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How Do Rideshare Accidents in Texas Differ from Typical Car Accidents?

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We call Uber or Lyft to avoid accidents—to navigate to places we don’t know, to drive for us when we can’t. But what happens when a rideshare ends in an accident anyway?

In Texas, the law requires rideshare companies to maintain insurance coverage of up to $1 million for rideshare drivers at work. This covers passengers using their service. It may also cover the occupants of other vehicles in an accident, but this depends on the circumstances.

Texas Law on Rideshare Liability

Texas law defines businesses like Uber and Lyft as transportation network companies, or TNCs. State law requires TNC drivers to carry different levels of insurance depending on what phase of work they are in. The companies typically provide this insurance while the driver is on the job.

When a rideshare driver is logged in and accepting rides but not actively conducting a ride, they must carry insurance with the following liability policy limits:

  • «$50,000 for bodily injury to or death for each person in an incident
  • «$100,000 for bodily injury to or death of a person per incident; and
  • «$25,000 for damage to or destruction of property of others in an incident.»

See Tex. Ins. Code § 1954.052. Drivers may also carry personal injury protection (PIP) or medical payments (MedPay) coverage, which allow compensation without first determining fault.

When conducting a prearranged ride, rideshare drivers must carry «coverage with a total aggregate limit of liability of $1 million.» See § 1954.053.

If the driver is not logged in and they are only operating their car for personal reasons, their personal auto insurance applies. Texas law requires every driver to carry a minimum of «30/60/25»:

  • «$30,000 for bodily injury to or death of one person in one collision;
  • «$60,000 for bodily injury to or death of two or more persons in one collision …
  • «$25,000 for damage to or destruction of property of others in one collision.»

See § 601.072.

When You Encounter a Rideshare Accident

As the Driver of Another Car

Any auto accident in Texas comes with specific responsibilities for drivers. A driver needs to stop the car—after pulling out of the flow of traffic, if possible—stay there and call 911. The law requires an immediate report for any collision involving injury, death, or enough vehicle damage to make driving impossible. See Tex. Transp. Code § 550.026.

The driver must also provide their name, address, registration number, and insurance information to the other vehicle’s occupants. See § 550.023.

When necessary, they must also help anyone injured in the other vehicle, providing «reasonable assistance» and getting transportation to medical treatment if requested. Requesting medical aid from 911 is wise in any case, as many common auto accident injuries do not cause immediate pain or symptoms. Even serious injuries such as TBIs can fly under the radar for a while. Whatever you may feel, get a medical exam as soon as possible after the accident.

The Texas Department of Insurance offers further tips for managing the aftermath of an accident:

  • Preserve evidence—take pictures of the accident site and the vehicles involved, if possible.
  • Write down important details, such as the exact time and the weather information.
  • Talk to any witnesses available and get their contact information.
  • Keep any medical bills or documents you receive after your initial exam.

Your own auto insurance company will typically require an accident report within a day or so—check your policy.

Whether the rideshare driver’s corporate policy applies and what limits it carries will depend on how they were using the car. Were they carrying a passenger? Were they accepting rides but not on one? Or were they on personal business? Coverage depends on the answer to this question.

Rideshare companies request that you report accidents to them, but be careful what you say. They will be looking for ways to claim that you did not really suffer the injuries or other damages you have reported and will be looking for inconsistent statements you may make. It is best to speak to a personal injury attorney before you make any statements to a rideshare company or an insurance adjuster from another company.

As a Passenger

When riding in an Uber or Lyft, you should be covered by the company’s $1 million policy. This is a sizeable coverage limit if only one or two people are injured. Still, medical costs can skyrocket when many injuries are involved, and $1 million may be exhausted more quickly than it would seem. If you have auto insurance of your own with PIP or MedPay coverage, you may have limited coverage even as a passenger in someone else’s car.

After an accident in a rideshare vehicle, a passenger—if able to—should take many of the same steps a driver should. The passenger in a rideshare will need to seek medical aid, get information from other parties, take pictures and make sure the police show up to take a report.

Again, rideshare companies will want to speak to you, but it is best to consult an attorney like the Crash Angels of Pelaez Law Firm first. The insurance policy may be large, but the «deep pockets» of the company also pay for adjusters and defense counsel who will attempt to deny or minimize your claim as much as possible.

How We Can Help

The Crash Angels of the Pelaez Law Firm are experienced personal injury attorneys who handle Texas car accidents. If you have been in a rideshare accident in the San Antonio area, call us today at 210-801-9314 to schedule your free case review.

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