Rideshare Accident Lawyers
The experienced California auto accident lawyers at Bisnar Chase represent victims of all types of auto accidents including car accidents involving rideshare vehicles like Lyft & Uber. Issues involving fault and liability can prove challenging in rideshare accidents. Our accident lawyers will thoroughly investigate the case, identify all possible sources of compensation and strive to secure the best possible settlement or jury award for you. We will work diligently to help ensure that you are fairly and fully compensated for your injuries, damages and losses. Call us at 1-800-561-4887 for a free, comprehensive and confidential consultation.
How Do Rideshare Companies Work?
The business of rideshare has been booming in recent years with companies such as Uber, Lyft , Sidecar and Juno taking over the local transportation industry, making billions of dollars with their app-based business model, creating a nightmarish situation for taxi companies and other for-hire vehicle operators. As more and more people are warming up to the idea of a "sharing economy" and turning to their smart phones for everything from making online purchases to ordering food, rideshare companies are just a push away on the touch screen. They are reasonably priced, too. But that doesn't mean it's been smooth sailing for these businesses.
Legal Problems Facing Rideshare Companies
In the few years they have been in existence, rideshare companies have been faced with a number of legal issues. Here are some of those issues:
- ADA compliance: Disabled people have filed federal complaints against companies such as Uber and Lyft because these vehicles are not wheelchair friendly. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, it is illegal for private taxi services to discriminate against the disabled. They are required to have vehicles that can transport wheelchairs. Since rideshare drivers are mostly app users who drive people around for extra cash, they don't follow ADA requirements. There are lawsuits that have been filed around the country with the hope of changing this situation.
- Local regulations: It is a fact that rideshare drivers don't have to comply with the same regulations as taxicab drivers. City councils and local governments are starting to pay attention to this fact. While taxi drivers need to pay licensing fees, obey commercial insurance laws, charge uniform rates and follow a number of other rules, Uber and other rideshare companies have had pretty much a free hand when it comes to doing business. Also, in most cities, taxi drivers are required to have a commercial driver's license and undergo regular vehicle inspections while rideshare drivers only have to meet an age requirement, have a regular driver's license and a fully functioning car.
- Criminal acts: There have been a number of media reports of robberies, sexual assaults or physical assaults by rideshare drivers against passengers. These incidents have landed rideshare companies in hot water, posing questions and concerns about how these companies hire or recruit their drivers and if they perform thorough background checks.
Who is Liable in a Crash?
Uber and Lyft state on their websites that they offer $1 million liability insurance plans for their drivers, but 14 states have issued warnings to passengers who use rideshare services that these companies may not cover them in the event of an accident. The issue of insurance coverage remains ambiguous when it comes to rideshare companies. There are several questions here.
If a rideshare driver gets into an accident, who is liable? The driver alone, or both the driver and the company? In a traditional employer-employee relationship, if an employee is in the course and scope of his or her employment, and his or her negligence results in injury or property damage, the employer is liable for the employee's actions. In the case of rideshare companies, they maintain that their drivers are not their employees. Rideshare drivers are viewed as "independent contractors."
So, rideshare companies maintain that as independent contractors, the drivers are solely responsible for the injuries, damages and losses they cause while driving or transporting passengers. The companies claim that they don't have influence over the drivers or the cars they operate. Rather, they say, they merely control the app that facilitates the connection between passengers and drivers. Therefore, rideshare companies maintain that they are not liable for the driver's negligence.
If You Have Been Injured
The laws and regulations relating to rideshare companies are still evolving. There are several pending lawsuits not just in California, but also around the country that could very well change the laws that govern rideshare companies. Even though rideshare companies might bill themselves as technology companies as opposed to transportation companies, they could still be held liable for injuries, damages and losses their drivers cause, even if they are independent contractors. More and more local governments are also enforcing insurance requirements for rideshare drivers, which could help injured victims seek compensation for their losses.
If you have been injured in a car accident caused by a rideshare company, it is important that you retain the services of an experienced California rideshare accident lawyer who is well versed with the changing laws in the area and has an excellent track record when it comes to representing auto accident victims. The experienced car accident attorneys at Bisnar Chase have helped seriously injured clients secure hundreds millions of dollars in settlements and jury awards. We have a no-win, no-fee guarantee, which means that you don't pay anything unless we recover compensation for you. Contact us at 1-800-561-4887 to find out how we can help you.