With billions of rideshares hailed every year, it is only a matter of time that someone will be involved in an Uber Car Accident. With the prevalence of platforms like Uber and Lyft, car accidents involving them are more common. If you happen to be in such a car accident, who is responsible?
When it comes to a car accident situation involving Uber or Lyft, your car accident lawyer will be determining where to allocate liability to obtain the highest reimbursement possible for any damages and injuries that you may have sustained. In this scenario, there will be two main parties, the driver and the ridesharing coordinator (Uber or Lyft).
Uber, of course will want to pass on liability to the driver by calling them partners or independent contractors. In many of their employment based lawsuits, Uber has took the position that they are not involved in the transportation aspect of the business, and are merely a technology company that connects the driver with the rider, similar to a phone book or a directory. Courts in California, however, have ruled that this is an incorrect argument as Uber depends on the revenue generated by their drivers and provides them with specific rules and instructions on how to conduct their business. 1 This would suggest that Uber and Lyft have a more hands on approach in each transaction then they would like to admit – which is what may create a higher level of liability for them.
- See Cotter v Lyft, Inc., 60 F.Supp.3d 1067 (2015) and O’CONNOR v. Uber Technologies, Inc. 82 F.Supp.3d 1133 (2015)
If your personal injury lawyer takes the position that Uber drivers are employees or have a supervisor and subordinate relationship, then we can apply the legal theory of Vicarious Liability onto ridesharing companies such as Uber and Lyft. Vicarious Liability is a fancy way of saying that a supervisor is responsible for what their employee does. As this area of law of continuously pushed forward, it is possible to foresee that the ridesharing coordinators will end up bearing more and more responsibility. This is why Uber and Lyft do not just depend on the drivers to obtain their own insurance, but also provide them with third party liability insurance. Uber and Lyft, clearly expect that they themselves may be held responsible, which is why every driver is given a $1 Million policy. This is on top of what the drive is legally required to have by law in their state for using their personal car.
Ultimately, your car accident lawyer should pursue every possible avenue of liability and pursue all insurance carriers involved, including that of another party that may have been involved in the car accident.
Be sure to speak to a qualified car accident lawyer to discuss your case in detail.