Rideshare vehicles have been a true game-changer for the transportation industry, allowing people to access a private ride to their destination with the simple swipe of an app while contracted drivers earn money in their spare time. While the majority of rides with Uber or Lyft take place without incident, experiencing an accident as either a passenger in a rideshare vehicle or as a separate driver in a collision with a rideshare vehicle becomes complex when it’s time to make a claim for property damage and personal injury compensation.
Besides proving negligence under the Texas comparative negligence insurance laws, both Uber and Lyft companies use a tiered structure of insurance coverage for their drivers. These policies can be difficult to untangle after a rideshare accident in Texas.
Has the Rideshare Industry Increased Accidents in Texas?
A recent study indicates an overall rise in accident numbers by about 3% since the explosion of the rideshare industry in the United States. With fewer people using public transportation on city buses, the number of vehicles congesting roadways has increased with the popularity of Uber and Lyft services. Not only are there more vehicles on the roads in Texas as rideshare drivers transport passengers, but drivers often cruise the streets between passengers as they await their next booking. The rideshare driving experience may also increase the possibility of an accident due to the following factors:
- Rideshare drivers use an app for booking passengers as well as a GPS system so they may be distracted by their phone apps while driving
- Rideshare drivers are often college students who may be inexperienced drivers
- A rideshare driver may exceed the speed limit in order to maximize the number of trips they complete per shift
- Uber and Lyft drivers often drive as a way to earn a second income after a regular job, increasing the likelihood of fatigued driving
While accidents involving rideshare vehicles may be slightly more common than those involving private vehicles, the rideshare companies distance themselves from liability by maintaining their status as app providers only, while their drivers are independent contractors rather than employees. However, both Uber and Lyft require drivers to carry special rideshare insurance to provide an amount of coverage based on the stage of the rideshare experience.
Understanding Rideshare Insurance Coverage
Before making a claim after a rideshare accident in Texas, it often takes an investigation through a diligent Texas car accident attorney to determine what level of insurance coverage was in place at the time of the accident. The rideshare insurance provides coverage under the following structure:
- When the rideshare driver uses their vehicle for personal reasons, their private car insurance coverage is in place
- When the driver turns on their app and awaits a booking, their rideshare insurance provides $25,000 in property damage and personal injury coverage per passenger or $50,000 per accident
- After accepting a booking, during the drive to pick up a passenger, and throughout the trip to the passenger’s destination, the top tier of coverage is in place, allowing up to $1 million in property damage and personal injury coverage as well as limited uninsured motorist coverage
In some cases, insurance companies may attempt to deny a valid claim by arguing over which coverage was in place at the time of an accident. A McKinney car accident lawyer with years of experience navigating rideshare insurance laws can thoroughly investigate all aspects of the accident to prove liability and compel the appropriate insurance policy to pay out the maximum possible amount for your damages plus compensation for your pain and suffering.
If you’ve been injured in a rideshare accident, you deserve compensation for your damages. Contact an attorney at Carew Garcia Bohuslav Law today for a free consultation.