When you drive for a rideshare app, it is a great way to make extra money while behind the wheel of your vehicle. However, the fact remains that you never know exactly who will be stepping into your vehicle during the day or night. While most of your trips will be fine, others may involve passengers who are sick when they step into your vehicle or become sick along the way. When this happens, liability will suddenly become a serious issue for you. While you may want to help the person any way you can, making the wrong move could put you in legal peril. However, with the recent passage of the AB5 regulation in California, additional laws may be in place during these unusual instances. If you are an Uber driver and find yourself facing complex liability issues due to a sick passenger, contact a personal injury attorney Newport Beach residents trust from Accident Lawyer’s Firm.
You are Not an Ambulance Service
While it may sound crazy to you, many people have started calling Uber instead of an ambulance when they have a medical emergency. Since a typical ambulance ride will result in a bill of at least $300, many people use Uber because it is cheaper. However, it is vital you remember Uber is not an ambulance service, and you are thus not obligated to provide service to or help the person in any way in these situations. If you are experiencing legal issues due to such a situation, speak with a rideshare lawyer.
AB5 and Liability
With the passage of AB5 in California, Uber drivers have much more liability protection than before. Under the provisions of AB5, an Uber driver is not liable when refusing service to a customer. However, once you choose to accept them as a passenger, you are considered to be a proprietor conducting business, and thus have a legal obligation to care for them. In legal terms, you have accepted a duty of care for the passenger. Our attorneys are well-versed in this new regulation, and you can contact them for further information on your rights if you are an app-based driver.
No Longer an Independent Contractor
Under the terms of AB5, independent contractors should be treated as employees, meaning they are eligible for benefits and unemployment. It also means that the company can be held liable for their employees’ eligibility.
However, the rideshare giants Uber and Lyft were heavily against these regulations, and Proposition 22 re-classified app-based drivers as independent contractors. This helps the rideshare apps shirk responsibility when there’s a rideshare lawsuit.
Because of this, Uber and Lyft are protected against lawsuits for their drivers’ negligence. This means that even more focus is put on you, the driver, when something goes wrong.
What if a Passenger Gets Sick?
If you have accepted a passenger’s request for service in your Uber vehicle, you owe them the duty of care that often arises in negligence cases. Should your passenger become sick during the trip, always make sure you make every attempt to speak with the passenger to assess their coherency. Along with this, quickly pull the car over to a safe spot off the road and immediately call 911. A button to call 911 is easily accessible in the app.
Once you make this call, you have fulfilled your duty of care, and alleviate most if not all of your potential liability issues. Should a sick passenger still accuse you of negligence after taking these steps, speak with Uber and Lyft accident lawyers Newport Beach residents consult regularly for issues like this.