Austin Ridesharing Accident Attorneys
Dealing with an Accident with a Lyft or Uber Driver
The popularity of ridesharing platforms, such as Uber and Lyft, has led to the question, “Who is responsible for my accident?” These companies operate under different rules than regulated taxi services, making the distinction between these companies' operations important to understand, especially if an accident occurs. As more and more people turn to ridesharing apps for a cheap and convenient way to get around, the number of ridesharing accidents has increased.
Injured? Get the Legal Help You Need!
If you were injured in an accident involving an Uber, Lyft, or another type of rideshare, reach out to the Austin ridesharing accident attorneys at Briggle & Polan, PLLC for a free consultation. The amount of compensation you may be able to recover will depend on the circumstances involved. Were you a passenger in the Uber? Were you hit by a Lyft driver in another vehicle? Was the rideshare driver in question carrying a passenger at the time of the vehicle accident? Determining the answer to these and other questions is crucial for your recovery.
Call our office today at (512) 400-3278 to request a free consultation regarding your rights and legal options. We are available 24/7 and can come to you if needed.
What Are the Risks of Ridesharing?
Ridesharing has been the topic of heated debate since its rise to popularity, with citizens and policymakers alike questioning the safety of this mode of transportation. Ridesharing platforms have different hiring standards than regulated taxicab services, making the safety of the drivers questionable. While taxi services look into the full criminal backgrounds of drivers, Uber only looks into the prior seven years. This means if a driver had a charge for driving under the influence (DUI), kidnapping, or assault that was more than seven years ago, he or she could be driving your Uber.
Since 2014, there have been 152 alleged sexual assaults and harassments held against Uber and Lyft drivers. There have been at least 16 deaths, most of which resulted from drunk or negligent ride-sharing drivers. These numbers continue to grow as Uber and Lyft fail to increase their standards, hiring drivers who exhibit unsafe behaviors and habits. Uber and Lyft do not even interview applicants in person before hiring them—a standard that taxicab services have long enforced.
The courts have found dozens of Uber and Lyft drivers to be guilty of driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol, distracted driving, and negligent driving in the last few years. Although these drivers have a duty to exercise care and a responsibility for the safety of passengers, they can make grave errors. When an Uber or Lyft driver causes a car accident, victims need to speak with an Austin Uber & Lyft rideshare accident lawyer to find out who is responsible.
How Do You Determine Liability in a Lyft or Uber Accident Case?
When navigating your Lyft or Uber accident in Austin, TX, several elements will go into consideration to determine the worth of an injury settlement. The law, ultimately, will determine liability as well as the value of the settlement. However, having an Austin Lyft accident attorney or an Uber crash lawyer will help you sort through the mess.
Some of the factors that will be considered include:
How many vehicles were involved
Based on Texas’ laws, who is determined at fault
To what degree did the actions of each party contribute to the accident?
The main consideration that will be made is how the responsible party failed to meet the duty of care when the accident occurred.
What Should I Do If in an Accident with Lyft or Uber?
After being involved in a ridesharing accident, you will likely want to know what steps to take next. Especially when you have medical costs that need to be covered and are suffering from the pain associated with the accident, you should have a clear understanding of what to do to recover compensation.
First, you will want to gather as much information as possible. This will involve taking detailed notes of the scene of the accident, including the time of day and location. You will also want to gather information from all drivers, such as:
- The Lyft/Uber driver’s contact information
- All other drivers’ contact information
- Insurance information of all drivers, as well as information regarding Lyft/Uber’s insurance
- Vehicle information
- Contact information of all witnesses
It will also be essential that you obtain medical assistance. If the rideshare accident resulted in injuries to yourself or another person in your vehicle, seek medical assistance immediately. Your health should be your top priority at this time. Even if you do not think your injuries are serious enough to warrant emergency care, this is essential for your long-term health and to building a solid claim.
You will then want to connect with a rideshare accident lawyer who can help you respond to the insurance companies and get you the compensation you deserve.
Rideshare Laws in Texas
Drivers for transportation network companies (TNCs) in Texas must meet certain requirements, including age, background checks, and vehicle inspections. Background checks typically include criminal history and driving record checks.
TNC vehicles must meet specific safety and maintenance standards. These standards may include regular inspections and vehicle age limits.
TNC drivers may be required to complete driver training programs, which can include information on safety, customer service, and navigation. Some cities may require TNCs to obtain permits or licenses to operate within their jurisdiction.
Insurance Coverage While Driving & Riding with Uber & Lyft
Insurance coverage for Uber and Lyft drivers in Texas varies depending on the driver's activity at the time of the car accident. Both rideshare companies provides different levels of coverage during different stages of a driver's trip.
Here's a breakdown of how insurance coverage typically works for Uber and Lyft drivers in Texas:
App is Off:
When the Uber or Lyft driver's app is off, they are considered to be off-duty and driving their personal vehicle for personal reasons. The driver's personal auto insurance policy is responsible for covering any accidents that occur during this time. Uber and Lyft's insurance coverage do not apply since the driver is not actively using the app for ride-sharing purposes.
The following are the requirements for a rideshare driver’s personal policy minimum limits:
- $30,000 per person
- $60,000 per accident
- $25,000 for property damage
App is On and Waiting for a Ride Request (Driver is Online):
When the driver turns on the app and is waiting for a ride request, they are in a period of "app on" or "online" status.
During this time, Uber provides limited coverage for liability (which applies if the driver's personal auto insurance does not cover the accident, or if the coverage limits on the personal policy are exceeded):
- Uber provides contingent liability coverage of up to $20,000 per person for bodily injury
- $100,000 per accident for bodily injury
- $25,000 per accident for property damage.
App is On and Picking Up a Passenger or During Rides (Driver is En Route or On Trip):
Once the driver has accepted a ride request and is en route to pick up the passenger or has a passenger in the vehicle, Uber provides additional coverage.
Uber's commercial insurance policy is in effect, which includes:
- $1,000,000 in third-party liability coverage for bodily injury and property damage.
- Contingent comprehensive and collision coverage for the driver's vehicle, but there may be a deductible that the driver is responsible for.
Employees vs. Independent Contractors
In a taxicab accident, the courts consider the taxi driver an employee of the company. In these situations, the company’s insurance would pay for the victims’ damages, including personal injury and property damages. In an Uber or Lyft accident, the outcome is different because of differing employee classifications.
There has been some recent speculation as to whether the law should consider rideshare drivers independent contractors or employees of the company. Texas is one of eight states that have so far classified ridesharing drivers as independent contractors. Uber drivers in California recently brought a claim against the company for misclassifying employees as independent contractors to avoid paying for business expenses, such as vehicle maintenance and gas while on the job.
When an independent contractor causes a personal injury, the victim(s) may not be able to sue the company. Just as a victim of medical malpractice cannot sue the entire hospital for an independently contracted doctor, the victim of a ridesharing accident cannot sue Uber or Lyft for an independently contracted driver. The courts only hold companies responsible for the actions of their employees based on strict liability laws. Unfortunately, this can lead to smaller settlements for the victims.
Trust Briggle & Polan with your Ride Sharing Accident Case
Hiring an Austin Uber or Lyft accident lawyer is generally the only chance victims have of obtaining compensation for their injuries and other losses. The skilled and aggressive trial lawyers at Briggle & Polan, PLLC have experience handling rideshare accident cases in which the driver is an independent contractor. Our attorneys can take Uber or Lyft to court if necessary to defend your rights as an innocent crash victim.
Here's how their legal expertise and local presence can help you:
- Experience in Rideshare Accident Cases: Our team has experience handling cases involving Uber and Lyft accidents. We understand the unique challenges and legal intricacies of these cases, allowing them to provide specialized guidance.
- Navigating Texas Insurance Laws: Texas has specific insurance requirements for rideshare drivers and companies. Our Austin rideshare attorney can navigate these laws to ensure you receive the compensation you're entitled to under Texas regulations.
- Determining Liability: Establishing liability in rideshare accidents can be complex. Briggle & Polan, PLLC can investigate the accident, collect evidence, and determine who is at fault, ensuring that the responsible party is held accountable.
- Maximizing Compensation: Our lawyers will work diligently to maximize your compensation. This includes seeking damages for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, property damage, and any other applicable losses. We will leverage their experience to evaluate the true value of your claim.
- Effective Communication: Dealing with insurance companies can be challenging. Our firm will handle all communications with insurers, ensuring that you do not make statements that could jeopardize your claim. This helps protect your interests during negotiations.
- Local Court Representation: If your case goes to court, having a local attorney can be beneficial. We are familiar with local court procedures and can represent you effectively in Austin's legal system.
- Personalized Attention: We offer more personalized attention to your case. Our team can work closely with you to understand your specific needs and tailor their legal strategy accordingly.
Contact us online or by phone at (512) 400-3278 to request a free consultation in person or over the phone today!
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$1.8 Million Delivery Truck Accident
Our client was t-boned by a large package delivery truck that was traveling in excess of 70 mph. He sustained a severe neck injury that required spinal surgery. *Net to client was $759,182.96.
$350 Thousand Company Truck Collision
Our client was struck by a company truck that ran a red light at a busy intersection. *Net to client was $166,651.36.
$400 Thousand Company Truck Wreck
Our client was traveling down a residential street when a company truck backed out of a driveway into the side of her vehicle. *Net to client was $110,000.
$100 Thousand DWI Wreck Resolved
Our client was struck by a drunk driver in Round Rock, Texas. *Net to client was $51,113.04.
$115 Thousand Distracted Driver Caused Collision
A distracted driver failed to yield the right of way to our client, causing a collision. *Net to client was $25,035.44.
$132 Thousand Distracted Driver
Our client was the passenger in a vehicle struck by a distracted motorist who failed to yield the right of way at an intersection. *Net to client was $33,250.59.
$112.5 Thousand Truck Crash Into Building
A company driver lost control of his vehicle and smashed into a convenience store, injuring our client in the process. *Net to client was $30,259.56.
$82 Thousand T-Bone Collision
Our client had to be airlifted to the hospital as a result of a t-bone collision. *Net proceeds to client were $23,914.57.
$85 Thousand T-Bone Collision Resolved
Our client was t-boned by a distracted driver who ran a stop sign and required surgery for injuries sustained. *Attorney fees and expenses totaled $30,267.51.
$225 Thousand Collision With A Distracted Driver Operating An 18-Wheeler
Our client severely injured her back in the wreck and the driver did not have the required commercial driver's license needed to operate the truck. *Net proceeds to client were $89,737.54.