Chicago Workers’ Compensation Lawyers & Illinois Injury Lawyers

Rideshare Passengers May Not be the Only People at Risk of Attack in Uber or Lyft Rides in Illinois

| Nov 9, 2023 | Uber/Lyft |

Over the preceding several months, we’ve heard about Uber and Lyft passengers being beaten, raped and otherwise attacked by their rideshare drivers. But they’re not the only ones who’ve been at risk, as recent reports have covered numerous incidents where rideshare drivers were the victims and passengers were the attackers. In this latter scenario, as with the former one, it is possible that your injuries were, at least in part, the result of the rideshare service’s failure to properly ensure that the ride was a safe one. If you were injured by your Uber or Lyft passenger, then you, with the help of a skilled Chicago rideshare injury attorney, may be able to sue and obtain substantial compensation.

Here are some examples. One of the more extreme attacks happened back in March. A New York City Uber driver was “sucker punched” by a passenger, causing the driver to spend three-plus weeks in a coma and hooked to a ventilator, according to an NBC 4 report.

In August, a Florida rideshare passenger attacked his Lyft driver because of the driver’s vehicle’s COVID-19 protections. The passenger, who was intoxicated and apparently became upset about the plastic barrier, ripped it down and began attacking the driver, according to an Orlando Sentinel report.

A few weeks later, another Florida Lyft driver was attacked by another drunken passenger. The victim was driving a man from a Palm Bay, Fla. bar when he discovered that the man he was carrying was not the person he was supposed to be transporting. Once the Lyft driver turned around to return to the bar, the man behind him began attacking him, according to Florida Today.

A recent lawsuit may point to some options for other Uber, Lyft drivers

So, what can you do if you were attacked by your rideshare passenger? A federal case going on in Maryland may highlight some viable options. B.T. was an immigrant from Cameroon, a father of four and an Uber driver in the Washington, D.C. area who was killed on the job. While B.T. was carrying two Uber passengers on a Prince George’s County, Md. ride, one of the passengers allegedly shot and killed both B.T. and the second passenger. The shooter told police he was high on PCP at the time, according to a Washington Post report.

B.T.’s widow filed a wrongful death lawsuit, and named Uber and Rasier LLC as defendants. According to the widow, Uber’s policies and practices contribute to attacks like the one that killed her husband. The lawsuit alleged that, although the rideshare service does screening to weed out potentially unsafe drivers, it does nothing comparable to weed out potentially dangerous riders. According to the widow’s court papers, Uber requires nothing more from passengers than a phone number, an email address and a valid method of payment. If you have those things, Uber will assign you to a driver. Uber has the technological ability to require photo identification input that could be used to run background checks on potential riders, but nevertheless does nothing, according to the widow.

The lawsuit also alleged that Uber creates an unsafe condition for drivers by discouraging drivers from using their own judgment to reject potential riders whom the driver views as unsafe. Uber allegedly does that by penalizing drivers when they fail to accept any rider Uber has assigned to them.

The widow’s lawsuit does not have to end in a trial and a judgment to be successful. If she is able to defeat the motion for summary judgment that Uber will likely pursue in the case, then that victory could pave the way to her securing a successful settlement. In Uber and Lyft injury lawsuits, as with many injury actions, there can be multiple paths to a positive outcome.

Many people have been hurt during Uber and Lyft rides. A lot of those injuries potentially could have been avoided if the rideshare service had simply done a more reasonable job ensuring that the ride it had arranged would be a safe one. If you’ve been injured in an Uber or Lyft ride, it may have been because the rideshare service didn’t meet its legal obligations, meaning you may be entitled to compensation. Reach out to the skilled Chicago rideshare injury attorneys at Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca to learn more. To set up a free case evaluation, contact us at 312-724-5846 or through our website.