UBER AND LYFT ACCIDENTS: WHO IS RESPONSIBLE?

If you are injured in a collision with a driver who is working for Uber or Lyft, or if you are hurt while riding as a passenger with one of the popular ridesharing services, you may be unsure of who is ultimately responsible for your injuries.

Car accident cases involving ridesharing vehicles can be complex. After a serious wreck, you may be facing costly medical expenses and other bills, all while dealing with an injury that prevents you from working and collecting your hard-earned paycheck. In a situation like this, you need to speak with an experienced Lyft or Uber accident lawyer as soon as possible to learn about your rights.

WHO CAN BE HELD LIABLE FOR AN ACCIDENT CAUSED BY AN UBER OR LYFT DRIVER?

When an accident involves an Uber or Lyft, the driver usually is the one who assumes liability, and for a good reason: The driver is the one who was operating the vehicle. However, the driver’s insurance policy may not be enough to adequately compensate you for the injuries you suffered. That’s why victims have started to hold the rideshare companies accountable for the reckless or negligent actions of their drivers, and lawsuits against the companies have steadily increased.

Uber and Lyft have tried to avoid responsibility for accidents caused by their drivers by claiming that they are not actually employees, but “independent contractors.” The companies have also argued that they are merely mobile applications that connect people for services and that they are not employers at all.

Although the ridesharing companies hope that their business model will shield them from liability in the event of accidents, the courts do not always agree. The California Public Utilities Commission recently ruled that the rideshare companies owe a duty to their passengers, and across the country, the companies have been forced to accept stricter regulations and increased scrutiny over safety.

HOW DOES INSURANCE WORK FOR UBER AND LYFT DRIVERS?

The two major rideshare companies, Uber and Lyft, currently provide a $1 million insurance policy that covers drivers and passengers who are hurt in car accidents. These policies provide compensation for injuries, medical costs, and deaths under a three-part plan that includes:

  • Rideshare drivers who are hurt in an accident that was caused by another driver
  • Rideshare passengers who are hurt while inside the vehicle
  • Other drivers or bystanders who are hurt in accidents caused by a rideshare driver

In addition to this policy, Uber requires all drivers to carry state-mandated minimums for their personal insurance coverage. Some drivers have complained that their insurance companies have canceled their coverage once they discovered the driver was working for a rideshare company, and major insurance providers like GEICO, Progressive, Allstate, USAA, and others have begun to offer rideshare-specific policies in individual states. Lyft also requires its drivers to carry their own insurance policies, and the company’s million-dollar policy only kicks in when the driver’s insurance does not cover the costs of the accident, or if the driver was actively transporting a fare at the time of the collision.

NEGLIGENCE ON THE PART OF THE RIDESHARE COMPANIES

In addition to collisions caused by rideshare drivers, there have been other serious issues that the companies must answer for. These incidents include:

  • Robbery
  • Assault and Battery
  • Sexual Assault and Rape
  • Kidnapping
  • Driving Under the Influence (DUI)

These serious incidents have widely been blamed on the companies’ failure to perform adequate background checks on the drivers using the app. Both companies outsource background checks to a third party, and they do not fingerprint new drivers.

MAJOR CONCERNS ABOUT RIDESHARING

While Uber and Lyft have been widely adopted in cities across the nation, there are many concerns about the business model, from a legal standpoint. These concerns include:

  • Rideshare companies do not meet with drivers in-person. They do not interview them or conduct thorough background checks in the same manner that taxi companies and limo companies do.
  • Rideshare drivers are not professional drivers. They do not have specialized licenses or training. Passengers may be at the mercy of an inexperienced, distracted, aggressive, or careless driver.
  • Safety questions arise any time that two strangers are forced to share a vehicle together.
  • Rideshare drivers are required to use their phones and apps to pick up fares and follow GPS coordinates. These actions may result in increased distraction behind the wheel.

These safety concerns have not stopped the companies from growing their user bases, but in the event of an incident or accident, serious injuries and deaths have also been reported.

DO I NEED A RIDESHARE ACCIDENT LAWYER?

The Memphis car accident attorneys of The Law Office of David E. Gordon are prepared to help you if you have been hurt in an accident involving a Lyft or Uber driver. Whether you were a passenger in the vehicle or if a rideshare driver collided with you as a motorist, passenger, or bystander, we can help you pursue the compensation you need to recover from your injuries. We understand the complex laws regarding rideshare accidents and the duties of the companies who employ these drivers.

When you have been hurt in an accident, you want a law firm with a reputation for excellence and a track record of success. David E. Gordon is highly respected in Memphis and is one of fewer than 2 percent of Tennessee lawyers who are Board Certified by the Tennessee Supreme Court. We are ready to put our experience and our skills to work on your case. For a free case evaluation, call us at (901) 818-4889 today.