With the evolution of UBER and its competing companies, the question has arisen regarding liability if a person is injured due to the negligence of the UBER driver.
UBER had at first contended that they are not the employer of drivers. The drivers (they contend) are “independent contractors” and UBER is not responsible for their negligence. Various states have grappled with this evolving problem. California has passed legislation to at least have Uber secure secondary liability in the form of insurance) to compensate victims of drivers negligence. The distinction between an employee and an independent contractor is of crucial importance in California. One of the keys to ascertaining if a person is an employee or not is the issue of control. Does the person set their own hours? Does the “employer” tell them what to do and how to do it? If the answers to these and various other questions are yes, California courts have found liability against the company.
UBER’s competitor, Lyft has changed its policy of insurance to provide secondary liability coverage. This is a step in the right direction. UBER derives revenue from the actions of the drivers and should be held accountable if an injury occurs. Injured persons deserve and expect compensation for their injuries. UBER can easily cover this expense through insurance. This is why people purchase insurance: to insulate themselves from exposure over their policy in most instances and to do the right thing. This is personal responsibility and should also be corporate responsibility.
What say you?