Rideshare services provide convenient transportation on busy Austin roads and allow drivers to earn income on a flexible schedule. But if you happen to be involved in an Uber or Lyft accident, dealing with insurance companies is anything but convenient.
As with any other multiple vehicle accident, there are usually multiple insurance policies represented in an Uber or Lyft accident, and the providers will all attempt to limit their responsibility to pay for the harm that was caused. The difference is that the insurance coverage provided through the rideshare company changes depending on who is occupying the vehicle and the driver’s app activity. This can make it difficult for drivers and passengers who are hurt in a rideshare accident to know who is responsible for paying for their harms and losses.
Mandatory Rideshare Insurance
The minimum liability coverage required for all Texas drivers is called 30/60/25, so named because it covers $30,000 in damages per person injured in a wreck, $60,000 per accident, and $25,000 of coverage for property damage. An Uber or Lyft driver who is not driving a passenger or using the app at the time of the accident will rely on this mandatory policy to cover the damage they cause to another party.
Things become more complicated for all parties when an Uber or Lyft driver is driving a passenger or using the app to search for new fares when the accident occurs. Here’s a little more information about both scenarios:
- When the accident is caused by someone other than the rideshare driver: If someone other than the Uber or Lyft driver causes the accident, the at-fault driver’s insurance will generally be primary. If the at-fault driver’s insurance is insufficient to pay for all the damage caused, an injured Uber or Lyft driver, as well as any passengers, will also have the benefit of mandatory underinsured motorist coverage provided by the rideshare company. An injured passenger’s own underinsured motorist coverage might also be required to pay for some of the damages.
- When a passenger is hurt by the Uber or Lyft driver’s negligence: If the rideshare driver was careless and caused the crash while transporting passengers, the harms and losses should be covered by liability insurance provided by the rideshare company. In 2016, a Texas state law was passed requiring rideshare companies to provide $1 million in coverage during rides. If the $1 million is insufficient to pay for the harms and losses, such as in the event of a catastrophic loss or death, the passenger’s own Underinsured Motorist Coverage insurance might come into play.
The law also addresses gray areas. The $1 million policy applies if the driver has accepted a request and is en route to pick up a passenger, but it does not apply if the driver is waiting for a ride request on the app. In that latter circumstance, the rideshare company offers 50/100/25 liability coverage: $50,000 per person and $100,000 per accident for bodily injury damages, and $25,000 for property damage.
Why You Should Contact an Uber and Lyft Accident Lawyer
There are a variety of scenarios that can play out after a rideshare accident, some of which can get quite complicated. A matter of seconds can mean the difference between having a viable source of financial recovery or being left to your own devices.
For example, auto insurance companies see Uber and Lyft drivers as “commercial drivers,” and they can use that to deny the claim of someone struck by an off-the-clock Uber or Lyft driver. The insurance provider may even cancel the driver’s policy entirely, leaving you dependent on whatever personal policy you may possess. For the driver who causes an accident while off the clock, the situation can be just as complicated — the rideshare company can deny coverage based on your activity at the time, and your insurance company could drop you for failing to obtain an adequate policy.
Due to the complex nature of these cases, consulting with an experienced Austin rideshare accident lawyer increases the chances of a favorable outcome. A lawyer can educate you on your options and come up with a strategy to secure a financial recovery for your medical expenses and other losses resulting from the accident. We have the expertise to take on rideshare companies, their lawyers, and their insurance providers to secure the compensation to which you are entitled.
If you were injured in a rideshare accident in Austin, contact us today to schedule your free consultation with our car accident and personal injury lawyers.