Recent Lawsuits Highlight the Problematic Nature of Rideshare Companies Such as Uber and Lyft
Popular rideshare companies are under fire from drivers, passengers and government
Public transportation and mass transit options have long been a subject of consternation particularly in urban areas where millions of individuals rely on buses, trains and subways daily for both personal and professional travel. Usage of popular rideshare companies such as Uber and Lyft have surged in popularity in a relatively short period of time. Recent statistics indicate that more than 30% of individuals have used a rideshare app and Uber, alone, has roughly 8 million users among 334 cities in 60 countries worldwide. However, this exponential growth in ridesharing has not been without controversy.
In just the last five years while Uber has transformed into a multi-billion dollar industry, there have been numerous lawsuits filed concerning many different issues. As of last year, there were more than 70 pending lawsuits in federal court against Uber alone. These lawsuits concern a wide variety of issues including driver’s rights, government interference and passenger safety.
Individuals that drive for rideshare apps are classified as independent contractors. Because of this, drivers argue that they are denied significant employee benefits including minimum and overtime wages and increased employee protections against unlawful termination. Local city governments are also going up against rideshare companies to enforce extensive regulations, such as mandating background checks and fingerprinting of drivers, that taxi companies must adhere to.
Claims involving passenger rights and safety have been some of the most high-profile legal battles waged against rideshare apps. Lawsuits have been filed arguing that rideshare drivers have discriminated against passengers, particularly those with certified service animals. Additionally, price fixing and surge pricing has been a subject of contention between passengers and companies. Arguably, the primary problem rideshare companies are currently facing concerns passenger safety and company liability. The lack of background check procedures is highlighted by lawsuits filed by sexual assault victims. Related to these claims is the issue of whether Uber and Lyft can be held responsible for the negligent actions of their drivers.
In response to these issues, cities and states have recently enacted legislation to provide more protections for passengers. New Jersey now requires all ride share companies to have at least $1.5 million in insurance coverage. In addition, drivers are now subject to background checks and prior convictions for sexual assault, driving under the influence, homicide or drug possession precludes employment.
While ride sharing apps are more popular than ever, it is important to remain vigilant and educated about your rights as a passenger or victim bystander. If you’ve been involved in an accident caused by a ride-share driver, contact the experienced New Jersey accident attorneys at Leonard Legal Group. To schedule a free initial consultation, call us at 973-984-1414 or send an email.