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Houston Uber Accident Attorney

Harris County Lyft Accident Attorney

Rideshare Accident Injury Lawyer Serving Harris, Fort Bend, and Galveston County

Uber and Lyft have replaced taxis as the primary mode of for-hire transportation in most of urban Texas. Uber and Lyft are Transportation Network Companies (TNCs) whom many refer to as 'ride-sharing services'.

These ride-sharing services connect passengers who need transportation with drivers who can offer it in their vehicles, and this connection is made via an online, technology-enabled platform. Even though their purpose is to facilitate transportation, these companies claim to be technology companies, simply offering a better way to connect passengers to drivers. These companies have gained popularity and success by benefitting passengers and providing opportunities for drivers to earn a second income.

Major Benefits of Using Ride-Sharing Services

  • Uber and Lyft are much cheaper than hiring a taxi or renting a private vehicle. Uber and Lyft also tell you exactly what the trip will cost before you confirm the trip.
  • Uber and Lyft have created thousands of jobs for competent and eligible drivers. Uber and Lyft drivers enjoy considerable freedom and flexibility as they get to choose their own working hours.
  • Uber and Lyft are much easier to hail, as drivers of these companies pick up passengers at their desired locations unlike taxis. To hail a conventional taxi, a passenger has to be out on the street, or he or she must call dispatch.
  • Payments are made to drivers online through Uber and Lyft, which are safe and secure modes of transactions. A driver doesn't risk being not paid.
  • Uber and Lyft drivers have registered themselves and their credit card numbers on the ride-share app, and their identity is not hidden.
  • Uber and Lyft apps are easy to download on smartphones. These apps are user friendly and offer attractive incentives to regular customers.
  • As drivers and passengers both get to rate each other, the rude and aggressive types get weeded out.

Many individuals prefer doing gig work rather than a normal job. Such preference provided ride-share services like Uber and Lyft with a willing work-force. With the rise in the number of Uber and Lyft cars on the roads, there is more congestion on the streets.

Uber and Lyft drivers, in pursuit of making a quick buck, are placing other Texan drivers and passengers at risk because they are constantly monitoring their ride-sharing app for prospective passengers, or looking at navigation apps that will guide them to their passengers' destinations.

Distracted driving is dangerous driving, and these ride share services have inherent risks for the people who use them. If you or a loved one has been injured due to the negligence or carelessness of an Uber or Lyft driver, contact a Board-Certified car accident lawyer at the Law Office of Shane R. Kadlec who possesses in depth knowledge and experience to assist you and your family to navigate through complex accident laws and ensure the best outcome in an injury claim.

Precautions to Take if You are a Ride-Share User

There are several things that can be done to reduce the risk of being involved in an Uber or Lyft accident. Some of them include:

  • Review driver ratings and then confirm your trip.
  • Share your status and travel plans.
  • Avoid distracting the driver.
  • Follow the driver's map alongside your own to ensure you are headed to your destination.
  • Never travel alone, when not sober.

If you no longer feel safe, or if you feel that the driver is engaging in aggressive or erratic driving, demand he or she stop immediately so you can get out, or call 911 if you feel threatened.

Uber and Lyft's Relation With Their Drivers

Individuals who drive for Uber and Lyft are not considered as their employees. Instead, they are operating in the capacity of independent contractors who are under a contract to offer and perform services on behalf of these companies. As self-employed individuals, these drivers 'are doing work for' Uber or Lyft, but are not 'working' for them.

Vicarious Liability

The theory of Vicarious Liability states that a 'Principal' (an employer, for example) can be legally responsible for the actions of his or her 'agents' (employees, for example).

In Uber and Lyft accident cases, the wrongful or negligent behavior comes from a driver who is an independent contractor, not an employee. Unlike employees, Uber and Lyft drivers do not generally enjoy worker rights, workplace benefits, or a pension. As a result, Uber and Lyft can potentially avoid Vicarious Liability as drivers are classified as independent contractors.

Terms of Service

The biggest single factor affecting personal injury lawsuits by passengers and drivers against Uber or Lyft is their terms of service. To use Uber or Lyft, passengers agree to these companies' terms of service, which serves as a contract between Uber or Lyft and the passengers.

Two very important provisions in the terms of service state how Uber and Lyft will resolve any legal disagreement with passengers or drivers.

The first provision concerns how and where legal action can take place. Any legal action against Uber or Lyft must take place through arbitration. This means plaintiffs have:

  • No right to a trial
  • No right to a jury
  • No right to an appeal

The second provision restricts plaintiffs from bringing a class action or any other type of group legal action against Uber or Lyft. Aggrieved ride-share passengers have to bring action against Uber or Lyft on an individual basis and not collectively.

Insurance Companies Try to Make Quick Low-Value Settlements

Accidents involving drivers and vehicles of rideshare companies such as Uber and Lyft can be very difficult to resolve. Due to complex and complicated insurance policies of these companies, victims of Uber and Lyft accidents may find themselves facing multiple low settlement offers that won't be enough to cover even their hospital bills and lost income. As victims find themselves strapped for cash after having missed work and paying medical bills, they are often forced to accept a much lower amount of compensation as settlement. Do not put yourself in this position, as a Board Certified Injury Lawyer can ensure your claim is settled for a reasonable amount or present your case to a jury when these companies fail to make reasonable offers.

How Uber and Lyft's Insurance Policies Work

Uber and Lyft consider "three periods" while determining eligibility for insurance coverage. Whether a victim receives a coverage depends on when the accident took place, as detailed below:

  • First Period: 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.
  • Second Period: Period two begins when the driver goes to pick up a passenger. Uber and Lyft provide handsome coverages in this period with up to $1,000,000.00 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, Uber and Lyft can claim driver was in period one.
  • Third Period: This period is active during the time a passenger is in the vehicle. This is probably the easiest period for a national 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.

Who Bears Liability in an Uber or Lyft Accident?

When an accident victim attempts to sue Uber or Lyft for careless, reckless and negligent behaviour of a contracted driver, things tend to get complicated.

The entire controversial arrangement between Uber and Lyft with their drivers helps these companies escape a large portion of responsibility and legal liability.

  • If you are injured in an accident involving an Uber or Lyft vehicle, as a driver, a passenger, or a pedestrian, who is liable to compensate you depends on the driver's status at the time of the accident.
  • If you were injured in an accident when the driver was not on the app, the driver may be accountable, and you will need to file a claim with the driver's insurer.
  • If you were injured while the driver was awaiting a request, you may collect compensation from a combination of Uber or Lyft's liability policy, and any supplemental insurance held by the driver.
  • If you were injured while the driver was on his way to pick up a passenger or while the passenger was in the car, you are fully covered by Uber or Lyft's one million dollars third-party liability coverage.

Uber and Lyft accidents often involve three insurance companies – Uber or Lyft's insurance company, the Uber or Lyft driver's private insurer and the insurance companies of others involved. These insurance companies work in collusion to try to diminish a victim's injuries or try to shift blame or try to claim no one was at fault. In such circumstances, recovering compensation becomes very difficult for the victims unless they have an experienced Uber and Lyft car accident lawyer to guide and assist them.

Statute of Limitation for Filing an Uber or Lyft Accident Claim in Texas

There are specific time limits, restrictions and rules for filing an accident claim. An experienced Texas Uber/Lyft accident lawyer ensures that you fully understand the Federal, State and Local laws that might apply to your case. The Texas statute of limitations for Uber and Lyft accidents is two years after the accident occurred. In general terms, residents of Texas have two years from the date of the accident to initiate a civil lawsuit or have the claim settled. A seasoned Texas car accident lawyer ensures all your legal filings are accurate and filed timely.

Why You Should Have an Award-Winning Lawyer Represent You

If you are a victim of an accident involving an Uber or Lyft driver, your priorities are obtaining much-needed treatment and adequate compensation for damages sustained. Taking on billion-dollar companies like Uber and Lyft who are backed by insurance companies and law-makers can overwhelm any lawyer. To deal with such entities, you have to bring in the experience and resources that the Law Office of Shane R. Kadlec offers to lock horns with likes of Uber and Lyft and their representatives and to secure maximum compensation through verdicts and settlements for victims of Uber and Lyft accidents in Texas.

If you enlist our services, the experienced Uber and Lyft lawyers at our firm will:

  • Obtain copies of all police and medical records.
  • Identify and interview witnesses who were present at the scene of the accident that caused your injuries.
  • Photograph, inspect, and investigate the site of the mishap.
  • Hire and consult experts who are needed to determine the origin and the cause of the accident.
  • Help victims locate the best doctors and rehabilitation facilities.
  • Help determine fault and liable parties.
  • Help victims to understand the ramifications of their injuries, educate victims about their rehabilitation options, and inform them about long term rehabilitation and care costs.

Contact a Texas 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. Contact an experienced Uber and Lyft accident lawyer at our award-winning firm for a free case evaluation right away. Call 281-643-2000 to schedule an appointment.

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