It is not likely that you will encounter someone who has never used a rideshare app to travel, or at least have heard of the various rideshare apps out there. One of the more popular apps is Lyft. Lyft offers transportation for customers through an easy to use app on a smartphone. We tend to think of these transportation solutions as safe, but they do carry their own risks. Drivers are vetted, covered under the rideshare company’s liability insurance when the app is in use, but considered independent contractors.
Recently, a lawsuit was filed against Lyft alleging that the app drivers are required to use while in service is distracting and dangerous. Earlier this year, a pedestrian was injured after being struck by a Lyft driver who was allegedly distracted by using the Lyft app. The injured pedestrian was leaving work, on foot, and crossing the street when she was suddenly struck by the Lyft driver. The Lyft driver allegedly told police that he did not see the woman in the crosswalk.
The plaintiff is alleging that Lyft requires the use of an “unreasonably dangerous” app that is dangerous to the public. The complaint filed includes seven counts including negligence of all defendants named, direct negligence, negligence in hiring the independent contractor, defective design (strict liability), and direct negligence of the design of the app being negligent.
There are many cases out there about distracted driving and rideshare drivers being negligent in their driving and causing car accidents. However, this lawsuit is directly targeting the use of Lyft’s smartphone app. Drivers use the app to find riders to pick up, navigate to the required destination, and to communicate and connect with riders. The allegations of distracted driving stem from the drivers being required to “constantly” monitor the app while working. This constant monitoring is allegedly distracting to the drivers and the cause of the accident in this case, as well as other accidents.
The emergence of rideshare apps was based on the idea that they offer safe transportation for those who are impaired, unable to drive, traveling in a new location and unfamiliar with the terrain, or otherwise needing a ride somewhere. Yes, there are safety benefits in getting impaired drivers off of the road, but rideshare apps come with their own risks. In fact, a study found that Lyft, and other rideshare apps, may actually be increasing the number of deaths and accidents taking place annually around the country.
If you have been injured in a Lyft, or other rideshare service, you may be entitled to compensation through a personal injury suit. The personal injury attorneys at Dennis Hernandez & Associates are here to help you. We know it can be confusing to know who might be held liable for your injuries after an accident. Is it the rideshare company? The individual driver? Our attorneys will assess the situation to make sure we hold the correct parties accountable. Do not delay in receiving the legal help you need. Contact us today for a consultation.