In 2010, Uber rolled out its ridesharing app. Its services are revolutionizing the ridesharing industry and have been growing exponentially. As of 2018, the company had 75 million riders and 3 million drivers globally, doubling the numbers released a years earlier. Unfortunately, this sensational growth might hit a bump in the way because of increasing concerns about commuters’ safety. Word-of-mouth anecdotes and high-profile assault cases may leave most people wondering how safe ridesharing service is.
As the number of commuters using ridesharing services increases, so does the probability of road accidents happening. After all, Uber and other ridesharing vehicles are not ‘crash-proof.’ And most auto accidents involving these vehicles leave pedestrians, ridesharing passengers, and other drivers wondering whether or not Uber and other companies offering ridesharing services can be sued for injuries, wrongful death, and other damages associated road accidents.
According to California State law, victims of auto accidents are entitled to compensation. The complications in Uber accident cases emerge when establishing liability for the accident. Should you sue the driver, Uber, the insurance company, the vehicle manufacturer or the vehicle owner? This is the reason you should get tips from an experienced attorney to handle your case. A knowledgeable lawyer can help you build a strong case against the right defendant and fight for your compensation.
Rideshare drivers are not workers
Probably you didn’t know that Uber and other ridesharing drivers sign legal contracts indicating they’re not workers. Instead, they are independent contractors. Besides, these companies will try as much as they can to avoid being held liable for damages in case an auto accident occurs. Indeed, their drivers are required to sign a valid agreement indicating that they should be held responsible if a pedestrian, passenger or other drivers sue.
Uber, Lyft, and other similar companies have user agreements that clearly state that the corporation cannot be held liable for any damages or losses in case a passenger attempts to hold them accountable. On the other hand, auto insurance companies are likely to deny your claim because their policies didn’t cover the ridesharing driver since they were at work.
So, who should be held responsible?
If you have been involved in an Uber accident, the lawsuit won’t get to the company immediately. It is in your best interest to work with a professional to establish liability. The company isn’t automatically liable as it considers the driver an independent contractor. But that doesn’t mean Uber cannot be held reliable.
In most states, including California, liability for the accident primarily depends majorly on whether or not the ridesharing driver was logged into the company’s app. From a technical perspective, the Uber driver is liable if he was involved in an auto crash while not logged in the rideshare app. This the primary reason the law requires rideshare drivers to have a personal insurance cover and uninsured motorist policy that amount to about $50K for an individual and $100K for a single crash.
In case the accident happens when the driver is logged into the rideshare app but had not accepted the ride, Uber or Lyft will only assume a limited liability coverage. These two companies have strict policies of $50K for injuries, $25K for property damage, and $100K total. Note that most ridesharing companies will only pay the amount that their driver’s personal insurance policy doesn’t cover.
Under the California State law, the lawsuit can shift slightly if the victim of the accident was a passenger and the Uber driver wasn’t at fault for the crash. The plaintiff should file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver before suing the ridesharing company such as Uber.
Do I need a lawyer?
Auto accidents involving Uber or any other ridesharing company are often complicated compared to other vehicle accidents. Often, there is always the most challenging question: “Who is to blame, and why?” In such a case, you need a skilled and highly experienced Uber accident attorney.
Not every Uber accident in the United States is a mere fender bender. Even these minor accidents can result in severe injuries. The law allows you to seek compensation for damages, and you must prove beyond any reasonable doubt the defendant was to blame for the crash that caused the damages you seek.
In addition to hiring an attorney, you should also do your part. First, dial 911. When possible, try to document what happened immediately before, during, and after the crash. For instance, you can write it down, use your cellphone camera to capture images short video clips of the vehicle skid marks, where each vehicle ended up after the crash, and more. Additionally, you should seek medical attention even if you don’t feel pain. Some injuries might take some time to manifest, but medical specialists can help diagnose such issues early enough. Lastly, document your medical treatment.
These are some of the essential pieces of evidence that can help your attorney build a strong case and defend you.