Ride-sharing has become an increasingly important industry since Uber’s founding in 2009 revolutionized transportation options, particularly for residents in large metropolitan areas. The convenience and affordability of being connected with a driver mere minutes away via smartphone has helped Uber and Lyft to skyrocket to valuations of $70 and $11 billion, respectively.
Although ride-sharing services have become an increasingly important part of everyday life for many Americans, ride-sharing accidents present legal complexities for accident victims that require the legal counsel of trusted ride-sharing accident lawyers.
Facts About Ride-Sharing Safety
One of the common arguments bandied about by ride-sharing companies is that ride-sharing is a pathway to a safer future. Common arguments include that drunk driving can be greatly reduced via ride-sharing or that self-driving cars will cut down on the errors made by human drivers.
Evidence and studies suggest this may be quite the marketing myth. In Massachusetts alone, thousands of ride-sharing drivers were banned from Lyft and Uber for violent offenses, sexual assault and driving infractions. The majority of bans, in fact, were for driver’s license suspensions.
As far as Uber’s commonly touted argument that drunk driving can be reduced, findings from the American Journal of Epidemiology suggest that no noticeable impact in drunk driving fatalities has been observed in cities catered to by Uber.
Even the oft-touted future that is self-driving cars has been prone to cause accidents. In short, plenty of accidents occur that affect passengers of ride-sharing services and third-party pedestrians or drivers.
However, one key element of ride-sharing companies creates significant legal complexities when these accident victims pursue compensation.
Pursuing Compensation After a Ride-Sharing Accident
Uber and Lyft alike both provide $1 million in liability coverage, and the companies also require their drivers to carry personal insurance for their private vehicle. On the surface, then, it may sound as though pursuing compensation for a ride-sharing accident is relatively similar to ordinary traffic accidents from a victim’s standpoint.
Unfortunately, pursuing compensation is far more complex since these companies classify their drivers as independent contractors, not employees. This distinction matters a great deal for a ride-sharing company’s legal argument when attempting to avoid making a payout to accident victims.
These companies will try to distance themselves from the wrongdoing of one of their drivers as an independent contractor, thereby claiming that an injured passenger or third-party has no claim against the ride-sharing company itself (and its $1 million liability coverage). Should such an argument prove successful in court, this would mean accident victims would have their options for receiving compensation for their injuries greatly limited.
And, given that ride-sharing companies have existed for less than 10 years, there is not a great deal of case law on the subject. Some courts have found arguments attempting to limit a ride-sharing company’s liability persuasive, while others have not.
This places accident victims in a sort of legal gray area, which is why accident victims need ride-sharing accident lawyers who will build a case based on strong evidence that ensures a victim’s rights are protected and that maximum compensation is successfully pursued via settlement or in court.
The Ledger Law Firm Represents the Victims of Ride-Sharing Accidents
If you or a loved one has been injured in a ride-sharing accident, know that the actions you must take remain the same as any other accident. Namely, victims should file a police report, collect photographic evidence and other important information at the accident scene, and receive medical attention while thoroughly documenting all injuries post-accident.
This information will help our team best represent your legal rights to present the strongest case that is capable of cutting through the legal uncertainty of ride-sharing liability. The Ledger Law Firm commits to protecting the legal rights of ride-sharing accident victims and pursuing the maximum legal compensation until a fair settlement offer is obtained or the matter is resolved at trial.
Contact us online to discuss your ride-sharing accident with one of our ride-sharing accident lawyers today.