Over the past few years, ridesharing companies, such as Uber and Lyft, have become popular throughout Louisiana and the rest of the U.S. While driving for a rideshare company can generate income, you may have questions about what will happen in the event you are in an accident as a rideshare driver. As with all issues involving motor vehicle accidents, the question comes down to who is at fault and the type of insurance coverage you have.
Insurance coverage for rideshare drivers
Although Uber and Lyft and other rideshare companies offer insurance coverage for their drivers, the coverage only applies during certain periods. If you were actively transporting a passenger (Period 3) or were enroute to pick up a passenger (Period 2) when the wreck occurred, then the company's insurance will cover your liability as well as provide protection against underinsured/uninsured motorists. However, their comprehensive and collision coverage comes with a fairly hefty deductible and is usually contingent, meaning that they may only cover damages if your personal insurance denies the claim.
However, if you are simply driving around with the company's app open, waiting to be matched with a rider, and you are in an accident, then the question of coverage gets more complicated. During this period, known as Period 1, rideshare companies do not offer any sort of collision coverage and offer only very limited liability coverage that is usually contingent as well.
In cases where an accident occurs during Period 1, the question of your personal insurance coverage comes into play. Most personal policies do not provide coverage for drivers who are using their vehicles commercially, which is the case when you are providing a rideshare service. What's more, your insurance company is likely to drop you from coverage all together if you do not have the correct policy in place.
Because commercial policies are typically very expensive, many insurance providers have implemented rideshare-friendly policies that will protect you from being dropped. Not all insurance companies offer these types of policies, and they are not available in all states. You would need to check with your insurance provider to be sure.
What to do after a rideshare accident
As with any motor vehicle accident, you will want to remain on the scene and get as much information as you can from the other driver. Contact the police, take pictures of the damage and record as much information about the accident as you can. Do not readily admit fault.
If the accident occurred during either Period 2 or 3, you will want to use the rideshare company's insurance as the primary provider. You will also have to contact the rideshare company to inform them of the accident. If the crash occurred during Period 1, the rideshare company will likely require you to first contact your personal insurance company to start a claim. Keep in mind that your account with the rideshare company will be suspended until the company can confirm you are able to drive again and safely carry passengers.
Seeking legal assistance could also be a crucial step for you to take in the aftermath of a rideshare accident, especially in situations where the accident caused injuries or deaths. Having an experienced attorney on your side during this time can help you with every aspect of your situation. A lawyer will be able to deal with the insurance companies as well as offer assistance when navigating the complex insurance rules regarding rideshare services.
Louisiana residents who own smartphones can all benefit during these unexpected situations by downloading a free personal injury app . This app will allow you to remember all of the proper steps to take immediately following an accident.