The popularity of ridesharing continues to increase across the globe because of its convenience, affordability, and accessibility. Residents and visitors to major cities like Austin use Uber and Lyft and other smaller companies to get them where they need to go. Those who love ridesharing argue that these companies increase safety by taking drivers off of the road, especially during evening hours when those who head out on the town are more likely to get behind the wheel after a few cocktails. (A recent study claims that’s not true—that Uber and Lyft haven’t changed the rates of drunk driving fatalities.) Yet rideshare passengers and other drivers remain at risk because of the lack of regulations for rideshare companies.
If you were injured in a rideshare accident as a passenger or in another vehicle, you might be eligible to recover damages to compensate you for the losses that you have incurred because of your injury. Call the skilled rideshare accident attorneys at The Law Offices of George Salinas in Austin at (512) 851-1004 for a free consultation to evaluate your case.
Causes of Rideshare Accidents in Austin
Many situations might lead to a rideshare accident in Austin. Causes of rideshare accidents do not differ greatly from any other auto accident, but rideshare drivers and passengers are especially at risk for certain types of accidents. Here are some common causes of rideshare accidents:
- Speeding. Rideshare drivers and their passengers are in a hurry to get to their destinations. Rideshare drivers are especially likely to speed because the more riders they transport during a shift, the more money they make. This also leads to driving too fast for conditions. Speeding alone doesn’t usually directly cause an accident, but it does make car accidents more likely to cause injury and more likely to be fatal.
- Following too closely. When rideshare drivers are speeding and in a hurry, they sometimes follow the car in front of them too closely. Tailgating doesn’t allow enough time or distance for the driver to respond if the car stalls, makes a quick turn, or suddenly stops.
- Driving while distracted. Many drivers on the road drive while distracted and cause accidents, but rideshare drivers have additional distractions beyond normal things like eating, adjusting the radio, and using a cell phone for talking or texting, which is illegal in Austin. Many rideshare drivers use a GPS, which may cause distractions while driving. Rideshare drivers might also be distracted by obnoxious passengers, including those that are inebriated.
- Fatigued driving. Rideshare drivers are at risk of driving drowsy and falling asleep at the wheel. Uber restricts hours to 12 hours of driving per day and Lyft restricts their drivers to 14 hours per day. While these restrictions begin to address the problem of drowsy driving, they don’t take into account time between riders or other employment.
- Driving under the influence. Alcohol, drugs, and prescription medication pose many of the same risks for rideshare drivers and riders as other motorists. When a driver is fatigued, the effects might be more pronounced, perhaps making rideshare drivers more dangerous when under the influence.
- Poor vehicle maintenance. Some states require that rideshare drivers have a yearly vehicle inspection; Texas is not one of them. If a rideshare driver does not adequately maintain their vehicle, it might result in a severe accident. Old tires that blow out and worn brake pads that need replacement are examples of things that could cause an accident.
Seeking Compensation After a Rideshare Accident in Austin
If you are another motor vehicle driver or a rider who was injured because of a rideshare driver’s negligence or poor choices, you might be entitled to compensation for your losses. Rideshare accident cases, which typically include at least three parties—you, the rideshare driver, and the rideshare company—become especially complex when more than one rider or vehicle is involved. Texas is a tort liability state, so you will need to file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company, which might be the rideshare driver or another motorist if you are a passenger.
Texas law requires rideshare drivers, formally called transportation network companies, to carry liability coverage for when they have riders and when they are in between rides. If you have only suffered minor injuries that didn’t cause you to miss work, filing an insurance claim might adequately compensate you for your damages; however, insurance carriers are notorious for denying claims. A skilled rideshare accident attorney will guide you on when you need to escalate your claim to a lawsuit. In the event that you initiate a suit, you might be able to recover the following losses:
- Medical expenses such as ambulance and emergency services, hospital stays, surgery, prescriptions, follow-up visits, and more
- Lost wages for those who needed to miss work because of their injury
- Future medical costs when a severe injury requires long-term care or results in a permanent disability
- Lost earning capacity when an injury prohibits a victim from returning to work or requires them to change professions
- Pain and suffering and other non-economic damages for severe injuries such as scarring, disfigurement, loss of consortium, and more
Hire a Rideshare Accident Attorney in Austin Today
A seasoned personal injury lawyer who has experience with rideshare accidents know the strategies that the defense and insurance companies might use to avoid liability. An attorney will also help with investigating the accident and gathering evidence to support your case including medical records, police reports, and eyewitness statements.
Email the skilled Austin attorneys at The Law Offices of George Salinas or call (512) 851-1004 for a free consultation to discuss your rideshare accident. If you wait too long, you risk Texas’s two-year statute of limitations running out and not getting the compensation that you deserve for your injuries. We understand the challenges that come with being involved in a serious accident and are here to help you through this time in your life. If you choose us to represent you, we handle personal injury cases on a contingent fee basis; we will recover attorney fees out of any settlement or verdict in your favor.
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