Contract car services – such as Uber and Lyft – are taking Chicago and other metropolitan cities by storm. Unlike taxis, customers cannot hail an Uber or Lyft driver on the street. Rather, the customer must download an app to their smartphone and request a driver through the app. But given the unique role of the drivers, questions of liability can arise. Like all car accidents, the injured party will need to prove liability by showing the following:
- The defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care;
- The defendant breached his or her duty of care;
- The plaintiff suffered injuries; and
- The breach of the defendant’s duty of care was the proximate cause of the plaintiff’s injuries.
Although Uber and Lyft require their drivers to maintain car insurance, there can be significant gaps in the drivers’ coverage. For instance, not all private car insurance covers accidents that happen while the car is being used for hire, which means that the driver’s insurance carrier may deny coverage of the claim. Additionally, because Uber and Lyft are such new companies – and the relationship to their drivers is unique – liability of Uber or Lyft is unclear. Not only are there questions regarding liability for car accident injuries, but there are also questions of liability when it comes to intentional torts like sexual assault. Last month, a 22-year-old woman alleged that an Uber driver sexually assaulted during a hired ride. According to an article in the Huffington Post, Uber has now released a “safe ride checklist” for app users in Boston and Chicago following allegations that Uber drivers in those cities had sexually assaulted female passengers. In these locations, the Uber app displays a driver photo and license plate number, along with an accompanying message asking the customer to verify that the photo and license plate match their driver. “We are being responsive,” Chris Taylor, the general manager of Uber in Chicago, told the Chicago Sun-Times. “Given there have been some accusations . . . we want to make sure everyone knows how to use the platform in the safest way possible.” If you or a loved one were injured in a car accident, you should consult with a car accident lawyer as soon as possible. The Chicago auto accident lawyers at Steinberg, Goodman & Kalish are dedicated to helping the victims of car accidents obtain maximum financial recovery for their injuries, including medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, emotional distress, and disability. We will advise you of your legal rights and guide you through the entire claim process. Contact Steinberg, Goodman & Kalish at (312) 782-1386 to schedule a free consultation with one of our Chicago car accident lawyers. Additional Information:
- Does Prior Driving History Comes Into Play in Auto Accident Lawsuits?
- What You Need to Know about Pedestrian Accidents
- Rights and Options of Hit and Run Accident Victims
- When to Accept Insurance Settlement and When to Sue
Steinberg Goodman & Kalish (www.sgklawyers.com) is dedicated to protecting victims and their families. We handle medical malpractice, product liability, personal injury, wrongful death, auto accidents, professional negligence, birth trauma, and railroad law matters. Contact us at (888) 325-7299 or (312) 445-9084.