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Do I Need an Uber Accident Lawyer? (And Other Frequently Asked Questions About Uber Accidents) 

Jan 18, 2023 - Car Accident by

Uber passenger looking out the car window

Rideshare company cars are increasingly common sights on American roadways—and not just in huge metropolises like Dallas and Houston. Uber and Lyft alone were responsible for 6% of all vehicle miles traveled in the United States in 2021, according to the career research site Zippia. 

When you consider all the miles traveled—and all the pressure on Uber drivers to deliver as many fares as possible, especially at peak times—it’s no surprise that rideshare accidents are on the rise, too. 

If you or a loved one were injured in an Uber or Lyft accident, you deserve fair compensation. However, navigating a personal injury claim against an Uber driver or rideshare company can be tricky, and determining liability (and insurance company coverage) may depend on a variety of different factors. 

In this blog, we’ll answer some common questions about car accidents with Uber or Lyft drivers and help you determine your next steps. 

How Should I Respond at the Scene of an Accident Involving Uber or Lyft? 

Whether you were an Uber passenger, pedestrian, or in a different vehicle, you should respond in much the same way that would in any other car accident. 

Provided you can do so safely, you should try to do the following: 

  • Contact the police and get an accident report 
  • Request emergency medical treatment if necessary 
  • Take photographs of the car damage, the scene (like debris and skid marks), visible injuries, who was in the car, and weather conditions 
  • Gather information about the Uber driver: name, contact information, insurance company, license plate number, driver’s license number and type of vehicle 
  • Gather name and contact info for any eyewitnesses 
  • If you have any pain or other symptoms whatsoever, get a medical exam as soon as you can 
  • Contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible 

Do I Really Need to Seek Medical Attention After a Rideshare Accident? 

Even if you don’t need an ambulance, you (and anyone else involved in the crash) should still follow up with a doctor for a complete medical exam as soon as possible if you are experiencing any noticeable symptoms, even minor ones. 

It is always possible that you have suffered injuries that you do not feel completely yet. In case there is a life-threatening issue such as internal bleeding or head trauma, you will want to seek medical attention. It is better to call for a medical team than to delay any treatment you may need. By waiting hours or days to see a doctor, your injuries may become much more complicated and worsen. 

Furthermore, if you delay several days (or longer) before seeking medical attention, it could harm your legal case. Because you won’t have any medical records from right after the Uber accident, it will be more difficult to prove that your injuries were accident related. And the insurance company will almost certainly try to argue that, because you waited so long, your injuries must not be as bad as you say they are. 

What Compensation Can I Recover After a Texas Uber or Lyft Accident? 

As with victims of any other kind of auto accident or personal injury incident, rideshare accident victims may seek the following types of compensation: 

  • Economic damages: This includes past and future medical bills (and other treatment expenses relating to the injury), past and future lost wages, reduced future earning potential, and other financial losses you can directly attribute to the accident. 
  • Non-economic damages: This includes reasonable compensation for physical and emotional pain and suffering, such as disability, disfigurement, emotional anguish, or loss of enjoyment of life. 
  • Punitive damages: This type of compensation is rare, but can be awarded by juries when a driver injured you intentionally or acted without any regard for your safety. 

To receive these damages, you must be able to show that the accident was caused by the rideshare driver’s negligence. In other words, you have to prove that they had a duty to behave safely and responsibly, failed in that duty, and you got hurt as a result. 

In practical terms, the amount of money you can recover may also be limited by the amount of insurance coverage available. 

How Much Insurance Coverage Do Rideshare Drivers Carry in Texas? 

Even though Texas Uber drivers are independent contractors rather than direct employees of Uber (and the same is true for Lyft and other rideshare companies), they are still covered by company insurance in certain situations. 

Rideshare insurance requirements are based on Texas state law. However, the amount of coverage that is “in effect” depends on whether the Uber driver or Lyft driver was working, and even whether they had their rideshare app open. 

  • If the Lyft or Uber app is closed: The rideshare driver is considered to not be working and using their vehicle for personal reasons. In this case, their own personal auto insurance applies. In Texas, the minimum coverage for personal insurance policies is $30,000 in injury coverage per person, $60,000 in injury coverage per accident, and $25,000 in property damage coverage. 
  • If the app is open, but no rides have been accepted: In this scenario, rideshare companies will provide additional injury coverage, up to $50,000 per person and $100,000 per accident, if the driver’s personal insurance doesn’t meet these minimums. 
  • If a ride has been accepted or is in process: From the moment a ride is accepted to the final drop off, Uber and Lyft provide $1 million in total liability coverage (bodily injury and property damage) and $1 million in uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM) per accident. 

As you can see, the amount of insurance available to pay for your medical bills, lost wages, and other damages if you’re injured in an accident with an Uber or Lyft driver depends greatly on circumstances that may be completely out of your control as the accident victim. If you were hit by a rideshare driver as a pedestrian, the difference between a potential $1 million settlement or $50,000 settlement could hinge on whether the driver had accepted a ride at the time of the collision. 

Do I Need a Police Report? 

Always request a police report at the scene of any car accident. 

An official report created by law enforcement can help establish liability, and you can request a copy of the document in case you need it during your lawsuit. If you decide to file a civil lawsuit against the driver, any paperwork related to the accident can be helpful. 

On top of that, it’s the law. In Texas, you must report any accident to the police if a person is injured (even if those injuries are minor) or the value of the property damage exceeds $1,000. 

Do I Still Need Witnesses if I Was Riding With My Friends in the Uber? 

Ideally, yes. The more witnesses who can account for the accident, the better. 

While statements from your friends can be beneficial to your case, statements from witnesses who have no relationship with you generally have more weight. In most cases, friends will try to support your claim the best that they can. A bystander has no bias and also saw the accident happen from a different perspective than you and your friends. 

Of course, it’s possible that there were no eyewitnesses apart from the occupants of the Uber vehicle. While this may make your case more difficult to prove, an attorney will have other tools at their disposal to investigate the true cause of the accident. 

Should I Hire an Uber Accident Lawyer? 

While you do not have to hire an attorney following an accident, the Uber accident claim process is often much more challenging than injury victims and their families expect. Complex questions about who is at fault, and which insurance companies are responsible for paying damages, can take a long time to resolve—leaving innocent crash victims caught in the middle. 

Insurance companies are not charities. After the crash, they will begin their own investigation into what happened, and they will be looking especially hard for any evidence they can use to show that their rideshare driver wasn’t to blame, or that your injuries aren’t as bad as you claim they are. Their insurance adjusters may even try to trap you into making statements that could jeopardize your case. 

An experienced Uber accident attorney can not only help you navigate the challenging claims process and protect your legal rights, but also ensure you get the attention and care you need to fully recover as best you can—physically, emotionally, and financially. 

Specific ways a lawyer can help include: 

  • Ensuring you get the medical care you need 
  • Obtaining and preserving key evidence (such as cell phone records, eyewitness accounts, or working with an accident reconstruction specialist) before it disappears 
  • Conducting a full accident investigation to determine who was at fault, and which insurance policies apply to your situation 
  • Working with doctors, life care planners, and other specialists to accurately calculate your damages before you accept any settlement 
  • Keeping you informed about your case and being available to answer your questions 24/7 
  • Fighting to get you the fair settlement you deserve and hold those responsible accountable 

How Long Do I Have to File a Claim? 

The State of Texas has a two-year statute of limitations to file a legal claim (that is, a lawsuit) for personal injury. If you do not file within two years of the accident, you will not be able to obtain any compensation regardless of who was at fault, or how severe your injuries were. 

However, it’s always best to get started on your case right away. The longer you wait, the greater the risk that key evidence disappears, and the more difficult it becomes to prove that your injuries were directly caused by the accident. We strongly recommend you or a loved one contact an experienced Uber accident lawyer as soon as possible—ideally before speaking with the insurance company. 

RELATED POST: How Does the Texas Statute of Limitations Affect My Car Accident Claim?

Injured by an Uber Driver? Contact Roberts & Roberts Today 

The Uber accident attorneys at Roberts & Roberts stand ready to help Uber accident victims get the support and care they need. You don’t have to take on the rideshare company alone, and you don’t have to worry about whether or not you can afford a lawyer—you owe us nothing unless we win for you. 

To request your free case review, give us a call at (903) 294-4491 or complete our simple contact form today. 

References 

23 Riveting Ridesharing Industry Statistics [2022]: Facts About Ridesharing in the U.S. (2022, September 29). Zippia.  https://www.zippia.com/advice/ridesharing-industry-statistics/  

 

The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject. 

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