Can Uber be responsible for the action of fake drivers?

PMR Law

Uber has become very popular in recent years, providing an alternative to cabs and offering transportation to locations at a lower price.

However, with comfort come risks.   Since several reported sexual assaults, and even at least one alleged murder, involving ‘Fake drivers’ have come to light, terrifying concerns about safety arise when using these modes of transportation through mobile applications.

These sorts of Uber related crimes have been going on for some time. For example, in 2017, a man posing as an Uber driver sexually assaulted a woman.

According to a CNN report released last year, in a span of four years, at least 103 Uber drivers were accused of sexually assaulting their passengers or abusing them in some form or fashion.

Uber has stated several times that the company has been working with authorities for several years to prevent abuses of fake drivers, through the security solution “Check Your Ride”. The company also announced proactive education plans to remind passengers of safety measures, including a social media awareness campaign and automatic notifications to remind customers of the importance of verifying their car and driver information.

What to do if you’re a victim of a fake driver

Three unidentified women filed a lawsuit against Uber before the Superior Court of Los Angeles in April 2019.

The lawsuit alleges that fake drivers sexually assaulted nine people between September 2016 and February 2018, and although the police informed the company, Uber did not do enough to protect its users from sexual predators, nor did it make the incidents public knowledge.

The complaint, which deals only with cases in Los Angeles, came a week after student Samantha Josephson, 21, of the University of South Carolina, was found dead after getting into a car, which she believed was the Uber service she had requested.

In Josephson’s case, police arrested a suspect after finding traces of the girl’s blood in the man’s car. Josephson’s case drew attention to the need for better safety procedures when using Uber, and how to make Uber vehicles more identifiable.

The plaintiffs claim that Uber makes it easier for sexual predators to pretend to be Uber drivers since the car tag decal is a free download file that anyone has access to.

And even though since 2017 the company implemented the “Check Your Ride” campaign so that passengers are reminded to verify their car with the information on their mobile application, this may not be effective if/when customers are drunk, according to the plaintiffs.

Tips to verify the validity of Uber drivers

1.Before getting into the Uber car, use the application to verify that the car’s license plate matches that in the mobile app.

2. Make sure that the person behind the wheel looks like the driver’s picture that appears in the mobile application.

3. Never provide your name first when getting into the vehicle. Instead, ask the driver who they are supposed to be picking up.

4. If you are traveling alone, Uber encourages you to travel in the back seat instead of in the front. That way, in case of emergency, you have more of an opportunity to exit from both sides of the vehicle.

5. Uber also recommends its users share details of the trip with a friend. You can do this by tapping the “Share my trip” option on the Uber home screen, once your ride has started.

How to share your trip in Uber:

BEFORE A TRIP

1. Open the app on your mobile phone.

2. Access the main menu by clicking on the three horizontal bars in the upper left-hand corner of the screen.

3. Click on “Settings”.

4. Select the option “Share my trip”.

5. Scroll the control to activate this option.

6. Within this same option (Share my trip), press “Select Contacts”.

7. Search the names of the people you want to share your journey with.

DURING A TRIP

1. During your trip, when you open the application you will see the main navigation screen.

2. Click on the icon of the marker on the upper left-hand corner.

3. If a blue check mark appears, it means that you are sharing your location with those you selected in the configuration.

4. If you want to stop this option, just click again on the bookmark icon and select “Stop sharing”.

WHAT ARE MY OPTIONS?

If you were a victim of a driver posing as an Uber driver, you could be able to file a claim for personal injury. However, you must prove that you were a victim of assault during your trip.

In the past, injured people did not have as many options to get compensated for their personal injuries other than filing a claim against the company or against the driver of the Uber vehicle.

Today, travel-sharing companies such as Uber have liability coverage that can cover these situations if it is proved that the passenger was a victim of assault during a trip. It is important to keep the following information in mind since each instance can be treated differently based on different factors and circumstances.

Uber drivers are independent contractors, not employees. As such, Uber is not always responsible for the behavior of its drivers.

All Uber drivers are required to have a personal insurance policy, must go through a background check, and are required to have a clean driving record.

Uber has a $ 1 million liability insurance policy that only goes into effect when an Uber driver is working when the incident happens.

Uber will not provide coverage if an accident occurs when the driver has the Uber application turned off or if the incident occurs while the driver is outside of his/her working shift.

Uber could provide a certain amount of coverage if the driver’s Uber application was turned on and he or she was “available” to pick up a passenger. However, the $ 1 million policy may not go into effect when there are no passengers in the Uber vehicle.

In general, the process of determining what your legal rights are in the event that you or someone you love is injured by an accident related to Uber can be extremely difficult and confusing. Therefore, an experienced personal injury and automobile accident lawyer in Houston should assist you when you are thinking of taking legal action.

If you have been a victim of a fake driver, you need to be represented by one of the top lawyers representing Uber victims in Houston. Dealing with Uber can be a complex experience. Although Uber provides coverage to its drivers and customers, a personal injury lawyer can help you resolve your situation efficiently. The legal team of P&M Law has experience in the field of personal injury and has the knowledge to try and help victims of these types of situations receive the compensation they deserve.

Contact our lawyers at 832-481-3427. Get in touch with us immediately so we can evaluate your case for free.   We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You can also fill out a form by clicking here.

PMR Law is considered one of the Best Law Firms of America, by Rue Ratings.  Several of our attorneys have been given the honor of being named Super Lawyers by Thomson Reuters.   The American Institute of Personal Injury Attorneys has named our attorneys 10 Best in Client Satisfaction.    Speaking of personal injury, Attorney and Practice Magazine awarded our attorneys with Top 10 Personal Injury Attorney distinctions. The National Trial Lawyers, as well as the American Academy of Attorneys, have named two of our attorneys as Top 40 Under 40.  Our attorneys have been recognized as Best Attorneys of America, by Rue Ratings.   PMR Law is a proud member of the Multi-Million Dollar Advocate Forum.   

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