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Can You Sue Uber for Accident Injuries?

Uber and Lyft crashes: Can rideshare passengers sue?

If you were a passenger in a car or SUV that crashed, you may be wondering if you can sue Uber for your accident injuries. The nation’s #1 crash lawyers explain.

Last year, more than 5 million Uber driver took Americans on 6.9 billion trips. As such, the rideshare app brought in an annual net revenue of 14.1 billion. Lyft finished out the year with 23 million active users and 3.6 billion in revenue. In many ways, these innovative apps positively change how we think about transportation and the gig economy. At the very least, they alter how many of us get from Point A to Point B.

However, rideshare apps like Uber and Lyft also contribute to a growing danger in the United States. According to researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), “Uber and Lyft are behind a sharp rise in US traffic deaths.” Likewise, these collisions cause millions of passengers to suffer serious injuries,  tremendous pain, and astronomical expenses. Nevertheless, you must understand how the treats lawsuits against rideshare apps and drivers. As the nation’s #1 crash lawyers explain, maximizing your recovery requires knowledge, skill, experience, and strategy.

Looking to discuss your accident case with an award-winning attorney? At Munley Law, the consultation is always 100% free. Call, text, email, or message us today.

Suing your Uber driver for your injuries after an accident

In most jurisdictions, rideshare passengers can sue drivers directly for the negligence and intentional torts. Most torts are brought under a negligence theory. In a negligence claim, the plaintiff must show that the defendant failed to act as a reasonably careful driver. In other words, the victim does not need to show that the driver acted on purpose. Instead, he or she must show that the driver failed to act in a reasonably prudent way. In contrast, accident victims bring intentional torts where a driver acted purposefully (or, in some states, with reckless disregard for human life).

Rideshare apps drivers can always be sued directly for their intentional torts. In many situations, victims can also win lawsuits with negligence claims.

Can you sue Uber or Lyft for your rideshare crash?

Unlike suing rideshare drivers, suing the rideshare companies themselves is more complex. For the most part, this is because of two main reasons.

Jurisdictional differences

Firstly, you must account for differences between individual states’ and the federal government’s laws. Accident insurance and liability laws vary widely from one jurisdiction to another. For example, some states have contributory negligence laws while others have a comparative negligence system. To make matters even more complicated, rideshare apps are a fairly new phenomenon. As a general rule, know that technology is always way ahead of the law. As a result, many states are still in the process of figuring out how to handle various legal claims against rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft. In order to determine the laws that will apply to your case, the best thing to do is to hire an experienced car accident lawyer.

Respondeat superior and independent contractors

Secondly, the way that Uber and Lyft classify their drivers can also complicate the situation. Both tech companies hire drivers as  “independent contractors,” not “employees.”  This is an important distinction because of a legal doctrine called “respondeat superior.” Under respondeat superior, courts hold employers responsible for the torts of their employees or “agents” that were:

  1. Negligent, and
  2. Performed within the scope of the employment

Thus, if rideshare drivers were employees, respondeat superior would apply. In such an instance, injured victims could sue Uber for accident injuries directly or in addition to suing the driver.

However, different rules apply to independent contractors, who courts do not consider employees or agents of Uber or Lyft. As a result, you will likely not be able to sue the rideshare companies for a driver’s negligence.

When you can sue Uber or Lyft

Nevertheless, in certain instances, you may be able to sue the Uber or Lyft directly. For example, the law expects these tech companies to perform proper screenings and background checks on the drivers they hire. Depending on the facts of your case and the laws of the jurisdiction where you are filing, you may be able to sue the rideshare companies for a failure to perform a proper background check. Likewise, in some instances, Uber and Lyft have affirmative obligations to inspect the vehicles their drivers use. If a mechanical failure contributed to your crash and Uber failed to inspect that car, you may have a claim.

Who you choose to represent you will determine how much you recover

The biggest factor that will impact how much money you recover for your accident injuries is who you hire as your lawyer. Who you choose matters. Lots of law firms talk the talk. However, at Munley Law, we let our client testimonials and our major client victories do the talking for us. If you’re looking to sue Uber for accident injuries to recover big, see the difference a Munley Law litigator can make. See what it means to have an award-winning attorney from the nation’s best car and truck crash law firm fighting for YOU. 

To schedule your free consultation, call us right away.

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