Depending on the circumstances, you may seek compensation for damages from an Uber driver or the company’s insurance carrier if you suffer an injury in an Uber-involved accident. Which party incurs the actual liability may depend on whether the Uber driver was actively engaged in a ride-hailing activity or “off-duty.”
Uber drivers are, however, independent contractors rather than employees. You may have difficulty holding the company fully liable for negligence on the part of one of their contracted operators. However, if another vehicle caused your injury while you are an Uber passenger, the third-party driver who hit your ride-hailing vehicle may prove liable.
Higher accident-risk times
As reported by U.S. News and World Report, driver and pedestrian distractions have caused a notable increase in accidents during the drop-off or pick-up portion of a ride. If you are a cyclist or pedestrian uninvolved in the ride-hailing arrangement and you suffer an injury, you may have cause to file a legal action. The Uber driver may have made a poor decision regarding a drop-off or pick-up location.
New York’s contributory negligence law
As noted by the New York State Senate website, the contributory negligence law, Section 1411, allows an accident defense to assert that an injured party assumed some of the risk or contributed to the accident. If you are a pedestrian or a motorist struck by an Uber driver, an aggressive defense may try to prove you contributed to the accident. The intent is to reduce your damages accordingly. The defense might try, for example, to show that your mobile device caused a distraction. However, you may provide evidence to persuade a jury not to award you with less compensation than you deserve.