What Legal Responsibilities Do Ride Share Drivers Have?

Established in 2009, Uber has revolutionized personal transportation in cities and between cities all over the world. There have been taken 20 billion total Uber trips since launch. Its largest market is the U.S. where a major share of the 14 million rides it performs every day all over the world take place. Over 4 million Uber drivers are engaged in picking up and dropping off customers. 

As with any transportation system, accidents are bound to happen and in such an eventuality what is the responsibility of the stakeholders in the process of delivering a service?   

Responsibility

Typically, in a traditional taxi service, the contract is between the user and the driver (two private individuals) and the responsibility of the driver in an accident is paramount. The driver’s insurance would come into play. In the case of an Uber ride, the corporate entity Uber is in the frame along with the driver to accept responsibility for the accident. Thus, you can claim against both the driver and Uber.  

Although on paper, the responsibility for a passenger’s safety is to be shared by Uber and the driver concerned, the complications arise when an accident happens. There are many issues that need to be ironed out before the liability is fixed on a particular entity. If the Uber driver is at fault it is possible that the claim will be honored by the driver’s insurance and Uber’s own insurance. On the other hand, if the fault is someone else’s (other than passenger, driver or Uber) then that entity or its insurance will be liable. The claim process is a long drawn one involving attorneys from both sides. 

The accident can cause a fatality, an injury and damage to properties and whoever is held responsible for the accident would be liable for the claims of the affected parties, advises Jonathan Rosenfeld, whose firm specializes in Uber accident claims. The process of fixing responsibility is a fairly complicated one involving multiple agencies, authorities and regulators. Besides, technicalities will cloud the process. 

Steps to take if involved in an accident

It is always difficult to pinpoint the responsibility when an accident occurs. However, you can take the following actions to ensure you are on the right side of the law always:

  • Seek immediate treatment for the injured persons whoever they may be including people indirectly affected by the accident by calling 911
  • Record information on the accident as you saw it happening and back it up with images and videos if possible
  • Document all records – licenses, registrations, insurance policies, damage to vehicle and property, addresses and contact detail of all persons involved
  • Inform Uber and your attorney
  • Identify and collect contact details of witnesses

The above are to be done at the time of the accident. 

Subsequently, you need to document treatments for injury with documentary evidence on costs and treatments for all injured, estimate of damages comprising work time lost and trauma due to accident and any other costs attributed to the accident. You need to discuss with your attorneys and share with them the information collected and documents prepared. You can consult them and act as per their advice.

While an accident is always an unsavory incident causing physical and mental damage some of the negative impact can be minimized if you take appropriate and immediate action to ensure safety of people and property involved.

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