What Uber & Lyft Passengers Need to Know After A Rideshare Car Accident

During the legislative process in 2019, Louisiana passed new regulations which impacted rideshare drivers. However, these regulations also impacted passengers and what steps they should take if they are involved in an accident while traveling via Uber and Lyft.

Just like any car accident, victims of Uber® or Lyft® accidents can suffer devastating injuries. What becomes more complicated for passengers is knowing what rights they have following an accident. First, it is important to determine who is at fault for the accident.  If the accident was caused by the rideshare driver, then you would place a claim against their insurance. If the accident was caused by another driver, then a third-party claim would have to be filed against the responsible driver. Let’s make the assumption the rideshare driver was responsible for the accident and your claim is against them.

Uber and Lyft Drivers and Insurance Coverage

Keep in mind, Uber and Lyft drivers are required to maintain their own car insurance. However, this does not always mean the only recourse is to file a claim with their insurer. Both Lyft and Uber are required to maintain insurance to cover drivers and passengers as well. Here are some scenarios when each is applicable:

  • Driver offline and not accepting ride requests – in this situation, the driver would not be logged into the application required by Uber and Lyft. This means they are not on duty and therefore, if an accident occurs, the insurance claim would be against the driver’s personal insurance policy. This is one reason why passengers using rideshare should make sure their drivers remain in “active” mode while you are being transported.
  • Driver online and accepting ride requests – once the driver is actively seeking riders and using the rideshare’s application, they are considered available for work. This means that Uber or Lyft’s insurance is in full effect. Keep in mind, the level of liability insurance the rideshare company must have is higher than that required of the driver.
  • Driver online and accepted a ride request – once a driver has accepted a passenger’s request for a ride (beginning when they are headed to pick up the passenger), Lyft or Uber’s insurance would be in effect if the driver was involved in an accident. The coverage would include an accident involving another car, or a pedestrian who was injured because the rideshare driver was involved in an accident.
  • Rideshare drivers actively carrying a passenger – from the moment you enter a rideshare vehicle until the time you are dropped off, the Uber and Lyft’s insurance coverage is in effect for any injuries you suffer in an accident.

As a passenger of Uber or Lyft, it is helpful to know what insurance coverage is provided if there should be an accident. Now, let’s discuss what happens after an accident has occurred.

Protecting Yourself Following a Rideshare Accident

The first thing you need to do following an accident as a Uber or Lyft passenger is ensure you are safe and contact the police if the driver does not do so. Make sure you have the information from the driver as well as report the accident to the rideshare company. This may be done through the application or by filing the reports on the Lyft or Uber website.

Getting contact information from witnesses and other drivers is also important as you will need this information for any insurance claim. If you are physically capable of doing so, photographs of the scene can be very helpful. Some photos you should consider taking include traffic signs and signals, damage to the vehicles involved, and any skid marks or other signs of the accident.

Once law enforcement has arrived on the scene, you will want to make sure you tell them what occurred leading up to and immediately following the accident. Try to stick with facts despite the fact that you may be undoubtedly unsettled. Once you have spoken with law enforcement it is a good idea to be checked by a medical professional, even if you believe your injuries are minor.

Contacting an Attorney Regarding a Rideshare Accident

There is little doubt you will get a call shortly after the accident from a representative of the rideshare company or their insurance company. Before you speak with them, it is always a good idea to ask for advice from an attorney who has experience handling rideshare accident cases. The reason this is so important is because these matters can get complicated – drivers for these companies are not considered employees, and the company may attempt to avert responsibility for your injuries.

Responsibility for Injuries Can be Complicated

Rideshare passengers should keep in mind they will be fighting at least two insurance companies if they are involved in an accident while in an Uber or Lyft. The driver’s insurance company will likely pay for part of your injuries but chances are, if you suffer a serious injury, you may have to place an additional claim with the rideshare company. This can be both complicated and messy and this is why you need to work with a skilled and experienced attorney to make sure you are treated fairly and that you receive maximum compensation.

Why a Rideshare Accident Attorney is Important

As with any type of personal injury case, you may be entitled to recover for medical bills, current and future lost wages, and other economic losses you suffer as a result of a car accident. The fact is, when the accident involved a rideshare operator, everyone involved has a vested interest in minimizing their own exposure. Let’s take a look at some parties who will be involved:

  • Your insurance company
  • Rideshare driver’s insurance company
  • Rideshare liability insurance provider
  • Other involved party’s insurance company

This is along with the driver, other drivers, and yourself not to mention the hospitals and doctors responsible for your care. This can feel overwhelming, particularly when you are trying to focus on your physical recovery from injuries. This is why it is helpful to have an attorney who is ready to step in and help you navigate this difficult situation.

Sorting Out Liability for a Rideshare Accident

Fortunately, as a passenger in a rideshare accident, you need only be concerned with your injuries and not worry about who is responsible. Unfortunately, you will have to be aware of who is ultimately responsible for the accident because you will need to file a claim for your medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses associated with the accident. This is another reason to get a rideshare lawyer involved as soon as possible. They can help by requesting reports from the police and from the rideshare company as well as securing statements from any witnesses that you have received contact information that may have been involved.

Car accidents can leave you feeling vulnerable and when you are a passenger in a rideshare vehicle, you may not know what rights you have under Louisiana personal injury statutes.  Additionally, there is a limited period of time, known as a statute of limitations, which is only one year in which to file a lawsuit. Because of the complexities involved in a rideshare accident, it is imperative you seek appropriate legal guidance.

Whether you were a passenger or your loved one was a passenger in an Uber or Lyft vehicle which was involved in an accident, you will need help navigating the Louisiana insurance claim process. Before you speak with any insurance company, contact the dedicated team of attorneys at Charbonnet Law Firm immediately at our Metairie office at (504) 294-3910 or our New Orleans office at (504) 294-3910 and let us help you get the compensation you deserve for your injuries or the injuries your loved one suffered.


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