Helping Victims of Uber Accidents in the Greater Houston, Texas, Region
Many Houston residents, as well as visitors to the Greater Houston area, rely on Uber transportation almost every day. People use Uber and other popular ridesharing companies as a means of transportation to and from work, dining out, and nights on the town. Uber is a help to many of its customers. For instance, if a late-night bar-goer has had too much to drink, a quick call to Uber can eliminate a potential drunk driving arrest or accident.
However, when Uber vehicles are involved in motor vehicle collisions, determining responsibility and who should provide the necessary insurance coverage for your injuries can present enormous difficulties for most people.
But not for the team of lawyers and legal professionals at Stewart J. Guss, Attorney at Law. We know how to handle Uber accidents, and our intake department is available for your free consultation, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at (800) 898-4877—or contact us now by .
The lawyers and legal professionals at Stewart J. Guss, Attorney at Law, are experienced at handling Rideshare motor vehicle accident cases. Our knowledgeable legal team can review the facts and circumstances of your accident with you and determine whom you can hold responsible. Our attorneys will work extremely hard to obtain fair and just monetary compensation on your behalf.
Common Causes of Houston Uber Accidents
Motor vehicle accidents involving Uber vehicles are every bit as serious as any other motor vehicle accident. The property damage and physical injuries sustained in an Uber accident can cause just as much pain and require just as much medical attention as in any other case. Consequently, if you were injured in a motor vehicle accident involving an Uber vehicle, seek legal representation as soon as you can.
Accidents involving Uber vehicles can occur in a variety of ways. Some of the most common causes of Houston Uber accidents include:
Distracted driving – Distracted driving occurs when drivers fail to provide proper care and attention to the road. An Uber driver may become distracted while programming a GPS device or trying to text a potential fare. When drivers divert their attention away from the road—even if only for a second or two—a serious motor vehicle accident can occur. When that happens, the Uber driver’s passengers, as well as any passengers in another motor vehicle, can sustain serious injuries and damages.
Negligent driving – Negligent driving is a broader term than distracted driving. Negligent driving, in fact, encompasses not only distracted driving but also traffic violations such as speeding and disregarding signs and traffic control devices. When Uber drivers engage in negligent driving, accident victims may hold them accountable for their actions or inactions.
DWI – Driving while intoxicated, or , is a serious criminal offense in Texas. Not only can a DWI conviction or guilty plea result in serious criminal penalties, it can also result in serious administrative and civil penalties—especially in the context of a personal injury case. If you can show that an Uber driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol while operating a vehicle, the Uber driver and Uber corporation may share in the responsibility.
Calling the Police and Emergency Services Following Your Uber Accident
If no one else has already done so, make your first call 911 following an Uber accident. Explain that you were just involved in a motor vehicle accident and that you may have sustained injuries. When the police arrive on the scene, explain how the accident happened, and request that the officer draft a police report, memorializing the accident in an official document. A police report is frequently an important piece of evidence in an Uber motor vehicle accident case. This is especially true if Uber contests fault or damages in your case.
Seeking Medical Care After an Uber Accident
Following an Uber accident, immediately seek follow-up medical care and treatments at a nearby urgent care center or hospital. Always follow up with your primary care doctor.
Even if you do not feel that the accident injured you, have a medical doctor check your condition. Some injuries, such as whiplash, do not always immediately manifest at the time of the accident, but days or even weeks later.
If you do not seek this initial medical treatment, you will have a harder time coming back later to try to claim that you sustained injuries in your accident. This is especially true in Uber and Lyft accident cases, where these companies and their insurers will automatically express skepticism about your injuries from the onset.
Obtaining Information From Other Drivers at the Scene
While you are still present at the accident scene—and if you are able to do so—obtain contact information and insurance information from all other drivers involved in the accident. Speak to anyone who claims to have witnessed the accident and obtain contact information from those individuals as well. Uber accident eyewitnesses can offer essential testimony in the event Uber raises a dispute as to liability.
Avoid All Recorded Statements
Following an Uber accident, an adjuster from Uber’s insurance company may call you and try to convince you to provide a recorded statement about how your accident occurred. Insurance adjusters usually do not request recorded statements unless they believe there is a serious dispute as to fault or damages in your case. Consequently, you should not agree to participate in a recorded statement under any circumstances.
If you do make a statement, the adjuster can twist your words in any way that helps Uber avoid liability. Moreover, a seemingly innocent, off-the-cuff remark can result in you losing your case and obtaining little or no monetary compensation.
The Benefits of Talking to a Houston Uber Accident Lawyer
If you sustained serious injuries in an Uber accident, make your most important goal the successful completion of your medical treatments and getting back to work. The team of Uber accident lawyers and legal professionals at Stewart J. Guss, Attorney at Law, can handle all of the legal aspects of your case while you complete your medical care and treatments. Our duties may include:
- Undertaking an investigation of your case
- Obtaining all of the necessary documentation, including police reports, medical records, and medical bills
- Obtaining all lost wage documentation from your employer
- Assembling a demand package to forward to Uber’s insurance company
What Makes Uber Accidents Different?
Ridesharing companies are relatively new, so there are fewer cases or statutes on the books in order to address all of the legal problems and issues that can arise in Uber accidents. In many cases, if you are in a run-of-the-mill motor vehicle accident, you can simply file a claim or lawsuit against the at-fault driver or your own insurance company. However, Uber accidents can complicate things.
For example, some motor vehicle insurers do not cover accidents that occur when you are a passenger in an Uber or Lyft vehicle. Even if the Uber driver’s negligence caused the accident, the Uber driver’s own motor vehicle insurance policy might only provide insurance coverage during the times that the driver is not engaged in commercial driving. However, many ridesharing companies, including Uber, do offer their own insurance coverage in specific circumstances.
Insurance Coverage in Uber Accident Cases
Fortunately, Uber does offer insurance coverage for the benefit of accident victims—but Uber’s insurance coverage differs from that of other popular ridesharing companies, including Lyft.
Uber’s insurance coverage is divided into several categories or classifications. For example, if the Uber driver is on the way to pick up a fare—or if the Uber driver already has a fare in the vehicle—Uber’s insurance will cover $1 million per accident (that is, for all property damage and bodily injuries sustained in the accident). Moreover, if the motor vehicle accident involving the Uber vehicle resulted from an underinsured or an uninsured driver, then Uber’s insurance policy will cover $1 million per accident for the bodily injuries sustained therein.
Another Uber insurance classification comes into play when an Uber driver does not have a fare in the vehicle but is waiting for a ride request. If an Uber driver causes a motor vehicle collision under those circumstances, much lower insurance policy limits apply:
- $25,000 worth of coverage for property damage sustained in the accident
- $50,000 worth of coverage for liability, calculated per person
- $100,000 worth of coverage for liability, calculated per accident
Moreover, these insurance policy limits only become effective under certain circumstances. For example, the Uber driver’s personal insurance policy limits of coverage must fall below these levels. Alternatively, the Uber driver’s automobile insurer must refuse to provide insurance coverage for the motor vehicle accident.
Effectively negotiating and litigating an Uber motor vehicle accident case requires a special skill set. This is due, in part, to these potential insurance complications and liability issues involved in litigating these cases.
The team of Houston attorneys at Stewart J. Guss, Attorney at Law, are experienced at handling the complex insurance and legal issues associated with Uber accidents. Our skilled legal team can determine the applicable sources of insurance coverage in your accident case and can pursue fair and just monetary recovery on your behalf.
Litigating an Uber Accident Case
If you are in an Uber accident where you sustained injuries and damages, chances are that your case may end up in litigation. Litigating a case does not necessarily mean that it will go to trial. Rather, the litigation process usually begins after multiple settlement negotiations fail and litigation is the only remaining alternative for proceeding forward with your case.
The litigation process usually begins when the accident victim in the Texas court system. After that point, the parties usually engage in a period of written and oral discovery, including exchanging written questions and answers about the accident, called interrogatories, and testifying under oath (in depositions) as to how the accident happened and what injuries and damages you sustained. If the case still does not settle following discovery, the case may proceed to trial or some form of alternative dispute resolution, such as mediation or arbitration.
The experienced Houston Uber accident lawyers and legal professionals at Stewart J. Guss, Attorney at Law, can develop a litigation plan for your case if it does not settle, and after several negotiation attempts, we can help you decide how to best proceed with your case.
Houston Uber Accident FAQ
It may surprise you to learn Uber has been transporting riders in and around Houston for more than a decade. Like other rideshare apps growing in popularity these days, Uber offers a convenient personal transportation option for Houston residents and visitors alike.
However, more rideshare vehicles on the road means more risks of accidents throughout the Greater Houston area.
The passengers who utilize rideshare services offered by Uber are paying customers, and should therefore have the reassurance that they’ll safely arrive at their destinations. Similarly, others Houston drivers should not have to worry about sharing the road with Uber drivers. Unfortunately, incompetent and negligent driver behavior may lead to accidents with devastating consequences.
After an accident involving an Uber driver, victims should not have to deal with medical costs associated with their accident injuries. The headaches don’t end there, either: Accident injuries frequently require victims to miss work for recovery, hospitalizations, or rehabilitation. Depending on individual circumstances, even minor injuries can devastate a household.
If you suffered injuries in an Uber accident, you probably have questions about how you should proceed. For a free consultation and the answers you need, contact the Houston Uber accident lawyers at Stewart J. Guss, Attorney at Law, as soon as possible. In the meantime, our guide below provides answers to some frequently asked questions about Houston Uber accidents.
Do I have to report a Houston Uber accident to the police?
In almost all circumstances, yes.
Title 7 of the Texas Transportation Code outlines the specific duties of a driver after a traffic accident:
- If a driver is involved in an Uber accident that results in injury or death, or will likely lead to injury or death, they must immediately contact law enforcement to come to the scene of the accident.
- If a driver is involved in which one or more drivers cannot normally or safely operate their vehicles, they must immediately report the accident to the local police.
- If there is at least $1,000 of property damage, individuals involved must report the accident to local police. Texas law enforcement must complete and submit an official crash report when damage exceeds $1,000.
The Texas Department of Transportation (TXDot) also recommends contacting law enforcement if individuals involved suspect the other driver is intoxicated or if a driver leaves the scene of the accident.
Individuals who are in an accident while riding in an Uber are not technically required to take action under Texas law. However, injured victims should make sure that the driver has reported the accident, especially if they suffered injuries. A police report can serve as valuable evidence to support a Houston Uber accident claim. A police report can demonstrate the cause of the injuries that occurred as a result of your Uber crash.
Of course, if your injuries were too severe and required immediate medical attention, report the accident as soon as you finish with your treatments.
How do I get a copy of my official police report?
You can order a copy of your crash report online through the Texas Department of Transportation’s Crash Report Online Purchase System. Texas law enforcement must submit a crash report within 10 days of the date of an accident involving injury, death, or $1,000 or more in property damage. Once the report is available individuals can also submit a request by mail to avoid fees associated with purchasing online.
Do I need to go to the doctor after a Houston Uber accident?
Uber accidents, like other traffic accidents, release a flood of adrenaline throughout a person’s body. This rush sometimes conceals the pain of any resulting injuries. Additionally, certain types of accident injuries take hours, days, or weeks before they cause complications or even show symptoms.
Victims who were not immediately transported to the nearest Houston hospital after an Uber accident should seek medical treatment as soon as possible. A physician will examine victims for common accident injuries, including those which haven’t begun to show symptoms. Some injuries that may not be immediately obvious include internal organ damage, traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), and neck injuries.
Of course, victims should prioritize their physical health, but documentation of any injuries may also be important for the Houston Uber accident claims process. Even minor injuries can cause long-term complications. Without medical records, tricky insurance companies may default to one of their common tactics. For example, they may try to demonstrate that the Uber accident did not cause your injuries. Instead, they may claim the source of a victim’s pain is a pre-existing condition. For these reasons, documentation of Uber accident injuries may serve as key evidence when negotiating with insurance companies.
How do I file a claim with Uber’s insurance carrier?
If you suffer injuries in a Houston Uber accident, the path you take to file a claim will depend on whether you were the rider, or if the Uber driver had a rider present or was en route to pick up a passenger.
Uber drivers have the same responsibilities as other Texas drivers and are required to carry liability auto insurance to cover injuries and damages in the event of an accident. If an Uber driver caused a collision without a customer in the backseat, victims should still gather the driver’s contact and personal insurance information so they can file a claim.
Uber drivers are required to immediately report an accident to Uber, but depending on the circumstances, some drivers may try to avoid filing a report. Even if the driver does not have a rider in the car, you should report the accident to Uber yourself so the company is made aware of the incident.
Uber provides insurance coverage to drivers who are either logged onto the Uber app or actively transporting Houston riders. Uber provides the following coverage for drivers who are awaiting a ride request:
- $50,000 in bodily injury coverage per person
- $100,000 in bodily injury coverage per accident
- $25,000 in property damage coverage per accident
Uber also provides $1,000,000 in third-party liability coverage for drivers who are en route to pick up a rider or have a rider in their vehicle.
In Texas, Progressive Insurance provides auto insurance coverage for Uber drivers. If you have suffered injuries while riding or been involved in an accident when an Uber driver has a rider, you should immediately report the accident to Uber. Progressive Insurance does not allow victims to access their online portal to report accidents unless they also carry Progressive Insurance. If you can’t report an accident, you must call 1-800-776-4737 to file your Houston Uber accident claim.
Remember: insurance companies are businesses that are motivated by increasing their profits. After filing a claim, insurance representatives may attempt to discredit or devalue a victim’s Uber accident claim. Oftentimes, insurance companies will evaluate claims more carefully when they know victims have attorneys. Consider having us handle communication and negotiation involving your claim. As a result, you will be free from having to deal with insurance company representatives to avoid liability.
How long do I have to take legal action after a Houston Uber accident?
Statutes of limitations placed a time limit on accident claims. Texas law requires injured victims to file a lawsuit against Uber, their driver, and/or associated insurance parties within two years of the day of the accident. The same is true for wrongful death suits, if the negligent actions of an Uber driver resulted in a loved one’s death. Eligible family members have two years to bring a wrongful death lawsuit against Uber and their driver to seek compensation for damages related to the loss of their loved one.
Texas courts have a legal obligation to adhere to these times limits. In limited and rare circumstances, a court might hear a case beyond the legal time limit. However, the exceptions are limited. A Houston Uber accident lawyer can evaluate your case and let you know if you warrant an exception. Bottom line—injured victims should consult our Houston Uber accident attorneys as soon as possible.
Will my Houston Uber accident claim go to trial?
Luckily, more than 90% of accident claims settle out of court, long before you or your attorney ever set foot in a courtroom. However, proceeding to trial may be necessary if Uber’s insurance company or the driver’s insurance company outwardly denies all liability or refuses to offer a fair settlement. When negotiations prove that settlement is not an option, your experienced Uber accident lawyer will be prepared to proceed to trial.
The goal, no matter what the claims process brings, is to obtain the best possible outcome for injured victims and their families. In the event your case goes to trial, you will likely need to go to court and provide testimony about the Uber accident. Your testimony will likely include a description of your injuries and how they have impacted your life.
How much is my Houston Uber accident claim worth?
Accident claim amounts, including those involving Uber accidents, vary greatly among accident victims. As a result, it is impossible to anticipate the exact value of any one Houston Uber accident claim. Each accident has circumstantial facts and evidence that guide lawyers and insurance companies in estimating the value of an Uber claim. One thing’s for sure, though: Uber and its related insurance companies will undoubtedly value your claim much lower than what it’s worth. A desiccated lawyer can help you stand up against them and get the money you deserve.
Some examples of the underlying factors lawyers and investigators use to assign value to accident claims include:
- The severity of injuries. Uber accidents that result in severe or catastrophic injuries typically have higher values than those with minor injuries. For example, an Uber accident victim who suffers extensive brain damage and cannot return to work will have a higher value claim than someone who suffered a broken bone and quickly recovered.
- Nature of injuries. The nature of an accident victim’s injuries and their severity also impacts the value of the claim. In addition, someone who has to deal with mental anguish and humiliation from an injury often has a higher settlement or jury award. For example, an Uber accident that leads to a permanent scar on the face or forehead will often result in a higher claim than an accident that leads to the same size scar on the upper arm or shoulder.
- Likelihood of a full recovery. Those who have a long-term prognosis that includes a full recovery often have a lower value claim than those who must cope with chronic pain and lifelong complications.
- Amount of economic loss. Uber accident victims sometimes face damaging amounts of economic loss. In addition to mounting medical bills, many who suffer injuries cannot work for weeks or months. Others never return to their job in the same capacity, creating a lifetime of economic loss. Other quantifiable economic losses include surgeries, diagnostic imaging, travel to and from the hospital, long-term care in a nursing home, physical therapy, occupational therapy, cost of assistive devices, and the cost to replace household maintenance and domestic tasks the accident victim performed before their accident.
- Amount of non-economic loss. Non-economic loss is difficult to quantify, but it does impact the value of an Uber accident claim. Lawyers and insurance companies look at how accident injuries impact a victim’s life to place a monetary value on that impact. Some things they use include quality of life, damage to relationships with children and spouses, physical pain and suffering, and emotional pain and suffering. Simply put, the greater an impact your injuries have had on your life, the higher the value of your claim.
Should I accept an offer from Uber’s insurance company?
Not before you call us. Insurance companies are businesses that aim to increase their profits. To be clear, they do not have injured victims’ best interests at heart, including yours. When insurance companies know their policyholder is at fault, they also know they will be required to pay the claim.
Even though Uber provides decent coverage, it does not mean their carrier is willing to pay out $1,000,000 each time a driver causes an accident.
One of the most common tactics insurance companies use to reduce financial liability is to tempt victims with a quick settlement offer. Fact: initial settlement offers are typically much lower than the actual value of a claim. However, when you accept an offer from an insurance company, you waive your right to seek any additional compensation. Victims should refrain from accepting a settlement offer from an insurance company without consulting an experienced Houston Uber accident lawyer at Stewart J. Guss, Attorney at Law.
Call a Houston Uber Car Accident Lawyer Today for a Free Legal Consultation and Case Evaluation
Motor vehicle accidents involving ridesharing vehicles can result in serious injuries. However, the unique insurance and legal issues can make them difficult to prove. You can be sure that Uber’s insurance companies are not going to pay you for your injuries and damages unless you make them. The main goal of these large and powerful insurance companies is to keep as much of their money as possible. They are not able to achieve this goal by paying out large personal injury settlements.
The legal team of Stewart J. Guss, Attorney at Law, consists of nationally recognized car, rideshare, and Uber accident lawyers who have protected the rights of injured victims for more than 20 years. If you were injured in an Uber accident, call our office right now for your free consultation! Because we take all of our personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis, you will not owe us a DIME unless we win your case. We are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, so call us today at 800-898-4877 or contact us now by .
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