Texas Uber and Lyft Accident Attorney
Rideshare services like Uber and Lyft have become widely popular all across Texas. Unfortunately, an Uber can crash just as easily as any other type of vehicle. You have legal rights when you are injured in a rideshare crash. You have the right to protect these rights by hiring an experienced Texas Uber and Lyft accident attorney. Learn more about rideshare accidents so that you will be better able to protect your legal rights.
The Causes of Rideshare Accidents
Rideshare crashes happen for many reasons. The cause of an accident is important because the person who causes an accident also has a legal obligation to pay for the injuries that the accident causes. It is important to remember that Texas, like other states, requires drivers to carry minimum amounts of liability coverage on their auto insurance policies. What follows are some of the most common causes of Texas Uber and Lyft accidents.
Distracted Driving – In the last few decades, cell phones have become wildly popular all across the world. Almost all Texas drivers have at least one mobile device with them while they are driving, which creates a strong temptation to text and drive. Drivers can also be distracted by emails, phone calls, apps, and hundreds of other tasks that are possible on a standard smartphone. Drivers have a duty of care when they are behind the wheel.
They must use “reasonable prudence” in order to avoid accidents. Drivers who cause accidents because they are distracted by their phones are legally responsible for compensating victims who are injured through this negligence. Distraction can be especially problematic for Uber and Lyft drivers. Because their work is conducted entirely through an app, they are often checking their phones while they are on the road.
Mobile devices are not the only way a driver can be distracted while on the road. Drivers have always been distracted by food and drink, kids and pets, the radio, passengers, and other items in their vehicles. Drivers have a legal obligation to pay attention to the road. Any distractions in the vehicle can cause accidents that leave victims with serious (sometimes fatal) injuries.
Impaired Driving – Texas, like other states, has very clear DUI laws. Drivers can be charged with a crime when they operate a vehicle with a blood-alcohol level above .08. (Drivers under the age of 21 can be charged with a crime for having any alcohol in their bodies while driving. Drivers over 21 can also be charged with reckless driving if they operate a vehicle with a blood-alcohol level that is below .08.)
There is a reason that states enact tough DUI penalties. Research has consistently found that alcohol impairs the ability to safely operate a motor vehicle. Drivers who choose to drink and drive put everyone in danger, so it is important to hold them accountable for the injuries they cause. We would like to trust that our Uber or Lyft drivers have not been drinking when they accept a ride, but this is not always the case.
A drunk driver could also crash into a sober Uber driver. Passengers in rideshare vehicles can be hurt by drunk drivers, just like everyone else on the road. Alcohol is not the only substance that can impair the ability to drive safely. Street drugs, prescription medications, and even household substances can also be used to get high.
Texas and other states have ensured that their drunk driving statutes also cover these other types of impairments. Drivers who are impaired by other substances can also be charged with crimes. These types of impaired driving cases have become more common as the U.S. deals with an opioid epidemic. Even a driver who is taking a prescription medication as directed could be unable to safely operate a motor vehicle. When this happens, injury victims have the right to be compensated by the negligent driver.
Aggressive Driving – Aggressive driving is all too common here in Texas, especially in our sweltering summer months. Aggressive drivers are negligent, and this means that they are responsible for the injuries they cause. There are many types of aggressive driving behaviors, including:
- Flashing headlights or honking the horn
- Shouting or swearing
- Rude hand gestures
If you are in an Uber or Lyft and find that the driver is acting in an aggressive manner, it is important to report them. You can leave a review in the app or search for more reporting functions. If your rideshare driver gets away with aggressive driving behaviors, other innocent passengers will be placed in danger. Other people on the road will also be in harm’s way. Reporting aggressive driving helps keep the roads of Texas safe for everyone.
Uber and Lyft drivers are paid based on the number of rides they accept, meaning that they have an incentive to squeeze in as many rides as possible. Many rideshare drivers also have other jobs, which means that they could be driving after a long day of working somewhere else. These shifts could also occur late at night or early in the morning, and this, too, increases the chances that an Uber or Lyft driver will be tired. When drivers are tired, their reflexes are slower.
They are less alert and less able to respond to traffic conditions, making it more likely that drivers will crash when they are tired. Drowsy driving is another form of negligence. If an Uber or Lyft driver crashes because they are too tired to safely operate a vehicle, they must pay for the injuries they cause.
Holding Rideshare Companies Accountable for Injuries
There are different ways to prove that a rideshare company is legally responsible for your injuries. Remember, you must prove that a defendant is legally responsible (“liable”) for an accident before they have a legal obligation to compensate you. The law in this area is still developing. It is also changing, so it is important to hire an injury lawyer who has experience handling Uber and Lyft accident cases.
Vicarious Liability – Employers are generally liable for any negligence their employees commit while on the job, known as “vicarious liability.” In these instances, the employer itself was not negligent but still must pay for the damages caused. Vicarious liability is a tricky issue where rideshare companies are concerned. Uber and Lyft have fought long and hard to prove that their drivers are independent contractors (not employees), meaning that the company usually cannot be held liable for their drivers’ negligence.
In spite of this, both companies maintain supplemental insurance policies that can help pay for injuries caused by their drivers. This issue is likely to continue being raised in court. Our experienced Uber and Lyft accident lawyers follow all relevant legal developments to ensure that you have access to compensation from all negligent parties.
Direct Liability – In addition to vicarious liability, an employer can also be directly liable for its own negligence. Imagine, for example, that Uber failed to screen its drivers, and your Uber driver had recently been arrested on a DUI. Or what if Lyft let a driver continue using its app after they had been involved in multiple accidents? In these cases, the company is directly liable for failing to protect its customers from drivers who are known to be dangerous. You have a personal injury claim against a company that commits its own acts of negligence.
Insurance Coverage Available for Uber and Lyft Accidents
There are many different insurance policies that can apply to a single rideshare accident. By hiring an Uber accident lawyer, you will be sure that you file all available claims and that you do not miss out on any compensation that you are owed. What follows are just a few of the many policies that might be available to pay for your injuries.
The Driver’s Personal Coverage – Uber and Lyft require their drivers to carry their own personal auto insurance with minimum policy limits. These policies cover passengers who are injured through the driver’s negligence, which will be your primary insurance claim if you are injured in an accident that was caused by an Uber or Lyft driver.
Uber and Lyft Supplemental Coverage – If your driver’s insurance coverage is not enough to pay for all your injuries or if the driver is illegally driving without liability coverage, you have other options. Both Uber and Lyft maintain large corporate policies with high limits that can supplement a driver’s personal policy coverage. Passengers can access up to one million dollars in supplemental coverage, above the limits of the driver’s own insurance policy. These high limits ensure that you are compensated for all the many financial and emotional losses you suffer after a Lyft accident, as well as the losses you will suffer in the future.
Workers’ Compensation – If you were using Uber or Lyft for work purposes, you could also be entitled to workers’ compensation coverage. Any injuries that occur “within the scope and course of employment” are covered. You could be on the clock, or running an errand for your boss, or picking up clients. Your Lyft injury lawyer can help if you aren’t sure whether your trip is covered by workers’ compensation insurance.
It is important to understand that workers’ compensation does not cover all of your losses. It covers all related medical bills and a set percentage of your lost wages. It will not pay for the full value of your lost wages, and it covers no pain or suffering, which is why you want to be sure that you hire an attorney who can file a personal injury claim, as well. If workers’ compensation does become involved, the carrier could be entitled to compensation for bills it pays that are also covered by your personal injury settlement, making a case very complicated.
Our experienced Uber and Lyft accident lawyers know how to deal with these complex issues. We also know how to handle a case that involves a workers’ compensation insurance carrier, an auto insurance company, an employer, an Uber driver, and Uber as a company. Personal injury claims become very complicated when there are so many parties involved. It is important that you hire your own lawyer to ensure that your legal rights are not lost in the shuffle of so many lawyers and companies.
Other Insurance Policies – You might have coverage on your own auto insurance policy that applies to a rideshare accident. Medical Payment Coverage provides compensation for medical bills that a person sustains in any auto accident, not just a crash in their own vehicle. This important coverage can be incredibly helpful when you are trying to pay medical bills before your injury claim is settled. You might also have other disability insurance or paycheck protections that are purchased through your employer. Be sure to ask your injury lawyer about any policy you have that you think could apply in your situation.
The Financial Losses You Suffer After a Rideshare Accident
For most of our clients, the most important question is, “What is my personal injury claim worth?” The answer depends on many different factors. You are entitled to compensation for the specific losses you suffer. What follows are some of the most common sources of compensation injury victims receive after a Lyft or Uber accident.
Lost Wages – Almost all car accident victims miss some time off work as a result of their injuries. When a negligent driver injures you, they must compensate you for these lost wages. If you miss just a few hours from work, your lost wages are calculated by simply multiplying your hourly wage by the number of hours you missed. But lost wage claims can become far more complicated. You are also entitled to compensation for lost bonuses, commissions, overtime, and other forms of compensation.
Employment benefits are also a form of compensation. If your employer cuts off benefits (such as health insurance premiums or retirement contributions) due to your accident, then you are also entitled to compensation for this lost value, as well. Our experienced rideshare injury attorneys work with expert witnesses to prove the value of all your lost wages and other forms of compensation.
Medical Bills – Injury victims are entitled to compensation for all the medical bills they incur as a result of another driver’s negligence, including immediate medical needs, such as an ambulance ride and a visit to the emergency room. It also includes any surgeries or inpatient hospitalization that is necessary. It covers your follow-up visit with your primary care doctor or any other medical specialists.
It covers rehabilitation services, such as physical therapy or chiropractic care. It can even include in-home care services if a nurse or attendant is necessary to care for your injuries. Your rideshare accident lawyer will prove the value of all medical care and services that you had to pay for as a result of your Uber or Lyft driver’s negligence.
Pain and Suffering – Pain and suffering includes a wide range of intangible injuries, including:
- Physical pain
- Emotional suffering
- Scars and disfigurement
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Inability to participate in sports or hobbies
- Missing graduations, weddings, or other important life events
- A lost sense of pride in your career if you can no longer work
- The toll your injuries takes on your personal relationships
There are many ways that car crash injuries can affect your life. Our experienced attorneys know how to prove the value of all these losses so you can get the compensation you are fairly owed. Even simple discomforts can have a major impact on your life after an accident. For example, your injuries can cause pain that keeps you from sleeping. If you are sleep-deprived, you might not be able to perform your job. You will be uncomfortable and irritable, which, in turn, can affect your relationships with friends and family members. The law requires negligent drivers to pay for all these consequences.
Incidental Damages – Often, an injury victim finds that there are random financial losses related to a car accident. You might have a property damage claim if your phone or jewelry was damaged in the accident. You might also have claims for lost deposits, changed vacation plans, or other specific financial losses that were caused by the negligent driver.
Future Damages – Injury victims are also entitled to compensation for the future losses they will suffer as a result of the defendant’s negligence, including any decreases in the victim’s earning capacity, future medical bills, and the pain and suffering that the victim must endure for years after the accident. You have the right to be fairly compensated for these losses, but you must prove the value of these future losses. Our Uber accident lawyers know how to work with expert witnesses and economists to make accurate projections about the value of these future losses.
What Do I Do If the Rideshare Driver Is Not At Fault?
Just because an Uber is involved in an accident does not automatically mean the Uber driver is at fault. You still have the legal right to be compensated for your injuries. Our experienced car crash attorneys can help you file a claim against another negligent driver who is responsible for causing the accident. You may also have the legal right to file a workers’ compensation claim if you were on the clock while riding in the Uber or Lyft.
In some cases, accidents are caused by defective vehicles or defective parts inside a vehicle. Accident victims have a legal claim against the manufacturer of a defective car for the injuries they suffer, known as “products liability.” As you can see, there are many potential legal claims you could have as a result of an Uber or Lyft accident. You should never assume that you cannot file an insurance claim. You also should not take advice from any other driver’s insurance company. Remember, this person is not on your side, and they want to pay as little as possible. You have the right to hire your own attorney and get legal advice from someone who is actually working for you.
Experienced Texas Injury Lawyers for All Uber and Lyft Accidents
You don’t have to waste time searching online for a “Texas Uber and Lyft accident attorneys near me.” Our skilled car crash lawyers have decades of experience handling all types of injury cases. We have collected over 200 million dollars for our clients, and we serve clients all across the Lone Star State. Call (888) 398-4017 to schedule your free consultation. Don’t wait to get legal help. The sooner you have an experienced Texas rideshare injury lawyer on your side, the better protected your legal rights will be.