Who’s Liable if You’re Injured in a Cab or Uber?

If you’ve ever wondered who’s liable if you are injured in a cab, a ruling in a San Francisco case has determined that the answer is the cab company.

In a 2015 ruling from a San Francisco Superior Court, Yellow Cab was deemed responsible for an accident caused by one of their drivers. The decision was reached after the driver was determined to be an ostensible employee of the taxi company. Yellow Cab was left with an $8 million bill to foot, and other similar driving services were left wondering how this new precedent might affect their businesses.

Prior to the court’s ruling, Yellow Cab had insisted their drivers are independent contractors, not direct employees, and argued that the company should not be held legally responsible for accidents caused by their drivers. General Manager Jim Gillespie stated in a deposition that the company does not provide services directly to the public, but merely provides the vehicles, dispatch service and “color scheme” for the drivers.

A similar case occurred last year in San Francisco—this one to determine whether Uber is responsible for a driver who struck and killed a child while awaiting ride requests. The victim’s family argued that the driver, Syed Muzzafar, was using the Uber app to look for rides when he struck 6-year-old Sofia Liu. Uber claimed that since the driver was not carrying a passenger at the time of the crash, the company was not liable for Liu’s death. However, Uber announced just a few months later that it was expanding its insurance coverage to include drivers who have the app activated, even if they do not have passengers in their vehicle.

Although ride services Uber and Lyft demonstrate some significant differences from traditional cab companies—the drivers use their own vehicles, do not pay the company a rental fee and cannot be full-time employees—they can still be found liable for incidents involving their drivers.

“Taxi passengers should feel secure when they get into a cab, with the understanding that the company represented on the vehicle is responsible for their safety. Cab companies need to be held accountable when that sense of security is violated due to an employee’s error,” said Attorney Walter Clark, founder of Walter Clark Legal Group.

Our firm has been handling personal injury and wrongful death cases throughout the California Low Desert and High Desert communities for over 30 years. With a 95% success rate, the California personal injury attorneys at Walter Clark Legal Group will fight to hold those responsible for your loss accountable and win compensation to cover medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. If you’ve been injured in an accident and want to discuss your legal options, contact us for a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer today. We have offices in Indio, Rancho Mirage, Victorville, and Yucca Valley and represent clients through the entire California Low Desert and High Desert communities.

DISCLAIMER: The Walter Clark Legal Group blog is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended as legal or medical advice. References to laws are based on general legal practices and vary by location. Information reported comes from secondary news sources. We do handle these types of cases, but whether or not the individuals and/or loved ones involved in these accidents choose to be represented by a law firm is a personal choice we respect. Should you find any of the information incorrect, we welcome you to contact us with corrections.

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