We continue to hear a lot in the news about rideshare services, such as Uber and Lyft. Too often, these stories involve riders or pedestrians being hurt. A case from Texas involving a severely injured Oklahoma college student is just the latest example of how your Uber or Lyft ride can go wrong. When your Uber or Lyft ride does go wrong in Illinois, be sure that you reach out without delay to contact an experienced Chicago injury attorney.
The case of S.M., an Oklahoma State University student, made headlines recently due to a verdict entered against the manufacturer of the van in which the student was riding when she was catastrophically hurt. Her case, though, offers an important view into how unsafe rideshare rides potentially can be, and how you can pursue important compensation if you’re hurt while riding with a rideshare driver.
S.M. was partying in Dallas with friends late one night and, because the group had been drinking, they hailed an Uber to take them to another location. The Uber driver, behind the wheel of a Honda van, ran a red light and got T-boned by a pickup truck. S.M., who was in the middle seat of the van’s third row, was seriously injured. Doctors ultimately diagnosed S.M. with a fractured neck. That injury meant that S.M. would be a quadriplegic for the rest of her life.
When you are injured in a vehicle accident, it is important to give the courts as many viable bases as possible for finding the defendants that you sued liable for your injuries. S.M.’s lawsuit papers, which named Uber Technologies, Uber USA and Rasier LLC as defendants, laid out a variety of alleged shortcomings committed by Uber. Allegedly, the driver who picked up S.M. and her friends was contracted with Uber despite having drug and gambling convictions. This information allegedly was readily available either through a basic criminal background check or even just an ordinary Google search. According to S.M., when the driver picked up S.M. and her friends, he was driving a van owned by another person and the van was not insured. The owner of the van allegedly had been convicted along with the driver in the 2014 drugs and gambling arrest, according to a Dallas News report.
If you’re injured in an Uber ride in Illinois that unfolds as this Texas accident did, you may be entitled to pursue many theories of liability that would provide you with much-needed compensation. The failure of Uber to do any checking on its driver, if proven true, could give rise to many types of negligence. If you could prove that Uber contracted with your driver even though it knew or reasonably should have known, based upon his criminal history, that the driver was potentially unsafe, then you might have a winning claim for what the law calls “negligent hiring.”
Illinois also recognizes a claim for what’s called “negligent retention.” Say, for example, Uber initially did not know (and had no reasonable way to know) that a driver with whom it contracted was unsafe. However, say Uber eventually became aware of the problems with the driver. If Uber did not terminate its contract with this hypothetical driver after it became aware (or reasonably should have become aware) of the driver’s issues, then that’s a possible case of negligent retention.
These are just a couple of examples. There are many more. That’s why having knowledgeable counsel is so important. Your skilled attorney can take the specific facts of your case and customize the claims in your lawsuit to give you the best chance of success. The experienced Chicago injury attorneys at Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca are here to help you with your Uber accident case, having helped countless injured people for many years to get the compensation they need. To set up a free case evaluation, contact us at 800-444-1525 or through our website.