Distracted driving has always been a ridesharing safety issue. Now that pandemic restrictions are easing nationwide, there aren’t enough Uber drivers to meet surging demand. As a result, drivers are outside their normal geographic areas and relying on GPS navigation devices more than ever.
Most of a car’s safety systems are in the front seat. Therefore, back seat passengers are highly vulnerable to injury, especially since they normally cannot brace themselves for impact.
From a legal perspective, Uber and Lyft passenger accidents are quite complex. The company is typically financially responsible for damages. Furthermore, many disoriented passengers unintentionally do things that hinder their damage claims. So, only the most experienced Kansas City car accident attorney should handle these matters.
Most people know that personal auto insurance policies usually don’t cover commercial losses. Therefore, Uber accident passengers often think they have no legal options and believe the driver was basically uninsured.
That assessment is basically accurate. Fortunately, the respondeat superior rule typically applies in ridesharing accident claims. Companies like Lyft and Uber are financially responsible for damages if their employee was negligent during the course and scope of employment.
Damages in a car accident claim usually include compensation for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering.
Ridesharing operators are independent contractors for tax purposes, but they are employees for negligence purposes. Furthermore, if a driver is behind the wheel of a ridesharing vehicle, that driver is acting within the scope of employment, even if there is no fare in the back seat.
Some Critical Do’s and Don’ts
Since ridesharing passengers have legal rights, it’s important to preserve them in the immediate wake of a crash. Here are some ways passengers can do just that:
- Always see a doctor ASAP. Car crash injuries, like head injuries, quickly get worse. Furthermore, unless victims receive prompt medical attention, insurance companies usually claim the victim’s injuries weren’t that bad.
- If possible, call 9-1-1 and ensure that the reporting officer records your side of the story in the police report.
- Don’t give a statement to Uber or its insurance company. Telephone operators at these companies usually trick people into making unfavorable admissions. These statements are recorded “for quality and training purposes.”
If victims do not do these things, attorneys can still obtain fair compensation, but it’s more of an uphill climb.
Uber accident passengers have the same rights as all other victims. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney in Kansas City, contact the Krause & Kinsman Law Firm. We do not charge upfront legal fees in these matters.
How big is Uber?
This $72 billion company fulfills over 40 million rides every month in the United States alone.
When is an Uber driver responsible for a crash?
Ordinary negligence is typically a lack of utmost care. Negligence per se is the violation of safety law, like the DUI law.
How does a lawyer prove negligence?
Victim/plaintiffs must prove negligence by a preponderance of the evidence (more likely than not).
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.