Ridesharing services are often cheaper than cabs but are also less regulated. Many states are tightening the rules on these companies due to the potential liability and hazard.
So, what are the driving requirements for Lyft and Uber in Texas?
Each of the two major rideshare companies has different vehicle requirements for their drivers. Furthermore, Texas is such a large state that requirements may vary from place to place.
Typically, all documentation on the vehicle must be up to date. For example, the requirements for Lyft are:
Lyft and Uber Vehicle Requirements
- 2009 or later (as of 2023).
- Four doors.
- 5 to 8 seats, including the driver’s
- Not a taxi, stretch limousine, or rental vehicle.
- Not titled as salvage, non-repairable, rebuilt, etc.
Uber in the Houston area requires the following:
- No more than 15 years old.
- Four doors.
- Good condition with no cosmetic damage.
- No commercial branding.
So, one basic requirement is that the vehicle has four doors and is reasonably new. However, specific requirements can vary by area. If you question whether a vehicle is eligible, you should talk to ride-sharing companies.
Lyft and Uber Driver Qualifications
To drive for a rideshare in Texas, a driver must have a valid driver’s license and be at least 25 years old. Companies also do a basic screening of drivers that checks their driving history and criminal background.
These drivers do not, however, must meet the more stringent requirements to be licensed as taxi drivers. They may not be as skilled drivers and may not know the area as well, which can result in a longer trip.
Because of this, you are more likely to get into an accident when taking a rideshare over a licensed cab. This does not mean rideshares are unsafe, but they can be less safe than cabs. There have also been issues with inappropriate behavior from drivers, including sexual harassment and discrimination.
Issues with Liability Insurance in Rideshare Accidents
In 2020, a survey done by DriversEd.com showed some disturbing statistics. According to passengers, 35% of their drivers did something reckless, 29% sent texts while driving, and 13% said their driver acted “inappropriately.”
In most cases, the person liable for the accident is not the rideshare company but the driver. Because of this, Texas requires that rideshare drivers increase their auto insurance. People must take out $30,000 of bodily injury liability coverage per person.
Rideshare drivers are required to have liability insurance of $1 million. Because this is out of the reach of most drivers, the company typically provides this coverage. Uber also provides comprehensive coverage. This is only in effect when the rideshare driver is carrying passengers.
Insurance Issues for Accidents with Rideshare Drivers Can Be Complicated
This can confuse. If you are in an accident with a rideshare vehicle, you need to establish whether they were carrying passengers and whether they had the app on or off, as this determines whose insurance you need to deal with. Consulting with an experienced Uber accident lawyer is a good step.
When they are driving a personal trip, their insurance covers it. If they were driving to pick somebody up, there is a higher limit ($50,000); if they were carrying passengers, it goes up a lot.
But if you were riding in the car when the accident happened, then Uber/Lyft’s insurance is the one that comes into play. Because the drivers are legally considered independent contractors, it is hard to sue the rideshare company, even if they appear negligent. You need an expert lawyer in this situation.
If you are physically or sexually assaulted or sexually harassed by a rideshare driver. In that case, however, you have a much higher chance of being able to sue the company for negligent hiring because they did not properly screen the driver.
What Should I Do After Being Injured in a Rideshare Crash?
If you are involved in an accident with a rideshare vehicle in Texas, knowing the steps to take to protect yourself is essential. Like any other accident, the first thing to do is gather important information such as the driver’s name, license plate number, and insurance details. Collecting the names of witnesses who may have seen what happened is also helpful. Additionally, consider asking the driver whether the rideshare app was on or off during the incident and if they were carrying passengers.
Be aware that some drivers may have incentives to lie about the app status, either to ensure the company’s insurance covers the accident or to avoid potential consequences from the rideshare company. However, it’s worth noting that companies like Uber and Lyft often keep records of app activity, including GPS location data when the app is active. This information can be verified if necessary.
To ensure proper documentation and address any concerns, it’s recommended to report the accident through the respective company’s website. Both Uber and Lyft have mechanisms in place for reporting accidents. This step is similar to talking to an insurance company, as it initiates the claims process.
While engaging with the rideshare company, it’s wise to consider consulting with a Lyft accident lawyer before providing further information. Legal representation can help protect your rights and guide you through the process.
Avoid volunteering unnecessary details, describing injuries, or admitting fault. Insurance companies, including those of rideshare companies, may use any excuse to place blame on you, which could impact your compensation. It’s important to remember that Texas follows proportionate responsibility, meaning any damages awarded may be reduced based on the degree of responsibility assigned to each party involved.
In cases where you were a ride-sharing vehicle passenger, it’s worth noting that Uber or Lyft’s insurance typically covers such incidents. However, drivers may hesitate to report minor accidents to protect their standing with the company. Therefore, it’s still advisable to independently report the accident to Uber or Lyft for documentation purposes.
Dealing with an accident involving a rideshare vehicle can be complex, especially when determining the driver’s work status during the incident. To navigate this process effectively, it’s crucial to seek the guidance of a knowledgeable personal accident lawyer.
By contacting a lawyer promptly, they can begin working on your behalf, investigating the accident’s cause, and advocating for your rights. In many cases, the involvement of legal representation can expedite the settlement process if the rideshare company realizes you have legal support.
Online Reporting of Crashes
You should also go to the company’s website and report the accident. Both Uber and Lyft have mechanisms for doing this. Consider this the same as talking to an insurance company. Get a consultation with a Lyft accident lawyer before talking with Lyft.
Don’t volunteer any information they don’t ask for, don’t describe injuries, and don’t admit the accident may have been your fault. Their insurance company will use any excuse (like all insurance companies) to place the blame on you, wholly or partially. Texas uses proportionate responsibility, so any damages will be reduced by the amount you are found responsible for the accident.
Uber or Lyft’s insurance would cover the incident if you were a passenger in the car. However, drivers may not want to report minor incidents if they affect their record with the company. Thus, you should still independently report the accident to Uber or Lyft.
An accident involving a rideshare car can be particularly complicated, especially as the driver may have the motivation to be less than honest about whether they were “working” or not.
You need a quality personal accident lawyer and should contact one immediately after the incident so they can start working for you. The company will often settle quickly if a lawyer is involved.
Contact a Houston Personal Injury Lawyer at Baumgartner Law Firm for Help
6711 Cypress Creek Pkwy, Houston, TX, 77069