If you or a loved one was a party to an accident involving an Uber or Lyft driver, suing for your injuries may not be as simple as you think. Situations can arise in which multiple layers of insurance exist and simply identifying the responsible party can take significant investigation. Don’t let the insurance companies give you the run-around. Call the Lyft and Uber accident lawyers at Blass Law and let us sort out the case for you.
While the convenience of ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft have helped to decrease DWI arrests, their presence on the road, in often unfamiliar and distracting circumstances, can lead to serious car accidents and auto-pedestrian accidents. Whether you were riding in an Uber during an accident, work as an Uber or Lyft driver, or you were hit by an Uber, you don’t want to face the corporate insurance companies alone. You need a Lyft and Uber car accident attorney who knows the ins and outs of rideshare accident responsibility and can fight to get you the compensation you deserve. Call (713) 225-1900 to speak with the experienced rideshare accident attorneys at Blass Law or request an appointment online.
What are Common Causes of Rideshare Accidents?
According to the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), speed was identified as the highest contributing factor to statewide traffic accidents in 2017.2 Speed also is a leading contributor to traffic-related fatalities in Texas. These statistics also pertain to rideshare drivers. They make a profit by carrying passengers to their requested destination, and thus are eager to complete as many trips as possible in the most efficient and least time-consuming way as possible to increase their income.
As the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration explains, though, traveling over the designated speed limit negatively affects vehicle reaction time, including braking and evasive maneuvering; decreases the driver’s steering control; and increases the degree of impact, leading to more serious injuries, disabilities, or death.
Other primary factors that may contribute to accidents involving Lyft, Uber, and other ridesharing services include:
- Distracted driving – looking for a passenger, looking up an address, or looking at the app.
- Unfamiliarity with a roadway or specific terrain
- Road exhaustion from long driving shifts
When you get into a car with an Uber or Lyft driver, you have no guarantee they have received any sort of special training or certification. You also have no way of knowing whether they are sleep deprived, have already been working and driving for hours, or are mentally distracted by external circumstances. Drivers scheduling their own hours, using mobile apps for arranging pickups and handling transactions, and growing fatigued can all contribute to rideshare accidents.
Who is Responsible in an Uber Accident?
If you were using Uber or Lyft and your driver was involved in an accident that left you seriously injured or you were hurt in a collision with a rideshare driver, you may be wondering if there is any recourse. At the end of the day, who bears responsibility for the accident? Like accidents involving commercial trucks, Uber accident liability can be complicated.
According to Uber’s website, the company claims to offer commercial insurance coverage for drivers and sets forth the following policy:
- If the driver is offline or their Uber app is off: The driver is technically not working, and their personal insurance is the only coverage that applies.
- If the driver’s Uber app is “on” and they are available or waiting for a ride request: Uber maintains $50,000 in bodily injury per person, $100,000 in bodily injury per accident, and $25,000 in property damage per accident. The driver’s personal auto accident policy may also be utilized.
- If the driver is en route to pick up riders and/or during trips: Uber maintains $1,000,000 third-party liability, uninsured/underinsured motorist bodily injury, and contingent comprehensive and collision. However, this coverage only applies if the driver deemed responsible has no car insurance or doesn’t have adequate coverage to pay for your injuries.1
Lyft has similar insurance policies, including four types of coverage that are supposedly in effect from the time a driver accepts a ride request until the ride has officially ended in the app. The four coverages include:
- Contingent liability
- Primary automobile liability
- Contingent comprehensive and collision
- Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (UM/UIM)1
What Happens if I am Hit By an Uber or Lyft Driver?
As noted above, the policies crafted by rideshare companies come with various contingencies and loopholes the company can use to deny responsibility. For instance, because rideshare drivers are not technically employees of the parent company—such as Lyft or Uber—but rather independent contractors, or “contracted partners,” the rideshare company will often deny responsibility for the driver’s negligent or reckless actions. The ridesharing service’s insurance company may also push the “contractor” designation when refusing to accept liability for the accident or to pay your claim.
Because of this intricate professional arrangement, it can be challenging to figure out whether the at-fault driver’s personal insurance or the ridesharing service should cover the cost of injuries and damage. The driver and rideshare company will both try to shift the blame, which can be frustrating to deal with, especially if you are already suffering severe injuries.
The company’s commercial policies will often only kick in after the at-fault driver’s personal insurance coverage has been exhausted. Additionally, the major insurance companies who cover businesses such as Uber and Lyft are experienced in handling accidents, and they can be ruthless yet shrewd in the process of delaying, denying or underpaying a claim to try to save the company money. Having an experienced rideshare accident lawyer on your side will make a big difference in how the insurance companies handle your claim.
Can I Sue Uber or Lyft for the Accident?
While cases involving Uber and Lyft accidents can be complex and taxing, you have rights as a passenger or driver of another vehicle who was hit by the Uber or Lyft. In Texas, you can pursue legal damages for your injuries, including:
- Medical expenses
- Disability and disfigurement
- Lost earnings
- Mental anguish
- Pain and suffering
- Wrongful Death
If you are investigating legal action against the driver and/or rideshare company and seeking maximum compensation, you should prepare for what may turn into a long, arduous legal battle. Experienced attorneys are well-versed in the loopholes and legal tricks insurance companies may rely upon to deny liability. Their invaluable expertise can help you maneuver through the claim process and thoroughly prepare the case to protect your wellbeing and fight for the compensation you deserve.
Contact an Uber Car Accident Lawyer
If you or a loved one was injured in an accident involving a rideshare company driver, you would be a fool to wait to see what meager settlement their insurance will offer. Call the rideshare accident lawyers at Blass law and let us handle the insurance companies for you. You shouldn’t have to sort through the details of rideshare insurance policies while you are trying to recover from your injuries. Call Blass Law at (713) 225-1900 or request a confidential consultation online.
1“Driver insurance built to protect you.” Uber official website – www.uber.com/drive/insurance/
2“Speeding: The Leading Cause of Accidents in Texas.” https://safer-america.com/speeding-the-leading-cause-of-accidents-in-texas/
“Speeding.” National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website. Accessed online at https://www.nhtsa.gov/risky-driving/speeding