Uber Faces Possible Ban from California
Copyright: dennizn / 123RF Stock Photo Uber may be fined $7.3 million and be suspended from operating in California, thanks to chief administrative law judge Karen V. Clopton of the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). In her decision, the judge accused the major ridesharing company of not complying with certain state laws that ensure fair treatment of all passengers, even though they had a year to do so and were given less strict regulations to follow than regular taxi companies. A spokesperson with Uber called the decision “deeply disappointing.” She also stated that the company plans to appeal the decision within the 30 day period it has been granted by the CPUC. The appeals process could take several months before the CPUC determines whether to uphold the fine and suspension. The multimillion dollar fine is miniscule compared to Uber’s total assets (worth around $40 billion) and thus poses no threat to the company’s finances. However, if the ban is upheld, it could have devastating implications for the company’s future. Uber is already banned in many places around the world and its policies have been heavily scrutinized by regulators in the U.S. in recent years. A bad outcome here could ruin their public image and jeopardize their existence in the market. This is not the first time Uber has faced legal issues nor will it be the last. With multiple injury and employee lawsuits in the works and regulatory change on the horizon, it is only a matter of time before Uber is forced to change their ways, or perhaps fail. If you want to learn more about the legal issues surrounding ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft, click here.
Who Pays for a Crash Caused by an Uber or Lyft Driver?
Photo from NYPost.com Injured in an Uber or Lyft Accident? Here’s Some Advice Surely, the people reading this article, especially Millennials, are familiar with Uber and Lyft, the two giants of the “disruptive” ride-sharing industry. Now valued at billions of dollars each, these companies have achieved enormous success at an extremely rapid pace. There are two primary reasons for their success: convenience and competitive rates. How Uber and Lyft Work Uber, Lyft, and other ride-sharing companies use the ubiquitous ownership of smartphones to connect passenger clients through their proprietary applications. To put it in simpler terms, they offer personal transportation services that can be requested with the push of a button (on an app). Once a ride seeker has made a request, the closest available driver is notified and sent to his or her location. It’s as simple as that. This certainly beats having to call or wait for a taxi and flag it down. Uber and Lyft rides also price their rides at a very cheap rate, relative to taxi fees. They accomplish this by labeling their drivers as contract workers, not employees, which, in turn, allows them to externalize costs like gas, payroll, etc. so that profits are maximized and expenses are kept to a minimum. Employee obligations and benefits aren’t the only things they’ve cut down on, though; they have been able to skirt insurance liabilities as well through the use of convoluted mumbo jumbo in their respective policies. The Ride-Sharing Liability Dilemma To their credit, both Uber and Lyft provide adequate coverage to injured passengers. However, matters get quite murky when it comes to accidents involving other drivers, pedestrians, bicyclists, and so on. While both companies have expanded their coverage to include accidents incurred during a gap between rides, their policies come into effect only if a driver’s personal policy does not cover the accident. Many questions immediately come to mind: What happens if the resulting damages of an accident exceed the driver’s coverage? Who or what fills this insurance gap? Does the victim have to turn to his or her own resources? Isn’t personal policy coverage ineffective in cases where the liable driver was driving for commercial purposes? If this is the case, who covers the damages? A Complex Legal Issue Clearly, there are significant issues surrounding third-party liability insurance in the ride-sharing industry, and many are starting to realize this fact. Legislators in multiple states, including California, have challenged Uber and Lyft on their policies, and there will be many legal disputes in the coming years before clear regulations are established. At Wilshire Law Firm, our knowledgeable attorneys stay on top of the latest developments in ride-sharing accident liability law. Visit this page on Uber and Lift liability if you would like to learn more.