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Hurt in Houston- Rideshare
Many of our customers want to know if a rideshare accident is the same as a taxi accident.
Yes and no.
They are similar but not identical.
What Are Rideshares?
Rideshares are companies that match passengers with vehicles. They are similar to taxi companies. However,
The car are privately owned
- Drivers and passengers use websites or mobile apps to match
- You cannot legally hail the vehicles from the street
What Rideshare Companies are in Houston?
Uber and Lyft are the two best-known. However, they are not the only ones in Houston. Some others that may operate in the area include
Are Rideshares Legal in Texas?
Yes. A 2017 statewide law created a regulatory framework for ridesharing companies. Rideshares that follow those rules are legal.
Are Rideshare Drivers Employees or Independent Contractors?
Most are independent contractors.
However, some companies are more like a mix between traditional taxi or limo companies and rideshares. These companies include
Like rideshare, they let you use an app or the internet to schedule a ride. However, they work with taxi or livery drivers. Their drivers may be employees or independent contractors.
What Should I Do If I Am in A Rideshare Accident?
Follow the same steps we have listed for people in taxi accidents.
- Contact the police, fire, or EMS
- Document the scene
- Take photos of the accident site
- Take photos of damages to any vehicles
- If you have injuries, document them
- Take pictures of the surrounding area
- Document anything notable about the location or conditions
- Get names and contact info for everyone involved in the accident
- Get names and contact info for any witnesses that are present
- Seek medical care
Is It Important to Get Medical Care After a Rideshare Accident?
Absolutely. Some severe injuries seem minor. Ideally, you should go to the ER in an ambulance. However, we know cost keeps many people from getting care.
It is never too late to seek treatment. We may help you find affordable options if you cannot afford a doctor.
Do Rideshares Insure Their Drivers?
Uber and Lyft do. They both have $1 million insurance policies. However, this insurance is supplementary. The driver’s insurance coverage is primary.
Uber’s insurance policy provides coverage to third parties if the Uber driver is at fault. Third parties include:
- Other drivers
Uber’s policy does not cover third-party damages when the Uber driver is not at fault.
Suppose the Uber driver is signed into the Uber Driver app and on the way to pick up a passenger. In that case, the Uber policy will cover third-party liability.
Uber will cover up to $1 million if a passenger is in the vehicle. Uber will also cover up to $1 million in damages from uninsured motorists.
Uber’s insurance only covers drivers when they are working.
Lyft’s insurance policy is similar. It provides coverage from when a driver accepts a ride to when it ends. Lyft’s insurance coverage includes
- Contingent liability
- Primary automobile liability
- Uninsured/underinsured motorist
- Contingent comprehensive and collision
Can Rideshare Companies Be Held Liable for Accidents?
Sometimes. It depends on if the company’s actions helped cause the accident. The driver must be on duty during the accident. The company is not responsible unless the driver was working when the accident occurred.
Are Rideshares Liable for Driver’s Bad Acts?
Most drivers are responsible and safe. However, some are negligent. Others are dangerous. Passengers have accused rideshare drivers of
- Sexual assault
- Unlawful restraint
So, are the companies liable?
The answer is complicated. Under vicarious liability/ respondeat superior, an employer is responsible for an employee’s bad acts. However, that is only if those bad acts occur during the employee’s job performance. It usually excludes intentional torts, like those listed above.
Additionally, drivers are independent contractors, not employees. So, courts have found that respondeat superior does not apply.
However, if we can show that the rideshare was negligent in some other way, we can hold them liable. We look at things like
- Did they perform a background check?
- Did they allow a driver with a criminal record to work for them?
- Did they have information about prior allegations?
- Did they fail in their general duty to protect passengers?
If you were the victim of a driver’s intentional bad act, getting compensation could be complicated. You may need our help.
Is It Easy to File a Claim Against a Rideshare Company?
Uber and Lyft have steps to report an accident and file a claim. Even smaller companies have established protocols.
However, easy is not the same as wise. Insurance companies have two jobs
- Meeting their legal obligations
- Maximizing their profits
That means they want to pay you as little as possible to settle your claim.
Sometimes that is a fair amount. Your claim might be straightforward if you had a superficial injury that needed limited healthcare.
However, for more complex injuries, valuing the claim is challenging. You must consider whether it will
- Require continued care
- Impact your quality of life
- Impact your ability to work
- Cause pain and suffering
It is impossible to tell if a settlement offer is fair until you know those answers.
The Salazar Law Firm encourages people to contact us to discuss their claims. We can help you value your claim during our free, no-obligation consultations. With that information, you can decide whether the insurance company is offering you a fair settlement. If not, we are here to help you get what you deserve.