The popularity of ride-sharing platforms such as Uber and Lyft has led to the question: “Who is responsible for my accident?” These companies operate under different rules than regulated taxi services, making the distinction important to understand. As more and more people turn to ride sharing apps for a cheap and convenient way to get around, having an Austin ride-sharing accident attorney available is a must.
The Risks of Austin Ride Sharing
Ride sharing has been the topic of heated debate since its rise to popularity, with citizens and policymakers alike questioning the safety of this mode of transportation. Ride-sharing platforms have different hiring standards than regulated taxicab services, making the safety of the drivers questionable. While taxi services look into the full criminal backgrounds of drivers, Uber only looks into the prior seven years. This means if a driver had a charge for driving under the influence (DUI), kidnapping, or assault that was more than seven years ago, he or she could be driving your Uber.
Since 2014, there have been 152 alleged sexual assaults and harassments held against Uber and Lyft drivers. There have been at least 16 deaths, most of which resulted from drunk or negligent ride-sharing drivers. These numbers continue to grow as Uber and Lyft fail to increase their standards, hiring drivers who exhibit unsafe behaviors and habits. Uber and Lyft do not even interview applicants in person before hiring them—a standard that taxicab services have long enforced.
The courts have found dozens of Uber and Lyft drivers to be guilty of driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol, distracted driving, and negligent driving in the last few years. Although these drivers have a duty to exercise care and a responsibility for the safety of passengers, they can make grave errors. When an Uber or Lyft driver causes a car accident, victims need to speak with an Austin ride sharing accident lawyer to find out who is responsible.
Employees vs. Independent Contractors
In a taxicab accident, the courts consider the taxi driver an employee of the company. In these situations, the company’s insurance would pay for the victims’ damages, including personal injury and property damages. In an Uber or Lyft accident, the outcome of an accident is different because of differing employee classifications.
There has been some recent speculation as to whether the law should consider ride-share drivers independent contractors or employees of the company. Texas is one of eight states that have so far classified ride-sharing drivers as independent contractors. Uber drivers in California recently brought a claim against the company for misclassifying employees as independent contractors to avoid paying for business expenses, such as vehicle maintenance and gas while on the job.
When an independent contractor causes a personal injury, the victim(s) may not be able to sue the company. Just as a victim of medical malpractice cannot sue the entire hospital for an independently contracted doctor, the victim of a ride sharing accident cannot sue Uber or Lyft for an independently contracted driver. The courts only hold companies responsible for the actions of their employees based on strict liability laws. Unfortunately, this can lead to smaller settlements for the victims.
Trust Briggle & Polan with your Ride Sharing Accident Case
Hiring an Austin Uber accident lawyer or an Austin Lyft accident lawyer is the only chance victims have of obtaining compensation for their personal injuries. The Austin accident lawyers at Briggle & Polan, PLLC, have experience handling ride-share accident cases in which the driver is an independent contractor. Our skilled Austin ride sharing accident attorneys can take Uber or Lyft to court if necessary to defend your rights as an innocent crash victim.
When you need expert Austin ride sharing accident lawyers, contact us to request a free consultation in person or over the phone today! 512-472-1926