Rideshares have become a vital part of the Texas transportation system, filling in the gaps created by lackluster public transportation and the high cost of owning a vehicle. However, it is important to remember that rideshare drivers, including those who work for Uber, are not professionally trained drivers.
To become an Uber driver, you only need to have a valid driver’s license, an eligible 4-door vehicle, and one year of experience driving as a licensed driver. Those under the age of 25 must have a minimum of three years of licensed experience as a driver. The average rideshare driver does not have any commercial or professional driving experience.
Your risk of being injured or even killed in a rideshare accident is not negligible. In 2010, U.S. traffic fatality rates hit the lowest number of deaths since 1949. When ridesharing was introduced to major cities across Texas and the rest of the United States only a few years later, the downward trend of traffic deaths halted and then reversed. Research shows that rideshare apps are responsible for anywhere from a 2 to 4% increase in fatal traffic accidents.
If you’ve been injured in a rideshare accident, you need to be fully informed of your rights. Below, we’ll go into detail about what you need to know about how Uber drivers are insured, and what that insurance coverage means for your personal injury claim.
Who Pays for My Damages in an Uber Accident?
Like with all car accidents in Texas, the person responsible for the collision is financially liable for all resulting damages, both economic (financial) and non-economic (non-financial). To understand who will pay for your lost wages, medical bills, property damage, mental anguish, and more, you must first determine who was at fault for the crash.
If the Uber Driver Caused the Accident
If you were a passenger and your Uber driver caused a crash in which you were injured, the rideshare company (in this case, Uber) is liable for your related damages.
Uber drivers are covered by two different types of coverage, which are in effect at different times depending on whether they have matched with a passenger or are simply “online” with the service.
When a driver is online but is not matched with a passenger, Uber’s company liability policy will cover damages for accidents they cause. When a driver is online and matched with a passenger, Uber’s third-party liability coverage kicks in. Maximum insurance coverage is as follows:
- Online but no passenger – $50,000 per bodily injury with a $100,000 maximum for a single accident. Compensation for property damage is capped at $25,000 per accident.
- Online and carrying a passenger – $1 million in third-party liability coverage per accident. Compensation is available for bodily injury, property damage, and more.
If an Uber driver is not online and is unavailable in the app, any accidents they cause while driving their own vehicle will be covered by their own personal auto insurance coverage. Uber drivers are required to maintain personal liability insurance coverage as part of their employment.
If Another Driver Caused the Accident
If another driver caused an accident while you were traveling in an Uber, you will need to file a personal injury claim against their auto insurer. The state of Texas requires drivers to maintain the following minimum liability auto insurance coverage:
- $30,000 per injury with a $60,000 maximum per accident
- $25,000 for property damage
Uninsured/Underinsured Insurance Coverage for Uber Accidents
The cost of treating a severe or catastrophic injury can quickly outpace the minimum insurance coverage required by state law. This means that if another driver hits the Uber vehicle you are riding in, your subsequent medical bills and other related damages could quickly outpace the compensation available from the at-fault driver’s insurer.
Uber’s insurance allows you to recover any additional costs above what the at-fault driver’s insurance covers from Uber. Let’s explore situations in which Uber’s uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage is utilized.
When Does Uber’s UM/UIM Kick In?
Uninsured (UM) and underinsured (UIM) insurance may come into play in a variety of scenarios, including when the at-fault driver:
- Flees the scene of the accident (hit-and-run)
- Has insufficient insurance coverage that does not address the full extent of your damages
- Does not have any auto insurance coverage at all
This UM/UIM coverage can be accessed under Uber’s $1 million third-party liability coverage.
What Does UM/UIM Cover?
UM/UIM insurance covers the same damages, losses, and costs as those covered by typical liability insurance coverage. If you were injured while riding as a passenger in an Uber and the at-fault driver was under or uninsured, you may be entitled to compensation for:
- Lost wages if you cannot work
- Reduced earning capacity if you can no longer work in the same capacity
- Medical bills for your related care, including hospital fees and physical therapy
- Mental health care for mental anguish and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Property damage, including broken or damaged phones, laptops, or other valuable property
Your accident-related losses can have a profoundly negative impact on your life. From missed paychecks to steep medical bills, we have seen time and time again the ways in which car crash victims struggle to reach a new sense of normalcy after a serious collision.
If you’ve been injured in an Uber accident, you deserve to be fully and fairly compensated for the entirety of your damages. The Mejia Law Firm is pleased to offer free consultations to Houston injury victims and their families. For guidance on what to do after being involved in a rideshare accident, please contact our law office at your earliest convenience.
What if My UM/UIM Uber Claim Is Denied?
Large corporations and big insurance companies are not well known for doing the right thing. If you’ve been injured in an Uber accident and are rightfully owed compensation through the company’s UM/UIM insurance, but your claim has been denied, you may need the guidance and backing of an experienced attorney.
The insurer and rideshare company both have their own teams of lawyers who are prepared to discount the correct version of events. If you don’t have your own representation, your chances of recovering maximum compensation are slim to none.
A rideshare accident attorney from The Mejia Law Firm will have the experience, knowledge, and dedication that is needed to go up against these big companies and win. Every lawyer at our firm has the capacity to:
- Investigate your accident
- Determine and assign liability
- Collect important and relevant evidence
- Complete and submit all paperwork by specified deadlines
- Negotiate a full and fair settlement
If necessary, our lawyers are also prepared to take your case to court should negotiations fail.
We Fight for Victims of Rideshare Accidents
If you’ve been injured through no fault of your own, you are entitled to compensation for your resulting damages and losses. Let The Mejia Law Firm of Houston, TX be your uncompromising and tireless advocate as you seek compensation for these damages.
Our first meeting is always free. Please contact our law office as soon as possible so that we can schedule your no-cost case evaluation at your earliest convenience.
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