If you were involved in an accident caused by an Uber driver, and you suspect they were drunk, you wonder what to do. Coming out of an accident alive, you have the right to sue the driver especially if they were under the influence. But, what happens if the driver was intoxicated, can you sue Uber?
The law isn’t clear on this topic, because Uber can argue that they’re not a conventional employer. If you were involved in such an accident, you should most definitely consult with a personal injury attorney to see what you can do about your case.
It is possible to sue Uber separately from the driver. Here are the things you should know.
Uber Checks Drivers Before They Hire Them
Uber will do a detailed background check before they hire a driver. Before Uber hires a driver, the company will perform several checks to prevent the business from any potential liability with the individual. It will include several background checks to include a connection to the Fair Credit Reporting Act with credit checks for up to seven years of the current time. The company also checks local county courthouse records to check every location the driver lived until the current period.
The company wants to avoid potential problems, so they will check multi-state criminal databases that may have multi-jurisdictional issues.
It’s not impossible for some drivers to hide their crimes. This is why Uber does extra background checks. Social Security Traces and motor vehicle records are available to the company, so when hiring, they can remove potential drivers if they have committed certain crimes (murder, sex crime). Some felonies and misdemeanors may lead the candidate not to get the job with Uber. This due diligence makes it difficult for others to sue Uber.
DUI and Uber
The company will consider a DUI charge in the last seven years (if it is serious) if the BAC levels were higher than the 0.08 national limit or if the driver was reckless and caused property damage. Many DUI drivers will discover that the company will refuse employment for any DUI within the last seven years.
This means that when the company does the checks of the driver before they hire them, they are very likely to dismiss them if they find out that the driver already had a DUI charge.
If the individual employees get a DUI conviction during the course of employment, this could lead to immediate dismissal with fewer chances of taking the company responsible for the accident. If a driver manages to hide a DUI conviction, the company may still avoid liability through the performed mandatory background checks and extensive profile for employment. In such a case, it may be difficult to actually sue Uber.
Safety and Legal Concerns
The company does its best to hire drivers that won’t put the client in any danger. Employees must stay free of the influence of alcohol and drugs. The company must comply with state regulations and will not collaborate with anyone with a DUI or drug-related driving record that happened in the last seven years. Drivers who have DUIs older than this may be hired to drive for the company and not increase liability with an accident.
If you still end up injured in an accident caused by a DUI Uber driver, you can sue the company (separately from the driver) based on the theory of vicarious liability and negligent hiring and retention.
If you decide to sue Uber, expect the company to use their lawyers and insurance policy to protect themselves. Uber will try to resolve the matter with legal help and as fast as possible.
Being in an accident can change your life in the blink of an eye. You have the right to arrive at your wanted destination safely.
Drunk driving is not acceptable and is illegal in all states. If the driver was intoxicated (no matter if they had a history of drunk driving) the company holds responsibility as well. If you ended up with severe injuries after you got involved in an accident caused by a DUI Uber driver, you should not wait and hire a personal injury attorney as fast as possible.
Such cases can be complex, especially since the law is not very clear about accidents of this type. Keep in mind that the company will do their best (with the help of their lawyer and insurance company) to come out clear of the case and not pay you a reasonable settlement.
Call Soto Law if you have any dilemmas about a case like this.