Since 2009, cities like Houston have been implementing new transportation methods. Companies like Uber have been making headlines as alternative transportation options in major cities. To sign up, anyone with a smart phone can download the application, input their credit card, and select a driver near them to take them to their destination. UberX, a service launched by Uber, does not require professional drivers, but rather, allows anyone with a mid to full-size vehicle to drive and charges lower rates.
Since expanding its business into Houston, Uber has been receiving a lot of backlash from drivers and taxi companies. Because transportation network companies “TNC” are so new, they land themselves in a legal gray area. Most taxi companies have been fiercely lobbying for stricter regulations to be imposed on TNC. Taxi companies want TNC to be required to comply with same state insurance, licensing, and safety regulations that they must abide by.
In order to operate a taxicab in Houston, every taxi company must carry commercial automobile liability insurance. Currently, TNC only require drivers to carry their personal automobile insurance and not commercial. Uber does have a $1 million coverage policy for any auto accidents that take place while the driver and passenger are in route. However, this policy does not provide coverage for the driver before they have picked up the passenger. Uber claims they are not responsible for auto accidents that occur prior to initiation of a ride because the driver is technically not working for them at that point.
If you are involved in an auto accident during a ride-share trip, the at-fault driver’s personal insurance is the first to kick in. But, most personal automobile insurance policies do not cover operating a vehicle for commercial purposes. In this case, the ride-sharing companies insurance should step in, but they could also deny the claims, leaving those involved required to cover their own expenses.
If you or someone you know has been injured in an accident involving a ride sharing company please contact the experienced attorneys at Fomby & Zarghouni, toll free at (844) FOZALAW.