As ride sharing returns, the attorneys at The Law Firm of Aaron A. Herbert, P.C. are ready to help clients involved in Uber and Lyft accidents. If you’ve recently suffered injuries in a ride sharing crash, contact our Texas car accident lawyers right away for legal counsel. You could be eligible for compensation.
Ride sharing first came to Texas with Uber back in 2012. Since then, ride sharing has had a turbulent time of business in Texas, with the passing and then retraction of strict safety requirements specific to the Lone Star State. Recently, Uber and Lyft reentered major Texas cities with the passing of a statewide bill creating universal regulations.
Uber and Lyft Liability Information
After an accident while riding as a passenger or driving for Uber/Lyft, who is liable for your injuries? This question is not always easy to answer and has even led to several lawsuits against ride sharing companies for misclassifying its drivers. In Texas, ride share drivers are currently independent contractors. This means they technically work for themselves, not for Uber or Lyft. While this would typically safeguard ride share companies from liability for the actions and behaviors of their drivers, this is not necessarily the case.
Accident victims – including contracted drivers – can seek recovery from Uber or Lyft’s insurance policy in certain situations. Both companies maintain $1 million in insurance policies to pay for victims’ damages in the event of ride sharing accidents. This coverage will kick in to supplement the drivers’ primary insurance coverage if the driver is on-duty at the time of the collision. By comparison, most taxi and limousine services only carry around $750,000 in liability insurance for passengers.
Injured parties might be able to hold Uber or Lyft liable if the driver caused the crash or the company contributed in some way. For example, if Uber failed to conduct a background check before hiring a driver with a history of DWIs, who later crashes with passengers in the vehicle while intoxicated, victims could potentially bring personal injury claims against Uber for negligence. The company will also be vicariously liable for the actions of its drivers, as long as drivers are on-duty at the time of the collision.
Insurance Policy Information
It’s important to understand Uber and Lyft’s respective insurance policies as both a ride share driver and passenger. Uber’s insurance policy will provide coverage for a driver’s liability to a third party if the Uber driver is at fault. Third parties can include other drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians on the roadway, and passengers in the vehicle. Uber offers at least $50,000 injury liability per person, $100,000 per accident, and $25,000 in property damage liability per accident to third parties. If another driver is at fault, Uber’s coverage will not cover third-party damages.
If an Uber driver gets into an accident on his/her way to pick up a passenger (while signed into the Uber Driver app), Uber will provide coverage for third party liability, injuries from uninsured/underinsured motorists, and comprehensive coverage for drivers. While a rider is in the vehicle, Uber will cover the costs of passenger injuries with at least $1 million in total liability coverage if the driver is at fault. If another party is at fault but does not have insurance, Uber will also provide bodily injury coverage.
When a driver operates a vehicle for personal use, Uber will not provide any insurance coverage. In other scenarios, drivers may only be able to file claims with their own insurance companies.
Lyft’s insurance policy is almost identical to Uber’s. Lyft provides contingent liability, primary automobile liability, contingent comprehensive and collision, and uninsured/underinsured motorist liability coverage from the time a driver accepts a ride request to the time the ride has ended in the app.
Can I Handle an Insurance Claim Against Uber or Lyft Myself?
Both Uber and Lyft have protocols in place for drivers and passengers in the event of an auto accident during a ride. The first step is to call the police if the crash resulted in injuries, deaths, or more than $1,000 in property damages. If the crash involved a drunk driver, hit and run, or uninsured motorist, it’s also wise to call the police.
When it comes time to file an insurance claim with the at-fault party, start by reporting the crash through the Uber or Lyft app. Both companies have phone numbers available specifically for reporting accidents. Uber/Lyft’s insurance company will investigate the accident and be in touch with you in the days after.
Every attorney will tell you the same thing when it comes to handling insurance claims against ride share companies such as Uber or Lyft: don’t deal with claims on your own. Major companies are notorious for trying to convince accident victims to agree to fast settlements, often for much less than the victims deserve. The insurance claims adjuster will try to downplay your injuries, delay your settlement, or even deny your claim altogether. Protect your rights and interests as an injured crash victim in Texas by retaining an attorney to take over insurance claim negotiations on your behalf.
Aaron A. Herbert or one of his associates can communicate directly with Uber or Lyft’s insurance company, using skilled negotiation practices to maximize compensation amounts. We can deal with tricky insurance claims, including scenarios where Uber or Lyft try to avoid paying damages to drivers by saying they weren’t on duty at the time. Whether you’re a driver or a passenger of a ride sharing company in Texas, a lawyer fighting for your rights can help you hold Uber or Lyft responsible for the damages they owe you.
Uber/Lyft Statistics in Texas
A few years after Uber and Lyft established themselves in major Texas cities, Austin passed a law requiring ride sharing companies to implement fingerprinting background check rules for drivers. Uber and Lyft spent millions of dollars campaigning against the law before withdrawing their services from the city when the law passed. Only recently (September 2017) did Uber and Lyft return to Austin with the signing of House Bill 100, which regulated ride sharing rules throughout the state and overturned city-specific statutes.
With more than 10,000 Uber and Lyft drivers located in Texas, the propensity for at-fault accidents is relatively high. Although statistics on ride sharing accidents are difficult to find for the years that Uber and Lyft have operated in Texas, WhosDrivingYou.org reports dozens of incidents involving Texas ride share drivers. These incidents include alleged claims of harassment, discrimination, assault, sexual assault, rape, unlawful restraint, speeding, reckless driving, kidnapping, and even murder. Drunk, distracted, drowsy, negligent, careless, and criminal ride share drivers can cause serious and fatal accidents behind the wheel.
What if I Am a Passenger in a Ride Share Vehicle and We Are in an Accident?
As the passenger in a ride share vehicle, you know the accident wasn’t your fault; yet you’re the one dealing with personal injuries, medical bills, and lost wages. What are your legal rights and options in this scenario? As a ride share passenger, your case is unique. The insurance claims process could involve your own car insurance, the driver’s personal insurance policy, Uber or Lyft’s insurance, and/or a third-party insurer.
You may need to consult with a car accident attorney in Texas about your claim depending on the specifics of the crash, the parties involved, and the response from the insurer when you file a claim. The good news is that, as a ride share passenger, the odds are very high that someone else’s insurance company will cover your damages. You weren’t an at-fault party in the crash. Since you were actively riding as a passenger, it means the app was on and Uber or Lyft will provide insurance coverage for your damages.
The only time you might encounter issues or complexities with your insurance claim is if the ride share company tries to deny your claim for some reason, offer you less than your damages are worth, or if you have the ability to file a claim against more than one party. After your crash, collect as much information about the accident as you can. This includes the name and vehicle information of your Uber/Lyft driver. Take screenshots of your ride through the app or save the information another way. Once you go to the hospital for your injuries, call an attorney for assistance with your case.
Injured in an Uber or Lyft Accident? Call Our Texas Car Accident Attorneys
Working with a ride share accident attorney can give you answers to all your questions or concerns – often for free during an initial, no-cost consultation. You can find out information about who could be liable, how to file a claim with Uber/Lyft’s insurance company, and how to negotiate a higher settlement. You can also learn about filing a civil claim against the ride share driver, company, or a third party in Texas. A civil claim could result in greater compensation than an insurance claim alone.
At The Law Firm of Aaron A. Herbert, P.C, we’ve spent decades gaining experience and honing our abilities as personal injury lawyers in Texas. We’ve garnered hundreds of thousands of dollars for our clients using assertive settlement negotiation tactics and proven litigation strategies. Our car accident team has experience handling ride share crashes for passengers, drivers, and third parties such as bicyclists and pedestrians. We know how to deal with ride share insurance companies and their claims adjusters.
If you or someone you love has recently been in a traffic collision involving a ride share driver, contact us to learn more about your case. We’ll discuss your accident for free from one of our Texas locations, or visit you at home or in the hospital when necessary. We’re more than happy to examine your rights as someone with broken bones, a head or brain injury, a spine injury, burns, lacerations, or other car accident injuries. Let us seek maximum compensation through whatever means necessary on your behalf. Call (214) 200-HURT to request your case evaluation today.