Ride sharing companies such as Uber and Lyft have become increasingly popular all across the country. This meteoric rise in the popularity of these companies is based on the convenience of being able to book a ride from your phone, getting picked up in a few minutes from your preferred location and having to pay a price for a trip much lower than a conventional taxi.
However, as the number of Uber and Lyft vehicles on our roads increase, the chances of accidents involving drivers of these ride sharing companies also rises. If a driver of an Uber or Lyft hit you while you were driving, biking or walking or if you were a passenger in an Uber which was involved in an accident, you should immediately seek help from a experienced Houston Board Certified Uber and Lyft accident lawyer.
HOW YOU COULD BE INVOLVED IN AN ACCIDENT INVOLVING AN UBER OR LYFT?
There are multiple ways in which you may be involved in an Uber or a Lyft related accident. The most common of them are:-
- You could be a passenger in an Uber or Lyft.
- You could be the driver of a vehicle or a passenger in a vehicle that the Uber or Lyft collides into.
- You could be a pedestrian or a bystander hit by an Uber or a Lyft.
MAJOR CONCERNS ABOUT RIDESHARE COMPANIES LIKE UBER AND LYFT.
Although Uber and Lyft have become a popular mode of transportation in cities across the country, there are major concerns regarding the business model of these companies from a legal standpoint. These concerns include:-
- Uber and Lyft do not conduct in-person interviews of their contracted drivers and do not conduct thorough background checks.
- Uber and Lyft do not hire professional drivers. The drivers do not possess specialized licenses and do not undergo any training. Passengers face the risk of being at the mercy of inexperienced, distracted and careless drivers.
- Questions regarding the safety and security of passengers arise as thorough background checks are not conducted into the criminal history of contracted drivers.
- Uber and Lyft drivers are required to use their smartphones to pick up passengers and have to follow GPS applications to drive passengers to their destinations. These actions can result in increased distractions while driving.
COMMON CAUSES OF UBER AND LYFT ACCIDENTS.
Although government agencies and ride sharing companies are working together to ensure road, vehicle, driver and passenger safety, the number of accidents involving these ride hailing services continue to rise. Some major factors that contribute to these accidents are:-
- Driver errors such as speeding, distracted driving, failure to yield right of way, drunk driving, and failure to keep in proper lane.
- Uber and Lyft contracting unfit drivers and failure of these companies to train and supervise their contracted drivers.
- Failure of Uber and Lyft to inspect and maintain vehicles regularly.
- Uber and Lyft allowing drivers to work excessive driving hours.
- Defective parts such as tires, wheels, brakes or axels.
- Failure of state to keep roads properly maintained.
Uber and Lyft are not considered conventional taxi services. This means the kind of liability associated with a taxi accident is not applicable in an accident claim involving an Uber or a Lyft.
Uber and Lyft are software companies that provide an application (App) that allows passengers to hail rides from drivers who are also using the app. These drivers are not directly employed by Uber or Lyft and instead are considered independent contractors.
Uber and Lyft have used their business model to shield themselves from liability in case of an accident. Courts across the country have ruled that these rideshare companies owe a duty to their passengers. Hence, these companies have been forced to accept stricter regulations and increased scrutiny over safety.
In order to have a valid personal injury case, a victim must be able to prove that the Uber or Lyft driver was at-fault and his or her negligence led to the accident. It has to be proven that :-
- The Uber or Lyft driver owed a duty of reasonable care, as all drivers share a duty to drive carefully and obey traffic laws.
- The at-fault driver breached that duty by driving negligently or by disobeying the traffic laws.
- The victim was injured and suffered damages as a result of the Uber or Lyft drivers’ breach of duty.
STEPS YOU SHOULD TAKE IF YOU ARE INVOLVED IN AN ACCIDENT INVOLVING AN UBER OR A LYFT IN HOUSTON.
If you have been the victim of an accident involving an Uber or a Lyft, our team of Uber and Lyft accident lawyers recommends that you do the following:-
- Check on all parties involved in the accident and seek emergency medical assistance if anyone is injured.
- Call and notify the Police.
- Take photographs of the scene of the accident.
- Get contact information of the drivers involved in the accident and also of witnesses.
- If you were a passenger in an Uber and Lyft, report the accident to the company through the app and save details of your trip with the particular driver.
- Notify your insurance company.
- Contact a Houston Uber and Lyft accident attorney as soon as possible.
As Uber and Lyft hire their drivers on a contract basis, these drivers are not entitled to rights similar to those of traditional employees. Uber and Lyft cannot be held responsible for the negligent acts of its contracted drivers.
UBER AND LFYT’S INSURANCE POLICIES.
Uber and Lyft both require its drivers to carry their own insurance policies. The coverages of these rideshare companies only kick in if the driver’s insurance policy does not cover costs of the accident or if the driver was in the process transporting a passenger at time of the accident.
These companies consider “ three periods” while determining eligibility for coverages. Whether a victim receives a coverage depends on when the accident took place, as detailed below:
This period starts when the app is turned on and the driver is awaiting ride requests. In this period, drivers receive limited liability coverage ($50,000/ per person/ $100,000 total/ $25,000 property damage). For all other types of coverage, drivers are required to have own personal insurance.
Period two begins when the driver goes to pick up a passenger. Uber and Lyft provide handsome coverages in this period with up to one million dollars of liability coverage and full coverage for vehicle damages. Uber and Lyft demand proof that a driver was on course to pick up a passenger when the accident occurred. If the driver fails to provide sufficient proof, the rideshare company can claim driver was in period one.
This period is active during the time a passenger is in the vehicle. This is probably the easiest period for a Houston Uber and Lyft accident lawyer to prove. Presence of a passenger makes insurance claims of both the passenger and the driver almost undeniable. In such cases, attorneys will be able to negotiate fair settlement terms without much resistance. Coverages are similar to those in period two.
SHOULD I HIRE A LAWYER IF I AM INVOLVED IN AN ACCIDENT INVOLVING AN UBER OR A LYFT?
An experienced Houston Uber and Lyft accident attorney will not only assist you to determine the type of Insurance that applies to your case, but will also help you to go after right party to seek compensation.
As you have to take time off work and forego pay checks while you recover from your injuries and face costly medical expenses and other bills, it becomes impossible for you to run from pillar to post collecting evidence to seek compensation.
Experienced Uber and Lyft accident lawyers like Shane R. Kadlec have the resources to help you to navigate through the complex legal process, investigate the accident thoroughly for you, secure evidence needed to prove negligence of the liable party, and handle negotiations with insurance companies on your behalf. Given below are the types of damages that our qualified and experienced attorneys help a victim of a Uber and Lyft accident to recover:-
- Past and current medical costs.
- Future medical costs.
- Lost wages and business income.
- Loss of future earning capacity.
- Permanent injury and disability.
NON ECONOMIC DAMAGES.
- Pain and suffering.
- Emotional distress.
- Loss of consortium.
- Loss of enjoyment of life
An experienced Uber and Lyft accident lawyer ensures that you fully understand the Federal, State and Local laws that might apply to your case and also determines when is the right time to file a lawsuit if negotiations for settlements with insurance companies breakdown. Texas statute of Limitations for Uber and Lyft related accidents is two years after the accident occurred.
CONTACT A HOUSTON UBER AND LYFT ACCIDENT LAWYER.
If you or your loved one has been injured due to the carelessness or negligence of an Uber or Lyft driver, you deserve to be duly compensated for the injuries suffered and other damages. Call an experienced Uber and Lyft accident lawyer at our firm for a free case evaluation right away.