Lyft and Uber Accident Lawyer in Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Although rideshare services are promoted as safe and as a solution to reduce accident risks in Baton Rouge Louisiana, many of their passengers end up needing the services of an Uber accident lawyer. This happens for several reasons, most of them connected to Uber and Lyft drivers, who:
- Are sometimes young and inexperienced
- Are often tired from their day job and cannot focus on the road
- Are always in a hurry to finish their ride and accept another one
- Get distracted by their mobile phones and fail to notice dangers on the road.
This is especially true in Baton Rouge, classified as the country’s second most dangerous city for drivers according to a 2016 study performed by NerdWallet. Rideshare services are growing in popularity by the day. With them, the number of accidents and the number of people turning to a Baton Rouge Uber accident lawyer grows as well.
Although a bill meant to regulate rideshare services throughout the state reached Senate, it was withdrawn from consideration after most senators agreed that rideshare services should not follow different regulations that taxicab companies, as it would be unfair to the latter.
The bill aimed to regulate driver applications, minimum background checks for drivers, trip records requirements, and the institution of a standard fee of up to 1% per ride. Since it did not move forward, every city will continue to set its own rules for rideshare services.
Under the circumstances, Baton Rouge residents who incur injuries or property damages in accidents involving rideshare cars should consider enlisting the help of a local Lyft and Uber accident attorney for filing their compensation claim, as cases involving rideshare companies are quite complex and challenging to win.
Bart Bernard has extensive experience representing Uber and Lyft car accident victims, and he is familiar with all the challenges these cases pose. One reason so many claimants lose the battle with rideshare companies and the insurers is that they get blinded by the huge coverage Uber and Lyft advertise, and they mistakenly believe that obtaining compensation will be easy even without the assistance of a Lyft and Uber accident lawyer.
It is not, as rideshare companies often deny liability for the accidents their drivers’ cause, making things difficult even for the most experienced Baton Rouge Uber accident lawyer. The best way to understand why cases against rideshare companies are so complicated is to take a look at the relationship between those companies and their drivers, and at the insurance coverage, the companies provide.
Why Cases against Rideshare Companies Are Complicated and Should Be Left to an Experienced Lyft and Uber Accident Lawyer in Baton Rouge, LA
Uber and Lyft drivers are not employees of rideshare companies, but independent contractors. This means that holding the rideshare companies responsible for the actions of their employees will be very difficult.
It will depend on when the accident occurred from the point of view of the driver’s status with the rideshare company and the available coverage, and on the skills and experience of the Uber and Lyft accident attorney handling the case. This becomes clear when looking at the rideshare companies’ insurance coverage.
The two companies ask the drivers they hire to carry the minimum liability insurance imposed by the law, so as to be covered in case of an accident. They provide additional coverage, but its availability depends on when the accident occurred as far as the driver’s status with Uber is concerned. As any Lyft and Uber accident lawyer in Baton Rouge will explain to their clients, rideshare drivers’ activity is subject to four statuses or periods very important when it comes to establishing liability and available coverage. Here are the four periods:
1. When the Driver Is Unavailable for Rides
When the rideshare driver causes an accident while having the app turned off and not accepting fares, the only coverage available is that provided by their own liability policy, of $15,000/person and $30,000/event for bodily injury and of $25,000/event for property damage.
The Uber and Lyft accident lawyer handling the case will have to file the compensation claim with the driver’s insurance company or file a civil lawsuit against the driver, just as they would do against regular drivers.
2. When the Driver Is Available for Rides
If the rideshare driver causes an accident while having the app turned on but before accepting a ride, they are responsible for their own actions, and the main coverage available is the one provided by their own insurance policy. An experienced Lyft and Uber accident lawyer in Baton Rouge may be able to access the rideshare companies’ between trips coverage. In order for that to happen, the damages should exceed the driver’s coverage. The attorney will have to file the compensation claim with the driver’s insurer or sue the driver in civil court, and only then go against the rideshare company’s insurer for the remaining losses.
3. When the Driver Has Accepted a Ride and Is on the Way to Pick Up a Passenger
The rideshare companies’ coverage in these circumstances only applies to third parties and covers the driver’s liability, not the losses of the driver themselves. This means the Lyft and Uber accident attorney will have to prove that the driver had accepted the ride and was heading towards the client, which can be quite challenging.
4. When the Driver Is Carrying Passengers
If the rideshare driver causes an accident while carrying passengers to a destination, the rideshare company’s insurance policy steps in and covers not only the driver and their passengers, but also third parties, such as pedestrians, bicyclists, or passengers in another car.
For those who incurred injuries or damages in an Uber or Lyft accident caused by a driver active on the app, who was either on the way to pick up passengers or was carrying passengers in their car, any information regarding the rideshare companies’ insurance coverage will be helpful. Here is the type of coverage an experienced Uber and Lyft accident lawyer in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, may access for their clients:
- Liability coverage – It is a commercial insurance policy that covers the drivers’ liability from the moment they accept a trip to the moment they conclude it. The policy precedes personal auto coverage, but not commercial auto coverage. It covers the rideshare passengers and third parties in case of accidents for which the rideshare driver is at fault. Both Lyft and Uber provide coverage of up to $1 million per incident.
- Uninsured/underinsured motorist bodily injury coverage – This insurance policy will pay for any physical injuries suffered by rideshare passengers in an accident caused by an underinsured or uninsured motorist, or in case of hit and runs.
- Between trips coverage: $50,000/$100,000/$25,000 – It refers to the cases when the drivers’ personal auto insurance does not provide coverage between trips and covers the liability of the driver up to $50,000/person and $100,000/event for bodily injury and up to $25,000 property damage.
Although, in theory, obtaining compensation from Uber or Lyft should not be that difficult, in practice, the company’s insurer will do everything in their power to avoid paying. One of the excuses they frequently use is that their drivers are independent contractors, and what they do when they do not carry rideshare passengers is entirely their responsibility.
However, an experienced Lyft and Uber accident lawyer in Baton Rouge will know how to counteract their arguments. For example, they may be able to prove that the rideshare driver had several traffic violations on record and the company still accepted them, thus jeopardizing their clients. Perhaps the driver did not carry insurance, or they were driving another car at the time of the accident.
As an experienced and dedicated Uber accident lawyer, Bart Bernard never judges cases by appearances. He investigates every detail until he finds something he can use to help his client and obtain the compensation the latter deserves.
It is important to note that, besides the experience and commitment of the Baton Rouge Lyft and Uber accident attorney handling the case, the actions of the victim play an important role in the case’s outcome as well, especially what they say and do immediately after the accident.
Many accident victims give in to stress and panic and make mistakes that later cost them their right to compensation or make their attorney’s work much more difficult. Here are some of the errors Bart Bernard urges his clients to avoid in any Baton Rouge accident case.
Mistakes to Avoid When Not Having a Baton Rouge Lyft or Uber Accident Lawyer Present
- Neglecting to request medical assistance – Many car accident victims do not realize the severity of their injuries on the spot, and they refuse to request medical assistance. However, apparently small injuries can develop severe complications. Moreover, the defendant of the compensation claim may deny liability for the complications, claiming that they would not have occurred, had the claimant requested and accepted medical assistance in due time.
- Neglecting to report the crash – The last thing people worry about in the aftermath of an accident is to report the accident to the rideshare company. However, they should, as soon as they have reported it to the police. The report will connect them to the rideshare company and consolidate their statute as victims.
- Not contacting an Uber and Lyft accident lawyer – Many accident victims are so impressed with the huge insurance coverage rideshare companies take pride in that they think their case is easy and does not need the experience and knowledge of a Lyft and Uber accident attorney. On their own, they later make mistakes, make statements that undermine their case, or sign agreements that go against their own interests. Anyone involved in a car accident with a rideshare driver should contact an experienced Baton Rouge lawyer like Bart Bernard. Even if the latter cannot come to the accident scene, they will advise their client on how to proceed in order to protect their interests and make their case as easy as possible.
- Not gathering information from the other parties involved in the accident – One of the first things everyone involved in a car accident should do is to obtain the contact, insurance policy, driving license, and car registration information from the other parties. Without this information, they or their Uber and Lyft accident attorney will have a hard time identifying the party at fault and finding witnesses to support their case. Those who cannot obtain the necessary information at the scene of the accident should write down everything they find out and contact a Lyft and Uber accident lawyer immediately. Starting from the available details, photos, video recordings from the scene of the accident, or car information, the latter will conduct their own investigation in order to identify the other parties involved in the accident.
- Not gathering evidence from the scene – Any compensation claim needs to rely on solid evidence of how the accident took place and who was at fault for it. Most of this evidence is only available at the scene of the accident. When the accident involves a rideshare driver and their Uber and Lyft accident attorney cannot come to the scene, or they do not want to hire one, the victims should gather the evidence themselves. They should focus on proving or identifying the speed and trajectory of the vehicles involved, fluid leaks or brake signs, the age and the physical and mental condition of the drivers, the technical condition of the vehicles involved, the presence of the rideshare company emblem or signage on the vehicle, if any of the drivers admit fault, findings of the law enforcement officers and insurance agents conducting investigations at the scene, video cameras that may have recorded the accident, and more.
- Talking too much and against their own interests – Some people feel the need to express their regret for the injuries and damages others incurred. Others are so happy that they got away in one piece that they claim they don’t want any compensation. An experienced Lyft and Uber accident lawyer will always warn their clients that everything they do or say can be used against them. It is better to focus on gathering information and evidence, and taking notes of what everyone else says or does than to advance theories, express unnecessary regrets, or waive rights.
- Accepting settlements without careful consideration – Sometimes, insurance agents take advantage of accident victims’ state of confusion and offer them settlements right at the accident scene or within days from the event. The compensations they offer are usually much lower than those an Uber and Lyft accident lawyer may obtain. Bart Bernard advises accident victims to never accept settlements without consulting an experienced Uber accident attorney in Baton Rouge, LA. It is better to request a detailed case evaluation first and only accept settlement offers that come close to the real value of the compensation claim. Besides property damage and medical bills, Uber and Lyft accident victims have the right to seek compensation for losses related to physical and emotional pain and suffering, lost wages and earning capacity, legal representation and trial costs, disability adjustments and home care, loss of companionship, and more. An experienced Lyft and Uber accident lawyer in Baton Rouge will be able to provide a detailed evaluation of each case and negotiate fair compensation for their client. When they cannot reach a favorable settlement, they do not hesitate to take their case to court. Everything they do is with the sole purpose to defend their clients’ interests and obtain the most benefits with minimum hassle.
- Waiting too long before contacting a Lyft and Uber accident attorney and filing the compensation claim – Recovering after an accident can be difficult and take a lot of time. Many victims choose to wait until they are fully recovered and able to prove their losses before contacting a Baton Rouge lawyer or filing the compensation claim, only to discover that it is too late for them. Under Louisiana laws, any civil actions related to property damages and personal injury should be filed within one year from their occurrence date. Beyond this period, insurance companies will not even review claims, and the civil court will dismiss the case.
Contact a Lyft and Uber Accident Lawyer Now and Seek Compensation for Your Baton Rouge, LA, Rideshare Accident
If you were involved in a car accident caused by a rideshare driver, no matter if you were a rideshare passenger or the driver or passenger of another car, you should consult an Uber and Lyft accident lawyer as soon as possible.
Depending on the circumstances of your accident, the latter will determine exactly what your rights are, how much your compensation claim is worth, and with whom you should file it. If you decide to hire them, they will take over all the formalities and keep you informed of their progress until they obtain the compensation you deserve.
If you want the best representation available, consider hiring Bart Bernard as your Lyft and Uber accident attorney in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He has relevant experience in the field, a passion for helping accident victims, and a huge portfolio of won cases. He is so confident that he can win your claim that he will not charge you for the preliminary consultation and will accept to get paid only when he wins, from the compensation he obtains.
To schedule a Free Case evaluation with Bart Bernard, all you have to do is call the office or fill in the online form. You are one step away from working with a successful, experienced, and dedicated Lyft and Uber accident attorney in Baton Rouge. Take that step now!