The most popular form of rideshare service in Barrie is taxis. Uber is slowly expanding for the Greater Toronto area, but it is not yet pervasive in Barrie. Uber is everywhere in the GTA and will likely be relatively common in Barrie, but that transition is still happening.
The law with respect to common carriers like Uber and Lyft drivers is still evolving in Canada. It is unknown how to deal with those entities. Uber and Lyft are not currently responsible for the negligence of their drivers. They claim their drivers are independent agents and, as such, they are not responsible for what happens during paid rides. However, good personal injury lawyers intend to challenge this argument.
Most good car accident lawyers are assuming Uber and Lyft and other companies will bear liability when their drivers are involved in collisions. With respect to public transportation in Ontario, the owner and the driver of the vehicle are both liable when they are in an accident. Therefore, in Barrie Uber or taxi accidents, both the actual driver and the taxi company may bear liability. With respect to Uber, the company may be liable for its hiring or oversight practices as well as any concerns that may flow from fatigue arising from unsafe working conditions.
When a crash involves a taxi, the driver will be personally responsible for any subsequent damages. There also may be some commercial liability responsibility policy associated with the taxi company, which would require them to respond to the case. The law is not yet as clear with respect to crashes involving Uber drivers, but it is anticipated that these cases are going to proceed in the same fashion as taxi accident cases. The driver of the vehicle, as well as Uber, would both be on the hook for an injured person’s losses.
Some Uber drivers have not obtained the proper policies. All they have is a personal driving policy like most people. That policy may not respond if the insurance company finds out that the Uber driver is using the vehicle for commercial purposes. A knowledgeable Barrie lawyer from our firm could help identify which policies are going to respond in a given case, as well as advance the claim against everyone who may be responsible for the Uber or taxi accident.
If you are involved in an collision with a hired driver in Barrie, you should find out who that driver is. You might have information with respect to the driver’s Uber account, but you are not going to know, for instance, who insures that person, what insurance company is involved, whether it is a personal policy or a commercial policy, and whether the driver owns or leases the vehicle.
You should also make sure that the incident is properly reported to the police and, ideally, obtain a motor vehicle accident report. Police are less likely to give a copy of the report to the passengers and typically only give copies to the involved drivers. If you cannot get a copy of the report, you must take other steps to get that information from the accident scene.
You may recover damages caused by an Uber or taxi driver by suing the Ontario Supreme Court. You would sue for general damages for pain and suffering, past and future lost wages, medical rehabilitation expenses, and out-of-pocket expenses. You should hire a reputable lawyer and begin a Superior Court action.
Punitive damages may be awarded in rideshare accidents in Ontario, but they are very rare. You would not get punitive damages just because the defendant was or was not an Uber driver. There has to be some sort of extenuating circumstance to warrant punitive damages.
Barrie Uber and taxi accidents are more complicated than typical car crash claims. If you were a passenger during a paid ride, you may have difficulty getting access to the driver’s liability information. There may be coverage issues because the Uber driver has not obtained the proper insurance. Uber may deny being a common carrier and not want to respond to the claim.
You may also have a responsibility to put your own insurance company on notice because if the Uber insurance policy is inadequate or not properly responding, there will be provisions in your policy to protect you when an uninsured or underinsured individual causes an accident. Call a lawyer from our firm to have your questions answered by an experienced professional.