One of the greatest advantages to choosing Uber, Lyft or other rideshare companies is the knowledge that you will have a reliable way to get to your destination if you are intoxicated. In fact, the rideshare companies such as Uber often flaunt their ability to prevent drunk driving accidents from happening. However, rideshare drivers are humans who make mistakes, and some of these mistakes turn out to be driving under the influence themselves.
Although rideshare companies approach responsibility for customer safety differently, this guide should help you understand what your rights are if you are a victim of a drunk rideshare driver.
Incidents of Rideshare Drunk Driving
Although rideshare companies often present themselves as a safe alternative to drinking, the companies themselves are not strangers to having their drivers experience DUI charges.
A few examples of rideshare drunk drivers include:
- A Chicago woman was burned alive when her drunk Uber driver crashed.
- An Austin passenger experienced his drunk Lyft driver being pulled over by police after swerving between lanes.
- A Florida Uber driver intoxicated with methamphetamines crashed into a semi-truck, killing his passenger.
- A North Carolina Uber driver drove a passenger into the ditch when he got behind the wheel after four beers.
Uber’s Drunk Driving Policy
Uber boasts a zero-tolerance policy for driving under the influence. They encourage you to ask the driver to end the trip immediately, exit the vehicle, and call 911 if you suspect your driver has been drinking. They also encourage you to contact them in the app or through email.
Lyft’s Drunk Driving Policy
Lyft also claims to have a Zero-Tolerance Policy toward drivers driving under the influence. They encourage passengers to call 911 and contact their critical response team if they experience a drunken Lyft driver.
Results of Your Complaint
One of the most frustrating aspects of dealing with an intoxicated rideshare driver is the fact that you may never know the results of your complaint. If you contact the company afterwards and ask about the conclusion of their investigation, the company will not tell you the answer.
Instead, the rideshare company will claim that they are protecting the privacy of all users by not telling you whether your drunk rideshare driver was fired or if the driver is allowed to continue to work for the company and endanger others.
Driver’s Liability in a Drunk Rideshare Incident
If you or your loved one are a victim of a drunk rideshare driver, you have the legal right to file a lawsuit against the driver. Important evidence that you will want to keep includes a copy of your police report, screen caps of your communication with the rideshare company and any medical or funeral bills that resulted from the accident.
Rideshare Company’s Liability in Rideshare DUIs
Typically, when an employee injures you while they are working for their company, you have the legal right to sue that employer. However, rideshare companies typically argue that their drivers are independent contractors, and are therefore not employees.
Will the independent contractor status keep the rideshare companies safe in a drunk driving lawsuit? It seems unlikely, based on other lawsuits against the companies. A California lawsuit by women who were sexually assaulted by Uber drivers found that Uber could be held responsible for the driver’s actions. The judge found that the women had demonstrated that an employee and employer relationship did exist, and therefore, Uber could be held liable.
Seeking an Attorney
The question of liability in a rideshare drunk driving accident can be complicated due to the relationship that drivers have with the company. If you have been impacted by a drunk rideshare driver, your best choice is to contact an experienced personal injury attorney to discuss the case.