Posted on Friday, April 27th, 2018 at 6:08 pm
The well publicized driverless Uber car crash and pedestrian fatality that occurred in Arizona last month has put the spotlight back on Uber, on one hand, and liability for driverless car accidents, on the other. Driverless cars are yet to be a real concern as the technology is constantly being modified and it is probably a decade away before they become common on Texas roads. But Uber and other rideshare company accidents do happen from time to time and it is important to be aware of who is liable if you decide to use these cheaper ways of getting around.
Your Uber driver should have personal liability insurance
It may have taken time and a lot of legal action, but Uber now ensures that its drivers have auto insurance in the event of an accident in which you are a legitimate passenger. Basically, liability insurance carried by an Uber driver should cover you if you are a passenger, between the time the driver picks you up to the time you are dropped off. The amount of insurance is a maximum of $1,000,000. Items covered include medical treatment, any loss of earnings, both to date and future losses, as well as compensation for any property damage.
As might be expected, if the accident was in any way due to something you did, e.g. distracting the driver, you may not be able to obtain compensation, or at least the payment may be reduced.
The chances of an Uber accident may be higher than a standard taxi ride
You probably take a greater chance of being injured if you choose to use a rideshare company like Uber or Lyft than regular taxi or public transport, although there are no hard and fast statistics which confirm that. However, rideshare drivers do need to use their app regularly to check on potential rides and navigate to where the passenger wants them to go to, inviting the potential for a distracted driving accident. To be fair, this is the case to some extent with taxi drivers as well, but they are more likely to use a hands free radio rather than a smart phone.
What happens if your vehicle is hit by an Uber driver?
The insurance situation is different if you are not a passenger, but in another vehicle and you are hit by an Uber driver. It then becomes a more standard personal injury situation and should be covered by Texas state laws on personal liability. According to Texas modified comparative negligence rules, you are entitled to compensation in proportion to the percentage blame as long as you were not more than 50% to blame for the accident. For example, if the accident was judged to be 70% blamed on the Uber driver and 30% blamed on your actions, then you should receive 70% of the compensation claimed, as long as the claim is accepted.
Again, all Uber drivers are supposed to have liability insurance, so the worry that the driver who hit you was uninsured or underinsured should not be relevant. As in all personal injury claims, you still must be able to prove that the injuries you received were due to negligence on the part of the Uber driver. This is where a San Antonio injury lawyer with experience dealing with Uber and rideshare accidents can help with filing a legitimate claim.
Driverless car injuries – who is liable?
Uber is not the only company intent on introducing driverless cars. The Uber car that crashed in Arizona last month actually had a driver in it, but it appears that the driver may not have been looking just before the crash happened. Uber has withdrawn its driverless cars for the moment and there has been no decision yet on what happened and who was to blame for this particular accident. It may be that both the driver’s lack of supervision as well as a failure of the car’s detection mechanisms, including lasers, cameras and computers failed to detect the possibility of the accident.
Advocates for autonomous cars claim that these cars have the potential to reduce human error and ultimately lead to a lower traffic accident rate, but there are already worrying signs that car makers involved in developing fully autonomous cars are attempting to limit the ability of injured victims to sue in the event of a potential future accident.
If you have been injured in an Uber accident, whether as a passenger, or in a vehicle of your own and are considering legal action, contact an experienced San Antonio personal injury lawyer to discuss your legal options. Call 833-210-4878 today.