The percentage of Americans who have used a rideshare service has more than doubled since 2015. Uber, Lyft, and other ridesharing services are clearly popular. But are they safe?
Because so many more people use rideshare services, there are many more drivers than there were a few years ago. Some of these operators over-rely on GPS navigation devices. So, they have one eye on the road and one eye on a screen. Other operators have poor customer service skills. These weaknesses are even more acute in a confined space, like a car.
If you hailed a ride and did not arrive safely at your destination, a Kansas City personal injury attorney fights for the compensation you need and deserve.
Uber drivers, taxi drivers, bus drivers, and other commercial operators who transport passengers are common carriers in Missouri. These individuals have a higher duty of care than noncommercial drivers. So, it is easier to establish liability for damages, as outlined below.
Approaching an intersection is a good example. Noncommercial drivers may proceed forward on green lights. Arguably, however, common carriers have a duty to stop, or at least pause, and look both ways before moving forward.
This duty applies to more than driving. Rideshare operators also have a duty to keep passengers physically safe from pickup to dropoff.
Hand-held GPS devices are technically legal in Missouri. But these gadgets are quite distracting. In fact, they combine all three forms of distracted driving, which are:
- Manual (taking one’s hand off the wheel),
- Cognitive (taking one’s mind off driving), and
- Visual (taking one’s eye off the road).
Hands-free navigation devices are more dangerous than hand-held gadgets. Hands-free devices give drivers a false sense of security. So, they often take unnecessary chances. Additionally, hands-free devices are visually and cognitively distracting.
Typically, personal automobile insurance policies do not cover commercial losses. Fortunately, the respondeat superior rule usually applies in these situations. Employers are financially responsible for the negligent acts of their employees. Missouri law defines these key terms in broad, victim-friendly terms.
Many Uber and Lyft operators drive large pickup trucks or SUVs. Getting into and out of these vehicles is often tricky, especially if the victim has a pre-existing condition. Additionally, driver assaults are all too common.
The respondeat superior doctrine is usually inapplicable in these cases. Passenger injuries are not part of the driver’s job description. However, these victims still have legal options.
Negligent supervision is a good example. Employers cannot simply wind up drivers and let them go. Additionally, if problems occur, employers have a duty to deal with them. Frequently, if a driver assaulted a passenger once, the driver has behaved that way before.
Damages in a rideshare injury claim usually include compensation for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering.
The law holds ridesharing operators to a higher standard of conduct. For a free consultation with an experienced car accident lawyer in Kansas City, contact the Krause and Kinsman Law Firm. You have a limited amount of time to act.
Adam Krause is a personal injury, mass tort, business litigation, and employment discrimination attorney who practices in Kansas City, Missouri. He graduated from the University of Missouri Kansas City School of Law and has been practicing law for several years now. Adam Krause has made a career of taking complicated litigation and presenting it in the most elementary terms for a jury of your peers to understand. Learn more about his experience here.