The world is changing. As a result, an increasing number of employees, business owners, and other business stakeholders are using Uber, Lyft, and other ridesharing services to get to work. Indeed, some people have opted to stop using their own cars.
Uber and Lyft services are revolutionizing the transportation industry by creating a higher level of convenience for traveler. However, this trend presents a unique liability issue should anyone get injured while using ridesharing services while on official duty. It is recommended to seek the counsel of an experienced lawyer to solve such a complex issue.
So, who is liable?
This is a complex and nuanced question which has always been the subject of legislation. Lyft and Uber drivers’ personal insurance policy has an exclusion that doesn’t cover personal injury when the vehicle driver is operating the car for financial benefits. Besides, these drivers are just independent contractors rather than employees for the ridesharing companies.
So, who is responsible for your damages? Your employer, the vehicle driver or the ridesharing company?
Employers, it’s time to protect your business
No company enjoys litigation, and for a valid reason. The cost of workplace injury lawsuits is high, in terms of time and money, and can take a toll on the business’s financial health.
While sometimes litigations are inevitable, there are effective preventive measures you can take to prevent them. No matter the size and nature of your business, the following tips can help you minimize the risks associated with business lawsuits.
1. Pick your partners carefully
If you plan to start a business with one or more partners, first do your due diligence. Perform research and ask the right questions about the partners’ ability and availability to handle business matters. Find out more about their ability to pay should the startup go under the partners’ past investments or employment and their plans for the venture’s future.
Similarly, you should get to know more about your business’s potential investors, suppliers, places to rent or lease, and more. For instance, you can analyze their sources of cash to avoid nasty surprises such as an investor known for illegal deals or on the brink of bankruptcy.
2. Keep your business files safe
A simple, firm handshake and a smile aren’t enough to protect your company from lawsuits. Consider keeping all written, signed contracts for business agreements and records of your transactions. Always be clear on your responsibilities and what you expect in an agreement. Specify what will happen if the other party breaches the agreement.
Many businesses these days handle their tasks intensively on computers. Thus, it is essential to emphasize the safety of your computer systems. You should have up-to-date antivirus and other relevant security software. Besides, you should back up your data regularly to avoid losing transaction records or other pieces of valuable information in the event of a technical breakdown.
Remember, proper record keeping can help determine whether or not a specific worker was on an official duty when they got involved in a Lyft or Uber accident. Your company records must show the specific resources allocated to each employee, such as company cars. This can save your company from expensive lawsuits.
3. Hire an experienced lawyer
As a business owner, you should always consult with a knowledgeable lawyer when handling the legal matters for your business. Also, try to secure the attorney who understands the customs and is familiar with the local news in the region in which your business operates.
Note that handling legal issues associated with the state department of tax and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) requires an in-depth understanding of the relevant laws. Besides, if your company is already facing a lawsuit, avoid ‘DIY representation.’ Your business might be on the hook for hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars, and you can’t take any chance. Whether you like it or not, you need an attorney.
4. Act carefully
When it comes to corporate image, company owners and their workers must avoid conducting business activities or making public announcements that may be considered questionable. Thus, you should avoid potentially slanderous statements or even doing business with unscrupulous people.
Though you may think it’s not a problem to work with people known for shoddy business activities, in the event they take hit, there is a good chance your business will be linked to their activities in the fallout.
Avoiding business lawsuits doesn’t mean you should walk away from disputes. The trick lies in having a strategy to prevent conflicts from escalating into serious issues that can end up in court. Seeking the counsel of an experienced attorney can help you take the right steps to protect your company image, assets, and ensure its continuity.