The ridesharing services Lyft and Uber have become extremely popular in recent years. Users may find these services to be more convenient and more economical than using traditional taxi services. But Lyft and Uber drivers are still drivers and still have the possibility of causing an accident due to their own negligence. Thus, with that in mind, what happens if you’re injured in an accident, and the person who hit you is a Lyft or Uber driver? Depending on the specifics of your situation, you may have a legal claim against Uber or Lyft for your injuries.
Several people have launched lawsuits against the ridesharing entities for personal injury damages or sometimes wrongful death. One of the first occurred in the wake of a fatal New Year’s Eve 2013 crash. Six-year-old Sophia Liu, her brother, and her mother were walking in a crosswalk (and with a green light) in San Francisco when they were struck by an Uber driver who was attempting to make a right-hand turn, according to sfgate.com. The crash killed the girl.
Initially, Uber argued that it was not responsible for the driver’s actions because he did not have an Uber rider with him when he hit the family. The driver was, however, logged into the Uber app and was “waiting to receive and accept a ride request,” sfgate.com also reported. Eventually, armed with that evidence, the family was able to secure a settlement in the case with Uber paying an undisclosed sum of money.
A case from Manhattan again involved pedestrians and an alleged instance of distracted driving. An SUV driven by an Uber driver, who was on his way to pick up a ride, hit a young couple, Wesley Mensing and Erin Sauchelli. The accident injured Sauchelli and killed Mensing. In that case, Sauchelli asserted that the driver was distracted by viewing the Uber app on his phone when he hit her boyfriend and her.
Lyft has also faced its own wrongful death case. KCRA reported on a deadly wreck from Halloween night 2014, when a Lyft driver crashed his vehicle while traveling along I-80 outside Sacramento. Shane Holland, one of the two Lyft passengers, died after the vehicle left the roadway and struck a tree. Although there was a disabled vehicle on the road in front of the Lyft driver, California Highway Patrol investigators concluded that the Lyft driver was to blame for the accident because he made an unsafe turn in dodging the disabled vehicle.
In these cases, as with any personal injury action, you need certain things in order to succeed. The law says that, in order to recover damages from someone, that person or entity must have owed a legal duty to you. Uber and Lyft maintain that their drivers are not employees but are independent contractors. This can sometimes make holding a ridesharing service liable more challenging, but it is still very much possible. The law also extends the notion of duty to a business’ hiring decisions. Thus, even if the drivers do qualify as independent contractors, it is possible that Uber or Lyft could be liable for your damages if the driver who injured you was someone whom the company knew or should have known was unsafe, but the company went ahead and contracted with that driver anyway.
Technology today is racing forward by leaps and bounds, and sometimes that advancing technology can play a role in your personal injury case, as in the case of an accident caused by a driver from a smartphone ridesharing service. The skilled Chicago car accident attorneys at Katz, Friedman, Eagle, Eisenstein, Johnson & Bareck have been representing injured people for many years and have diligently maintained up-to-date knowledge about all areas of Illinois injury law, including issues involving cutting-edge technology. To set up a free case evaluation, contact us at 800-444-1525 or through our website.
More Blog Posts:
Auto Accidents, Personal Injuries, Underinsured Motorist Coverage, and Rental Cars in Illinois, Chicago Injury Attorneys Blog, Jan. 3, 2017
Will Self-Driving Trucks Be Safer, Sooner?, Chicago Injury Attorneys Blog, Dec. 30, 2016