Public transportation has become even less popular since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Commuters and tourists prefer ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft which are usually safe, convenient, user-friendly, and affordable compared to conventional taxis.
Uber and Lyft are Transportation Network Companies (TNC) whom many refer to as ‘ride-sharing services’ or “ride-hailing services”. These companies connect passengers who need transportation with drivers who can offer it in their vehicles, and this connection is facilitated via an online, technology-enabled platform.
Even though their purpose is to provide transportation, ride-sharing companies claim to be technology companies, simply offering a better way to connect passengers to drivers. These companies have gained immense popularity and success by benefitting passengers and have become the mode of transportation of choice for many Dallas residents.
MAJOR ADVANTAGES OF USING RIDE-SHARING SERVICES.
By 2020, Uber and Lyft were the two most dominant ride-sharing apps in the country with 68% and 30% of the market share respectively. Major benefits of using these services include:
- Uber and Lyft are much cheaper than conventional taxis or renting a private vehicle. Customers have the option of sharing rides with others who are heading in the same direction.
- Uber and Lyft have created thousands of jobs for competent and eligible drivers.
- Uber and Lyft customers typically spend less time waiting than customers of traditional taxis. Uber and Lyft are much easier to hail as drivers of these companies pick up passengers at their desired locations, unlike taxis. To hail a conventional taxi, a passenger has to be out on the street.
- Party-goers used to find it difficult to persuade taxi drivers to drive them, sometimes to obscure parts of town. With the emergence of ride-sharing services, party-goers and revelers don’t have to worry about the trip home.
- The number of drunk driving accidents could go down if individuals out to have a good time chose ride-sharing services to get around town.
- Payments are made to drivers online through Uber and Lyft which are safe and secure modes of transactions.
- Uber and Lyft apps. are easy to download on smartphones. These apps are user-friendly and offer attractive incentives to regular customers.
UBER-LYFT AND OTHER RIDE-SHARING SERVICES IN TEXAS.
On May 29, 2017, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed House Bill 100 into law, a measure which created a statewide regulatory framework for ride-sharing companies. Under Texas law, drivers of ride-sharing companies are required to have a permit from the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR) and pay an annual fee of $5,000 to operate throughout the state. These companies are required to perform local, state, and federal criminal background checks on drivers annually.
The bill signed by Governor Abbott envisaged a ride-sharing network that would benefit consumers, expand their transportation options and give them access to affordable rides. It would also create employment opportunities for Texans.
UBER AND LYFT’S CONTROVERSIAL RELATIONSHIP WITH THEIR DRIVERS.
Since their emergence, ride-sharing companies have been a subject of heated debate involving concerned citizens and policymakers. Many have questioned the safety measures undertaken by these companies and also the hiring standards of these companies.
There has been endless speculation as to whether the law should consider ride-sharing drivers as independent contractors or employees of these companies. In Texas, ride-sharing drivers are classified as independent contractors.
Individuals who drive for Uber and Lyft are not considered as their employees. Instead, they are operating in the capacity of independent contractors who are under a contract to offer and perform services on behalf of these companies. As self-employed individuals, these drivers ‘are doing work for’ Uber or Lyft, but are not ‘working for them.
Many states in the country are still contemplating legislation to force Uber and Lyft to make their drivers as employees,
COMMON CAUSES OF ACCIDENTS INVOLVING RIDE-SHARING COMPANY DRIVERS.
As the majority of Dallas residents turn to ride-sharing companies like Uber and Lyft for affordable and convenient ways to get around the city, the number of accidents involving the drivers of these companies has increased. The leading causes of accidents involving Uber and Lyft drivers include:
- Distracted Driving.
Distracted driving is one of the most common causes of accidents involving drivers of ride-sharing companies. Drivers of these companies rely on apps on their phones to locate and pick passengers, get directions, and receive payments. Drivers tend to be engrossed in their phones instead of paying attention to the road.
In order to maximize their earnings, some Uber and Lyft drivers work long and late hours. Exhaustion can cause drivers to react slowly and can also affect their situational awareness.
For many, being a ride-share driver is a side job. These Individuals work long hours and then get behind the wheel of their cars to make an extra buck.
- Illegal Parking And Making Abrupt Stops.
When ride-share drivers have to pick their passengers, they park in an unsafe manner or even in prohibited areas just for the convenience of their passengers.
Even at the time of drop-offs, drivers make abrupt stops to let the customers get off at a location of their choice and convenience. This can affect the traffic around them and endanger others on the road.
- Failure To Maintain Vehicles.
Faulty brakes and tire blowouts are common causes of Uber and Lyft accidents. Malfunctions occur when drivers fail to maintain their vehicles properly and regularly.
- Reckless Driving.
In their quest to maximize profits, ride-share drivers try to make as many trips as possible. Drivers can resort to speeding, tail-gating, breaking traffic signals, and changing lanes which can put the health and lives of others on the road in grave danger.
- Driver Intoxication.
Revelers and party-goers hail a Uber or a Lyft when they are intoxicated, but there have been numerous incidents of ride-sharing drivers being intoxicated on the job.
Alcohol, marijuana, opioids, and other drugs can severely impair a driver.
- Inexperienced Drivers.
Unlike truck drivers, those desirous of becoming ride-share drivers do not require a special license to work for Uber or Lyft. The inexperience of drivers of ride-sharing companies can cause fatal accidents resulting in injuries to other drivers, Uber and Lyft passengers, motorcyclists, bike riders, or pedestrians.
COMMON TRAFFIC VIOLATIONS RECEIVED BY UBER AND LYFT DRIVERS.
Many Uber and Lyft drivers show scant regard for traffic rules and regulations. Common traffic violations received by Uber and Lyft drivers include:
- Breaking signals.
- Lane violations.
- Driving in the wrong lane.
- Talking on the phone.
- Illegal parking.
- Abruptly stopping on roads.
- Failure to yield to others on the roads.
HOW DO UBER AND LYFT’S INSURANCE POLICIES WORK?
Uber and Lyft consider “ three periods” while determining eligibility for coverages. Whether a victim receives coverage depends on when the accident took place, as detailed below:
- FIRST PERIOD.
This period starts when the app is turned on and the driver is awaiting ride requests. In this period, drivers receive limited liability coverage ($50,000/ per person/ $100,000 total/ $25,000 property damage). For all other types of coverage, drivers are required to have their own personal insurance.
- SECOND PERIOD.
Period two begins when the driver goes to pick up a passenger. Uber and Lyft provide handsome coverages in this period with up to $ one million of liability coverage and full coverage for vehicle damages. Uber and Lyft demand proof that a driver was on course to pick up a passenger when the accident occurred. If the driver fails to provide sufficient proof, Uber and Lyft can claim the driver was in period one.
- PERIOD THREE.
This period is active during the time a passenger is in the vehicle. This is probably the easiest period for a national Uber and Lyft accident lawyer to prove. The presence of a passenger makes insurance claims of both the passenger and the driver almost undeniable. In such cases, attorneys will be able to negotiate fair settlement terms without much resistance. Coverages are similar to those in period two.
LIABILITY IN AN UBER OR LYFT ACCIDENT?
When an accident victim attempts to sue Uber or Lyft for the careless, reckless, and negligent behavior of a contracted driver, things tend to get complicated.
The entire controversial arrangement between Uber and Lyft with their drivers helps these companies escape a major portion of responsibility and legal liability.
If you are injured in an accident involving a Uber or Lyft vehicle, as a driver, a passenger, or a pedestrian, who is liable to compensate you depends on the driver’s status at the time of the accident.
If you were injured in an accident when the driver was not on the app., the driver is accountable, and you will need to file a claim with the driver’s insurer.
If you were injured while the driver was awaiting a request, you may collect compensation from a combination of Uber or Lyft’s liability policy, and any supplemental insurance held by the driver.
If you were injured while the driver was on his way to pick up a passenger or while the passenger was in the car, you are fully covered by Uber or Lyft’s one million dollars third-party liability coverage.
Uber and Lyft accidents often involve three insurance companies – Uber or Lyft’s insurance company, the Uber or Lyft driver’s private insurer, and the insurance companies of others involved. These insurance companies work in collusion to try to diminish a victim’s injuries or try to shift blame or try to claim no one was at fault. In such circumstances, recovering compensation becomes very difficult for the victims unless they have an experienced Dallas Uber and Lyft accident lawyer to guide and assist them.
THE LAW OFFICES OF DOROTHY HYDE – WE TAKE ON POWERFUL COMPANIES LIKE UBER AND LYFT TO HELP YOU RECOVER A FAIR AND JUST COMPENSATION.
Accidents involving drivers of rideshare companies such as Uber and Lyft are always difficult to resolve. Due to the complex and complicated insurance policies of these companies, victims of Uber and Lyft accidents may find themselves facing multiple low settlement offers that won’t be enough to cover even hospital bills and loss of wage costs.
Our experienced Dallas Uber and Lyft accident lawyers ensure that your rights are not suppressed and they stand up to powerful companies like Uber and Lyft on your behalf and make sure that your side of the story is heard and the guilty are held accountable.
Dallas personal injury attorney Dorothy Hyde is a strong-willed woman who has carved a niche for herself by breaking stereotypes in a male-dominated bastion. She is a fearless advocate who is known to find innovative solutions to seemingly complex legal issues.
Our team of experienced Dallas ride-sharing attorneys will communicate with insurers on your behalf, help with investigations, determine fault and liability, and help you navigate through the various steps in the Claim process.
If you or your loved one has been injured due to the carelessness or negligence of an Uber or Lyft driver, you deserve to be duly compensated for the injuries suffered and other damages. Call an experienced Uber and Lyft accident lawyer at our firm for a free case evaluation right away.