By Logan Quirk
Uber, Lyft, and other rise-share services are big business in Los Angeles. However, if you ask a reputable Los Angeles personal injury attorney about the new ride-sharing fad, you may get a not-so-popular opinion. While Uber is popular amongst the masses, the fine print of an Uber ride-share contract may leave you thinking twice before using the service again.
Most every app has a “terms and services” page you must agree to before accessing the app’s content. This is no different with Uber; however, the “terms and services” and a bit more severe. You see, Uber, Lyft, and other ride-share drivers are considered to be “independent contractors”, which means that they use the company name and app to get business, but they are independently working on their own otherwise. This means that the drivers must pay for their own vehicle, their own insurance, and their own gas. It also means that in the event of an accident or incident that leaves you injured, the driver, and not Uber, is responsible.
According to Uber’s “fine print”, “The company…does not intend to provide transportation services or act in any way as a transportation carrier, and has no responsibility or liability for any transportation services provided to you…” Comforting, isn’t it? The majority of people do not take the time to read the fine print, and sadly, when something happens they are under the assumption that the named company can be held responsible. When a company, such as Uber, operates using independent contractors, this is not the case.
Perhaps the most alarming portion of Uber’s fine print states, “You may be exposed to transportation that is potentially dangerous, offensive, harmful to minors, unsafe or otherwise objectionable, and…you use the application and the service at your own risk.” This is alarming, and should not be taken lightly. Of course, there may be times when Uber, Lyft, or another ride-share service are you only options for transportation. However, you need to be sure that you fully review the company’s “fine print” before signing on for a ride.