UBER/LYFT AND TAXI DRIVER NEGLIGENCENowadays, many people are trusting their lives to unknown people driving for Uber, Lyft as well as taxi drivers. It is one thing to trust your well-being to a friend or relative, but with these transport companies, you are trusting unknown drivers to keep you safe. These transport drivers are held to the same duty of care as any other driver. They actually may be held to a higher standard of care as they are holding themselves out as professional drivers. Their high duty is to protect their passengers. There have been high profile rape cases as well as deaths resulting from a transport driver’s negligence.
Can you sue the driver for negligence if you are injured by a negligent transport driver? Yes, you can sue a negligent UBER/LYFT driver. Let’s say you picked up your phone and ordered an Uber or Lyft driver. You are picked up and as soon as you enter that car, the driver owes you a very high standard of care to keep you safe throughout your trip. It is the same standard for a bus driver or taxi driver. If you are picked up and the driver negligently rear-ends another vehicle, then you can make a claim against that driver’s insurance company for your injuries and damages. Sometimes, a driver’s insurance company will claim that UBER’s insurance carrier is primary. What this means is that first we would need to make a claim against the company itself, whether it be UBER, LYFT or a bus/taxi company.
The interplay between insurance companies can be tricky and that is why you need an experienced car accident lawyer. Sometimes, the driver’s insurance company will be primary and first to answer any claim for settlement. At other times, the main injury case will need to proceed against the transport company itself. I had a case where the driver was waiting at the Denver airport for a customer. He was in a parked position and waiting for his fare. A customer contacted him and he went to pick up the customer and proceed to rear-end another car at the airport. UBER claimed that the driver “was not on the clock” at the time of the collision. However, I found out that the driver had accepted the fare request and thus was definitely “on the clock”, making UBER liable for his negligent driving. Gathering facts about the occurrence of the collision is thus very important in order to find the proper insurance coverage. I have a lot of experience in doing just this, finding the “deep pocket” or proper insurance coverage.
Who can make a claim against UBER?LYFT or a bus/taxi?
- Generally, if you are a passenger in one of these means of transport, then you can make a claim against the applicable insurance company (due to the driver’s negligence).
- If you are injured while driving another car or a passenger in another vehicle, then you can make an insurance claim against the negligent driver and/or UBER/LYFT or a bus driver or taxi driver.
- You may be struck by a negligent UBER/LYFT or bus/taxi driver while riding a bicycle, as a pedestrian or motorcyclist.
Just like in any other motor vehicle accident case, you must prove liability (that the driver was at fault for the accident), causation (that it caused your injuries) and damages (the amount of money to make you whole again). Those are the 3 elements that I must prove in any case that I bring against an insurance company. If you are missing one of these elements, then you will not have a case at all. One of these 3 elements may be stronger or weaker than the other two, but I can usually settle your case despite there being a weak element to the 3 links.
Usually, companies like UBER and LYFT will carry $1 million dollars in liability coverage. So, if the causal link can be established, then there will be plenty of insurance coverage, unless there is a death or deaths involved. Colorado has a specific law regarding Uber and Lyft (the two main ridesharing companies). This law can be found in Colorado law 40-10.1-601. The law is the Transportation Network Company Act. This act covers rideshare companies that use a computer app. as does Uber and Lyft. As we all know, this app connects you as the customer to the rideshare driver. This Act does not include taxi services. Uber and Lyft must comply and follow the dictates of the TNCA.
Uber, for example has a fairly strict criminal background check. You cannot be convicted of a felony in the past 5 years and there are a number of other disqualifying crimes. This does add one layer of protection to the consumer. However, this does not negate the fact that there are some bad drivers and bad people out there and Uber and Lyft cannot catch them all in their pre-qualifying requirements. Colorado requires you to update your criminal background every 5 years.
What are some of the requirements in Colorado to drive an UBER? In Colorado, a driver or the company is required to file proof of insurance. The insurer must have knowledge that the driver is a rideshare driver (so that there will be no coverage arguments later on). The last time I checked, both Uber and Lyft require $1 million in liability coverage for each and every driver. As stated above, this provides adequate settlement coverage for the majority of car accidents. This high level of insurance is much, much higher than a regular car driver will have. Most normal car drivers may have either the state minimum of $25,000 or $100,000, or $300,000 in liability coverage (as an example).
As you can see, dealing with these rideshare type accidents requires superior knowledge of insurance law as well as car accident law. Allen Accident Law has you covered on all bases if you have been involved in this type of motor vehicle accident. Please call me now if you have been injured due to the negligence of an Uber/Lyft driver or any other transport driver, like a taxi or bus.
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