The Risks of Lyft and Uber

The ridesharing apps Lyft and Uber have been in the news recently. Uber, of course, had its fair share of notoriety after problems with executives at the company and various accusations of poor management. Lyft, on the other hand, has largely been in the news for emerging stories about its business; the app made headlines for its initial public offering a few weeks ago — it emerged into the stock market with a value of several billion dollars!

While Uber and Lyft have maintained different reputations in the news, it is clear that both of these companies are forces in our economy to reckon with. I do not foresee either going away anytime soon. Even more, Uber and Lyft have both focused research on artificial intelligence development so that one day, self-driving cars could be introduced on a mass scale and allow riders to use their app to hail a ride that is not actually ‘manned’ by a human.

This is just one of the reasons that strikes have recently been taking place by drivers for the ridesharing apps. Conflicts and anger around payment rates, tipping procedures, and more have caused strikes and tensions to flare between drivers and company executives.

At times, it seems there will never be an issue related to Uber or Lyft driving on which all parties will agree. However, the issue of safety is at least allegedly important for all parties — riders included! This agreement is important because there are some real safety issues with Uber and Lyft rides.

One of the biggest is a lack of clarity on who is exactly driving Uber or Lyft vehicles. Most states do not have updated requirements for these companies to do the same type of background checks as required for taxicab companies or other modes of transportation. While there have been relatively few crimes committed by Uber or Lyft drivers to make the headlines, the fear is still present for many riders — especially younger females who rely on the services in busy, bustling cities.

An additional fear about Uber or Lyft safety is discussed on the Jurewitz Law Group website; accidents are fairly common issues in the daily life of commuters or city-dwellers. It is unlikely that you personally will crash every day. However, at any point in time, somewhere in a city a car is crashing or about to crash. So how do crashes work in Uber or Lyft vehicles?

Determining liability is a messy process. In some states, special exemptions have been carved out to make Uber, Lyft, and other ride-sharing apps some of the few mass-transit options not covered under “common carrier” laws. Essentially, large-scale transit types like trains or buses are considered at-fault in every instance there is an accident. It is cheaper and easier in the long term view of things to assume liability and pay out compensation for damages rather than investigate an endless amount of crashes that take place in a large city, every year.

Uber and Lyft, however, are not considered “common carriers” and thus determining responsibility for accidents is a convoluted process best managed through working with a lawyer; no matter if you are the other car, the rider, or ride-share driver.

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