Uber Accidents

Houston Uber Accident Attorneys

The rideshare company, Uber, has become wildly popular over recent years. According to current company estimates, there are over 3 million Uber drivers who transport over 95 million users worldwide. Uber operates in all major cities in Texas, including Houston, Dallas, San Antonio and Austin. While the company provides a service for many commuters as well as those in need of casual transportation, there are risks involved in riding with Uber. At The de la Garza Law Group, we represent those who have been injured or assaulted during an Uber ride. Our team of experienced Houston personal injury attorneys works diligently to obtain maximum compensation for the injuries our clients have endured. 

Houston Car Accidents Caused by Uber Drivers

When someone gets into an Uber, they are placing their lives in the hands of a complete stranger. Rideshare companies such as Uber have been scrutinized for the minimal screening process they employ when determining who is eligible to become a driver. For example, to become an Uber driver, there are only a few requirements:

  • Meeting the minimum driving age;
  • One year of driving experience;
  • A driver’s license; and,
  • Completing an online driving screen.

Operating a motor vehicle is a skill, and like any other, it takes time to hone this skill. Most would agree that one year of driving experience is not adequate to make someone an experienced driver. Anyone who meets these requirements can become an Uber driver.

Needless to say, there are hundreds of Houston Uber accidents every year. These accidents range in seriousness from minor fender-benders to fatal traffic accidents. According to a recent study conducted by the University of Chicago and Rice University, rideshare companies are believed to have increased the total number of fatal accidents in the United States by between two and three percent. Many of these accidents occur while an Uber driver is “deadheading,” or driving around without a passenger, waiting for a fare to come in. Recent estimates suggest that Uber drivers spend nearly 40 percent of their time deadheading.

The fact that many Houston Uber car accidents occur while a driver is deadheading is concerning because this has an impact on how Uber’s insurance policy covers any resulting injuries. 

Who Is Responsible Following an Uber Car Accident?

Under general personal injury legal principles, accident victims can file a lawsuit to hold an at-fault driver liable for any injuries resulting from the driver’s negligence. Similarly, under the doctrine of vicarious liability, employers can be held responsible for the negligent actions of their employees. However, Uber drivers are intentionally classified as “independent contractors,” in part, to attempt to avoid the company being held liable for drivers’ negligence.

Additionally, Uber’s insurance policy is somewhat complicated in that it breaks the rideshare experience down into three distinct phases. 

  • Phase One: When an Uber driver’s app is off, or they are not accepting rides;
  • Phase Two: The Uber app is open, the driver is accepting rides, but has not yet been paired with a passenger; and,
  • Phase Three: When the Uber driver is paired with a passenger and through the duration of the ride. 

State law requires that rideshare companies maintain a certain amount of insurance on their driver’s behalf. In Texas, Uber is required to keep insurance on all its drivers in the amount of $50,000 per person/$100,000 per accident in bodily injury coverage and $25,000 property damage coverage per accident. Once a driver matches with a passenger, the required coverage amount increases to $1 million. However, when an Uber driver has their app off or is not accepting ride requests, Uber’s policy will not be implicated at all, and the driver’s personal insurance policy is likely the only available coverage. Thus, during which phase an accident occurs impacts the availability of insurance under the Uber policy. 

Uber and Sexual Assault 

By its very nature, the rideshare experience puts two complete strangers in close proximity to one another in close quarters. Unfortunately, both Uber drivers and passengers have taken advantage of this situation and committed heinous acts of sexual violence. According to a recent national news report, there were over 3,000 reported incidents of sexual assault in Uber vehicles in 2018. In addition to that, there were nine people murdered, and 58 people killed in Uber car accidents. Those who have been through a sexual assault while in an Uber vehicle may be able to hold the company liable. While Uber’s insurance policy may be implicated in the event of a sexual assault, sexual assaults and other instances of violence may also involve various other theories of liability.  

Anyone who has been assaulted, sexually or otherwise, in an Uber, either as a driver or passenger, should consult with a dedicated Houston personal injury lawyer for immediate assistance. We keep all consultations completely confidential, and always come from a place of understanding and respect. 

Contact The de la Garza Law Group to Speak With an Experienced Houston Uber Accident Lawyer

Houston Uber accidents happen every day, forever changing the lives of those who are impacted. At The de la Garza Law Group, we represent clients injured in Houston rideshare accidents. Our team of attorneys provides clients with a unique form of client-centered representation that puts their needs first. At The de la Garza Law Group, every case is personal. While we have over 30 years of combined experience handling Houston personal injury cases, we cannot know what is important to you until we take the time to get to know you and how the accident has impacted your life. 

Our team of committed Houston personal injury lawyers is dedicated to helping clients obtain compensation for their injuries. We aggressively pursue compensation for your injuries in both settlement negotiations and at trial. If you been injured in an Uber car accident or assaulted during an Uber ride, contact The de la Garza Law Group today. We offer all clients a free, no-obligation consultation in which we will provide an honest and thorough assessment of your case. To learn more, call 713-784-1010, or call toll-free at 844-784-1010. We proudly represent clients throughout Harris County, Fort Bend County and Montgomery County, including in the Woodlands, Pearland and Sugar Land.

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