 2018 survey, 36 percent of Americans say they have used a ridesharing app. Another 61 percent say they have heard of Uber or Lyft but hadn’t taken a ride yet, and just 3 percent of Americans said they hadn’t heard of them at all. The same survey taken in 2015 found that just 15 percent had used the apps and 33 percent had never heard of Uber or Lyft. Founded in 2009 and 2012, respectively, Uber and Lyft now account for 5.5 billion vehicle trips worldwide each year.
This enormous growth comes with new dangers on the road and new legal complications when an accident occurs. In 2018 Uber released a U.S. Safety Report that found that there were 107 total traffic fatalities in 2017 and 2018 involving Uber. The company estimated its fatality rate to be roughly half the average for U.S. drivers. Analysts, however, point out that the company doesn’t report any data on non-fatal traffic accidents involving its drivers. In fact, a new study by the University of Chicago and Rice University suggests that ridesharing services may actually increase traffic accidents and fatalities, especially in larger cities, by putting more cars on the road and creating more stop-start traffic.
Louisiana Law Governing Uber and Lyft Accidents
If you or someone you love is injured in an auto accident involving a rideshare vehicle, whether as a passenger, pedestrian, or other driver, it is important to know your legal rights.
While the laws that govern car crash liability and personal injury liability in Louisiana generally apply to cases involving Uber or Lyft drivers, there are added complications that you should know from the start. If you are injured in an accident involving a rideshare driver, it pays to get legal advice from a seasoned attorney specializing in this unique type of case as soon as possible.
Determining who is the responsible party in an accident involving Uber or Lyft isn’t always straightforward. If you are injured in an accident, it might seem like the driver’s auto insurance company or the multibillion-dollar rideshare company involved will protect your interests as a rider, pedestrian or driver. But don’t count on it. Both want the fastest possible resolution, and both work to protect their bottom line first and foremost.
In general, if the rideshare driver is at fault, his or her insurance will cover damages up to the maximum amount of that policy. If this policy is exhausted, then the ridesharing app’s third-party liability insurance should kick in up to $1,000,000. But, of course, the devil is in the details, and both corporations will use complicating factors in Louisiana law, like comparative negligence and personal injury caps, to protect their interests and keep their costs to a minimum. Furthermore, Uber and Lyft both require users to agree to “terms of service.” The amount of insurance coverage a rideshare vehicle has can vary minute by minute depending on if there are passengers in the vehicle!
It can be a very complex process to sort out who is responsible for paying out compensation and in what amounts when an accident involves a ridesharing app driver. You owe it to yourself and your family to speak with a skilled, dedicated legal team with a strong track record of winning for clients who have been victims of Uber or Lyft accidents.
What to do if you are in an Uber or Lyft Accident in New Orleans
Even if an accident seems relatively minor, following these steps will protect your interests and give you peace of mind down the road. In the event of a traffic accident, it is always better to be safe than sorry.
- 1. Make sure you and others involved are physically okay. Call 911 or seek immediate medical attention if anyone is injured. Make sure you and others are not at immediate risk from oncoming traffic or other roadway hazards.
- 2. Make sure the accident is reported immediately. Call 911 and explain the situation. If the emergency is non-life threatening, the operator may advise you to call 311 or another local service. Under Louisiana law, a driver must immediately report any traffic accident that results in an injury to any person, a death, or damage to property over $500. Drivers must further provide detailed information to a member of law enforcement who investigates the crash. Crash reports are available at the Louisiana Department of Public Safety website.
- 3. Gather information and evidence at the scene. Use your cellphone to take photos at the scene that show angle of impact, damage to vehicles and other property. Get contact information for all witnesses at the scene. Take photos of insurance cards from any drivers involved. This step may prove invaluable later on as your legal team prepares evidence to build the strongest possible case.
- 4. If you are a driver or a passenger in a rideshare vehicle, report the crash through the Uber or Lyft app within 24 hours. You may have to go take a drug test within 24 hours of the crash. REMEMBER: Being in an accident can be confusing and scary. Do not admit fault or make other statements about your injuries or those of others to anyone until you have gained a full picture of what happened.
- 5. If you are injured, contact an attorney with a strong track record of winning for clients in Uber and Lyft crash injury cases in Louisiana.
Car accidents are complicated enough, but when a rideshare app is involved, things can get really complex. You can find yourself dealing with hospitals, doctors’ offices, your own insurance, the rideshare driver, his or her auto insurance, the ridesharing app, its third-party liability insurance, and any other involved parties and their insurance. It can feel like trying to find your way out of a maze. Let an experienced attorney at Charbonnet Law Firm help you sort through this tangled web and get the compensation you deserve.
Call Charbonnet Law Firm Today
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident involving a rideshare vehicle in Louisiana, call the dedicated team of attorneys at Charbonnet Law Firm right away. We have been winning for our personal injury clients in New Orleans and the surrounding parishes for more than five decades. You deserve the peace of mind of knowing a skilled, trustworthy law firm is on your side.
At Charbonnet Law Firm, we will help you understand your case and your options for compensation. If you choose to pursue your case, we will be there with you every step of the way, protecting your interests and fighting for the best possible outcome. Call today for a free consultation.
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