Houston Rideshare Accident Attorneys
Whereas people once relied on taxi cabs to transport them to and from certain locations, rideshare companies have provided on-demand transportation services that are usually fulfilled through the use of mobile applications (apps). While this technological advance has allowed scores of people to quickly get rides with a few presses of buttons, resolving a car accident involving a rideshare vehicle is far more complicated.
Uber and Lyft are two of the dominant players in the rideshare market, but new transportation network companies (TNCs) are trying to gain footing every day and everyday people are able to become drivers for these companies. When a rideshare driver causes an automobile accident, the rideshare company can be liable in some cases but will always be trying to weasel out of any responsibility.
If you suffered severe injuries or your loved one was killed in any kind of rideshare accident, you are going to need the help of a lawyer in holding the rideshare company accountable. You will want to be certain that you contact Attorney Tom as soon as possible.
Our firm will fight to make sure that you recover every last penny of compensation you are entitled to. We can provide a complete evaluation of your case and help you understand all of your legal options as soon as you call (713) 244-6363 or contact our Houston Uber accident lawyers online to set up a free consultation.
Do I Need A Rideshare Accident Lawyer?
You are going to want to make sure that you have an attorney for assistance with your rideshare accident claim for several reasons. The first reason is that the lawyer will immediately commence an independent investigation into your crash.
The investigation will allow an attorney to determine the cause but also collect important evidence. You can actually help preserve evidence by taking as many pictures as you can of everything involved in the scene of your crash before that evidence is cleaned up and disappears.
The major reason you want to have a lawyer is for dealing with the insurance company that is very likely to contact you soon after your accident. You need to understand that an insurer is never on your side, no matter how sincere an agent’s concern might seem, and you should never provide any recorded statement to a claims adjuster until you have legal representation.
Your attorney can handle all settlement negotiations on your behalf and will understand when to file a lawsuit when the statute of limitations becomes an issue. You need to understand that you can hire a personal injury lawyer at no cost to yourself because an attorney will handle your case on a contingency fee basis, which means that you only pay when you actually receive a monetary award.
Types of Rideshare Accident Cases We Handle
Uber, Lyft, and several other TNCs have insurance policies set up such that insurance works as follows:
- Driver Not Logged Into TNC’s Digital Network — Driver’s personal automobile insurance covers all damages.
- Driver Logged Into TNC’s Digital Network, But No Passenger Requests — TNC may provide excess coverage for damages exceeding driver’s personal limits. Uber provides $50,000 per person and $100,000 per accident and Lyft offers $50,000 per person for bodily injury, $100,000 per accident for bodily injury, and $25,000 per accident for property damage.
- Driver Picking Up Passenger or Transporting Passenger — The TNC may have a larger liability policy, as both Lyft and Uber have $1 million liability and $1 million uninsured policies.
Many TNCs try to deny any liability for accidents. In many cases, drivers are referred to as independent contractors who should alone be responsible for all damages.
The actual causes of rideshare accidents can vary depending on circumstances. Some of the most common causes include, but are not limited to:
- Drunk or Drugged Driving
- Driver Fatigue
- Distracted Driving
- Speeding or Reckless Driving
Not all rideshare accidents are necessarily motor vehicle crashes. Some passengers may have been the victims of assaults or sex crimes committed by drivers.
Types of Rideshare Companies
Since Uber and Lyft have come onto the scene, the ridesharing market has been quickly evolving. New laws have been put into place to help regulate TNC’s, and, at the same time, new companies have appeared on the landscape, offering a new type of business model. For example, where Uber and Lyft’s employees are contractors, the new ridesharing company, Alto, actually hires its drivers as employees, which means the company itself may be more directly responsible for damages, in the event of an accident.
The ridesharing legal terrain is complex, but we are up-to-date on the various liability models in play, so no matter what ridesharing company caused your accident, we can help. Here are some of the leading rideshare companies on the market:
Frequently Asked Questions
Uber Technologies Inc. and Lyft Inc. are both San Francisco-based TNCs. Lyft currently operates in 640 cities in the United States and nine cities in
Canada while Uber now serves 785 metropolitan areas worldwide. While the rates for both of these services are similar, Lyft uses Prime Time pricing under which prices may double when demand for rides increases, and Uber uses surge pricing that can lead to even larger increases during the same time periods. Each company also offers different services with different price ranges. The Lyft budget option allows for transportation of as many as four passengers, Lyft Plus covers up to six passengers, and Lyft Premier involves higher-quality vehicles. UberPOOL is the cheapest Uber option, UberX involves an everyday vehicle for as many as four people, UberXL involves an SUV seating up to six people, UberSELECT will get you a luxury sedan, UberBLACK involves a high-end luxury vehicle, and UberSUV has high-end SUVs. Many other companies are attempting to enter the rideshare market, and some of the competitors operating in certain cities include Via, Gett, Curb, Z-trip, Summon, Bridj, Juno, Waze, Wingz, and See Jane Go.
You could be entitled to various kinds of compensation for your injuries, and the insurance company for the rideshare driver or company will be looking to minimize whatever it pays you. The insurer may be quick to offer you a lump sum settlement, and you have every right to refuse an offer until you have legal representation. Your attorney can send the insurance company a demand letter that seeks full compensation for all of your past, present, and future expenses. The demand letter will usually lead to settlement negotiations, but a case may have to go trial when an insurer refuses to provide a suitable award. If you are able to prove your case by a preponderance of the evidence in court, you could be awarded two kinds of compensatory damages:
- Economic damages that apply to tangible costs that can be calculated and proven like medical bills, lost income, and property damage.
- Noneconomic damages that are awards for far more subjective kinds of harm like pain and suffering, loss of consortium, or disfigurement.
Another kind of jury award that is far rarer is punitive damages. As they relate to rideshare accidents, punitive damages are typically awarded most frequently in drunk driving crashes.
Different states have different laws relating to negligence actions, with some states being contributory negligence states and others being some kind of comparative fault states. Five jurisdictions (Alabama, the District of Columbia, Maryland, North Carolina, and Virginia) use pure contributory negligence, which prohibits a person from recovering any damages when their own negligence contributes to any degree to their injuries, meaning that a person can only be held accountable when a victim had absolutely no fault for an accident. A dozen states (Alaska, Arizona, California, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico, New York, Rhode Island, and Washington) use pure comparative fault systems that allow people to recover damages regardless of their degree of negligence, but the catch is that a person’s award is reduced by their percentage of negligence such that a victim who is awarded $100,000 in a rideshare accident but found to be 55 percent at fault for will have their award reduced by $55,000 and ultimately receive $45,000. All other states use some kind of modified comparative fault system under which a person cannot recover damages when they are 50 or 51 percent at fault for their injuries.
Rideshare Accident Statistics
A National Institutes of Health (NIH) study in February 2018 found a 61.8 percent reduction in the alcohol-involved crash rate after Uber’s resumption in Portland, Oregon. Another study published in a July 2018 research brief from the Cato Institute relied on monthly data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) and found a 0.8 percent decline in drunk driving offenses for each additional month Uber was available and a 1.6 percent decline in the overall fatal crash rate for each additional quarter Uber was available.
A University of Chicago and Rice University study published in September 2018 found that the arrival of ridesharing was associated with a 2 to 3 percent increase in the number of motor vehicle fatalities and fatal accidents.” According to the study, a 3 percent annual increase was the equivalent of 987 deaths annually.
Contact a Rideshare Accident Attorney Today
Did you sustain catastrophic injuries or was your loved one killed in a rideshare crash? Do not think that you have to figure out how to handle your injury claim on your own.
Attorney Tom has a mission to go above and beyond for clients, so you can be assured that out team is fully committed to helping you get justice. Call (713) 244-6363 or contact us online to take advantage of a free consultation.