Lauren Geisser, ‘Risk, Reward, and Responsibility: A Call to Hold UberX, Lyft, and Other Transportation Network Companies Vicariously Liable for the Acts of Their Drivers’

Introduction:
… This Note will put forth a framework proposing that even if T[ransportation] N[etwork] C[ompanies] drivers are defined as independent contractors, TNCs should still be held vicariously liable for the actions of their drivers on a theory of vicarious liability. Traditional tests defining worker status can no longer stand in this new world of app-based, on-demand services. Through the lens of TNCs, this Note seeks to provide a framework, substantiated by both traditional and modern justifications of tort law, to distinguish when TNCs should be held vicariously liable for the harms caused by their drivers. In Part I, this Note will describe the background behind TNCs and tort law as it applies to taxicabs, limousines, and other closely related transportation services in California. Part II covers the liability imposed on taxicabs and charter-party passenger carriers, which provides a comparative framework for the proposed vicarious liability for TNCs. In Part III, this Note will focus on the impact of ridesharing on (1) the taxicab and limousine industry, (2) consumers and prices, and (3) insurance. Ultimately, Part IV puts forth a system of joint and several liability for TNCs to be held liable for the actions of their drivers, even if their drivers are independent contractors … (more)

Lauren Geisser ‘Risk, Reward, and Responsibility: A Call to Hold UberX, Lyft, and Other Transportation Network Companies Vicariously Liable for the Acts of Their Drivers’. Southern California Law Review, Volume 89, Number 2 (January, 2016).

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