Seeking Compensation for Damages After a Texas Rideshare Accident
As Uber, Lyft, and other rideshare services have become more widely used in recent years, the number of accidents involving rideshare vehicles has grown, as well. Most rideshare drivers do not hold commercial driver’s licenses (CDLs) and do not undergo very thorough background checks, so a certain number of them are statistically likely to be involved in accidents.
Even if the rideshare driver is not at fault in a crash, the passenger might suffer injuries caused by a negligent motorist who strikes the rideshare vehicle. If you’re a passenger injured in a rideshare crash under any circumstances, our Pasadena Texas auto accident attorney says, chances are the wreck was not your fault, so you’re generally entitled to compensation for the damages you’ve suffered.
Types of Damages Recoverable in a Rideshare Crash
Compensatory damages are divided into economic and non-economic categories.
- All medical expenses. Doctor’s appointments, emergency room treatment, hospital stays, surgery, medication, physical therapy, assistive equipment, and disability care.
- Property damage. Repair or replacement of any item damaged or destroyed in the accident, such as a cellphone, a laptop, or torn clothing.
- Lost income. Any wages and benefits (bonuses, raises, or vacation days) that you lose due to being off work during your recovery, as well as lost future earning potential if your injuries affect your ability to work at your former job.
- Wrongful death. Funeral expenses and loss of financial support if you’ve lost a loved one in a rideshare wreck.
- Physical pain and suffering resulting from your injuries and treatments
- Emotional trauma from the experience of the accident
- Depression, anxiety, or PTSD
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Scarring or disfigurement
The court can award punitive damages to a plaintiff who proves the defendant’s actions were fraudulent, malicious, or grossly negligent—but this does not happen very often.
Although you’re entitled to compensation for all the damages listed above, getting that compensation might be difficult in a rideshare accident case, which could involve complex insurance coverage by more than one insurer that’s likely to dispute or deny your claim, especially if it’s an expensive one.
Both Uber and Lyft are required by law to carry liability insurance of $1 million, as well as $1 million worth of uninsured (UM) and underinsured (UIM) driver coverage, but that coverage is in effect only when there’s a passenger in the car. The coverage limits are different when a driver is on the app and waiting for a customer, so you must be able to prove you were inside the car when you were injured if you hope to file a successful damage claim. If a Lyft driver has commercial auto insurance, that insurance is primary, and Lyft’s liability insurance kicks in only when primary coverage limits are exceeded.
If you’re a passenger in a rideshare car when a third party hits it, you might have to file a claim against that third party’s insurer or with your own company if that third party is uninsured or you’re the victim of a hit-and-run crash. To make matters more complicated, the fault in an auto accident is sometimes shared between or among more than one defendant. If this is the case in your accident, you have to determine each responsible party’s percentage of fault, evaluate that percentage in monetary terms, and file claims against more than one insurer.
If a reasonable settlement offer is not forthcoming, you might have to file one or more lawsuits and fight in court for fair compensation. For these reasons, pursuing your claim without legal representation, especially if you’re injured and focused on your recovery, is generally not a good idea.
The Role of Your Lawyer
An experienced rideshare accident attorney can help you pursue fair compensation for your damages by:
- Investigating your accident thoroughly, perhaps with the help of an accident reconstructionist or other experts
- Determining liability and percentage of fault if more than one defendant is responsible
- Communicating on your behalf with insurance company adjusters and lawyers
- Negotiating reasonable settlements
- Filing lawsuits and taking your case to court if fair awards are not offered