Guide to Uber and Lyft Injury Laws in Louisiana
In mid-2019, Louisiana passed a law to regulate all app-based rideshare companies, such as Uber and Lyft. The new law is designed to ensure better compliance with traffic regulations for the rideshare companies and drivers, better enforcement of state and national level background checks by the rideshare companies when they hire drivers, as well as better regulations for driving records and insurance for Uber and Lyft drivers.
The challenge with accidents and injuries involving Uber and Lyft drivers is that in most cases, the at-fault rideshare driver would have the legal status of an “independent contractor” and not an employee of the rideshare company. This is where a personal injury case for compensation against the at-fault parties becomes complex in rideshare accidents in Louisiana.
It’s critical to understand who can be held liable for damages when you are injured in an Uber or Lyft accident. You will also need to navigate the intricate insurance regulations in these cases.
It is best to have an experienced Uber and Lyft accident attorney in New Orleans who can fight against these powerful rideshare companies and the insurance providers to protect your rights and help you obtain the maximum compensation for injuries.
Key Legal Aspects to Consider in a New Orleans Rideshare Accident
If you have suffered a personal injury in an accident involving an Uber or Lyft driver in Louisiana, you will need to focus on three key legal issues:
- What is the relationship between the driver and the rideshare company?
- What is the at-fault driver’s insurance coverage amount that will apply to your situation?
- Do the ridesharing company and their insurer share any part of the liability for any negligence that contributed to your injury?
The first issue is the relationship that Uber or Lyft has with the driver that caused the accident.
In most cases, the ridesharing companies hire the drivers as independent contractors and not as employees. They do this in order to distance themselves from any potential legal liability in case of an accident caused by their driver.
Secondly, the circumstances surrounding the Uber or Lyft crash in New Orleans will be crucial to determine liability. The insurance coverage of the ridesharing driver will vary according to the circumstances.
The third legal aspect will come into the picture later when a knowledgeable Uber accident lawyer in New Orleans examines the case to determine:
- Whether the company (Uber or Lyft) ignored any warning signs about the driver’s record
- Whether the company followed the regulations while hiring the driver and performed a thorough background check
- Whether the company tracked or monitored the periodic inspections, repair, and maintenance of the vehicle
- Whether the company provided the necessary training to the driver where necessary
Both Uber and Lyft require their drivers to carry the minimum liability insurance imposed by law in Louisiana to cover your injuries. At the same time, they may also provide additional insurance coverage to the drivers. A dedicated Uber and Lyft accident attorney in Louisiana will closely evaluate all the facts and circumstances of your accident in order to build a strong case for damages.
When is Uber or Lyft Liable for an Accident?
The legal liability and insurance coverage will apply differently in each case, depending on the circumstances of the Uber/Lyft accident in New Orleans.
Period 0: Unavailable for Rides
Period 0 means that the driver is not available for accepting rides and has turned off the Uber or Lyft rideshare app. If you get injured in an Uber/Lyft accident during this period, only the driver’s own liability coverage will apply.
In Louisiana, the minimum personal liability coverage for ridesharing drivers is $15,000 per person, $30,000 per accident for bodily harm, and $25,000 per accident for property damage.
In other words, you will be able to claim compensation through the driver’s insurance company for these maximum amounts, but you may not be able to pursue a claim against Uber or Lyft company. You can also file a civil personal injury lawsuit against the driver to maximize your damages.
Period 1: Available for Rides
When the driver has turned on the ridesharing app, but has not actually accepted a ride, their legal status during that period is: “Available for rides.” If you get injured in an Uber/Lyft accident in New Orleans in this status, the at-fault driver will have the full personal liability up to their total coverage amount coming from their individual insurance policy.
At the same time, if you believe that your injury damages are higher than the amount covered under the driver’s liability insurance, you can file a claim for compensation for the additional amount against the driver’s insurance company or you can file a personal injury lawsuit against them.
The driver will be covered by the ridesharing company’s limited liability policy of $50,000 per person injured, $100,000 per accident, and $25,000 for property damage. If the driver’s personal insurance company offers no coverage, you can still seek compensation from the ridesharing company’s limited liability policy in this case.
Period 2: Ride Accepted, Driver is En Route to Pick Up Passenger
When the Lyft or Uber driver in New Orleans has accepted a ride and is en route to the pick-up location, they are considered to be in “Period 2.” If you are injured by the at-fault driver during this period, the liability coverage provided by Uber or Lyft will apply.
For this period, the ridesharing companies usually provide a total liability coverage of up to $1 million and uninsured or under-insured motorist coverage of up to $1 million as well as full coverage for property damages.
A deductible of $1,000 will apply to the coverage during this period.
Period 3: Driving with Passengers
During this period, the passenger is already seated in the Uber or Lyft, and the vehicle is en route to their destination. Insurance coverage applicable during this period will be the same as that of period two. The advantage in this situation is that if you get involved in accident with an Uber or Lyft in period three, it is usually easiest to establish that the driver was actually operating in period three.
The key to making a successful claim for personal injury damages in Louisiana in an accident involving Uber or Lyft is to obtain evidence that the ridesharing driver was actively using the app and was en route to pick up a passenger or already had a passenger on board.
This is where a skilled Louisiana Uber and Lyft accident attorney can help you build a solid case for damages.
Types of Insurance Coverage for Uber and Lyft Injury Claims
You can pursue a claim damages from the following types of insurance policy coverage in an Uber/Lyft injury claim in New Orleans:
With this coverage, Uber or Lyft’s commercial insurance policy will cover the costs of their driver’s wrongdoing. This coverage applies the moment the driver activates the ridesharing app or accepts a fare, until the transaction is completed.
This insurance policy will cover your injuries suffered as a passenger or as a third party (another driver or passenger in another vehicle, or a pedestrian, cyclist, etc.). Insurance policy coverage in these cases will be up to $1 million per incident.
UM/UIM and Bodily Injury Coverage
These insurance policies are instituted to cover the costs of your injuries if the Uber/Lyft driver is uninsured or under-insured or you are a victim of a hit and run accident involving an Uber or Lyft. This coverage will apply when the driver’s policy is less than the minimum amount required by law, or no policy is available at all.
Between Trip Policies
This insurance policy is meant to cover situations where an Uber/Lyft driver’s personal auto insurance is not providing between trip coverage. This policy will cover the driver’s liability up to $50,000 per injured person, $100,000 for bodily injuries per accident, and $25,000 in property damages.
Louisiana Statute of Limitations in Uber/Lyft Accidents
If you get injured in an accident involving an Uber or Lyft in Louisiana, you can only file a personal injury claim up to one year from the date of your injury.
However, relaxations to this period may be made in situations where the nature of the injury was discovered later, or where a person under the age of 18 (a minor) was injured.
There is not any upper limit on the amount of damages that you could obtain for your claim, as long as you have filed it within the prescribed timeframe.
Consult with a Dedicated New Orleans Uber & Lyft Accident Attorney
If you or someone you love has suffered injuries in a rideshare accident, you should consult with our experienced Uber or Lyft accident lawyers at Bloom Legal right away.
We have an expert knowledge of the ridesharing industry and will help you navigate the complex maze of laws and ensure you receive your rightful compensation. Call us at 504-599-9997 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.
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Posted By: Zachary Klos