Lyft, the ridesharing company, is facing a wrongful death and personal injury lawsuit in San Francisco. The lawsuit was brought by the mother and boyfriend of a man from West Sacramento who was killed in a crash with a Lyft driver in 2014.
According to the victim’s mother and boyfriend, they have been trying to reach a settlement with the company, and only filed a lawsuit after Lyft refused to accept legal responsibility for the crash. The victim’s mother says they have been fighting every step of the way and that they never contacted her to express condolences after the accident.
The fatal crash occurred when the victim and his boyfriend summoned a ride using Lyft’s mobile app after a Halloween party on a rainy night in 2014. The driver was a 23 year old man from Sacramento. On Interstate 80, the Lyft driver swerved to avoid a stopped car on the highway, lost control of his Toyota Camry, and spun off the road and into two trees. The car’s computer showed it was being driven at 75 miles per hour. One man was pronounced dead after the crash, and the boyfriend was hospitalized in intensive care for three days.
A report on the crash from the California Highway Patrol found that the Lyft driver caused the crash by making an unsafe turning movement. The Lyft driver had no proof of insurance with him at the time of the crash. He has also been named as a defendant in the lawsuit. According to the victim’s injured boyfriend, Lyft originally offered to pay his medical expenses but later withdrew the offer.
The victim’s mother and boyfriend originally filed two separate lawsuits but later consolidated them into one case. Lyft claims that it is not liable because the driver who caused the accident was an independent contractor, not an employee. Lyft also alleges that the two men voluntarily assumed the risk and that Lyft is not a transportation company and should not be considered as a common carrier.
Publicly, Lyft says that the case and investigation is ongoing and that liability has not been determined. Lyft also says that it has a $1 million liability policy which is designed to provide coverage for uninsured and underinsured motorists. The mother of the deceased says she wants Lyft drivers to be better screened in the future, and for Lyft to be more accurate in its description of the $1 million insurance policy and how it is used to help accident victims.
The liability of ridesharing companies such as Lyft and Uber is likely to continue to be a source of litigation, at least until the law catches up with technology. When an accident occurs because of the negligence of a ridesharing driver, ridesharing companies often try to avoid taking responsibility for the accident because the drivers are independent contractors, not employees. Because of the way insurance policies are structured, it can be tough for riders who are injured in an accident with a ridesharing company to be properly compensated as well.
At Liberty Law, Micha Star Liberty and Seth I. Rosenberg believe that anyone who is injured or killed in an accident is entitled to compensation for damages. If you have been injured in an accident with a ridesharing company such as Uber or Lyft, call the San Francisco automobile accident attorneys at Liberty Law at 415-896-1000 or 510-645-1000. We can help. We work with clients throughout the San Francisco Bay area, including Oakland, Hayward, Fairfield, Tracy, San Jose, Sacramento, and the surrounding areas. Call us today to learn more or to schedule a free consultation on your case.