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What Are the Responsibilities for Injuries in a Rideshare Accident?

Injury accidents involving ridesharing companies like Lyft and Uber can present unique issues for injured victims seeking to pursue damages against those involved in the crash. While drivers and passengers often agree to settle claims out of court, many people do not realize that there are additional parties that may be liable for injuries sustained in a rideshare accident. These include the rideshare operators themselves, the owners of the vehicles used by the rideshare drivers, and even bystanders who may have been hit by one of the cars while riding in the passenger seat.

The most common way that rideshare companies operate is through a shared fleet of vehicles. Drivers use their personal vehicles to pick up passengers and transport them to their destinations. When the ride ends, the passenger pays the driver directly, either via credit card information entered into the app or cash given to the driver upon arrival. This type of arrangement makes it difficult for injured plaintiffs to identify the specific entity or entities responsible for paying for their medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages.

The Prevalence of Rideshare Accident Injuries

Ridesharing apps like Uber and Lyft are growing rapidly in popularity. But according to data collected by the University of Chicago, the boom in popularity could lead to a rise in traffic accidents caused by rideshare vehicles. Between 2010 and 2016, there was a 3 percent increase in fatal crashes involving rideshare vehicles.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, about 10 million people use rideshare services every month. This number is expected to grow to 20 million by 2020. As rideshare cars become more popular, it’s important to understand how rideshare accidents affect both riders and drivers.

While rideshare companies often claim that they do everything possible to ensure safety, some experts say that the industry still needs to take steps to protect consumers. For example, rideshare companies sometimes fail to notify police when a passenger requests help. They also don’t always provide complete information about their insurance coverage.

Liable Parties in a Rideshare Crash

In some states, there is no legal distinction between being an employee and being a contractor. This means that if you're driving for one of these companies, it might be difficult to prove that you were acting within the scope of employment when you collided with another car.

If you are involved in a rideshare accident, it's important to know whether you have legal recourse. You should consult with a personal injury attorney about your options.

The Driver Is Transporting a Rider

A recent report found that Uber and Lyft drivers are providing the most comprehensive coverage when it comes to third-party liability claims. A study analyzed how much money passengers pay per trip compared to what the ride-hail apps cover in case of a car crash. Drivers under contract with Uber and Lyft are covered by both their personal auto policies and the rideshare app’s insurance plan.

The study found that Uber and Lyft offer the highest maximum insurance benefits — $1 million in total liability coverage — in cases where a driver transports a paying passenger. This includes trips taken within 25 miles of a pickup location, as well as trips originating outside of California. For comparison, the average amount of coverage offered by traditional taxi cab companies is $10,000.

If you were in an accident while being transported by a rideshare driver, you could pursue a legal claim against the driver through the rideshare app‘s insurance company policy. However, it's important to note that the driver is typically not insured by the rideshare company. Instead, the driver is usually covered by his or her personal auto insurance.

The Driver Is Actively Seeking a Rider

Uber and Lyft drivers who do not actually transport a passenger are covered under the companies’ policies for accidents that occur while they are looking for someone to pick them up.

This coverage is only available if the driver is using the app to actively look for riders. If the driver is simply driving around town, it does not apply.

In this case, Uber and Lyft offer $50,000 per incident and $100,000 in general liability coverage. They also provide up to $25 million in property damage coverage. These amounts are subject to change depending on the state where the accident occurs.

The policy covers both the driver and the rider, meaning passengers can pursue claims against both entities.

Discuss Your Rideshare Accident with an Attorney

An Uber/Lyft ridesharing accident can be devastating. You could lose everything. And there are many reasons why you may feel like you don’t deserve justice. But you do. A personal injury lawyer in Harris County, Galveston County, Fort Bend County, Montgomery County, Brazoria County, Houston, Sugar Land, Missouri City, and Stafford, Texas at Thornton Esquire Law Group, PLLC, can help you understand what happened and how to hold the responsible parties accountable. Contact us today at www.thorntonesquirelawgroup.com for a free consultation.

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