This is the next post in a series of articles discussing lawsuits against Uber and its drivers following an accident in Fort Worth, Texas. Our previous article provided an overview of the topics to be covered in this series. It also stressed the importance of hiring a law firm with experience in personal injury accident cases involving commercial entities. These cases can involve complicated legal arguments to establish the defendants’ liability and damages. Engaging a law firm with adequate resources to support your case will be essential. This post will review how Texas’ laws may impact a case against an Uber driver or Uber itself. If you have been injured in an accident, we recommend contacting an attorney as soon as possible to protect your legal rights.
We have previously written articles about handling car accident cases in general and accidents involving commercial vehicles. Interestingly, collisions involving Uber or other ridesharing drivers are unique because they may raise a combination of these legal frameworks. Generally speaking, drivers who fail to follow the established traffic laws or breach their duty to drive safely will be held liable for accidents resulting from their noncompliance. This holds true for everyone, including Uber drivers. As with other collision cases, a victim who is partially at fault may still recover damages so long as the victim was less than fifty-one percent responsible for the crash. When an accident is caused by a commercial vehicle, it may be possible to file a lawsuit against the company who owns the vehicle, employs the driver, or both. Theories such as negligent hiring, failure to maintain a safe vehicle, among others may be used to establish the commercial entity’s partial responsibility for the crash. When a crash is caused by an Uber driver, the ability to sue Uber in addition to the driver depends largely on the specific facts surrounding the incident.
Uber provides insurance to cover certain damages caused by their drivers’ accidents. Whether the company will challenge the use of their insurance to pay damages depends on a variety of circumstances. For instance, if the injured party was a passenger in the Uber at the time of the crash where the Uber driver was at fault, Uber’s insurance will typically provide coverage. If the victim was the driver of another vehicle or was a bystander or pedestrian, however, the company may attempt to deny coverage. Furthermore, if the event occurs while the driver has no Uber passenger, Uber’s insurance may be inaccessible. Identifying these specifics is the first step in determining how the case will proceed. Next, in most states, Uber drivers are independent contractors rather than employees of the company. This difference in status may create challenges to suing Uber for the acts of the driver. It is not, however, impossible to make such claims. Depending upon the facts of the case, your attorney may believe there are adequate grounds to argue that Uber’s actions justify legal action against them directly. For example, if the Uber driver is shown to have multiple previous DUIs and traffic violations prior to being retained by Uber, this may lead to liability for negligent hiring. An experienced law firm will have the expertise and resources necessary to evaluate your case and make the appropriate recommendations.
Given the potential complexities that may arise in a case involving Uber, we encourage accident victims to avoid handling matters on their own and to contact a law firm quickly following the incident. When selecting a law firm to represent you, we suggest locating a firm with multiple attorneys who are board certified in personal injury law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. We also recommend law firms who employ on-site investigators and have the financial resources available to thoroughly manage your case, whether during settlement negotiations or at trial. These recommendations apply regardless of whether the incident took place in Fort Worth, Dallas, or another Texas area.