Uber & Lyft Accident Lawyer in Houston
Pursuing Compensation After a Rideshare Accident
As ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft continue to gain in popularity, one of the legal questions that has arisen is how personal injury claims are handled when one of these vehicles gets into an accident. Part of a new and evolving area of the law, companies like Uber and Lyft involve drivers who own and operate their own vehicles without any special commercial licensure. Unlike drivers for taxi companies, these drivers are considered independent contractors who often drive only part-time. Since they are using their own personal vehicle for commercial purposes, it is natural to wonder how insurance works in these situations. If the driver gets into an accident and his or her passenger is injured, who is responsible for paying for the passenger’s medical care? Even the courts are still grappling with issues of liability among companies in this new industry.
Issues with drivers and insurance coverage can greatly complicate Uber and Lyft accident cases, which is why it is so important to work with experienced auto accident attorneys. Contact The Daspit Law Firm if you or a loved one has been injured in an accident. Our proven Houston car accident lawyers are ready to help you pursue compensation for your losses.
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How Does Rideshare Insurance Work?
Here’s how rideshare insurance works: When the Uber or Lyft app is not turned on and the driver is off duty, the driver relies on his or her own personal auto insurance policies. When the driver is on duty, he or she should be covered by a separate insurance policy provided by the company. However, problems may arise when the driver does not have sufficient insurance to cover the losses of an injured passenger, or when the driver is technically on duty but without passengers and hurts a pedestrian or someone in another vehicle. Liability in these scenarios is much less clear, and there have been many instances in which the rideshare company’s insurer denies liability for these types of accidents.
How are Rideshare Accidents Different From the Average Car Accident?
Uber and Lyft accidents differ from typical car accidents. Here are a few reasons why:
- Independent contractors - Drivers are not considered employees of the ridesharing company; they are independent contractors. This can create difficulty when it comes to liability, and may give ridesharing companies the ability to more easily deny an injury claim.
- Untrained drivers - A majority of ridesharing drivers are average people who are only required to have standard driver’s licenses and personal insurance, along with a few other requirements. Most are not trained in transportation. Additionally, the system these companies use require drivers to constantly use and check their phones, which can create the additional risk of distracted driving.
- Insurance policies - Uber, Lyft, and other ridesharing companies have complicated insurance policies that may not always fully protect riders. For instance, Uber carries a $1 million commercial liability policy for accidents that occur only when a driver is performing a verifiable trip. If a driver had the app off, their personal auto insurance must be used in the event of accidents.
Passengers who become injured in a car accident with an Uber or Lyft driver may need to file a personal injury claim to recoup their losses. This claim can be filed against either the driver, the rideshare service, or the insurance company of the driver or rideshare service. The outcome of the case will depend on two important factors: the cost of the accident (damages) and the liable party (the person at fault for the accident).
In many cases, plaintiffs have argued that ridesharing services should be held liable for accidents caused by their drivers, even though they are classified as independent contractors. One of the arguments that has been raised is that Uber’s driver selection process is inadequate (allowing unqualified or dangerous drivers to transport passengers) and therefore negligent. Another argument is that Uber’s model contains a built-in distraction in the form of the mobile app, which directs drivers to clients and through their routes while the driver is operating the vehicle – another form of negligence and potential argument for liability.
Involved in an Accident? Discuss Your Case for Free
Liability in Uber and Lyft accidents is still in flux and will continue to be so until a number of legal questions are sorted out. Accident victims are encouraged to consult a Houston car accident lawyer at The Daspit Law Firm for informed guidance in these types of cases. We stay abreast of the latest changes to the law regarding liability for accidents caused by rideshare drivers.
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