Rideshare companies’ negligence: What you need to know

There is an element of uncertainty when you undertake a taxi trip or a ride offered by a rideshare company such as Uber or Grab. You do not know whether you will reach your destination on time or safely without any untoward incident in between. On the issue of reaching your destination on time, the congestion in traffic or traffic diversion could upset the time schedule, which to a large extent is not under the control of the driver or the rideshare company. Most other elements that contribute to an unsatisfactory ride can be attributed to negligence on the part of the driver and indirectly the rideshare company that offers the ride.

Serious elements of unsatisfactory ride

Unsatisfactory rides could be categorized into serious and miscellaneous types. Among the serious elements there are several which could include

  • Rape, sexual and criminal assault by driver or co-passenger
  • Violent attacks
  • A road accident causing an injury
  • A fatal road accident

Such incidents affect riders both physically and mentally besides costing them huge amounts of money to prefer a suit against the driver, co-passenger and rideshare company through an attorney.

Miscellaneous elements of unsatisfactory ride

These types of unsatisfactory rides could include

  • Delay in pick up and drop off
  • Poor hygiene inside the vehicle
  • Poorly maintained vehicle
  • Speeding or unusually slow driving or violating traffic laws or reckless driving
  • Distracted driving – consulting app or texting or talking on the phone
  • Driving while under the influence of drugs and alcohol
  • Driving while drowsy or tired

Such elements may contribute to unsatisfactory rides and some of them could lead to serious consequences for the rider.

Increase/decrease in incidents

While the data on assaults and crashes is collected sporadically, rideshare companies seem to collect data more systematically. Uber’s US Safety report found that from 2017 to 2018, Uber saw approximately a 16% decrease in the average incident rate of the 5 most serious sexual assault categories reported. On the other hand, a criminologist drawing information from the same report found a 4% increase in reporting of sexual assaults to Uber for the year 2018 as compared to the reporting in 2017. Uber attributed this anomaly to the increase in the number of trips to 1.3 billion in 2018.

What constitutes negligence?

The role of rideshare companies comes into limelight because they are corporate entities with huge reputations to preserve. They owe it to their customers to take utmost care when they offer their services. If they have taken sufficient care on their own and through others controlled by them, they will be construed as not being negligent. However, if their negligence causes loss to their customers, then they are liable for the damages and may have to compensate for their customers’ harm.

If you are unlucky enough to have an experience in the latter category, you have to understand the circumstances under which you can win a lawsuit for negligence. You have to satisfy the elements – duty, breach of duty, cause in fact, proximate cause and damages – by comparing facts, testimony and evidence to determine liability. This becomes complicated in many cases, and so it becomes important to carefully choose a lawyer that has experience in ride share injury cases.

How do you satisfy the elements? Here is how:

  1. Duty – The driver has a duty to offer safe and timely transportation service. If the driver neglects to perform this duty, the driver can be considered as negligent.
  2. Breach of duty – The driver has to perform the duty following all established norms such as following traffic rules. If the driver breaches the traffic rules then he is guilty of breach of duty and he could be found negligent.
  3. Cause in fact – The driver’s act of over speeding results in an accident and this is sufficient to satisfy the element of cause in fact.
  4. Proximate cause – The driver sexually assaults the rider and cause harm to the rider. This is sufficient to satisfy the element of proximate cause.
  5. Damages – The driver rapes the rider causing physical and emotional distress. The element of damages has been satisfied.

When these elements are satisfied there is a case worth fighting as you have a fair chance of receiving adequate compensation.

~ by velofinds on April 8, 2020.

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