Who is Liable if You Are Injured in an Uber or Lyft Accident?
In recent years, rideshare services such as Uber and Lyft have skyrocketed in popularity across Texas and around the country. These convenient services have become a popular transportation alternative to taxis or driving for many, particularly in urban areas. However, most people only think about the liability issues involved in a rideshare accident after they’ve experienced one.
Unfortunately, determining liability and recovering damages for your injuries in a rideshare accident can be complex. A knowledgeable personal injury lawyer can explain who may be held responsible for your losses and where you should file your claim. If you’ve been injured in an Uber or Lyft accident, you have legal rights. Reach out to our law firm today for a free case evaluation.
How Do Rideshare Companies Work?
As opposed to taxi companies and other organizations that provide transportation services, rideshare companies do not own and operate a fleet of vehicles. Instead, they provide the technology that allows users to connect with independent contractors who use their own vehicles to bring passengers to their destinations.
This system gives passengers an easy method of scheduling a ride at any time through the company’s app and allows drivers to earn extra money by taking fares. However, as the number of rideshare drivers on the roads increases, so does the likelihood of accidents involving their vehicles. Rideshare companies do have basic requirements that potential drivers and their vehicles must pass. But rideshare drivers do not receive the intense training that taxi drivers do to become certified.
What is a Transportation Network Company (TNC), and When Can They Be Held Liable for an Accident?
According to Texas statutes, a transportation network company is “a corporation, partnership, sole proprietorship, or other entity operating in this state that uses a digital network to connect a transportation network company rider to a transportation network company driver for a prearranged ride.” Uber and Lyft are generally considered TNCs. Because TNCs solely provide a platform that connects riders and passengers, they usually cannot be held liable for the driver’s actions, unlike a taxi or limousine service.
However, there may be rare cases where a TNC was negligent in its operations and could be held partially liable for the accident. Examples of possible negligent behavior include:
- Providing training or supervision of their employees that is below acceptable standards.
- Hiring or retaining independent drivers without certifying that they meet the company’s qualifications.
- Making false claims about the safety and skill of their drivers or the drivers’ vehicles.
If you believe the rideshare company’s actions played a role in your accident, it is essential to consult with a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer as soon as possible to determine whether you have a viable claim.
Why is the Rideshare Driver’s Status Crucial to Your Accident Claim?
There are usually three entities who may be fully or partially responsible for a ridesharing crash: the rideshare driver, the driver of the other vehicle, or a third party, such as a biker or pedestrian. If the Uber or Lyft driver was at fault for the accident, it becomes critical to know their working status because it directly impacts their insurance coverage.
Most auto insurers will not cover an accident under a private insurance policy if it occurs while the driver is engaged in commercial activity such as rideshare driving. Few drivers can afford separate commercial policies, so Uber and Lyft have company policies that can fill this gap in coverage. The breakdown of the possible scenarios and coverages are as follows:
- The driver is not active on the rideshare app at the time of the accident: Only the driver’s personal car insurance will apply because they are not working.
- The driver is active on the rideshare app but has yet to accept a ride: If the driver’s primary auto insurance does not cover the accident, Uber and Lyft provide limited secondary coverage of $50,000 per person/$100,000 per accident, and $25,000 in property damage coverage.
- The driver has accepted a ride in the app and is en route to pick them up or has a rideshare passenger in the vehicle: The rideshare company carries $1,000,000 of coverage per accident, which includes uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.
Sorting out these complex coverages can be difficult for victims and their families, especially because Uber and Lyft’s insurance policies will not apply until all other coverages have paid out their maximums for the claim. A skilled car accident attorney can help you determine where to file your insurance claim and can ensure that you recover the compensation you deserve.
What Compensation Can a Personal Injury Lawyer Help You Recover?
Rideshare accident injuries can disrupt your life and cause serious financial and emotional challenges. The negligent party(s) who caused the accident should be held responsible for your losses, whether they are an unsafe Uber driver or a rideshare company that did not properly certify their driver. A skilled Texas car accident lawyer can help you recover the compensation you are entitled to through negotiation or a lawsuit when necessary.
Your damages may include the following:
- Lost wages.
- Current and future medical expenses.
- Consideration for the pain and suffering you endured.
- Property replacement and repair.
If you have been hurt in a rideshare accident, contact our law firm today for a free consultation regarding your legal rights and options.