Safety Issues You Need to Know About When Ridersharing with Uber or Lyft
The ridesharing industry continues to grow as word of Lyft going public spreads through news outlets. Rumors also indicate that Uber could soon launch its own IPO, which could make ridesharing an even stronger component to our national economy. This amplifies concerns when it comes to passenger safety and traffic accidents involving Uber and Lyft. So, what issues do members of the Bay Area rideshare community need to focus on?
Can Passengers Trust Uber and Lyft Drivers?
A CNN report from May 2018 claimed that more than 100 rideshare drivers sexually assaulted passengers over the past four years. Our Lyft and Uber attorneys here at James McKiernan Lawyers are now representing one such rideshare assault victim. This disturbing trend raises questions about the safety of these ridesharing services.
Many critics agree that rideshare companies don’t do enough when it comes to vetting the drivers they hire. Though these companies have the resources to launch thorough checks such as fingerprinting, rideshare companies continue to resist these safety measures. Uber and Lyft claim that more rigorous checks would scare away potential drivers. Yet, New York City requires fingerprint background checks on rideshare drivers. So, why can’t similar safety measures be deployed in other cities across the nation?
Do Rideshare Drivers Drive Safely?
Another concern for rideshare passengers is whether their drivers are skilled enough to get them to their destinations safely. A recent Lyft accident sent a woman to the hospital after being pinned between two rideshare vehicles. A professional limo driver who witnessed the crash lamented that most rideshare drivers aren’t trained to the same degree as most professional drivers. These measures often include professional certifications, endorsements, permits and a commercial driver’s license. Could these measures prevent Uber and Lyft accidents?
In a study released by Rice University and the University of Chicago, researchers claim that Uber and Lyft may increase traffic safety issues. Out of the 2,955 examined communities, an increase in traffic accidents was noted in 1,185 areas where ridesharing apps had been released. Could this increase be connected to the lack of safety training administered to Uber and Lyft Drivers?
How Hard Is It to File a Claim Against a Rideshare Company?
If you are in an Uber or Lyft car accident, recovering compensation may be harder than you realize. Due to rideshare companies classifying their drivers as contractors rather than employees, they have managed to avoid some liability for the damages their drivers cause. However, the State of California and other states across the nation haven’t let companies like Uber and Lyft escape all responsibility for damages.
In our state and many others, rideshare companies are required to insure their drivers and passengers for $1 million. Though rideshare companies comply with these regulations, they do not simply pay out their policy limits. Lyft and Uber accident policies also have different levels of coverage depending on the circumstances of the rideshare accident. This further complicates the process of recovering compensation when you have been injured in a Lyft or Uber accident. This is when the services of a Bay Area rideshare attorney can help.
How Does James McKiernan Lawyers Help?
Here at James McKiernan Lawyers, we have the experience accident victims need to recover compensation for their injuries. Over the past 30 years we have handled more than 20,000 personal injury claims. We have represented injury victims in very complex cases, so give us a call at (888)442-2918. The initial consultation is free, and we will help you determine who is responsible for your Bay Area rideshare accident.
James McKiernan Lawyers Files Sexual Assault Lawsuit Against Lyft
James McKiernan Lawyers has filed a class action lawsuit against Lyft, Inc. on behalf of a passenger who was sexually assaulted by a driver. On November 4, 2018, a woman who had been drinking used the Lyft app to hail what she thought would be a safe ride home. During that ride, the woman blacked out and was escorted into her home by the Lyft driver. The driver sexually assaulted the unconscious woman for 30 minutes. After the assault, the man used the woman’s cellphone to give himself a $20 tip on the Lyft app. Authorities later arrested the assailant. His actions were caught on a home surveillance system.
Many individuals rely on rideshare companies to get home safely after a night on the town. Yet few people realize just how unsafe the drivers for these companies can be. This can lead to kidnappings, physical attacks and sexual assault.
Ridesharing companies have the technology and resources to make their rides safer but have not taken the necessary steps to do so. When cities asked Lyft to institute fingerprint background checks, the company claimed the measure would scare away potential drivers. Yet it operates in New York City and Houston despite both cities requiring the security measure. In May of 2018, a report from CNN highlighted that over the past four years, 120 rideshare drivers sexually assaulted passengers. CNN’s report also listed Lyft drivers. The company has not taken clear action to prevent the hiring of drivers with questionable backgrounds. This is why lawsuits like the one we have filed in San Luis Obispo Superior Court are so important.
Lawsuits like these, pioneered by trial lawyers, hopefully will make an eventual and lasting change in securing safety for all rideshare passengers. —James McKiernan
About James McKiernan Lawyers
Our San Luis Obispo law firm has over 30 years of experience helping injury victims and their families recover compensation. James McKiernan Lawyers serves clients in San Luis Obispo and the surrounding areas.
What Do I Do If I Am Injured in an Uber or Lyft Ride?
What do you do if you are injured in an Uber or Lyft vehicle?
Uber considers its employees independent contractors, a classification the company has used to avoid liability in lawsuits before. You may recall an accident in 2014, where a six-year-old child was hit by and Uber driver and killed in San Francisco. Because the driver was an independent contractor, so it went, the company was not liable.
Uber drivers are expected to maintain their own private insurance. However, if you are injured during the course of your trip and your driver is at fault, you are covered under a $1 million liability policy that Uber and Lyft have.
If you are not a passenger or the driver is off duty, it’s a little more complicated. In those situations, you will likely have to make your claim on the driver’s personal insurance policy. If the driver is on duty and does not have a passenger, you will still be required to make your claim on the driver’s policy, not Uber’s $1 million dollar policy.
If you are injured in a crash while an Uber passenger, here’s what you need to do:
- Call 911 immediately. While you wait for emergency services, if possible without causing yourself more injury, begin to document the accident scene.
- Call for any witnesses you see and write down their names, email addresses and phone numbers
- Write down the name of the driver or screenshot their name in the Uber app
- Screenshot your Uber receipt and the photograph the scene
Once you have been treated, your first call should be to a personal injury attorney. The accident likely led to damages such as your pain and suffering, medical bills, lost wages or capacity for work and more. The best way to seek those damages from a negligent driver is to enlist the help of an attorney