Uber and Lyft Accidents and Sexual Assault Claims – What They Knew, When They Knew It
Since its launch in 2009, Uber has created a popular – albeit controversial – industry and an equally innovative business model. In 2017 alone, Uber was available in 450 cities in 78 different countries and employed more than 7 million drivers. Combine these numbers with the 1.4 million Lyft drivers and 23 million Lyft users, and we’re talking about multi-billion dollar businesses that are impacting millions of people around the globe. However, many stories have been on the news reporting how passengers are at risk using these on-demand ride-sharing services.
What They Knew
Many Uber and Lyft passengers have been injured over the years and here are some recent examples:
- June 2017 – A 46-year-old Uber driver with felony record allegedly attacked a 24-year-old passenger who was intoxicated. Instead of taking her home, he reportedly took her to a motel and sexually assaulted her. She woke up the next day in the strange room and only remembers falling asleep in the back of the Uber driver’s car.
- August 2017 – A woman from San Diego in her 20s called 911 and said her Lyft driver raped her after picking her up from Pacific Beach.
- September 2017 – Talata Williams, a Lyft passenger, and was killed in a head on collision in Washington, D.C.
- November 2017 – Two women file lawsuits in San Francisco claiming that Uber fails to perform thorough background checks on their drivers and does not follow up on their drivers for instances of inappropriate or violent behavior.
When They Knew It
In December 2014, after hundreds of allegations of sexual assault, Uber starts to perform more extensive background checks on drivers which includes being charged with rape. However, both Uber and Lyft are known to have discrepancies concerning their background checks. Each company has their own policies for how they screen their drivers and these standards can also vary by state. In general, drivers can’t have a criminal record that includes a conviction for a felony, violent crime or sexual offenses nor can they have DUIs or major moving violations in the last seven years. If a crime occured longer than seven years ago, it’s up to the company to decide whether or not they want to hire the person. Lyft performs background and DMV checks for drivers annually. Uber doesn’t.
The first fatal car accident occurred in April 2016 involving a Lyft driver who allegedly was exceeding the speed limit. Lyft claimed that they were not financially responsible because the driver “was an independent contractor responsible for their own means and methods, making the doctrine of respondeat superior inapplicable.” While Uber and Lyft have extensive insurance policies, their responsibility for payouts is still held in question.
What Can You Do?
If you or a loved one was injured while using the services of an Uber or Lyft vehicle, you may be eligible to make a claim. These companies are failing to perform thorough background checks on their drivers and are putting millions of passengers at risk. If you were in a car accident while in an Uber or Lyft vehicle or were sexually assaulted by one of their drivers, you may be eligible for financial compensation. Contact us today.