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Landmark Decision Reached in California in Uber Case

On March 11, a judge in California reached a decision in a case involving ride-sharing service Uber that could have some major consequences in New York. The class action suit brought by Uber drivers sought to have the company pay for all maintenance and fuel costs, as well as workers’ compensation insurance. The judge’s decision essentially means that the people doing the work for services like Uber and Lyft are considered employees rather than contractors.

This decision could impact New York in a big way. Because drivers have been deemed employees of Uber, the company is now responsible for any negligence on the part of these drivers in the scope of their work. In other words, if any Uber passengers are injured in an accident that was at least partially caused by an Uber driver, they may be able to file a personal injury claim against Uber and not be limited to the compensation provided through the individual driver’s car insurance.

Uber had asked the judge to dismiss the case, arguing that it was a technology company and not a transportation company, and that it merely produces software that drivers and passengers use to get in touch with each other. Uber’s attorney compared the company to a corporate recruiter that receives fees for bringing job applicants to employers. The judge disagreed, however, stating that because Uber closely supervises the conduct of its drivers, and passengers are asked to rate drivers, the company clearly has a closer relationship with its drivers than it was letting on.

The judge also noted the fact that Uber only gets paid if a driver completes an assignment, and that Uber is responsible for billing the passenger rather than the driver.

For further information on how this case could affect Uber passengers here in New York, contact the auto accident lawyers at Barasch McGarry Salzman & Penson.

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