Uber Drivers in Texas: Rights, Regulations, and Responsibilities

by | Feb 28, 2024 | Car Accident, DUI/DWI, Pedestrian Accident, Personal Injury, Uber Accidents, Vehicle Accident

In the bustling cities and expansive landscapes of Texas, ridesharing services like Uber have become integral parts of transportation. Whether it is navigating the sprawling metropolis of Houston or traversing the vibrant streets of Austin, Uber drivers play a significant role in the state’s mobility ecosystem. However, with this role comes a web of legal considerations and regulations that every Uber driver must understand.

From insurance requirements to background checks, let’s explore what Texas law says about Uber drivers, their rights, responsibilities, and your rights if you are involved in an Uber accident. Take a look at the guide below compiled by the Uber accident attorneys at Kherkher Garcia.

The Legal Landscape

Ridesharing services are fairly new, so laws relating to them are still developing and evolving. For Uber drivers in Texas, there are some important aspects of the law that drivers and riders should be aware of:

  • Independent Contractor Status: In Texas, Uber drivers are classified as independent contractors, not employees. This distinction is crucial as it affects various aspects of employment law, such as minimum wage, overtime pay, and benefits. Independent contractor status could also be a factor if there is an accident because Uber may attempt to minimize liability for the actions of their driver.
  • Background Checks: Uber drivers in Texas must undergo background checks conducted by both Uber and the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS). These checks include criminal history, driving records, and sex offender registries. In recent years, there has been concern about Uber being lax in these requirements. The significant number of assaults perpetrated by Uber drivers would suggest the company needs more strict policies.
  • Vehicle Requirements: Uber vehicles in Texas must meet specific criteria, including age, condition, and insurance coverage. For example, vehicles must be model year 15 years old or newer, and they must pass Uber’s vehicle inspection process.
  • Insurance Requirements: Texas law mandates that Uber drivers carry specific insurance coverage. While drivers are required to have personal auto insurance, Uber also provides additional coverage that kicks in when the driver is logged into the app and actively transporting passengers.

Insurance Coverage

Uber provides insurance for drivers, but there are certain criteria that must be met in order for the insurance to be active. A general overview of their insurance structure resembles the following:

  • Period 0: When the Uber app is off, the driver’s personal auto insurance is in effect. Uber’s insurance coverage is not applicable during this period.
  • Period 1: When the driver is logged into the app but hasn’t accepted a ride request, Uber’s contingent liability coverage applies. This coverage includes $50,000 in bodily injury per person, $100,000 in bodily injury per accident, and $25,000 in property damage per accident.
  • Periods 2 and 3: Once the driver accepts a ride request and is en route to pick up or transporting a passenger, Uber’s commercial insurance policy provides coverage. This policy includes $1 million in liability coverage for bodily injury and property damage.

Legal Obligations

Like most companies, there are particular requirements for how drivers handle themselves while on the job. The most notable legal obligations are:

  • Driver Conduct: Texas law requires Uber drivers to adhere to traffic laws, maintain safe driving practices, and refrain from any behavior that could endanger passengers or others on the road.
  • Non-Discrimination: Uber drivers must comply with anti-discrimination laws, which prohibit refusal of service based on factors such as race, religion, gender, or disability.
  • Alcohol and Drugs: Operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs is strictly prohibited by Texas law. Uber drivers must adhere to these regulations, and Uber has strict policies regarding driving under the influence.

Rights and Protections

While discussing the responsibilities of Uber drivers, we should also consider their legal rights. Uber drivers in Texas are entitled to the following:

  • Fair Compensation: While Uber drivers are independent contractors, they are entitled to fair compensation for their services. Texas law protects their right to receive payment for completed trips and prohibits any unjust withholding of earnings.
  • Safety Measures: Uber is required to implement safety measures to protect both drivers and passengers. This includes features such as GPS tracking, two-way ratings, and emergency assistance buttons within the app.
  • Access to Information: Uber drivers have the right to access information about their earnings, ratings, and performance metrics through the Uber driver app. Transparency regarding payments and performance helps drivers make informed decisions about their work.

Important Things to Consider After an Uber Accident

Experiencing an accident while driving for Uber, or as a passenger, can be a stressful and confusing situation. However, it is essential to remain calm and take appropriate steps to ensure your safety, the safety of those nearby, and protect your rights. Here are some important things to consider after an Uber accident:

Ensure Safety

The first priority after an accident is to ensure everyone’s safety. Check for injuries and call emergency services if necessary. Move to a safe location if possible and turn on hazard lights to alert other drivers.

Notify Authorities

Regardless of the severity of the accident, it is crucial to report it to the police. Contact emergency services and wait for law enforcement to arrive. A police report will document the details of the accident, which can be essential for insurance claims and legal proceedings.

Check for Injuries

Assess yourself, your passengers, and any others involved in the accident for injuries. If anyone is injured, seek medical attention immediately. Even minor injuries should be evaluated by a healthcare professional.

Exchange Information

Exchange contact, insurance, and vehicle information with the other parties involved in the accident. This includes names, phone numbers, addresses, driver’s license numbers, license plate numbers, and insurance policy details.

Document the Scene

Take photographs of the accident scene, including vehicle damage, road conditions, traffic signs, and any other relevant details. This documentation can be valuable when filing insurance claims or dealing with legal matters.

Notify Uber

Contact Uber to report the accident as soon as possible. Uber has specific procedures for handling accidents involving their drivers and can provide guidance on next steps. Use the “Report an Accident” feature in the Uber driver app or contact Uber support directly.

Follow Uber’s Protocol

Uber may require you to submit a detailed report of the accident, including the time, location, and circumstances. Cooperate fully with Uber’s investigation process and provide accurate information to the best of your ability.

Notify Your Personal Insurance Company

Inform your personal auto insurance company about the accident, even if you were driving for Uber at the time. Your personal insurance policy may provide coverage depending on the circumstances of the accident and your insurance coverage.

Seek Legal Advice

Depending on the severity of the accident and the extent of damages or injuries, it may be advisable to seek legal advice from a qualified attorney. An attorney can help you understand your rights, navigate insurance claims, and protect your interests.

Keep Records

Maintain thorough records of all communications, expenses, and documents related to the accident, including police reports, medical bills, repair estimates, and correspondence with Uber and insurance companies.

Stay Informed

Stay informed about the progress of any insurance claims or legal proceedings related to the accident. Keep in regular contact with Uber, insurance companies, and legal representatives to ensure a timely resolution.

By following these important steps after an Uber accident, you can protect yourself and your rights while navigating the aftermath of a challenging situation.

How Can an Uber Accident Attorney Help Injury Victims?

If you are injured in an accident involving an Uber driver, contacting an Uber accident attorney is highly recommended. An Uber accident attorney can provide invaluable assistance in navigating the complex legal and insurance processes associated with rideshare accidents. At Kherkher Garcia, our attorneys specialize in handling cases involving Uber accidents. Our team possesses a deep understanding of the unique challenges and nuances involved. We can offer guidance on the appropriate steps to take after an accident, such as:

  • Gathering evidence
  • Communicating with insurance companies
  • Pursuing compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering

By leveraging our legal expertise and resources, our Uber accident attorneys provide you with the support and representation you need to navigate the complexities of the legal system and achieve the best possible outcome for your case.

Free Uber Accident Consultation

Uber drivers in Texas have certain responsibilities, including a duty of care to those around them. Unfortunately, accidents still happen and people are still injured on a daily basis. If you are injured in an Uber accident, you deserve to know your rights and the options you may have to pursue compensation for your injuries. To find out more, contact the Uber accident attorneys at Kherkher Garcia.

The team of attorneys at Kherkher Garcia helps clients recover physically and financially from injuries caused by negligence. To find out how we can help you after an Uber accident, contact us for a free consultation. Call 713-333-1030, or submit our online contact form to get started.

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Kevin Haynes

Kevin Haynes

Firm Partner and Trial Lawyer

This article was written and reviewed by Injury Trial Lawyer and Firm Partner Kevin Haynes. Kevin has been a practicing injury lawyer for more than 15 years. He has won $150 Million+ in Settlements and Verdicts for his clients. Kevin is powerful and effective in the courtroom and the trial lawyer you want on your side if you or a loved one have been seriously injured at work or on the road.

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