Articles Posted in Uber/Lyft

Rideshare services like Lyft and Uber continue to make headlines for negative reasons. According to a multitude of riders who have filed several lawsuits recently, Lyft isn’t doing nearly enough to protect riders and that unreasonable level of inaction by Lyft has played a role many injuries, including a Brooklyn woman’s alleged gang rape.

According to that woman’s lawsuit, Lyft doesn’t interview potential drivers, doesn’t do significant background checks on potential drivers, doesn’t fingerprint drivers and doesn’t remove drivers after riders report sexual misconduct. These failures and more, she argued, created the circumstances that allowed for her rape to occur. If you’re injured here in Illinois due to an attack perpetrated by your Lyft or Uber driver, it is possible that the rideshare service’s negligence may have played a role and you may be entitled to compensation from the rideshare service. Contact an experienced Chicago injury attorney to find out more about the legal options available to you.

According to a Vice report, the Brooklyn woman was injured in 2017 after she used Lyft for a ride home from a Crown Heights party. The ride should have taken only 15 minutes and cost less than $20. Instead, the driver allegedly took her on a 79-minute drive to a remote New Jersey location and gang raped her. On top of that terror and injury, Lyft charged the woman $106 for the ride, she asserted.

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Recently, this blog touched upon a serious risk for riders using rideshare services like Lyft and Uber. That danger is being sexually assaulted by a driver who should have been removed from the app or never should have been contracted in the first place.

The danger for riders is real, but, as a recent report details, riders are not the only ones at risk. According to the report, many drivers (mostly women) have been the victims of assault. The report calls into question the adequacy of the services’ actions to protect drivers, with some drivers indicating that the rideshare services are even less responsive to the dangers riders may pose to drivers as opposed to driver-on-rider assaults. If you’ve been hurt by your rideshare rider and you can show your injuries were due, in part, to the service’s inadequate safety measures, then you may be entitled to significant compensation. To find out more about what you can do, contact a knowledgeable Chicago injury attorney right away.

Back in 2017, the issue of rideshare drivers victimized by sexual assault was in the news. An Uber driver accused a famous professional football quarterback of having sexually assaulted her. According to the driver, the star NFL player reached between her legs and groped her genitals over her yoga pants. The player later apologized for “the position I put you in” and the NFL suspended him for part of the 2018 football season.

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Recently, this blog discussed a lawsuit where more than one dozen women sought damages based on the rapes or sexual assaults they allegedly suffered at the hands of their Lyft drivers. Certainly, it is entirely possibly for a rideshare company to contract with, and continue using, a driver who’s dangerous without knowing the risk. That lack of knowledge doesn’t insulate the rideshare service from liability; it simply means that the service is only potentially liable based on the legal concept of negligence.

However, what happens, you may wonder, if the service’s culpability goes further? What if the service did know and continued using a driver anyway? If that were true, then the service might be liable both for negligence and for its intentional misconduct which, in turn, could possibly open up additional damages, such as punitive damages. To find out what kind of damages your case might allow you to recover, be sure to reach out swiftly to an experienced Chicago injury attorney to discuss the facts of your specific situation.

This question of negligence versus intentionally wrongful conduct could be of particular interest to some Uber riders. The Washington Post recently reported that Uber has some practices with regard to drivers who pose a risk of sexual misconduct that some may view as troubling. According to the report, the rideshare service uses a “three strikes” system, in which drivers are allowed to stay on the road even after exhibiting inappropriate conduct.

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Recently, news stories have highlighted many different potential safety issues with rideshare services like Uber or Lyft. These issues can include things like the service’s failure to weed out people who are unsafe drivers and failure to weed out people who are dangerous individuals (such as sexual predators.)

The potential safety issues don’t stop there, though. As a recently article in Wired.com pointed out, rideshare riders have to worry, not only about their drivers being safe, but about the safety of the vehicles carrying them. The Consumer Federation of America estimates that there are roughly 70 million vehicles on U.S. roads that have unrepaired safety recall issues, according to Wired. In other words, any time you ride with Lyft or Uber, you may be riding in a recalled car. If that’s true and you’re hurt in an accident, you may be entitled to compensation, so you should reach out to an experienced Chicago car accident attorney to learn more about your legal options.

The problem of unrepaired recalled vehicles is fairly widespread. Part of that is because the volume of recalls is quite large. General Motors recently issued a sweeping recall due to defective ignition switches and another large one recently for vehicle with airbags made by a certain manufacturer. Given that NHTSA statistics show that fewer than 60 percent of recalled vehicles were fixed, it is easy to see how tens of millions of unrepaired recalled cars could be on U.S. roads.

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For most people, using a rideshare service to get around is an ordinary activity and no big deal. One night in October 2018, a woman named Gladis hailed a Lyft for a ride, but her ride was horrifically the opposite of ordinary. The driver allegedly locked the doors of his vehicle, drove around for many hours, and then forcibly took Gladis to a beach and raped her, according to her lawsuit.

Gladis was far from alone. In Gladis’ California lawsuit against Lyft, more than a dozen women additional women joined her, asserting that they were raped or sexually assaulted by Lyft drivers. ABC 7 in San Francisco reported that the women’s attorneys allegedly unearthed more than 100 instances where women suffered sexual assaults during Lyft rides, all in California and all in an 18-month period. What this tells you is that, for too many women, sexual assault or rape by rideshare drivers is a painful reality. If you suffer such harm while using a rideshare service like Lyft or Uber in Illinois, you should be sure to reach out to an experienced Chicago injury attorney to discuss your legal options.

The California survivors making up the group of plaintiffs in Gladis’ lawsuit asserted that Lyft’s efforts to weed out sexual predators from contracting as Lyft drivers were so insufficient as to amount to negligence in multiple different ways. For one thing, the service allegedly did not take proper steps after receiving a sexual assault complaint. According to the survivors, Lyft merely conducted internal investigations into the complaints and did not forward those complaints on to law enforcement authorities.

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Many major national and international entities use complex corporate structures to attempt to minimize or avoid civil liability, especially in today’s more complicated “gig” economy. They may have layers of subordinates or franchisees which, they will argue, are independent and solely liable for negligence that injures you. These large entities can range from online retailers to pizza restaurants to rideshare companies. Many times, these franchisees or subordinates may be very small and/or very financially limited.

The law, however, recognizes some important exceptions when the larger entity is actually the one “pulling the strings” and maintaining control of the activities being performed, and therefore potentially liable. With the right proof, you may still be able to get the full recovery you deserve by pursuing the (often much larger) parent or principal entity. To accomplish these kinds of goals (and others) in your Illinois accident case, be sure you have placed a skilled Chicago injury attorney on your side.

A case from Florida gives some insight into how success might be achieved. In the Florida case, a former fire chief was traveling a state highway when a pizza delivery driver cut in front of him. The chief reportedly swerved to avoid contact but lost control of his truck and flipped. The accident left the chief with permanent spinal injuries that rendered him a quadriplegic. He died 15 months later as a result of complications of the accident, according to a Florida Today report.

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An Uber driver in Chicago made the news in late July for the wrong reasons. The driver, a 27-year-old from Midlothian, allegedly was driving drunk when he struck a police officer’s vehicle on I-94 near 76th Street. The officer was injured and required hospitalization.

If you were injured in an accident caused by a drunken Uber (or Lyft) driver, would you know what to do? Would you know who to pursue for compensation for the harm you suffered? For answers to these and other essential questions, be sure to seek out the advice of an experienced Chicago car accident attorney.

In that type of situation, you’d probably recognize that you could sue the driver. But, what do you do if the driver has few assets only has minimal insurance coverage, while you have piles of medical bills and other damages? Can you sue Uber? The answer is: potentially yes.

In a recent ruling, a federal judge threw out an injured Uber passenger’s lawsuit claim that Uber was negligent in its hiring of the driver who caused his injuries. While that is not good news for the passenger, there is a silver lining. The judge allowed the injured man to re-file at a later date and also provided some key knowledge for this passenger and, potentially, for other injured in accidents caused by Uber or Lyft drivers. Suing Uber or Lyft and winning isn’t easy. To make sure you are pursuing your case in the most effective way possible, be sure that you have an experienced Chicago injury attorney working for you.

According to the injured passenger, J.F., his night of December 22, 2016 unfolded as follows: he entered an Uber vehicle in Philadelphia and told the driver he wished to travel to Cherry Hill, New Jersey. The driver refused. The passenger, aware that Uber policy doesn’t allow “a driver to refuse a trip after learning where the customer wants to travel,” didn’t leave and repeated his demand to ride to New Jersey. The driver got out, came around to the passenger side of the vehicle, pulled the passenger out, threw him to the ground and proceeded to kick and beat him, causing the passenger to suffer multiple broken bones and teeth.

As a result of those injuries, the passenger sued Uber. One of the claims that the passenger made in that lawsuit was that Uber was negligent in hiring the driver who beat him. The trial court eventually dismissed that claim, but the judge allowed the injured man to pursue additional discovery and re-file the negligent hiring claim later once he acquired more evidence.

If you’re hurt in an accident where the at-fault driver was an Uber or Lyft driver, you may be concerned about getting a proper and full payout for your claim. Fortunately, rideshare companies like these offer liability insurance for their drivers. That coverage only applies in certain situations and, even if it does, it may require strenuous effort (just like in many other insurance situations) to get the insurer to pay up. To be sure that you are pursuing your claims in the right way, and getting the full payout that you deserve, be sure you have a knowledgeable Chicago injury attorney guiding you throughout the process.

As it now stands, Uber and Lyft drivers in Illinois are generally considered independent contractors. As a result of that, if your injuries were the result of an Uber or Lyft driver’s negligence, the rideshare company may try to get the driver’s personal insurance to pay. Many drivers’ personal insurers, however, will refuse claims resulting from the driver’s Uber/Lyft activities unless the policy includes commercial coverage. That’s because most personal policies say that the driver must use the vehicle only for personal use and, if she/he doesn’t, then the insurer isn’t liable for paying claims based on that non-personal-use accident.

Fortunately, there is the insurance coverage held by Uber or Lyft. The amount of compensation that you may be able to seek depends on what the driver was doing when the accident took place. If the driver was not logged into the Uber or Lyft app at the time of the accident, then Uber or Lyft’s insurance will say that the driver was not operating as a rideshare driver at the time and will deny coverage. (Of course, if that happens, then you may be able to assert successfully that the driver was using the vehicle for personal use in that moment and pursue a successful claim against the driver’s personal insurance.)