Ride-sharing has become one of the most popular ways to get around any city at any time. No longer do we have to hold up a hand to hail a cab (that might pass us anyway). We also can get a ride in areas where taxis are less likely to pick us up or drop us off. We can even rate our drivers and make notes about them through the apps. Subtle things like these helps us feel safe when in a car with a stranger.
A Short History
For a while, ride-sharing companies in Texas were put under stress. Many stipulations were passed that the companies believed were unfair:
- Requiring annual background checks for the drivers
- Companies were required to pay an annual fee of $5,000 to operate through the state
- Required a permit from the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation
- Fingerprint background checks required in Austin
When Austin’s government officials passed a bill requiring fingerprint background checks, Uber and Lyft immediately created a campaign to protest it. Unfortunately, the campaign failed, and they eventually suspended their services in the city.
The Good and the Bad
Uber has insurance policies for their drivers in place, depending on the situation. Here’s a basic outline:
- When the app is off: If an accident occurs, and the app is off, the driver is responsible for costs and damages (through their own insurance).
- When the app is on, and the driver is available to pick up passengers: Coverage is $50,000 in injury liability per person with $100,000 total liability per accident. Covers liability for damages to another driver, pedestrian, property, or other third party.
- When on Uber trip: Covers passengers. Up to $1 million in third party liability, and up to $1 million for underinsured or uninsured coverage.
While coverage is a great thing for ride-sharing companies to offer their drivers, there are also cons for the passengers:
- Often times, drivers look at their phones while operating their vehicle. (Some even hold it in their hand while driving instead of using a hands-free device.)
- Drivers are drivers, meaning there is no additional training required in order to drive with Uber.
- Two strangers in a car (enough said).
- Also, here’s a complete list of ride-sharing incidents that have occurred since 2014.
If you’re in a ride-sharing accident as a passenger, act how you would in any other car accident. Call 911 if you are seriously injured, take photos of the accident if possible, exchange information, and contact the ride-sharing company to let them know you were involved in an accident. You also may be entitled to injury compensation, since ride-sharing companies now have policies in place for passengers injured in an accident.
Ride-sharing services can be an extremely efficient way to get around in this day and age. There are several benefits, too. If you miss your bus or train, you have the option of taking a Lyft to work. If your ride cancels on you, you can take an Uber-pool, which is cheaper than taking an Uber by yourself. However, we can’t ignore that accidents can happen to anyone at any time when in a car.
If you’ve been in an accident during a ride-sharing service, visit our Austin office, or contact us today for a free consultation.