The advent of ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft has revolutionized the transportation industry, providing convenience and affordability to millions of people worldwide. However, as with any mode of transportation, accidents can happen, and it's crucial to understand your legal rights and options if you are involved in a rideshare-related incident. This blog aims to explore the question: Can you sue a rideshare driver for negligence in Louisiana?
Understanding Ridesharing in Louisiana
Ridesharing services operate under a unique business model where independent contractors, known as rideshare drivers, use their personal vehicles to transport passengers in exchange for a fee. In Louisiana, these services are regulated by the Louisiana Public Service Commission (LPSC). While ridesharing has undoubtedly transformed the way we travel, it has also raised important legal questions regarding liability and responsibility in the event of accidents or injuries.
Negligence and Rideshare Accidents in Louisiana
When it comes to personal injury claims resulting from a rideshare accident, establishing negligence is a crucial element. Negligence refers to the failure to exercise reasonable care, resulting in harm or injury to others.
To hold a rideshare driver liable for negligence in Louisiana, you generally need to prove the following elements:
Duty of care: The rideshare driver owes a duty of care to passengers and others on the road. This duty requires the driver to operate the vehicle safely and follow traffic laws.
Breach of duty: The driver must have breached their duty of care, such as by violating traffic regulations, driving recklessly, or engaging in distracted driving.
Causation: It must be demonstrated that the driver's breach of duty was the direct cause of the accident and resulting injuries.
Damages: Finally, you need to provide evidence of the damages suffered, which can include medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other related losses.
Insurance Coverage for Rideshare Accidents
Both Uber and Lyft provide insurance coverage for their drivers, passengers, and third parties involved in accidents. In Louisiana, rideshare companies are required to maintain liability insurance coverage to protect passengers and others affected by accidents. The coverage typically depends on the specific phase of the rideshare trip:
App off: When the driver is not actively using the rideshare app, their personal auto insurance policy applies.
App on, waiting for a ride request: Rideshare companies provide contingent liability coverage, but it is usually lower than the coverage during an active ride.
App on, en route to pick up or during a trip: The rideshare company's commercial liability insurance policy typically covers the driver, passengers, and third parties involved in the accident. This coverage generally offers higher limits.
Suing a Rideshare Driver for Negligence in Louisiana
If you've been injured in a rideshare-related accident and believe the driver's negligence caused your injuries, you have the right to pursue legal action. In Louisiana, you can sue the rideshare driver directly for damages resulting from their negligence. However, keep in mind that the insurance coverage provided by the rideshare company is typically the primary source for compensating accident victims.
To initiate a lawsuit, you must follow the appropriate legal procedures, which may include filing a complaint, gathering evidence, and presenting your case in court. Consulting an experienced personal injury attorney who specializes in rideshare accidents can be beneficial. They can guide you through the legal process, help determine liability, and negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf.
If you find yourself in a situation where you need to pursue legal action after a rideshare accident, consulting with a knowledgeable attorney can provide valuable guidance and support throughout the process.