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Car Accident

What Are Your Rights

After a Rideshare Accident?

Hildebrand & Wilson, LLP Aug. 16, 2022

Rideshare services like Uber and Lyft have undoubtedly changed the way people get around. Many people use this service as a safe alternative when they don’t have a car or are unable to drive themselves (for example, if they’ve been drinking). But is this really a safer choice? A recent study done through the University of Chicago found that fatal car accidents increased 2% to 3% in cities where rideshare companies were operating. Additionally, many riders have been injured in a Lyft or Uber accident and they may be left wondering, “What do I do if I was in a rideshare accident?” or, “Who is liable in a rideshare accident?”

For help with these questions, reach out to us at Hildebrand & Wilson, LLP to speak with a car accident attorney who can advise you on your options. Our office is in Pearland, Texas, but we serve clients throughout the state, including Houston, Dallas, Austin, San Antonio, and Corpus Christi.

Who is Liable in a Rideshare Accident?

There are a number of scenarios in which an Uber or Lyft accident could occur. This could happen if you’re a passenger and the driver of your car is at fault, or if the driver of the other car is at fault. You could also be involved in a rideshare accident if your car is hit by an Uber or Lyft driver, or if you’re a pedestrian who’s struck by an Uber or Lyft driver.

Like most car accidents, the person who caused the accident will be held liable, but this can get complicated with rideshares, since the driver is using their personal vehicle and their insurance may not fully cover the accident. Both Uber and Lyft offer additional liability coverage for their drivers which can supplement this, but not all drivers will have the same coverage. If you can show that your driver either recklessly or intentionally caused the accident, you can file a claim with the driver’s insurance as well as with Lyft or Uber’s insurance company. You would follow the same procedure if you or your car were hit by a rideshare driver and they were found to be at fault. If another driver was at fault, then you must file a claim with that driver’s insurance.

Can I Sue Uber or Lyft Directly?

The short answer is yes, but it can be tricky due to the way Uber and Lyft categorize their drivers. For both companies, drivers are considered independent contractors instead of employees. This allows them to save money and reduce the legal hassles that traditional employers must take on such as workers’ compensation or unemployment benefits. It also means that when a passenger is injured, the driver’s insurance will be the first to pay out, followed by Uber or Lyft’s insurance. If your expenses are still not covered after this, you can file a lawsuit with the company—but you should always do so with the help of a personal injury attorney. These cases are notoriously hard to tackle and you need an experienced lawyer who can examine the details of your specific case and advise you on a path forward.

What Should I Do After an Accident?

What you should do in the hours and days after a rideshare accident is similar to any accident you’d have in your own vehicle. The first and most important thing to do is make sure you and anyone else involved are physically safe and they’re getting the medical treatment they need. Even if you feel your injuries are minor, it’s always a good idea to seek medical attention. Many times, injuries that occur from car accidents can take days or even weeks to show up (for example, if a minor injury got infected or you suffered a brain injury). Only a trained medical professional can adequately assess your status. 

You should then contact the police and report the accident. In Texas, police must be notified if anyone is injured, if a driver flees the scene, or if one driver does not have insurance. Request a copy of the police report as this will be useful when filing a claim. You will also need to report the accident to Lyft or Uber, and share contact information with the other driver as well as your own driver. Get insurance information from both drivers, talk to any witnesses and get their contact information, and take pictures or video of the scene.

Lastly, you will want to hire a car accident attorney as soon as possible. Rideshare accidents must be treated differently than regular accidents, and you need someone working on your side who knows how to handle these large companies and who can fight for you to get the compensation you deserve. 

Skilled Advocacy: Hildebrand & Wilson, LLP

If you're in the Pearland, Texas area and would like to speak with someone about a recent rideshare accident, contact us at Hildebrand & Wilson, LLP. We’re committed to the success of your case and will work tirelessly on your behalf so you get the help you need. Call today to start moving forward.