In recent years, the rise of ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft has revolutionized the way people travel. Having a convenient and cost-effective alternative to traditional taxis and public transportation stands to benefit residents of cities across the nation.
However, when accidents or injuries occur during a ride, questions arise about who bears the responsibility. Uber, the company facilitating the service, or the individual Uber driver?
The role of Uber and Uber drivers
Uber and other rideshare services are platforms that connect riders with independent drivers who use their own vehicles to provide transportation services. These drivers are not employees of Uber but rather independent contractors.
Responsibility for safety
When it comes to the safety of riders, both Uber and its drivers play important roles. Uber has implemented safety measures, such as driver background checks, vehicle inspections and in-app emergency assistance. These steps demonstrate the company’s commitment to rider safety and set a standard for the drivers they partner with.
However, Uber drivers also hold significant responsibility for rider safety. They must adhere to traffic laws, drive cautiously and maintain their vehicles in proper working condition. Uber drivers need their own personal insurance coverage, and Uber also provides additional insurance that covers both bodily injury and property damage under certain circumstances during a trip.
Determining responsibility for injuries
In the unfortunate event that a rider sustains an injury during an Uber ride, determining responsibility can be difficult. If the injury results from the driver’s negligence, such as if they run a red light or speed, the driver could be liable. If the injury is due to a technical glitch in the app that led to an accident, Uber might share some responsibility.
Legal complexities and precedents
Laws and regulations surrounding ridesharing services are still evolving, and legal complexities can arise when determining fault. In some instances, both Uber and the driver may be liable, while in others, one party bears the primary responsibility.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reported 42,939 vehicle crash fatalities in 2021. While rideshare accidents account for only a small percentage of these tragedies, there are still risks. It is important to understand that getting into an Uber means trusting your safety to an uncertified stranger.