Absolutely. In most cases, ridesharing companies are financially responsible for ridesharing damages, according to the respondeat superior doctrine. Companies like Uber can stop most ridesharing accidents before they happen, perhaps by screening drivers more carefully or monitoring them more closely. As a result, South Carolina law holds these companies to a higher standard.
This doctrine also makes ridesharing wrecks very complex. Uber and other large companies have throngs of lawyers that protect their interests. So, you need an assertive Lancaster car accident lawyer on your side. Without a competent attorney, many victims are left to settle their claims for less money than they’re worth.
What Causes Ridesharing Accidents?
Device distraction is the leading cause of ridesharing accidents. All Lyft, Uber, and other ridesharing operators rely on devices for passenger pickup, ride reporting, and driving navigation. This behavior is inherently risky. Using a hands-free device while driving is the equivalent of driving drunk. Such devices cause two kinds of driver distraction: These motorists take their eyes off the road and take their minds off driving.
Operational errors, like speeding or making an illegal turn, also cause a number of serious ridesharing wrecks. Many motorists stray off course and break traffic laws to get back on the right track.
In South Carolina, distracted driving could be negligence per se or ordinary negligence. If the driver sends or reviews a text-based message while driving and causes a wreck, the driver could be liable for damages as a matter of law. In other situations, victims/plaintiffs may use circumstantial evidence, like using a hands-free device, to establish a lack of care.
Most personal auto insurance policies don’t cover commercial losses. Therefore, many Uber drivers in South Carolina are essentially uninsured.
That’s why third-party liability theories like respondeat superior are so important. If the ridesharing company doesn’t assume financial responsibility, the victim could be left holding the bag. Respondeat superior generally applies if the negligent driver was an employee who was working in the scope of employment at the time of the wreck.
State law defines these key terms in broad, victim-friendly terms. For example, although Uber drivers are usually independent contractors for tax purposes, they are normally employees for negligence purposes.
Ridesharing companies are financially responsible for ridesharing accidents. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney in Lancaster, contact Elrod Pope Law Firm. Lawyers can connect victims with doctors, even if they have no insurance or money.
Is it safe to drive while using a hands-free phone?
No. Drivers who use these gadgets are not fully watching the road or concentrating on driving.
What is ordinary negligence?
Ordinary negligence is basically a lack of care. In SC, commercial drivers have a very high duty of care.
What is negligence per se?
Negligence per se is usually the violation of a safety statute, like speeding. Drivers who violate these laws and cause crashes could be liable for damages as a matter of law.
Thomas E. Pope is a Personal Injury, Wrongful Death, and Medical Malpractice Attorney who practices in Rock Hill, Lake Wylie, and Lancaster, SC. He graduated from the University of South Carolina School of Law, and has been practicing law for 31 years now. Thomas E. Pope believes in protecting the injured. Learn more about his experience here.