Written by: Michael Wade, March 22, 2022
Throughout the country, we have seen a tremendous growth in the use of the rideshare programs, Uber and Lyft. By now, most of us have utilized their services and/or know someone who is an Uber/Lyft driver. The service is convenient and relatively affordable to use. However, with the increase in Uber/Lyft rides, we have seen a corresponding increase in accidents involving Uber/Lyft drivers. Here is what you should know if you are involved in an accident with an Uber/Lyft driver.
First, in Arizona, an Uber/Lyft driver owes you the same legal duty of care as any other driver on the roadway. Specifically, an Uber/Lyft driver owes you as a passenger, or as the driver of another vehicle, a duty to exercise reasonable care in the operation of his or her vehicle. If the driver is negligent, and causes an accident where in you sustain injuries, that driver is responsible for your damages, including your necessary medical bills, your pain and suffering, lost wages, and property damages.
Second, it is important to understand that while the Uber/Lyft driver is utilizing the Uber/Lyft application (driving for Uber/Lyft), they are covered under a liability insurance policy. Typically, this insurance policy has high liability limits and will provide coverage for your medical bills, pain and suffering, and other damages. In addition, the driver should have his own, personal insurance policy, which should provide additional insurance coverage, if necessary. In short, in most cases, there is plenty of insurance coverage to cover the accident and your injuries.
Finally, it should be noted that Uber and Lyft take the position that its drivers are independent contractors, and not employees. In Arizona, an employer can be responsible for the negligence of its employees. However, an independent contractor is generally not considered an employee, and the person hiring the independent contractor is typically not responsible for the independent contractor’s negligence. Therefore, if you are involved in an accident with an Uber/Lyft driver, it is Uber’s and Lyft’s position that they are not responsible for its driver’s negligence. Regardless, if this position is correct, Uber and Lyft may still be independently negligent in the hiring, training, and retainment of its drivers.
If you or someone you know is involved in an accident with an Uber/Lyft driver, please call Wade and Nysather for a free consultation. Our firm has over 25 years’ experience handling personal injury claims, which includes accidents involving Uber/Lyft.