Even worse, Gargac then live-streamed the video to his Twitch account, earning extra revenues on top of what his unsuspecting ridesharing passengers were paying for their transportation.
Not only did the livestream to Twitch permit viewers to eavesdrop on conversations the passengers had thought were private, but viewers were also able to comment in public and in real time on aspects of the passengers’ appearance and demeanor.
But worst of all, Gargac was acquitted of all charges of violation of privacy because all of this occurred in St. Louis, Missouri.
If anything like this happened to you here in the state of California, would you be able to sue? And when would you need to retain the services of the best ridesharing accident lawyer to expedite your claim? Let’s find out!
Is It Illegal for Ridesharing Drivers to Video Passengers?
As the best ridesharing accident lawyer would readily tell you, the answer to this question depends entirely upon where the incident occurred.
As the opening example highlights, if you were videotaped unawares by a ridesharing driver in Missouri, you are unlikely to have much if any recourse.
But it is a little different here in the state of California, which is to your benefit if anything like this ever happens to you in the future.
What Is One Party Versus Two Party Consent?
One party consent is the prevailing law in states like Missouri. In Missouri, only one party who is participating in a video session is required to be aware of and give consent to that video session. This is called “one party consent” and it is the governing law in the state of Missouri.
In the case presented in the introduction here, Gargac was the sole party aware of the video session in progress, and for this reason Missouri upheld his right to violate his passengers’ privacy.
Here in California, we have a two party consent law. This means that all parties involved in the video session must be aware of and give their consent to their participation. As you can see, this is quite different and offers you a great deal more protection than the hapless passengers in Gargac’s Uber in Missouri.
In California, if you entered an Uber, Lyft or other ridesharing vehicle and the driver took photos or videos of you without your knowledge and express consent, this would be an offense prosecutable by law.
Prosecuting Unlawful Photo or Video Taken of You in California
California has very strict laws when it comes to traffic and personal privacy. However, ridesharing as an element of traffic law is still rapidly evolving, with new precedents being set on a daily basis.
The Gargac case in Missouri was the first of its kind, and unfortunately the passengers in that case fared poorly since their state does not protect their personal right to privacy.
Here in California, it is possible to sue Uber or Lyft if the driver has a camera in the car. But because there is little precedent to do so, the best approach is to work with a Los Angeles personal injury lawyer who has a specialization in California traffic law and a successful track record of prosecuting ridesharing cases.
What to Do If You Suspect Your Privacy Is Being Violated by Uber/Lyft
California, like all states, maintains a statute of limitations when it comes to filing a lawsuit or making an insurance claim. The statute of limitations, or time period before you are no longer legally permitted to seek restitution, differs depending on the issue.
The best ridesharing accident lawyer will be able to advise you on the statute of limitations for your particular situation and details.
However, prosecution is only possible if you have some type of proof that the incident occurred. So the moment you become aware that your privacy may be compromised, it is time to start taking action of your own.
One of the best ways to protect yourself is simply to use your own smart phone’s camera and video features. If the content taken without your permission is viewable online, be sure to capture it because it will likely be removed the moment your lawsuit gets filed.
Also be sure you get the name and contact information, including the Uber or Lyft driver number, for the driver whose actions you feel are violating your privacy. Your Los Angeles Uber accident lawyer will be able to use this information to follow up on your complaint.
What to Do After Being Involved in an Uber/Lyft Incident
Ridesharing has literally transformed public transportation, especially here in California. Many passengers don’t realize that ridesharing giant and industry leader Uber was actually birthed right here in San Francisco.
California actually takes a tougher stance when it comes to ridesharing traffic law than many other states. But these cases are still very difficult to navigate because ridesharing traffic law itself is so new.
If you are involved in any type of incident while you are a passenger of a ridesharing service, you should always take these four steps in order to protect your privacy, personal and legal rights.
1. Get the driver’s license plate number, contact information and car number.
2. Contact Lyft or Uber to report the incident right away.
3. Keep copies of all interactions with the ridesharing driver and document them with hard photo or video evidence for safekeeping.
4. Retain your own ridesharing accident attorney to represent your case and protect your interests.
What to Look for in a Ridesharing Accident Attorney
Often, victims in ridesharing incidents wonder if any attorney can represent them or if it is necessary to find a lawyer that specializes in traffic law.
Here, the analogy would be similar to if your air conditioner stopped working. Who would you rather call to fix it, an air conditioning professional or your neighbor who took a few classes in a/c troubleshooting at the local community college?
For ridesharing law in particular and all auto incidents in general, you really want to work with an attorney that specializes in traffic and ridesharing case law.
Look for a law firm that spends the majority of their time handling traffic law and ridesharing cases. Also look for a majority of successful case outcomes and positive past client reviews.
Has Your Privacy Been Invaded by a Ridesharing Driver? We Can Help!
When your rights have been violated by a ridesharing driver, it is vital to know what California laws are relevant to your situation so you can get the reparations and compensation you deserve.
California is one of the strictest states in the nation when it comes to traffic law, but it is also one of the most vigilant when it comes to personal privacy. You may have a strong case to prosecute the driver that violated your personal rights.
Contact West Coast Trial Lawyers today to schedule your free no-obligation consultation with an expert Los Angeles personal injury lawyer.