Since launching earlier this decade, Uber and Lyft have become ubiquitous in major cities such as Houston. Whether for a convenient ride downtown or a safe ride home, when you don’t want to (or can’t) drive yourself, the ability to summon an inexpensive ride with a few taps on your phone has revolutionized the way that many of us get where we need to go.
But, hiring an Uber or Lyft driver is not without its risks. While both companies tout their driver screening policies, it is not hard to get set up as a driver. You certainly do not have to be a professional, and there is no way for Uber or Lyft to ensure that their drivers observe the rules of the road or adequately maintain their cars. When you add Houston’s high volume of commercial trucks into the equation, it is of little surprise that many local Uber and Lyft passengers have suffered injuries in dangerous collisions.
Who Is Liable in an Uber or Lyft Accident?
If you were injured in a commercial truck accident while riding with an Uber or Lyft driver, who do you sue? Is your driver liable? The ride-sharing company? The trucking company? As in other cases, the answer depends on all of the unique facts and circumstances involved.
1. Your Uber or Lyft Driver
Your Uber or Lyft driver could be liable if he or she was at fault (or partially at fault) in the accident. While the circumstances of your accident are somewhat unique, the same general legal principles apply: If your driver’s negligence led to your injuries, your driver is liable for your injury-related losses. Uber and Lyft both require their drivers to carry insurance (as does Texas law); so, in most cases, if your driver is to blame, it is his or her insurance company that will bear the financial responsibility.
2. Uber or Lyft
It is possible that you may also have a claim against Uber or Lyft. These companies also carry insurance for accidents caused by their drivers. If the evidence suggests that Uber or Lyft played a role in causing your accident (for example, by approving a driver who should not have been approved), then you will likely want to pursue a claim against your chosen ride-sharing company as well.
3. The Trucking Company
Many truck accidents involve some form of negligence on the part of the truck driver or trucking company. From following too closely to driving drunk or distracted, truck drivers often make mistakes that lead to serious collisions. Trucking companies can face vicarious liability for their employees’ mistakes, and they can be held liable for their own mistakes (such as hiring an unqualified driver or failing to adequately secure cargo) as well.
4. A Third Party
Finally, it is important not to overlook the possibility that a third party caused your accident. This could be another driver, a vehicle manufacturer, or the contractor responsible for building or maintaining the road. When seeking compensation for accident-related injuries, ride-sharing passengers should be sure to consider all possible sources of financial recovery.
Contact the 18-Wheeler Accident Lawyers at Morrow & Sheppard LLP
If you were injured in an accident involving a commercial truck, we encourage you to contact us for a free, no-obligation consultation about your legal rights. To speak with one of our experienced injury lawyers in confidence, call our Houston law offices at (800) 489-2216 or request an appointment online today.