After the death of a Lyft passenger, the family filed a lawsuit against the company. The lawsuit alleges, among other things, that the company’s application process, which is done entirely online, is not sufficient to properly vet drivers and to keep passengers safe.
The lawsuit stems from the death of a Lyft passenger in January 2018. He went to a restaurant and then a bar in West Hollywood. A friend ordered a Lyft vehicle to pick him up and transport him to the friend’s home. On the way, the Lyft driver and the passenger became involved in an argument. The Lyft driver pulled over to the side of a busy freeway, pepper-sprayed the passenger, ejected him from the vehicle, and left him on the side of the freeway. The passenger was later struck by a car and killed.
According to the lawsuit, Lyft’s processes for screening drivers is inadequate. In order to become a Lyft driver, drivers apply online through Lyft’s website. There are only three steps involved: completing an online application and driver profile, undergoing a background check and driving record check, and passing a vehicle inspection. Lyft drivers have to be 21 and own an iPhone or an Android phone. There are no additional requirements to be Lyft drivers. Lyft does not conduct its own background checks. The background checks are performed by a third-party company, and extend for only seven years, which according to the lawsuit may not uncover all criminal conduct or driving history. Drivers are not fingerprinted.
The lawsuit claims that because of Lyft’s inadequate screening and hiring procedures, passengers may be exposed to unsafe and unfit drivers. The lawsuit also claims that Lyft did not conduct an adequate background check on the Lyft driver involved in this case. The company did not meet with him in person before hiring him, look at his safety record, or check his employment references.
Transporting passengers for hire is a huge responsibility, and companies who do that have a duty to ensure that their drivers are suitable for the job. If you have been hurt by a Lyft or an Uber driver, you should speak with an attorney. Call me, Conal Doyle, Los Angeles personal injury attorney, at 310-385-0567. I can help. Call today to learn more or to schedule a free consultation on your case.