Ever since its introduction around 2010, Uber has grown in popularity at a breakneck pace, and it now has over 93 million active users. With the press of a button, you can head out for a night on the town, hail a ride to the airport, or even get food from your favorite restaurant delivered to you. There are a lot of great reasons to use rideshare technology, but they don't come without risk.
Accidents happen, even when you're in the car with the safest Miami Uber drivers. If you're injured in the accident, or if your property is damaged, then you're probably wondering if you can sue Uber. Read on to learn about how to recover from your Uber accident.
What Are Common Carriers?
Every person on the road owes a duty of care to their passengers and to other drivers. Some drivers carry a greater level of responsibility, however.
In Florida, shared transportation operators like buses and taxi drivers are known as common carriers. Uber and other rideshare drivers were also initially classified as common carriers.
The statute that regulates common carriers places a greater duty of care on them. This means that the drivers need to be extra vigilant about getting their passengers safely from point A to point B.
Unfortunately, Uber worked hard to get their drivers out of the common carrier designation, and they won. This means that you are owed a lower duty of care in an Uber than you would otherwise have in a traditional taxi.
Vicarious Liability 101
If you were in an accident because a driver for a plumbing company ran a stop sign, you would probably opt to bypass suing the drive and choose to sue the plumbing company directly. This process is known as vicarious liability. You would essentially be holding an employer responsible for the negligent acts of their employees.
In order to prevail in a lawsuit where you are seeking repayment from an employer, you have to demonstrate that the employee was acting within the scope of their employment at the time of the accident.
For example, if the plumber was on the way to make a house call or buying supplies, then he was acting within the scope of employment. On the other hand, if the plumber was heading out for drinks after work in the work truck, he was not doing anything related to work. In that case, you would not be able to recover from the employer.
The Uber Exception
A company as savvy as Uber undoubtedly foresaw the potential liability that comes with having employees across the country driving people around. As a result, Uber got around vicarious liability by classifying all of their drivers as independent contractors.
In order for vicarious liability to apply, the person who caused the accident must be classified as an employee. Companies cannot be liable for the negligent acts of independent contractors. So, how do you determine whether someone is an employee or an independent contractor?
Florida courts use a "right of control" test to help suss out the difference. There are a number of factors that apply, but it boils down to how much control the employer has over the person performing the work. If the employer sets specific hours in which a person needs to be working and provides all the tools necessary for the job, then they're more likely to be classified as an employee.
Uber works hard to keep its drivers classified as independent contractors, and there's no doubt that they will continue to do so.
Uber's Liability Insurance
Now that you know that it's unlikely that you'll be able to recover directly from Uber for accidents caused by their drivers, you're probably wondering what your options are. Don't worry, there are still some protections in place for you.
Florida and Uber's guidelines require that Uber provides their rideshare drivers with liability insurance when they're working. This means you don't have to worry about not being able to get compensation from an uninsured Uber driver. While you won't be able to recover from Uber, you will still be able to recover from a third-party insurance company.
In order for the rideshare driver to use the insurance, however, they must be actively working for Uber at the time of the accident, and the Uber app must be open. If these conditions aren't met, then you must file a claim with the driver's personal auto insurance.
What Should You Do if You Are in a Rideshare Accident?
As you can tell, recovering from an accident involving an Uber or Lyft driver in Miami is a complicated one. Thankfully, this is familiar territory for Miami Uber accident attorneys.
The first thing you should do after you've been in a rideshare accident is to contact an attorney to help you navigate the process. Insurance companies, even the ones Uber works with, are notoriously difficult to deal with, and they are motivated to pay out as little as possible. Your rideshare attorney will advocate on your behalf and help you recover what you deserve.
Are You in Need of an Uber Accident Lawyer?
Getting into an Uber accident is a traumatic and unexpected event. After the dust has settled, it's important to reach out to an attorney who can help you recover from the accident and get the compensation you deserve. While you may not be able to seek compensation from Uber itself, your attorney can determine which way to go in an Uber accident lawsuit.
If you've been in an accident involving a rideshare driver, then you're probably looking for the best Uber accident attorney in Miami. The Soffer Firm has the expertise you're looking for and more. Contact us today to learn how we can help you.