As we look back on the year 2022, it becomes clear that ridesharing apps like Uber and Lyft faced considerable legal issues throughout the past 12 months. Many lawsuits have been filed against these companies, and numerous victims have suffered various injuries from incidents involving vehicles under the Uber or Lyft banner. The prevalence of lawsuits against these companies shows us how unsafe these apps can be – not just for passengers but also bicyclists, pedestrians, drivers, and many other innocent victims. Many of the legal issues faced by these companies have nothing to do with injuries at all. While some might dismiss Uber and Lyft as tech corporations that are “too big to fail,” taking legal action against them is still important if you have suffered injuries or harm.
Lyft Driver’s Family Sues Lyft for Wrongful Death
First of all, it is important to note that sometimes rideshare drivers can be victims. Often, these are individuals who are experiencing financial pressures, and they may be incentivized to rush or accept dangerous passengers by the rideshare company. Many drivers have been fighting for better pay and better employee rights while working for Lyft and Uber.
On December 7, it was reported that the family of a Lyft driver was suing Lyft for wrongful death. They allege that the rideshare company placed its desire for profit above the safety of its drivers, directly leading to the death of the driver. This driver was shot by teen passengers before losing control of his vehicle and crashing into another car.
The incident began when two teens carjacked a different Lyft driver in the area. This driver was able to flee to a nearby home and call 9-1-1. But the report of carjacking teens in the area was never communicated to a second Lyft driver, who unwittingly picked up the same criminals. In addition, these teens were under the age of 18 – meaning that they were not legally allowed to use Lyft’s services.
It is not quite clear what happened after the second driver picked up the teens, but he was found shot and killed after having crashed into another vehicle. The family claims that Lyft “provided criminals with a tool” to kill their loved one. The teens have reportedly been located and will likely be charged as adults for a crime spree involving carjacking, murders, and assault.
Woman Files Lawsuit Against Uber After Being Sexually Assaulted by Driver
Carjacking isn’t the only thing that can go wrong during a rideshare trip. Victims can also be sexually assaulted by drivers. On December 12, 2022, it was reported that a woman had filed a lawsuit against Uber after being sexually assaulted by a driver. The incident allegedly began at about 2:30 AM when the driver picked up the victim at a university campus. The plaintiff claims that the driver strayed from the predetermined route on the Uber smartphone app before turning off his app and canceling the ride. He then apparently drove her to a secluded location and told her to get out of the car.
The woman refused, at which point she was pulled out of the vehicle and guided down a dark trail. He then allegedly attempted to sexually assault her but failed to overpower the victim. Finally, he brought her back to the front seat of his vehicle and threatened her with further sexual assault. Finally, he took her to the requested destination but continued to sexually assault her for the remainder of the journey.
Unfortunately, a judge dismissed all of her claims and ruled in Uber’s favor. All except for the negligence claim was tossed out, meaning the victim will not receive compensation for things like emotional distress, false imprisonment, deceptive practices, negligent supervision, vicarious liability, and general negligence.
The plaintiff’s attorney pointed out that Uber drivers are allowed to cancel the ride at any point during the journey. From that moment forward, the driver is considered to be “off the clock,” and Uber cannot be held liable for their actions. This is one of the most controversial policies behind Uber, and the plaintiff’s attorney points out that this allows Uber to turn a blind eye to the safety of its customers. Uber insists that their drivers are “agents” and not employees. This creates a serious barrier for victims seeking justice.
The judge in this case stated:
“How can Uber be charged with the responsibility if they have set forth procedures and protocols as to how a driver is supposed to conduct themselves, and this person clearly violated those by engaging in illegal conduct wherein he not only turned off the app but allegedly deprived the victim of her means of communication for getting an Uber?”
Uber Faces Wrongful Death Lawsuit After Cyclist Death
On October 14, 2022, it was reported that Uber faced a wrongful death lawsuit after one of its drivers struck and killed a cyclist. The driver admitted that he was checking his phone and searching through the Uber app to find new passengers at the time of the crash. One of the biggest criticisms of ridesharing apps is that they essentially encourage drivers to engage in distracted driving. This is because the only way to function efficiently as an Uber driver is to constantly check the app on your phone. The cyclist was reportedly wearing a reflective vest and helmet with front and rear lights when he was struck by the Uber driver.
Where Can I Find an Uber and Lyft Attorney in Essex County?
If you’ve been searching for a personal injury attorney in Essex County who can assist you with an Uber or Lyft lawsuit, look no further than the Smith & Williams Law Firm, LLC. We know how dangerous these apps can be for virtually everyone on the road in New Jersey, and we’re ready to help you hold these negligent parties accountable for any damages you might have incurred. These damages might include medical expenses, missed wages, emotional distress, and much more. Book your consultation as soon as possible, as the statute of limitations can prevent you from taking legal action if you wait too long. Remember, internet research can only get you so far.