Liability for Accidents Caused by a Rideshare Driver
If you are injured by an Uber or Lyft driver, who should be named as defendants in your case? The answer depends on who was responsible in the accident. The negligent driver is liable for damages and New Jersey law requires that rideshare companies like Lyft and Uber carry liability insurance of $1.5 million. If the Uber or Lyft driver caused the accident, the injury victim would file a lawsuit against the Uber or Lyft driver.
However, because the injured drivers or pedestrians may not know the exact cause of the accident, the injured party will probably name all potential defendants in the case, including the rideshare company, itself. Through the “discovery” process of the lawsuit, it should become more clear which parties are liable for the accident.
If the driver is at fault for the accident, the driver is generally liable for the resulting damages. Damages may be collected from that $1.5 million insurance policy which the law requires the rideshare company to provide to the Lyft or Uber driver. That amount is often sufficient to cover the damages in a case. This may not be so, for example, if there are several passengers in the rideshare vehicle and one or more are seriously hurt.
However, Uber or Lyft could have direct or so-called “vicarious liability” for the accident, depending on the accident and whether the driver is considered an employee. “Vicarious liability” is where a party (usually a corporation or other business) is liable for the actions of its subordinate. One type of “vicarious liability” is the legal doctrine known as “respondeat superior.” Under that doctrine, an employer is generally liable for its employee’s negligence.
However, Uber and Lyft driver’s are generally considered “independent contractors,” not employers, for liability purposes. The law of whether Uber or Lyft drivers are independent contractors or employees after an accident may change in time. Talk to one of the experienced Lyft and Uber accident lawyers at the Law Offices of our firm founder about your case and whether the Uber or Lyft may be directly liable for their driver’s actions.
Is Uber or Lyft Ever Liable?
Possibly. Uber or Lyft could still share some of the liability for the accident. If the ride-share companies acted negligently in how they screen drivers or use their apps, the company may be directly liable for the victim’s injuries.
The rideshare companies could be held directly liable if they failed to properly screen, train, or supervise drivers. The plaintiff could file a lawsuit against the rideshare company based on its negligent hiring, negligent training, or negligent supervision of its driver.
The skilled attorneys at CourtLaw represent clients injured in Uber and Lyft accidents in Perth Amboy, Jersey City, New Brunswick, Roselle, East Orange, and throughout New Jersey. Call 732-442-5900 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free consultation about your case. We have an office conveniently located at 163 Market Street, Perth Amboy, New Jersey 08861 as well as offices in Jersey City, New Brunswick, Roselle, and East Orange.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.