Though many passengers have been using rideshare vehicles instead of ambulances they do not understand the position they’re putting the driver in. With regard to a case where an Uber driver saved a sick man’s life, legal professional Veeba Dubal explains, “You’re not liable if you refuse to take them. You’re under no legal obligation to care for them until they get in your car, and then you’re a proprietor conducting business.” He continues, “There have been cases where business owners haven't protected people from violence who walk onto their property, and the courts have said there's a special relationship between the business owner and customer, and the business owner acted negligently by not keeping the customer safe. In this case, the business owner would be the Uber driver, once the rider gets into the car.”
This basically means that once the sick person enters your car, you do have a duty of care for that person.
A spokesperson for Uber responded with, “Uber is not a substitute for law enforcement or medical professionals”. “In the event of any medical emergency, we encourage people to call 911.”
AB5 has changed the “independent contractor” status to “employee”. If treated the same as other drivers, such as bus drivers or professional drivers, then the company may be held liable in case of an accident. The victim could claim that the company is liable for:
- Respondeat superior
- Negligent hiring or retention
- Negligent lending or a vehicle
- Negligent maintenance of a vehicle