Articles Posted in Uber/Lyft

Many major national and international entities use complex corporate structures to attempt to minimize or avoid civil liability, especially in today’s more complicated “gig” economy. They may have layers of subordinates or franchisees which, they will argue, are independent and solely liable for negligence that injures you. These large entities can range from online retailers to pizza restaurants to rideshare companies. Many times, these franchisees or subordinates may be very small and/or very financially limited.

The law, however, recognizes some important exceptions when the larger entity is actually the one “pulling the strings” and maintaining control of the activities being performed, and therefore potentially liable. With the right proof, you may still be able to get the full recovery you deserve by pursuing the (often much larger) parent or principal entity. To accomplish these kinds of goals (and others) in your Illinois accident case, be sure you have placed a skilled Chicago injury attorney on your side.

A case from Florida gives some insight into how success might be achieved. In the Florida case, a former fire chief was traveling a state highway when a pizza delivery driver cut in front of him. The chief reportedly swerved to avoid contact but lost control of his truck and flipped. The accident left the chief with permanent spinal injuries that rendered him a quadriplegic. He died 15 months later as a result of complications of the accident, according to a Florida Today report.

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An Uber driver in Chicago made the news in late July for the wrong reasons. The driver, a 27-year-old from Midlothian, allegedly was driving drunk when he struck a police officer’s vehicle on I-94 near 76th Street. The officer was injured and required hospitalization.

If you were injured in an accident caused by a drunken Uber (or Lyft) driver, would you know what to do? Would you know who to pursue for compensation for the harm you suffered? For answers to these and other essential questions, be sure to seek out the advice of an experienced Chicago car accident attorney.

In that type of situation, you’d probably recognize that you could sue the driver. But, what do you do if the driver has few assets only has minimal insurance coverage, while you have piles of medical bills and other damages? Can you sue Uber? The answer is: potentially yes.

In a recent ruling, a federal judge threw out an injured Uber passenger’s lawsuit claim that Uber was negligent in its hiring of the driver who caused his injuries. While that is not good news for the passenger, there is a silver lining. The judge allowed the injured man to re-file at a later date and also provided some key knowledge for this passenger and, potentially, for other injured in accidents caused by Uber or Lyft drivers. Suing Uber or Lyft and winning isn’t easy. To make sure you are pursuing your case in the most effective way possible, be sure that you have an experienced Chicago injury attorney working for you.

According to the injured passenger, J.F., his night of December 22, 2016 unfolded as follows: he entered an Uber vehicle in Philadelphia and told the driver he wished to travel to Cherry Hill, New Jersey. The driver refused. The passenger, aware that Uber policy doesn’t allow “a driver to refuse a trip after learning where the customer wants to travel,” didn’t leave and repeated his demand to ride to New Jersey. The driver got out, came around to the passenger side of the vehicle, pulled the passenger out, threw him to the ground and proceeded to kick and beat him, causing the passenger to suffer multiple broken bones and teeth.

As a result of those injuries, the passenger sued Uber. One of the claims that the passenger made in that lawsuit was that Uber was negligent in hiring the driver who beat him. The trial court eventually dismissed that claim, but the judge allowed the injured man to pursue additional discovery and re-file the negligent hiring claim later once he acquired more evidence.

If you’re hurt in an accident where the at-fault driver was an Uber or Lyft driver, you may be concerned about getting a proper and full payout for your claim. Fortunately, rideshare companies like these offer liability insurance for their drivers. That coverage only applies in certain situations and, even if it does, it may require strenuous effort (just like in many other insurance situations) to get the insurer to pay up. To be sure that you are pursuing your claims in the right way, and getting the full payout that you deserve, be sure you have a knowledgeable Chicago injury attorney guiding you throughout the process.

As it now stands, Uber and Lyft drivers in Illinois are generally considered independent contractors. As a result of that, if your injuries were the result of an Uber or Lyft driver’s negligence, the rideshare company may try to get the driver’s personal insurance to pay. Many drivers’ personal insurers, however, will refuse claims resulting from the driver’s Uber/Lyft activities unless the policy includes commercial coverage. That’s because most personal policies say that the driver must use the vehicle only for personal use and, if she/he doesn’t, then the insurer isn’t liable for paying claims based on that non-personal-use accident.

Fortunately, there is the insurance coverage held by Uber or Lyft. The amount of compensation that you may be able to seek depends on what the driver was doing when the accident took place. If the driver was not logged into the Uber or Lyft app at the time of the accident, then Uber or Lyft’s insurance will say that the driver was not operating as a rideshare driver at the time and will deny coverage. (Of course, if that happens, then you may be able to assert successfully that the driver was using the vehicle for personal use in that moment and pursue a successful claim against the driver’s personal insurance.)