Rep. Jeff Leach (R-Plano) has proposed legislation addressing litigation against transportation network companies (i.e., ridesharing providers). Rep. Leach filed similar legislation last session, but time ran out before it could be considered on the floor.
HB 1745 adds Chapter 150E, CPRC, to require a claimant bringing a personal injury action against a transportation network company to file with the petition (or at the initiation of arbitration) an affidavit by claimant’s counsel setting forth specifically for each theory of recovery (1) the negligence, if any, or other action, error, or omission of the company; and (2) the factual basis for each claim. It further requires the claimant to file a third-party expert affidavit attesting that the damages exceed the applicable insurance coverage. Under Texas law, rideshare drivers are required to carry liability and property insurance that covers the periods when the app is in use, when the driver is on the way to pick up a rider, and when the rider is in the vehicle. The limits are $1 million for the latter two periods, and the coverage is commonly paid for by the rideshare company. Many rideshare companies also pay for uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.
If the claimant fails to file the required affidavits, the court or arbitration tribunal must dismiss the action. An order granting or denying a motion to dismiss becomes immediately appealable as an interlocutory appeal or grounds to file an application to a court to review the order of the arbitration tribunal. Finally, HB 1745 provides that the transportation network company may not be held vicariously liable if the company did not commit a state or federal crime and has fulfilled its obligations with respect to the company driver under Chapter 2402, Occupations Code.
TCJL strongly supports HB 1745. It is a common-sense approach to ensuring that a lawsuit against a rideshare company gives the defendant adequate notice of the specific theories of liability asserted by the plaintiff, an expert opinion of why the plaintiff’s injuries exceed the $2 million in insurance already mandated by Texas law, and protection from vicarious liability claims if the defendant has complied with the law. We are grateful to Chairman Leach for leading this effort and will do our part to make it a success this session.