Houston Uber & Lyft Accident Attorneys
Ride-sharing services Uber and Lyft have become extremely popular in the past few years, and many Americans enjoy the convenience and affordability of these services. However, the ride-sharing trend has also drawn a fair amount of criticism, particularly when it comes to liability for accidents involving ride-sharing drivers. If you ride in an Uber and suffer injuries, you’ll probably wonder who is liable for your damages, and what options you have for securing compensation. Attorney Brian White can help. Our attorneys understand how Uber and Lyft claims work, so contact our firm of Houston rideshare attorneys at Attorney Brian White & Associates today if you have questions about a recent Uber or Lyft accident and want to know your options.
Uber and Lyft Insurance Policies
Drivers must carry automobile insurance virtually everywhere in the United States. However, due to liability laws and differences in insurance coverage options. Both Uber and Lyft offer insurance protection to their drivers; several disclaimers and conditions attach to these policies, so they go into effect only under specific circumstances.
Uber will cover up to $1 million per accident while a driver is on duty and fulfilling a customer request. Coverage begins as soon as the driver accepts a customer’s request and begins driving to the customer’s location for pickup. Uber’s insurance coverage applies to property damage and other damages to any third party such as a pedestrian or driver in an accident for which the Uber driver is at fault.
Uber will also provide up to $1 million in coverage for an accident in which another driver is at fault. This includes underinsured and uninsured drivers as well as hit-and-run accidents. The third type of coverage Uber provides to drivers is collision coverage. When an accident occurs, whether the fault of the Uber driver or not, Uber will cover up to the total cash value of a driver’s vehicle after a $1,000 deductible. This applies to accidents that occur while on duty, if the Uber driver also maintains personal auto insurance that includes collision coverage.
Lyft’s insurance program for its drivers is very similar, with a few notable exceptions concerning when coverage applies and when it does not. Lyft does not offer any coverage for accidents that occur while a driver is off duty. The driver will need to use his or her personal auto insurance policy to cover such damages. Lyft has varying degrees of coverage depending on the actions of the driver. If a driver has logged in as available for fares but has not yet accepted any customer requests, Lyft will cover up to $50,000 per person, $100,000 maximum per accident, and up to $25,000 in property damage with no deductible.
Lyft’s primary insurance kicks in when a driver accepts a passenger and continues until the driver completes the fare and delivers the passenger to his or her destination. This policy covers up to $1 million per accident, and the contingent collision coverage applies if the driver maintains a personal auto insurance policy with collision coverage. Contingent collision coverage will cover the total cash value of the driver’s vehicle after a $2,500 deductible. Lyft also provides underinsured and uninsured motorist coverage where required by state law.
Compensation for Damages From an Uber/Lyft Accident
When a car accident causes injuries, fatalities, and property damage, liability for these damages depends on several factors. An insurance claim may cover some or all the victims’ damages, but in many cases, the injured parties can secure additional compensation through personal injury claims. While Uber and Lyft accidents may entail some unique insurance concerns, these accidents ultimately work the same as other car accidents in the legal system. An injured plaintiff will need to prove that an at-fault driver was negligent to succeed with such a claim.
Insurance coverage may apply to some or all passenger damages after an Uber or Lyft accident, so an accident with an Uber or Lyft driver may not ever progress to a lawsuit. It’s also important to note that a passenger will not be targeting a lawsuit at Uber or Lyft as companies. Since passengers hire drivers on an independent contracting basis, the companies can deny liability for accidents their drivers cause. Therefore, both carry extensive insurance coverage, but this is also why the companies attach so many disclaimers to those policies. Ultimately, you may need to bring a lawsuit against a negligent Uber or Lyft driver as an individual, not an employee of a ride-share company.
For more clarification on Lyft and Uber insurance policies, speak to a personal injury lawyer in Houston today.
Texas Auto Insurance and Negligence Laws
Every Texas driver must carry personal auto insurance for coverage in the event of an accident. The state’s minimum requirements are 30/60/25, or $30,000 per person, $60,000 per accident, and up to $25,000 in property damage per accident. If an Uber or Lyft driver causes an accident with your vehicle, the Uber or Lyft insurance protection may not apply, and you will need to file a claim against the driver’s personal policy. Texas drivers always have the option to purchase additional types of coverage, but it’s important to remember that more coverage will mean higher premiums.
The plaintiff in an Uber or Lyft accident case will need to prove that the at-fault driver was negligent to succeed with the claim. This requires proving the driver owed the plaintiff a duty of care, failed to uphold that duty in some way, and directly caused the plaintiff’s damages. Damages in car accident claims often include:
- Medical expenses. A defendant is liable for any expenses related to the medical treatment of a victim’s injuries. This includes hospital bills, emergency medical transportation costs (such as ambulance or airlift fees), prescription costs, and expenses for necessary ongoing care such as occupational therapy or physical rehabilitation.
- Lost income. If an accident caused a plaintiff to miss work, the plaintiff can claim the wages lost in that time as damages in a personal injury claim.
- Property damage. The plaintiff can claim the costs of repairing or replacing a vehicle or other personal property damaged by the defendant’s actions.
- Pain and suffering. For catastrophic injuries, severely painful injuries, and injuries resulting in permanent disfigurement or disability, plaintiffs can sue for their physical pain and mental anguish. Expert witnesses will typically offer testimony, so a jury can award an appropriate figure.
It’s important to remember that Texas follows a contributory negligence rule. This means a plaintiff may still recover compensation for damages for which he or she is partially at fault. If both a plaintiff and a defendant were negligent, the jury will assess the facts of the case to determine an appropriate fault percentage for both parties. If the plaintiff’s fault percentage is less than the defendant’s, the plaintiff can recover compensation. However, the court will reduce the plaintiff’s compensation by his or her percentage of fault. For example, a plaintiff found 10% at fault in a $100,000 case would lose 10% of the case award for a total of $90,000.
Why Do I Need a Houston Uber or Lyft Accident Lawyer?
After an Uber or Lyft accident, you will face complex insurance issues while managing your injuries. When you hire a reliable personal injury attorney to handle your case, you can rest assured that your legal concerns are in good hands while you focus on recovering. Attorney Brian White and his team of Houston rideshare accident lawyers have a strong track record of successful personal injury cases in the Houston area. We don’t cut corners and we work tirelessly to ensure our clients receive as much compensation as possible for their personal injury claims. If you or a loved one recently suffered injuries in an accident with an Uber or Lyft driver, contact our Houston office today to schedule a free case evaluation. We’ll review the details of your accident and answer any questions you may have about insurance and your legal rights.