The concept of ridesharing was meant to simplify travel in medium and large cities. While companies like Uber and Lyft succeed in making life easier for thousands of travelers each day, they present a unique problem when it comes to rideshare accidents.
If someone is injured by an Uber driver, then a series of circumstantial questions will determine who is considered at-fault. Rarely will this be the company itself, as both Uber and Lyft have gone to great lengths to protect themselves from legal action filed by disgruntled passengers and bystanders.
Employees vs. Independent Contractors
First and foremost, passengers should understand that Uber drivers are independent contractors. While they are paid by Uber for completing a certain amount of work, they are not considered employees.
This means that Uber drivers typically make their own schedules, earn commission based on the number of rides completed and have the freedom to work other jobs if they choose.
It also means that Uber cannot be held accountable for driver mistakes in the same way a restaurant would be held accountable for an employee that served expired food. In the vast majority of rideshare accidents, fault is placed on the driver.
That said, there are extremely special circumstances in which Uber could be held responsible for the actions of an employee. You must be able to prove that Uber was negligent and that the company’s negligence led directly to the injury in question.
For example, if Uber hired a convicted felon and that felon harmed a passenger, then a lawsuit could be filed against Uber to hold them responsible for the oversight. However, these cases are few and far between.
Insurance Policies and Protection
After being injured in a rideshare accident, you may just want to know whom to hold responsible for the bills that are piling up because of your injury.
Assuming the responsible driver was active on the Uber application and carrying a passenger at the time of the accident, Uber offers a one million dollar liability policy.
If another non-Uber driver is responsible for the crash, then his/her personal insurance policy will be tapped first. Then, if that driver doesn’t have enough to cover medical bills, Uber has a one million dollar underinsured motorist policy that may be able to help.
However, if an Uber vehicle is being used for personal errands or has not been summoned for a ride, then the injured party will only have the driver to hold liable for the accident.
Steps to Take Following an Accident
Should you be injured in an accident, your job is to prepare yourself for the possibility of legal action — whether you file against the driver or Uber itself.
For this reason, there are a series of steps you should take immediately following an accident. These include:
- Taking pictures of the wreck on a smartphone or other electronic device
- Gathering the names and contact information of other passengers and/or witnesses
- Taking screenshots of your Uber ride and receipt
- Writing down the name and contact information of the involved Uber driver
Contact an Experienced Attorney for Assistance Following a Rideshare Accident
Have you or a loved one been injured in a ridesharing accident? The time has come to fight for the compensation you deserve. For assistance and representation, contact an experienced team of South Carolina rideshare accident lawyers at The Law Offices of F. Craig Wilkerson Jr. in Rock Hill, Fort Mill, Lancaster or Union by calling (803)-324-7200.