The so-called rideshare business model being used by Uber and other companies has introduced several new considerations in the legal industry regarding compensation for injuries following a crash when catching a ride with an Uber affiliate driver or a “driverless” vehicle. As the saying goes, the future is now. If the point couldn’t be made clearer, there is actually a case in the court system now regarding a pedestrian who was fatally hit by an autonomous Uber vehicle.
With new industries come new safety issues. And for those who regularly use Uber as a mode of transportation, it is always good to be prepared for the worst by having a reliable Uber accident lawyer you can call in case of an emergency because time can be crucial when accidents occur and evidence can fade fast.
Traditional Taxi Safety
The traditional taxi service has been a successful business model ever since the invention of the automobile, especially in dense urban areas. Many people who live in cities see no need to own a vehicle because taxis have been reasonably dependable. Of course, accidents do occur and passengers sometimes get injured, but there are clear regulations in place to ensure that victims get the compensation they are entitled to.
The traditional employment relationship means the company is ultimately responsible for any accidents caused by their employees because they are using certified drivers in accordance with the law. In this respect, traditional taxis may be safer than Ubers because of industry regulations and certification requirements.
Aside from the technological advances that rideshare companies may intend to implement, Uber actually began with a contracted driver business model that lets Uber serve, through online software communication, as a clearing house for those wanting a ride in any particular location where verified drivers are operating.
However, this too has shown to be problematic because of the behavior of some Uber drivers who may be reckless or even criminal; there have been reports of drivers attacking or sexually assaulting passengers. This means there could be even more ongoing safety concerns than merely being involved in an accident when drivers are not fully vetted before becoming a contracted associate.
The contracted driver model can also be problematic when an accident case is being settled due to questions of liability. The business relationship between Uber and the drivers could be claimed by the company as an exemption from associated fault for any accident because Uber drivers have the option to refuse pickups if they wish, making them “independent” contractors.
The decision on liability could ultimately come down to the nature of the employment relationship and command structure. According to precedent established in a case where a six-year-old girl was killed by an Uber driver, Uber is expected to provide insurance coverage in accident cases where the driver had the app on. Of course, claims can still be contested.
The Insurance Gap
Taxis would’ve remained the smarter choice for on-demand transportation than an Uber had the state of California not addressed the insurance coverage gap in 2015. Drivers are now required to carry a minimum of $50,000 per one bodily injury, with the parent rideshare company being required to maintain an additional $200,000. Uber even increased the company liability insurance requirement for driver in an effort to further insulate the company. This means that passengers in rideshare accident situations are now protected without the problems that were initially experienced when standard insurance rules were applied. This is a solid step in the right direction.
However, it does not mean that fault will not be an issue in any Uber crash, especially when self-driving cars become mainstream. Each case is still unique in some aspect and often complicated when multiple vehicles or pedestrians are involved. Having an experienced Uber accident attorney is essential if you want maximum compensation for your damages.
Contact an Experienced Uber Accident Lawyer in Los Angeles
Never attempt handling an Uber accident injury case personally, especially if serious injuries are involved. This is an emerging field of law that should always include assistance from an Uber accident attorney like the legal professionals at Lalezary Law Firm who have a proven track record of results for their Uber accident victim clients.