The general rule in personal injury cases is that an employer is responsible for the negligence of its employees while they are engaged in work-related activities. So, if a taxi driver or a limousine operator causes an accident, the company is liable. However, ridesharing services such as Uber, Lyft and Sidecar have been able to define their drivers as independent contractors, not employees, so the old principle of respondeat superior, meaning, “let the master answer,” may not apply.
Rideshare drivers enjoy significant freedom to set their own hours and choose the area in which they want to work. There is very little supervision from the company; workers provide their own cars and are responsible for their own taxes. Drivers are not covered by workers’ compensation. All of these facts have led courts across the country to conclude that rideshare drivers are free agents.
But all this does not mean that the rideshare driver is left to his or her own devices. For example, Uber’s commercial liability insurance covers its drivers for auto accidents from the point they log onto the company’s system to accept passengers. This was not always the case. In 2013, Uber’s insurance only covered drivers when they were serving an Uber customer. That changed when 57-year-old Uber driver Syed Muzaffar, who had a record of reckless driving, struck several pedestrians in a crosswalk, severely injuring two and killing 6-year-old Sophia Lui. Uber denied liability, but under public pressure, changed its policy to provide contingent insurance, if the driver’s own policy refuses to pay.
However, what if there were another accident of the type that killed Sophia Lui? What if the losses exceeded the company’s coverage for a single accident? Once the commercial policy has reached its limits, where can the plaintiff(s) turn for compensation?
Since Uber is a worldwide, multibillion-dollar company, it would be nice from the plaintiff’s point of view to be able to attach Uber, the company, as a defendant in any lawsuit. Then the company would have to satisfy any remaining part of the judgment from its assets. It is unlikely that many Uber drivers, who earn only slightly more than minimum wage once they deduct expenses, would have sufficient assets to satisfy a large judgment.
Seigel Law represents victims of car crashes in Bergen County and throughout New Jersey. Contact us online or call 201.444.4000 today for a free consultation and case evaluation.
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By Teresa R Perez - January, 2018
I have had a great experience thus far. The personal injury process is stressful and they have been helpful and courteous in getting me the right referrals. I was injured while visiting NJ and live in another state, my case is not an easy one but they are working diligently to help. I appreciate the personalized attention and highly recommend this firm.Read More
By Miriam Smith-Leone - December, 2017
The law office was great with my back and neck injury. They directed me to the right doctors and got me a huge settlement. Being a single mom, it help pay off all my debt and bills. Me and my kids can have a bill free christmas, with plenty of food and happiness, stress free. They are the best ever and I would highly recommend them to anyone rich or poor, who has been in an accident and need legal help...Read More
By L C - October, 2017
After the misfortune of suffering an injury, I had the good fortune to choose Seigel Law to represent me. During my initial meeting with Jan Seigel, I found him to be extremely confident and reassuring---he totally put me at ease. I was represented by Mark Mc Bratney---an EXCELLENT attorney. He was supportive and professional through the entire process, and provided an excellent outcome for my case.Read More
By Liliana Paredes - October, 2017
Honest, trustworthy and very straight forward. In unvarnished truth Jonas Siegel will tell you exactly where you stand and what direction you should go. Jonas has tenacity coupled with a degree of tenderness, but never losing site of the end goal, which is to protect, defend and have the best outcome for his clients. I defenetly recoment this law firm. Thanks for helping me out in my case.Read More
By Oren Goldshmidt - September, 2017
I'd like to thank everyone at segal law for the amazing experience they provided me. From the moment I stepped in to the end of the case , segal and his team delivered exactly what they promised. I couldn't have received any better treatment from a law firm. Any concerns, questions or problems I had were addressed and dealt with accordingly...Read More
"The lawyers at Seigel Law know how to get you the results you want. Jan Seigel and His team returned every one of my phone calls, listened to me and worked with me to a desirable outcome. Seigel Law definitely goes above and beyond to protect the injured." - B.M.
"After my car accident, my life turned into a disaster. Dealing with everything became impossible. Jan Seigel and his people helped me with every aspect of my injuries and the insurance companies so I could focus on healing. They helped me through everything and they got me what I was due." - M.P.
"I found the personnel to be very efficient, and work very quickly. I'm happy that I was referred to this firm, because I found that I was very comfortable working with them." - F.V.
"Amazing. I have to say they were very supportive and were able to give me tons of information. I didn't feel rushed and felt they truly cared about my well-being. Their website is also extremely helpful and well setup." - T.D.