Ridesharing companies, such as Uber and Lyft, are becoming very popular in Austin and across Texas. Thousands of Austinites opt for an Uber ride instead of driving or taking a traditional cab service when they need to get to the airport or are planning a night out on the town.
Although Uber and Lyft offer a convenient ride service that is certainly safer than getting behind the wheel after drinking, safety is never guaranteed. Sometimes Uber cars are involved in serious accidents and their occupants or those in other vehicles are injured as a result. Those involved in such accidents can be left understandably confused as to who pays for the damages they have sustained.
All Uber drivers are required to carry automobile liability insurance that conforms with state law. Uber also provides a secondary liability insurance policy to cover damages sustained as a result of serious bodily injury to passengers or third parties involved in an Uber-related car crash. But, depending on the specific circumstances, that secondary policy doesn’t always cover drivers or provide help to those have been injured.
For instance, if an Uber driver’s app is in driver mode, but the driver has not yet picked up a paying passenger, Uber’s policy would almost certainly provide no coverage for any damages caused by that driver. In many instances in which an Uber driver may be involved in or responsible for an accident, the driver is solely responsible for those damages. In those situations, Uber’s secondary policy provides no coverage but the driver’s individual liability may.
However, some drivers’ individual insurance coverages can be voided due to a “driving for hire” provision contained in their policy. In those situations, unless additional commercial insurance coverage has been purchased by the driver, there may be no coverage available at all.
Does all of this sound rather confusing? That’s because insurance laws in Texas can be confounding to the average citizen, especially when it comes to ridesharing services that are new to the insurance industry. If you are a passenger or individual who has been seriously injured in a crash involving an Uber driver, you should speak with an experienced Austin car accident attorney immediately. A well-informed car accident lawyer in Austin can explain the details of Texas insurance coverage during your initial consultation and provide helpful guidance during what may otherwise be a very confusing time.
When you have been hit by an Uber driver that caused an accident, you could be entitled to compensation for any costs and damages linked to your injuries. Uber drivers have a responsibility to follow the rules of the road and engage in both safe and responsible driving.
Workers for rideshare companies, however, often engage in distracted driving, which includes using a cellphone while driving. When a driver is not paying attention to the road and causes an accident that injures someone, they will be responsible for the damages. This includes engaging in unsafe behaviors like distracted driving, which includes visual, mental, and physical impairment while driving. For example, while texting, your mind is on the text instead of driving, your hands are on the phone texting instead of the wheel, and your eyes are on the phone – not the road.
The impairment of any essential function while driving can lead to a driver being liable for the damages caused in an accident. Rideshare drivers need to use their cell phones to navigate, and one of the activities that are included in distracted driving is using a phone while driving. Additionally, rideshare drivers are often underpaid and overworked, which can lead to drowsy driving. Drowsy drivers are unable to safely respond to changes in road conditions and to road emergencies, which increases the likelihood of accidents.
If you are injured in an accident with an Uber driver and the Uber driver was not at fault, you could still be entitled to compensation for your injuries. If the driver is not liable, another party likely is. You can file a third-party claim against another driver for your injuries as an Uber passenger if they hit your Uber vehicle.
If you are injured as a passenger in an Uber car accident, you are entitled to compensation. Uber and their drivers have a responsibility to keep their passengers safe while driving them, in much the same way a retail store has an obligation to keep the premises safe for shoppers. In the same manner that the retailer would be liable for your injuries if a dangerous condition caused you an injury, Uber should be liable for your injuries if dangerous driving led to your injuries.
Being able to collect compensation for your damages requires evidence, both of the accident and of the costs associated with your injuries. Your rideshare lawyer works with you every step of the way, from claim through compensation, to minimize the demands on you so you can focus on recovering from your injuries while your lawyer maximizes your compensation.
If you are an Uber driver and have been involved in an accident, you may be worried that you’ll have to pay for costs out of pocket. Your insurance company will generally have coverage for a particular amount of liability, even in at-fault accidents. Additionally, Uber is being held increasingly accountable by the courts for lawsuits and settlements against their drivers. Uber drivers are being viewed more as employees than independent contractors by the courts in such situations, and working with an experienced rideshare attorney can help you take advantage of this shift in the judicial perspective on the issue.
A rideshare attorney will assess the unique facts and circumstances of your accident, and if you have a valid case, they will begin collecting evidence. You can only collect on damages you can prove, so follow-ups from medical and occupational experts are essential. Medical experts calculate the long-term costs associated with your injuries, and occupational experts consider the impact of your injuries on your long-term ability to earn and support yourself and your family.
Your rideshare attorney handles your case every step of the way, ensuring that you recover the maximum amount of compensation you are entitled to.
The insurance company makes a greater profit by paying you less. Accepting a settlement offer before you have had a rideshare accident lawyer review your case could leave you and your family having to cover costs related to your injuries out-of-pocket in the future. If your future earnings impact is not adequately compensated, you could also find your household with less income and no replacement resources for it.
Reaching out to a rideshare accident lawyer as soon as possible after you have received emergency medical care after your accident will support the best possible outcome. Your attorney collect evidence, drafts a claim, and begins the process of collecting what you are entitled to.
The amount that your case is worth depends upon the unique facts and circumstances of the accident and the symptoms of your injuries. Your rideshare accident lawyer helps you to accurately calculate the full amount your case is worth, so you collect what you deserve. The insurance companies will also take you more seriously and often present better offers of settlement when they know you have an attorney and are to be taken seriously.
Your initial case consultation is free, and if we take your case, you pay nothing out-of-pocket, ever. When we take personal injury cases, we take them on contingency. This means that we only get paid if we win your case, and you never need any money out of pocket to pay legal fees.
There is no risk for your initial consultation, and you are not obligated to do anything. An attorney-client relationship only begins after you have been presented a contract and been given a chance to review it and ask any questions you might have. We are standing by to help wit your claim, and if we take your case, will ensure you are compensated in full.
If you or someone you care about was involved in an Uber accident, please contact the Austin car accident attorneys at TK Injury Lawyers right away. We’ll make sure you receive the assistance and compensation you deserve.
Trent Kelly obtained his law degree from the University of Arkansas in 2007. He is licensed to practice law in Texas and regularly assists clients with their legal matters. Trent’s practice is primarily focused on personal injury matters – particularly those involving motor vehicles (such as cars, commercial trucks, 18-wheelers, and motorcycles) and wrongful death – but he also handles various business litigation matters as well. Click here to take a look at some complex cases Trent has resolved.
Years of experience: +15 years
Location: Austin, TX
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