Unquestionably, the advent of ride-sharing technology has endowed consumers with a flexibility and ease of transportation rarely encountered elsewhere. Uber Technologies, the face of the industry, commands a 75% market share and a valuation of over $9 billion. With 7,500+ employees, and over 1 billion completed rides, Uber (and ride-sharing) is clearly here to stay. However, ride-sharing’s meteoric rise to the forefront of transportation is not without caveat. In lieu of public transport, commuters are using ride-sharing services at an increasing rate. As more and more drivers enter the market in order to capture demand, ride-sharing has displayed an unfortunate negative externality: inevitably, the increase in ridership correlates to an increase in the number of accidents including Ubers.
In the personal injury case of Mr. Carr, Uber cost him his arm — and nearly his life. According to police reports, on July 14, 2018, Jersey City man Noel Carr was approaching a green light on his Suzuki motorcycle, “when the driver of a silver Volkswagen turned…crashing directly into him.” The driver, Marlon Ramtahal, who was in the midst of performing a ride, stated that “he never saw the motorcycle.” The police documents reports in gruesome detail that as a result, Mr. Carr’s leg “was broken in multiple places” as well as his “right forearm amputated”. Additionally, a casualty of circumstance, the Uber rider also sustained injuries, reporting pain in his chest and stomach. Mr. Carr was later transported to the Newark University Hospital trauma unit in critical condition. The report further states that Mr. Ramtahal corroborated Mr. Carr’s account, later refusing medical attention on the scene.
Who is responsible when an Uber driver causes personal injury?
Ride-sharing technologies, while convenient, sometimes result in tragic events. In the event of an accident, often the next question is discerning with whom the onus of responsibility lies. Unfortunately, due to employee classification practices, defining liability in ride-sharing accidents prove difficult. Uber has already garnered criticism, as well as been the subject of a 2013 class action lawsuit, for allegedly misclassifying employees as ‘independent contractors’ in order to disclaim liability, minimize wages, and discharge benefits. In a feat of regulatory arbitrage, Uber contracts with their driver partners under legal arrangement as contractors, and not employees. Since taxation, work hours, overtime, legal liability and so forth may be treated differently by various political jurisdictions globally, this designation has been controversial to say the least. In July of 2015, the United State DOL issued guidelines to deal with what it considers, ‘misclassification” of workers. While these guidelines are non-binding, agency recommendations often have some influence in interpreting the law.
Going forwards, Lemberg Law, representing Mr. Carr, condemns those who would shirk responsibility and prepares to navigate the complex legal ecosystem surrounding ride-sharing personal injury accidents. We are determined to secure just compensation for Mr. Carr, who, to no fault of his own, was severely injured both physically and in the eyes of the law.
About the Author:
Sergei Lemberg is a lawyer whose practice focuses on consumer law, class actions and personal injury litigation. He has been repeatedly recognized as the “most active consumer attorney” in the country. In 2020, Mr. Lemberg represented Noah Duguid in the United States Supreme Court in the case entitled Duguid v. Facebook. He is the author of Defanging Debt Collectors, a book that teaches consumers how to battle debt collectors and win.