In regular Houston car crashes, you can seek damages from the at-fault driver for crash-related losses as an injured person. This is because Texas is a fault state, in contrast to no-fault states. A good Houston car accident lawyer can help you recover these damages. Here at Calhoun, Meredith, & Sims, our highly experienced personal injury attorneys seek to get you the maximum amount of compensation in a crash claim. Call us today to discuss your case in a free consultation.
In Uber car accidents, things get a bit more complicated. This is particularly so when you are riding in an Uber car as an Uber passenger, and the driver runs into an accident. In such a case, you are left wondering who is liable to pay compensatory money for pain and other crash-related losses as the injured person. This also applies to passenger trips in the vehicles of other ride-sharing companies. You also need to understand other aspects of such a crash. Here is a look at these.
If you are injured as an Uber passenger in an Uber car accident, it is important to gather the insurance details of all the parties involved at the accident scene. You can seek damages from several potentially at-fault parties. These include the following:
The Uber Driver
Rideshare accidents may be caused because the rideshare driver was texting, driving recklessly, drunk driving, or was negligent in some other way. When this is the case, the Uber driver at fault will be held liable for causing the crash.
However, an important thing to consider here is that Uber drivers are independent contractors and not company employees. Uber may use this distinction in order to deflect Uber accident settlement claims for crashes caused by drivers.
Another At-Fault Driver
In an Uber car accident, it is possible that the fault of another careless driver caused the crash. In such a case, a claim for damages will be directed against that driver's auto insurer.
Multiple Liable Parties
In some scenarios, the Uber driver and another driver or person, such as a pedestrian or a motorcycle rider, may be at fault for causing a crash. In such a case, the fault may be distributed between the responsible parties. You must then consult a personal injury lawyer to determine how best to prove breach of duty of care and how to identify the responsible insurance company.
If the Uber driver was driving irresponsibly or partaking in aggressive driving and this caused the Uber car accident while you were traveling in a prearranged ride, the driver is liable for accident damages. This is because Texas is not a no-fault state. The personal auto insurance company of the driver will be required to offer primary personal injury protection coverage for your crash-related losses.
If the driver's bodily injury liability coverage limit is exhausted, Uber’s own insurance policy kicks in as secondary coverage for an Uber accident settlement. This accident policy covers you for losses of up to $1 million, including bodily injury liability. In addition to personal injuries, this policy also applies to any major or minor property damage you may face due to the crash.
However, Uber drivers are not employees of the company. This means that if the driver was driving negligently and caused the crash, insurance adjusters representing Uber may deny coverage and turn down your claim.
At the same time, the driver’s personal insurance company may also deny your claim for bodily injury liability, citing that the driver was working for pay at the time the accident happened. In both situations, you will have the option of filing a lawsuit for a personal injury settlement. You can explore this option by discussing it with an Uber accident lawyer.
If a second driver were at fault for causing the crash, Uber accident victims would need to file the bodily injury liability claim with that person’s automobile insurance carrier. In such a case, Uber or the Uber driver will not be a party to the personal injury claims.
Your own personal insurance policy may also cover you for bodily injury liability in a crash like this. If your personal coverage covers the losses, you can file an insurance claim and receive damages without going through the hassle of filing with another auto insurer. A Houston car accident lawyer can advise you on how best to seek maximum coverage through your personal policy.
Uber has three levels of auto insurance coverage for its drivers. Here is a look at these rideshare insurance options:
- No coverage. An Uber driver is covered by the company’s auto insurance policies only when he or she is logged into the company’s app. When the driver is not logged in, the company's rideshare insurance policy doesn’t apply.
- Limited coverage. When an Uber driver has logged into the official app and is still waiting for a ride request, Uber’s limited coverage applies to the company's accident policy. This limited bodily injury coverage is applicable as long as the driver is logged into the app but before the driver accepts a ride. The limited insurance policy offers up to $50,000 coverage per person and $100,000 bodily injury liability per accident, and $25,000 liability for property damage per accident in a potential Uber accident settlement.
- Full coverage. Uber offers a $1 million liability insurance policy which includes bodily injury liability and becomes available as soon as an Uber driver accepts the ride request and picks up the passenger. So if you are a rideshare rider in an Uber vehicle and the vehicle suffers an accident, you are covered under this million-dollar accident policy. The policy covers property damage liability coverage while also offering personal injury protection coverage. The property damage coverage can be tapped if you suffer any loss or damage of property during the accident.
In addition, Uber also offers $1 million underinsured and uninsured driver coverage for bodily injury liability and other losses. This could help Uber accident victims cover losses if an uninsured or underinsured driver caused the crash.
You can also seek coverage under the uninsured motorist insurance of your own insurer through your personal auto insurance policy. If a hit-and-run caused your injury as an Uber passenger, the uninsured motorist insurance offered by Uber could cover your losses. The uninsured motorist coverage is particularly useful in such a case as the at-fault driver flees the crash scene.
For its drivers, Uber offers funeral and death benefits when an accident causes the death of the driver or Uber rider. The dependents or heirs of the deceased can then seek an Uber accident settlement from the company in lieu of these wrongful death benefits. If an at-fault driver caused the crash, the wrongful death claim would be filed against that driver, and a motorist insurance settlement sought.
A wide range of damages is available to you in an Uber accident settlement if you get injured in an Uber car accident. The actual amount can range from tens of thousands of dollars all the way to above a million. In accident injury claims like this, you can seek damages for:
Medical Care Costs: You can seek full compensation for the past and expected future medical care costs as the injured person in an Uber crash.
Lost Wages: As an injured person, you may be unable to resume your work for a while. This results in lost wages. You are legally entitled to seek these wages in lieu of the damages you claim in an Uber crash.
Pain and Suffering: You can also get compensation for the pain and suffering you have to face as an injured person in an Uber car accident. This type of damages refers to physical pain and mental suffering such as depression, exhaustion, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Disfigurement and Scarring: If you have suffered disfigurement or scarring, you can also seek damages for these in your legal claim against the negligent driver.
Disability: Crashes can result in severe injuries causing a partial or permanent disability. Texas personal injury laws allow you to recover full compensation for a permanent injury or disability in an Uber accident settlement.
Loss of Enjoyment: This is another intangible type of compensation you can seek for the adverse impact of crash-related injuries on your life.
Funeral and Death Benefits: The million-dollar Uber policy offers death and funeral benefits for both drivers and passengers traveling in an Uber vehicle. The company may be liable to pay these benefits in an Uber accident settlement.
Texas has a statute of limitations of two years for all personal injury claims, including Uber accidents. In general, it is a good idea to consult an Uber accident attorney for legal advice and file accident injury claims at the earliest after you have suffered a crash as a passenger during one of the trips in an Uber vehicle. This is because you will need to gather evidence, get witness statements, and meet various other requirements before filing the claim.
If you are late in filing your Uber accident claim for this type of accident, your chances of a successful personal injury settlement will diminish. This is because any delays can result in the loss of important evidence relevant to your claim, such as the dashcam videos from the Uber vehicle. You may also have a harder time recovering law enforcement reports about your crash.
The auto insurance company of the at-fault driver, and Uber itself, may cite the delay as evidence of foul play on your part. Such a delay will also have an impact on the veracity of your medical records. Insurance adjusters can also argue that your injuries were incurred at a later date and are not related to the crash itself.
Once the two-year time limit expires, you have little to no chance of a successful Uber accident settlement. There are some exceptions to this, but you must consult an Uber accident attorney to see if your claim qualifies as an exception.
When you want to file a car crash claim for damages after suffering injuries during one of your trips as an Uber passenger, it is critically important to hire a good Uber accident attorney.
The at-fault driver's insurer may deny coverage because personal car insurance doesn't apply to the commercial use of a vehicle. As well as other rideshare companies, Uber may also deny coverage of accident claims of this kind if the driver had acted negligently. To top it, more than one party may be to blame for the crash. Such insurance issues may create hurdles in the success of your claim.
This is where Calhoun, Meredith, & Sims can help you. We help Houston car crash victims reach fair settlements for accidents. In doing so, our Houston car accident lawyers work with you to first identify the at-fault party. If more than one party can be held at fault, we make sure you know your options.
Our personal injury attorneys ensure that you can file the claim without losing any time. We also negotiate with an auto insurance company on your behalf to secure the best Uber accident settlement terms. In case the at-fault driver’s insurer or Uber refuses to pay fair compensation, our qualified and experienced lawyers can take your case to court and launch a lawsuit.
We aim to secure maximum settlements for accidents to cover the medical costs and other losses resulting from your Uber accident. You can discuss your claim in a free one-on-one session with our lawyers before you hire us. Call us today to schedule the free session.