When to Sue a Rideshare Company Directly for Negligence in Utah

Ridesharing services exist in many major cities these days, and people routinely book rides on apps to avoid using public transit systems. While these services provide convenience for riders, there are risks associated with getting into a stranger’s personal vehicle.

Passengers using rideshare services have reported issues with driver misconduct ranging from inappropriate comments to physical and sexual assault. Others have been injured in accidents due to negligent driving. Complaints have also included drivers denying service animals, dirty vehicles, and surge pricing gouging. Discrimination against passengers based on race, disability, or destination has occurred. Some users feel unsafe due to a lack of driver vetting and training. Overall, the convenience of rideshares has trade-offs, with multiple reports of driver behavior, profiling, negligence and safety compromising the passenger experience.

Rideshare drivers undergo background checks, but this does not guarantee passenger safety. If you suffer injuries in a rideshare vehicle due to driver negligence in Utah, you may have grounds to sue the rideshare company directly. Here is what you need to know.

Determining Driver Negligence

The first step is to determine if the rideshare driver was negligent and caused your injuries. Examples of negligent behavior include:

  • Speeding, running red lights or stop signs. Driving recklessly above speed limits or illegally running traffic signals demonstrates negligence.
  • Distracted driving like texting or talking on the phone. Driver distraction by cell phone use shows negligence through inattention.
  • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Intoxicated driving greatly impairs driver capabilities and is extremely negligent.
  • Fatigued driving or falling asleep at the wheel. Drowsy driving when too exhausted to stay alert is negligent behavior.
  • Improperly maintaining the vehicle. Poor vehicle maintenance like faulty brakes or bald tires is negligent and unsafe.

If the driver was clearly negligent, this helps support your case against the rideshare company. Gather evidence like police reports, witness statements, photos of the accident scene, and medical records. Consult with an attorney to review your evidence and build your claim of negligence.

Rideshare Company Direct Liability

Typically, rideshare drivers are independent contractors rather than employees. This means the rideshare company is not automatically liable for driver negligence under the legal doctrine of respondeat superior.

However, plaintiffs can still try to sue the rideshare company directly in some cases under the theory of negligent hiring, retention, training, or supervision of the driver. Essentially, you must prove the rideshare company was negligent in vetting, training, or monitoring the driver whose actions caused your injuries. This involves showing foreseeable risks that the company ignored.

Utah Direct Liability Case Law

There have been some cases in Utah attempting to sue rideshare companies directly for negligence with mixed results:

  • Coats v. Uber Technologies, Inc. (2019) – The plaintiff sued Uber directly, but the Utah Supreme Court ruled Uber did not owe the plaintiff a direct duty of care to screen, train, or supervise its drivers under Utah law. This effectively shielded Uber from liability.
  • Woods v. Lyft (2020) – The plaintiff sued Lyft for negligent hiring and supervision after being assaulted by a driver. A Utah district court allowed the case to proceed to trial against Lyft. The outcome shows rideshare companies may potentially be held directly liable in some circumstances in Utah.

The specific facts and alleged negligence are important in determining if you can successfully sue the rideshare company itself for injuries, rather than just the individual driver.

Statute of Limitations

Utah has a 4-year statute of limitations for personal injury claims, including negligence suits against rideshare companies. This means you need to file the lawsuit within 4 years of the accident or relinquish your right to sue. Act promptly to preserve your claim and consult qualified Utah counsel. An attorney from Monge & Associates can help you file a claim and secure the compensation you deserve.

Should You Sue the Rideshare Company?

Before deciding if or whom to sue, consult with a personal injury attorney from Monge & Associates to fully evaluate your case. Key factors to weigh are the extent of your damages, the rideshare driver’s negligence, the company’s potential negligence in hiring/training, insurance coverage implications, and time limits. Suing the driver individually is typically easier than proving company negligence. Discuss your options with an attorney experienced in Uber, Lyft and rideshare lawsuits to make informed decisions. With proper evidence and legal arguments, you may be able to hold a rideshare company directly accountable for negligence leading to passenger harm under Utah law.

Call now for a free consultation on (888) 477-0597 if you’ve been injured or assaulted while using a rideshare service. We have offices in 32 locations across 19 states, and our experienced attorneys are here to help you.