In 2020, rideshare drivers made 6.9 billion Uber trips across the U.S. While you may think of convenience when talking about rideshare apps, it’s also important to acknowledge the dangers.
Unfortunately, “Uber and Lyft are behind a sharp rise in U.S. traffic deaths,” according to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Millions of drivers and passengers have suffered severe injuries as a result of these accidents, making it crucial to be aware of your rights.
If you were in an Uber or Lyft accident and received injuries, read on to learn more about your rights to sue.
Suing Your Uber Driver
The two most common scenarios following an accident involve drivers being sued for negligence and intentional torts. In most cases, torts are brought in with a negligence theory. There must be proof that the defendant (Uber driver) failed to act as a reasonably safe and careful driver in these types of claims. In these, the plaintiff (passenger) will not have to prove the driver’s intent. In a different way, some plaintiffs will bring intentional torts if the defendant drove with “reckless disregard for human life” or with purpose.
Suing the Rideshare Company
Suing a multibillion-dollar rideshare company will undoubtedly be more complicated than those mentioned above for a couple of reasons listed below.
- Differences in Jurisdiction
There are significant differences between state and federal laws, and therefore, liability laws and accident insurance differ between the jurisdictions. It’s also important to note that rideshare apps are relatively new, and technology is typically ahead of the law. Because of this, many jurisdictions are still trying to understand how to go about the various legal claims passengers can have against apps like Uber and Lyft. So, the best thing you can do for yourself is to hire an experienced, qualified lawyer.
- Respondeat Superior and Independent Contractors
Because Uber and Lyft hire “independent contractors” instead of “employees,” the legal doctrine known as “respondeat superior” complicates matters further. Under respondeat superior, the torts’ responsibility lies on the employer for any employees that were negligent and “performed within the scope of the employment.”
If rideshare drivers were considered employees, respondeat superior would allow injured passengers to sue the rideshare companies directly, in addition to suing the driver. On the other hand, independent contractors are not treated as agents or employees of the companies. So, injured passengers will be less likely to sue Uber or Lyft for their driver’s negligence.
Suing Uber or Lyft
If you have been injured in a rideshare accident, you can still sue Uber or Lyft under certain circumstances. For instance, Uber and Lyft are legally required to perform proper background checks and screenings on any drivers working under them. Therefore, any failure to do so may allow you to sue, depending on the laws of your jurisdiction. Also, Uber and Lyft are responsible for inspecting the drivers’ vehicles. So, if the rideshare company failed to inspect a car properly and a mechanical failure caused the accident, you may be able to file a claim.
To discuss your rideshare accident with a qualified, experienced attorney, call Leonard J. Berger, Jr. today. With over 20 years of experience, Berger Legal can help you achieve the best possible outcome and fight to protect your rights. Serving the Pittsburgh, Washington, Greensburg, Butler, and surrounding Pennsylvania communities, call Attorney Berger at 412-498-1929 today.