If you're an Uber driver and something has gone wrong on the job, we can help. Can you sue Uber even though you have signed an agreement that says you're an independent contractor? The short answer is, under certain circumstances.
If you've been hurt while driving for Uber, or suffered any other kind of damages, please consult with an experienced Los Angeles ride sharing accident lawyer. Only an attorney can tell you if you have a viable legal action. This guide is only intended for general information and can't substitute for a consultation with a personal injury lawyer Los Angeles.
When Can You Sue Uber
On September 18, 2019, the California State Assembly passed AB5. The assembly passed this bill to compel rideshare firms to treat their drivers as employees. On January, 1, 2020, the law went into effect, but Uber, Lyft, and other rideshare companies have refused to comply and are challenging the new law. Uber is also allowing drivers to set fares in three California markets to bolster the argument that their drivers are independent contractors.
1. Suing for Employee Benefits
The new law opens the door for Uber drivers to sue for state-mandated benefits either individually, or as part of a class action lawsuit. A ridesharing accident lawyer can help you decide how to best pursue such a lawsuit in this rapidly evolving area of law.
This battle could transform the "gig economy" across the country. If AB5 holds up, many states around the country are likely to pass similar laws for rideshare drivers and other people who work in the "gig economy."
2. Suing Uber for Failing to Pass On Tips
Have you had problems getting Uber to pass on tips made through the driver app? Or, have you put up with unreasonable delays getting these payments? Uber drivers across the country have brought suits against Uber for this reason.
If you have had such a problem in Los Angeles, please seek counsel to help you get the money you deserve.
3. Suing Uber for Their No Gun Policy
Driving strangers around town can be dangerous. You never know who is going to get into your car. But, Uber's safety policy allows the company to fire a driver if they carry a gun while working for Uber, even if the driver is licensed to use and carry a gun.
Uber also bans guns for their riders, even in states where gun laws allow open carry. A Florida Uber driver with a concealed carry permit filed a class action lawsuit to challenge the gun policy, but a federal judge dismissed the case in 2018.
Uber drivers could still file challenges to the gun policy in California. If you are interested in filing such a case, a personal injury lawyer Los Angeles can advise you.
Types of Damages You Can Win in a Lawsuit Against Uber
If you've been injured or harmed by another person and bring a lawsuit against them, damages are the monetary awards you seek to "make whole" your loss.
The following information is simply a general overview of the different types of damages you can win in a suit against Uber. A ride sharing accident attorney Los Angeles will know what kinds of damages are available in a specific case.
Economic damages are tangible harms that can be easily measured. There's no "fuzziness" in how much damage you have suffered. Examples of economic damages are medical costs to compensate for personal injury, lost wages for time off work, the cost to repair or replace property, cost of a rental while your car is under repair and other similar types of harm.
Collateral damages are further harms caused by the initial wrongful act. They're sort of like a domino that inevitably falls when you push the first one over. Many describe collateral damages as "indirect harm." Consult a Los Angeles ride sharing accident lawyer to find out if you can claim these damages in your case against Uber.
These kinds of damages depend on subjective judgment. Non-economic are harms you have suffered but can't be precisely measured. Examples of non-economic damages are:
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of companionship due to wrongful death of a loved on
- Emotional distress
- Psychological burden of living an injury
Courts sometimes punish wrongdoers with punitive damages. These are awards that go beyond the money necessary to compensate the victim. The law imposes punitive damages to prevent wrongdoers from continuing to act in ways that can harm others, or to punish particularly "outrageous" actions.
California courts award punitive damages in less than 5% of cases. But, these awards can be enormous if you can get them. A ridesharing accident lawyer will be able to tell you if you can make such a claim in your case against Uber.
When Drivers Can't Sue Uber
There are some situations in which a driver will rarely succeed in suing Uber for harm they suffer while on the job.
1. Physical Attack by Passenger
Uber drivers typically can't sue Uber if their rider attacks them. The legal theory is that Uber isn't responsible for a criminal act committed by a third party. But, you could potentially sue Uber if they knew about and ignored similar acts by a rider.
2. Workers' Compensation
Employees are generally protected against injuries caused by their job under California's Workers' Compensation law. After California mandated that rideshare drivers are employees, drivers should be able to claim Workers' Compensation even if they caused their own injury. Technically, a Workers' Compensation claim is not a lawsuit since it is insurance.
Uber continues to insist that their drivers are independent contractors. They are likely to refuse such claims. A ride sharing accident attorney Los Angeles can help you contest such a rejection.
If Uber has harmed you, seek legal counsel even if you doubt you have a viable claim against Uber. You don't have to go through this alone. An experienced Los Angeles rideshare lawyer can help.