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For decades, there was really only one semi-private and affordable mode of transportation available to the general public, and that was the taxicab. Few people ever thought that the options regarding getting around in this fashion would expand. In 2009, that expansion began to occur when a company known as Uber was founded.
Two years later, Sidecar came to market. One year after that, options expanded again when Lyft came into existence. Suddenly, Californians, in particular, had competition in the ride-sharing space. Unfortunately, Californians also soon began to find out that being involved in an Uber accident as a passenger led to several serious problems.
Few people think about the way a business is classified when they climb into a taxicab, an Uber vehicle, or a Lyft ride for help getting to their destination. The fact of the matter is that this is a critical piece of information. Taxi companies are classified as transportation companies. This brings about an entirely different set of regulations and requirements in cities around California for them than what tends to exist with regards to Uber, Lyft, Sidecar, and others. These companies want to be classified as ride-matching services or tech platforms. This allows them to skirt many of the regulations faced by taxicab companies. That can affect a consumer who is injured in an Uber accident.
Generally speaking, taxicab drivers in California are employees of their taxi companies. There are exceptions, but this is the norm. That is not the case with Uber, Sidecar, Lyft, and other ride-sharing services. Those drivers tend to be independent contractors. This means that if someone is involved in an Uber accident that he or she may be forced to pursue recovery from the individual driver. The ride-sharing company may be able to avoid liability in certain circumstances.
Even worse, the laws in California are constantly changing in regards to ridesharing companies and how they classify their drivers. As such, injured accident victims need to speak to an experienced California rideshare accident attorney immediately to review their legal options. You may be able to collect far more compensation than you believe. However, without the help of a knowledgeable attorney that is up-to-date on these changing laws, you may not get the money you need and deserve.
When someone downloads the Uber app or an app for a different ride-sharing service, they are technically agreeing to the Terms of Service that go along with using that app. Terms of Service appear constantly on our computer screens and our phones, and unfortunately, most people have become accustomed to all but ignoring them by simply hitting the ‘Agree’ button and moving on to the next step without thinking about it. That can be a real problem for someone who is injured in an Uber accident, as that company’s Terms of Service present strong language intended to shield them from liability if someone is injured in a crash caused by one of their drivers.
One of the best ways for consumers to evaluate any transportation company is to analyze the crash statistics that are available. That’s yet another problem with regards to Uber, Lyft, Sidecar, and others – there is very little if any crash data available to the public. That’s because, once again, since these companies are not classified in the same way as taxicab companies, they do not face the same regulations. Therefore, it’s very difficult if not impossible to find data relating to any Uber accident or crash involving the driver of any other ride-sharing service. That makes it very difficult for the public at large to understand what they are getting into regarding safety.
If you have been involved in an Uber accident, you should not take the information above to mean that you are without legal rights and options. You should simply use it to be aware that there are aspects of your arrangement with a ride-sharing company that could become all too relevant if you are injured in a crash. In this situation, you need to have the incident evaluated by an experienced accident lawyer who understands these intricacies and how to successfully pursue justice on behalf of clients.
If this has happened to you, contact the ridesharing accident lawyers at Gomez Trial Attorneys today to schedule a free initial consultation.
John Gomez founded the firm alone in 2005. Today, John acts as President and Lead Trial Attorney. He has been voted by his peers as a top ten San Diego litigator in three separate fields: Personal Injury, Insurance and Corporate Litigation. Since 2000, he has recovered over $800 million in settlements and verdicts for his clients with more than 160 separate recoveries of one million dollars or more. A prolific trial lawyer, John has tried to jury verdict more than 60 separate cases.
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