Hurt in Houston- Taxis and Rideshares First and Third Party Claims
You have two ways to recover if you have been injured because of a taxi, Uber, or Lyft accident. You can file a first-party claim or a third-party claim.
What is a Claim?
A claim is a request for damages. Sometimes, people use claim instead of lawsuit. However, you can make a claim without filing a lawsuit.
What Is a First-Party Claim?
In a first-party claim, you sue the person directly responsible for the accident.
What Is a Third-Party Claim?
In a third-party claim, you sue a party whose actions indirectly contributed to the accident or your injuries.
First-Party Claims and Automobile Accidents
In an automobile accident, most first-party claims will be against drivers. You could have multiple first-party claims because Texas is a contributory negligence state. That means that numerous people could be at-fault for the accident.
You could also have a first-party claim against a non-driver. Pedestrians and cyclists could also cause an auto accident. Suing them would be first-party claims.
Suppose the driver in an accident is driving a personal vehicle for personal use. In that case, you will probably only have a first-party claim. You may also have a first-party claim against a driver who is working. It does not matter if the driver operates a commercial vehicle like a taxi or a personal car like an Uber or a Lyft.
Third-Party Claims and Automobile Accidents
In an automobile accident, you may have a third-party claim if another party indirectly caused or contributed to the accident.
The question is whether the third party’s actions or inactions contributed to the accident.
Many third-party claims are against employers. Employers direct their employees to drive to specific locations. They are responsible for torts their drivers commit during employment.
First-Party Claims and Rideshare
If you are in a Lyft or Uber accident, your first-party claim would be against the driver. Lyft and Uber drivers must carry personal auto insurance policies. You can file a claim against them whether you are a
- Other driver
- Other injured party
Third-Party Claims and Rideshare
If you are in a Lyft or Uber accident, you may be able to file a claim against the company. That would be a third-party claim. The company was not driving the car. However, they may share responsibility for the accident.
Although rideshare drivers are independent contractors, the company may have contributed to the accident somehow. If they were reckless or negligent or somehow failed in their duty to you, you might be able to sue them for the accident.
Torts and Insurance Coverage
Auto insurance covers auto accidents. However, not all claims against Uber or Lyft drivers are because of driving. The driver may commit a tort against you.
A tort is a wrong that leads to civil liability. A driver committing a crime against you could lead to civil liability. Auto insurance would not cover the crime if it was not a driving offense.
A rideshare driver could commit
- Sexual assault
- Aggravated assault
- Attempted murder
- Unlawful imprisonment
Torts do not have to be crimes. Some examples of non-criminal torts include
- Invasion of privacy
- Intentional infliction of emotional distress
A standard auto insurance policy does not cover those crimes. The driver probably does not have money to pay damages. So, how do you recover?
Why File a Third-Party Claim
There are three main reasons to file a third-party claim.
The first reason is financial. A company like Uber or Lyft has deeper pockets than its drivers. If you have a severe injury, you may need more money than the driver’s insurance will provide.
The second reason is to change business practices. For example, we represent people who sue rideshare companies for employee bad acts. In our opinion, neither Uber nor Lyft takes sufficient precautions to ensure their drivers are safe. If they have to pay enough money in settlements or jury awards, they should change their practices.
Finally, is the incident covered by insurance? Most traffic accidents are covered. However, intentional torts are not. A tort is a wrongful act that leads to civil liability.
So, if you want to file a third-party claim, you need to ask
- What is the monetary value of my claim?
- Was the driver’s behavior intentional or accidental?
- Could the company have done something differently to prevent the accident?
- Will insurance cover the claim?
Third-Party Claims and Rideshares
Both Uber and Lyft carry insurance coverage. Accident victims can make claims against the businesses’ insurance policies. The policies cover up to $1 million in damages. It covers anyone involved in the accident, including the driver.
However, this insurance is supplementary, which kick-in after other policies. Drivers are required to carry primary insurance coverage.
You may also be able to sue Uber or Lyft for negligence.
First-Party and Third-Party Insurance Claims
If you make an insurance claim, you may be confused by the terms first-party and third-party. For insurance, a first-party claim is a claim against your own insurance. A third-party claim is a claim against someone else’s insurance.
For insurance purposes, you make a third-party claim whenever you seek compensation from someone else’s insurer.
Because Texas is a comparative fault state, you may need to claim against your and another party’s insurance. So, you may make first-party and third-party claims.
First-Party Insurance Claims
You might make a first-party insurance claim after an accident if you have
- Uninsured or underinsured motorist
When you make a first-party claim, you ask your insurer to cover your expenses. They may cover things such as
- Damages to your vehicle
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Rental coverage
- Stolen vehicles
Making a first-party insurance claim does not mean your insurer will pay for the accident. The insurer will do an investigation to determine fault. If they decide the other party was 51% at fault, they will pursue recovery from that company. When one insurance company reimburses another for payments, that is called subrogation.
Third-Party Insurance Claims
You make a third-party insurance claim if you believe the other party was at fault in an accident.
However, you should make a third-party claim, even if you think you may be at fault. It can be challenging to know who caused an accident. Wrecks happen quickly and unexpectedly. You may not have seen the area where the accident occurred. If you file both types of claims, the insurance companies will investigate. They may determine the other party was responsible.
If so, you are not alone. The topic is confusing. It is also frustrating. Many people who deserve compensation give up because it is so frustrating.
Filing the Right Claims Is Important
As you can see, filing the correct claim can be complicated. However, your responsibility as a plaintiff is to file the proper claim. That is why you need a lawyer who understands personal injury law.
The Salazar Law Firm can help you navigate these waters. We know which insurance claims to file. We also know who to sue if you do not get the settlement you deserve. Contact us today to schedule your free no-obligation consultation.