Have You Been Assaulted, Robbed, or Injured While Using Uber or Lyft?

Rideshare Companies Will Take the Profits, but Not the Responsibility: Customers of Rideshare Giants Reporting Increased Numbers of Crash Injuries, Sexual Assaults

Ridesharing services provide convenience and savings to their users, but anyone who has run into trouble at the hands of an Uber or Lyft driver understands the dangers that can come with using the services of an under-regulated industry. The number of people reporting sexual assaults by drivers vetted by rideshare services has skyrocketed in recent years. Despite this trend, passengers and pedestrians involved in crashes or incidents with Uber or Lyft drivers can invariably expect the same argument by the two-rideshare giants attempts to avoid liability: “We’re sorry for what happened, but our drivers are independent contractors.”

With this approach, Uber and Lyft label their drivers as independent contractors (rather than employees) as a means of avoiding liability for their drivers’ actions. Considering Uber and Lyft’s $70 and $7.5 billion respective valuations, this “we’ll take the profits, but not responsibility” approach is patently unfair and increasingly outdated in an era where most customers consider Lyft and Uber to be the 21st Century’s taxi companies.

The lawyers at TKK are no stranger to this sort of clever independent contractor defense rhetoric. In a recent lawsuit against the taxi company Yellow Cab, TKK overcame Yellow Cab’s independent contractor defense to secure $26 million, the largest verdict in the state of Illinois in 2015, on behalf of one of our clients.

The Dangers of Inadequate Driver Screening

Labels aside, Uber and Lyft are for-hire transportation services. As such, these companies must take responsibility to keep their customers safe. Although both Uber and Lyft consistently state that customer safety is a top priority, their actions do not mirror their words. The screening and background check processes that Uber and Lyft use in vetting their respective drivers have been widely criticized as inadequate.

Unlike taxi companies, Uber and Lyft do not use fingerprint background checks; instead, they compare driver’s license numbers with databases of known criminals and sex offenders. Notably, the information in these databases only covers the last seven years, which means that people with a violent criminal history can, and often do, pass the background screening process.

Uber and Lyft In the News

The shortcomings of Uber and Lyft’s background checks are far from theoretical. In the Chicago area alone, there have been multiple incidents over the past few years in which people have been assaulted or robbed by drivers for these services:

Local National

Ride-Share Accident Liability

In addition to assaults or robberies committed by Uber or Lyft drivers, passengers are at risk of injury in car accidents. Ride-share companies maintain insurance policies which cover drivers and passengers in accidents which occur while a driver is carrying a passenger. However, like the sun sets in the west, ride-share companies will undoubtedly argue their drivers are independent contracts to avoid liability.

Contact a Chicago Ride-Share Attorney

Understanding the legal issues surrounding assaults, robberies, and accidents involving Uber or Lyft drivers can be a complicated matter. The experienced and compassionate professionals at Tomasik Kotin Kasserman, LLC are committed to helping the victims in these cases and to changing public policies and regulations to improve the safety of ride-share services.

If you have been assaulted or robbed by an Uber or Lyft driver, or if you have been injured in an accident involving a driver for a ride-share service, the attorneys of TKK can help you seek justice and receive the compensation you deserve. Call our office at 312-605-8800 or contact us online.

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161 North Clark Street, Suite 3050
Chicago, IL 60601

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