Despite being in charge of the safety of the passengers they transport, Uber drivers can make mistakes such as speeding and distracted driving that lead to accidents. They may even break the state’s drunk driving laws and drive while intoxicated. A drunk driving rideshare accident could cause significant injuries, including broken bones, brain trauma, internal organ damage and spinal cord injuries. If you get into an Uber accident and find out your driver was drunk, discuss your legal options with a Birmingham uber accident attorney.
Alabama is a fault-based insurance state. In most car accident claims, this means injured victims will demand compensation from the at-fault party’s insurance company. If a drunk Uber driver causes an accident, his or her personal insurance company may pay for the victims’ damages. Uber may also be responsible, however, if the driver was working at the time of the crash. If the Uber driver was logged onto the app and awaiting a ride request, en route to pick up a passenger or driving a rider around while intoxicated, Uber’s $1 million insurance policy may cover victims’ injuries and damages.
Although Uber (and Lyft and other rideshare companies) classifies its drivers as independent contractors, it has an insurance plan in place to help riders and other victims after Uber accidents. The rideshare company’s liability insurance may cover your damages if a police investigation or blood alcohol concentration test proves the Uber driver was intoxicated at the time of the collision.
In general, you cannot bring a lawsuit against Uber for the actions, misconduct and illegal activities of its drivers. Uber and other rideshare companies use independent contractors as their drivers, not employees. This protects them from absorbing vicarious responsibility for their drivers as other employers do. After an accident involving a drunk Uber driver, you may be able to file an insurance claim against Uber’s liability policy, but you typically will not have grounds to bring a personal injury lawsuit directly against the company.
Uber may not be vicariously responsible for the wrongdoing of its drivers, but it may be directly liable for its own mistakes. It is Uber’s responsibility to hire reasonably safe drivers. This includes checking into an applicant’s criminal and driving records before approving him or her to pick up riders. It also includes suspending or firing drivers found guilty of driving drunk to prevent future crashes. If Uber was negligent during hiring and failed to notice an applicant’s drunk driving conviction or other signs that he or she might be dangerous, Uber could be liable for a subsequent drunk driving accident.
Uber may also be directly liable for a drunk driver if the company had previously received complaints from other riders that the driver seemed drunk but failed to take action. Uber’s policy states that it will automatically suspend a driver after receiving at least three reports that the driver was drunk, even if no one confirms the reports. Uber will terminate its contract with any driver found driving under the influence of alcohol on the job. If an investigation of your auto accident finds that multiple people told Uber the driver appeared drunk before the crash, but Uber failed to take action, Uber could be liable for your damages.
Drunk driving claims and Uber accident claims are complex types of lawsuits on their own. When you combine the two, the case can be even more complicated. After a drunk Uber driver causes your car accident and injuries, contact a lawyer for assistance with pursuing financial compensation. The individual driver, Uber, a third-party driver or another entity may owe you money for your losses. A lawyer can help you collect evidence, investigate the Uber driver and bring a drunk driving claim by Alabama’s deadline.