Overview of Car Accident Claims in Texas
At the heart of any rideshare accident claim is a car accident claim.
Therefore, if you or a loved one has suffered injuries in a rideshare accident in or near Houston, TX, you should know a few important things about car accident claims in Texas.
Elements of a Car Accident Claim in Texas
In almost any car accident injury claim, you will need to prove four elements:
- The opposing party owed you a duty of care to act in a reasonably prudent manner under the particular circumstances;
- The opposing party breached their duty to you;
- The opposing party’s breach of duty was the cause of the collision; and
- You suffered actual damages, injuries, or other harm due to the other party’s actions.
Of course, each case is different and will have various facts and circumstances to consider.
Thus, speak with a qualified Houston rideshare accident lawyer to discuss your potential claim and options.
Statute of Limitations
Additionally, it is essential to be aware of the statute of limitations for a car accident injury claim.
A statute of limitations is the legal timeframe in which an injured party must bring their legal claim. For car accident claims resulting in injuries, the statute of limitations in Texas is two years.
This means that you must file your legal claim within two years of the date of the accident that resulted in your injury. Failure to do so timely can result in losing your right to bring the claim entirely.
Modified Comparative Fault Rules in Texas
Notably, Texas imposes modified comparative fault rules, referred to as proportionate responsibility under Texas Civil Code.
Under the proportionate responsibility rules in Texas, any claimant who is more than 50% responsible for causing the underlying action may not recover any compensation.
While this may not always be applicable in rideshare claims, as the passenger in an Uber or Lyft is less likely to be at fault, it is not impossible that Texas proportionate responsibility rules might come up in this context.
For example, if a passenger’s unruly and disruptive behavior caused the rideshare driver to lose control of the vehicle, thereby causing the accident that resulted in the passenger’s injuries, that passenger could be determined to be more than 50% at fault.
As a result, that passenger may be prevented from receiving any monetary compensation for their injuries.
If you have questions about whether your actions could have impacted your rideshare accident, contact our office to speak with an experienced rideshare car accident lawyer today.
Despite being car accident cases at their core, there are still a few factors that can potentially complicate matters in a rideshare accident claim. Here are a few special issues to keep in mind.
Lack of Vicarious Liability
Under the general principles of vicarious liability, a supervisory party, such as an employer, is typically responsible for the wrongful or negligent actions of a subordinate or associate, such as an employee.
For this reason, when an employee of a company causes an accident, the injured party will often seek compensation from the employer instead of, or in addition to, the employee.
Unfortunately, however, for ridesharing claims, suing Uber or Lyft—or any other ridesharing company—may not be an option.
This is because most ridesharing companies such as Uber and Lyft hire drivers as independent contractors rather than actual employees.
In a recent Texas case, the Court of Appeals affirmed the status of the driver as a contractor rather than as an employee of Lyft, thereby preventing the claimant from imposing liability on the company.
While the court’s holding can undoubtedly complicate matters, it does not mean that victims injured in ridesharing accidents have no recourse.
Therefore, it is imperative to speak with a Lyft and Uber accident lawyer in Houston as soon as possible to discuss your options.
Terms and Conditions of Service
As a consumer, you are likely aware of the prevalence of terms and conditions of service in society.
Ridesharing companies are no exception, and most will require you to agree to terms limiting certain rights before you can use their services.
For example, ridesharing terms and conditions frequently include provisions such as:
- No right to a jury trial;
- No class action lawsuits;
- Mandatory arbitration through a specific arbitrator or under a particular set of rules; and
- No right to an appeals process.
While these types of provisions are generally enforceable, this does not mean you have no recourse against the responsible parties who caused your injuries.
Armstrong Lee & Baker: Your Go-To Lyft and Uber Accident Lawyer in Houston
If you have suffered a serious injury, you should have an experienced attorney in your corner who is serious about getting you the results you need and deserve.
At Armstrong Lee & Baker, we pride ourselves on being qualified and experienced personal injury attorneys.
But more than that, we make sure to put our clients and their interests first each and every day.
We know how difficult it can be to navigate the pain and complexities of a rideshare accident claim. We will be there with you every step of the way as we fight for your recovery.
When you are ready to start discussing your case, we will be too.
Give us a call today to schedule your free consultation and see what our team can do for you.