So, you have been involved in an Uber accident In Los Angeles. What next?
Uber: Risky Business
Uber has, undeniably, transformed the ride-sharing market. Allowing any person with a smart phone and access to the internet a paid ride – with the few touches of a finger – is as convenient as it is novel.
Uber controls a large market share relative to rivals such as Lyft: according to the company, 14 million trips are completed around the world each day. With that, of course, there comes risk.
A study by the University of Chicago has shown a meaningful increase in road accidents since the introduction of ride-sharing companies. Uber riders understanding their legal rights has never been more important. If you have been involved in an accident, under which circumstances would you be able to claim for damages?
The key consideration when examining an Uber accident is liability: whose fault was the accident? Assuming that the passenger has not directly caused or contributed to the accident, liability either falls at the feet of the company or the driver.
So how do we know if it is the driver’s fault, or the company’s fault?
Case law in California implies that Uber drivers are legally considered to be employees, rather than independent contractors. An accident caused by the driver would therefore cause Uber to be held liable.
This is through vicarious liability – negligence can be attributed to Uber for an accident caused by the driver during the undertaking of their job. Whilst Uber maintain that their drivers are independent contractors, the Courts will generally perceive this to be an unsuccessful attempt to limit their liability.
An important caveat is that the driver must be actively logged into the company app at the time of the accident – if the accident occurs when they are not logged in, the driver will assume full liability. Uber drivers are not considered to be undertaking work within the scope of their employment without logging into the platform.
Making Your Claim
We have determined who would be liable in the event of negligence and what sort of insurance claims would be available to the victim of an accident. However, the differing coverage across the periods adds a degree of complexity. Insurance claims against large corporations can often lead to an underwhelming, or insufficient, settlements. In the event of major accidents – resulting in permanent injury and/or wrongful death – it is highly likely that an insurance settlement would be insufficient to cover expenses such as medical bills. Uber’s insistence that their drivers are independent contractors means they often reject responsibility, and they believe being a large corporation gives them the power to do so.
It is therefore imperative that a person looking for a settlement hires a top rated Los Angeles Uber accident attorney with a strong track record. The amount of damages awarded to the victim is contingent on a number of variables: for instance, weather conditions. An experienced attorney with a good understanding of the law will be able to help maximize the amount of damages recovered. It is up to the attorney to determine the strength of the personal injury claim on the facts.
Should the insurance claim be denied or the settlement offer be considered underwhelming, an Uber accident attorney would also increase the chances of success at trial. In order to successfully show the company is negligent through vicarious liability, it would have to be proven that a duty of care has been breached. From there, it would need to be shown that there is a direct causal link between that breach of duty and the personal injuries – or property damage – suffered. If negligence is suspected, compensation is definitely worth pursuing.
Many Uber accident attorneys work on a no recovery, no fee basis. In the event of an accident, call one to receive a consultation.