The Risks of Rideshares in Florida

Rideshares have become incredibly popular in big cities like Miami and Fort Lauderdale. However, that popularity comes with a price. Companies like Uber and Lyft allow almost anyone to drive for them to keep up with demand. This puts customers at risk because the fundamental nature of rideshares puts the rider alone and under the driver’s control for long periods.

If you use rideshares regularly, you must understand the risks you face when you get in the car with a stranger. Below are some of the most common dangers of rideshares and tips for holding drivers and their employers accountable if you’re harmed during a trip.

The Dangers of Rideshares

Uber, Lyft, and other rideshare companies perform background checks for their drivers, but not many. All it takes to become a driver is a valid driver’s license, at least one year of licensed driving experience, and a driving record without major or recent minor violations. Drivers need to undergo a background check, but how Uber and Lyft perform these checks and how often they update a driver’s profile is unclear.

As such, it’s possible for you to end up in the car with someone who has been convicted of a serious crime but has not yet been banned by their employer. Similarly, since there’s no actual driving test, you could be in the car with a reckless driver who hasn’t been issued a ticket for their behavior. In either situation, you’re at risk of issues like:

Car Accidents

The most common reason people get hurt using rideshares is because the driver got in an accident. Drivers receive better compensation if they complete rides quickly, so they have incentives to ignore traffic safety laws and cut corners. This can lead to dangerous behavior like speeding, running red lights, and cutting other drivers off, which can lead to car crashes.

If your Uber or Lyft driver causes a car accident and you get hurt, they’re liable for your injuries. The company may also be responsible depending on what they know about the driver’s behavior. For instance, if the driver has received multiple complaints about dangerous driving and their employer hasn’t addressed them, they may be partially liable for the accident because they let the driver remain on the road.

Physical Assault

Another serious risk comes from the threat of physical assault. Uber and Lyft drivers have their passengers physically isolated and can control where they go. This is the perfect recipe for robbery and assault. Drivers could attack you to steal your wallet and phone, or they could become violent after you have a disagreement, and you’ll have little way to escape.

Either way, you could be seriously injured. While the driver is responsible for their actions, if their employer knew about a history of violence or neglected to perform background checks that would have identified them as dangerous, they may also be liable for the harm you suffered.

Sexual Assault

Sexual assault is another serious form of attack. The same isolation and control that make rideshares a great situation for thieves also make them appealing to sexual abusers. Without the ability to get away, thousands of rideshare passengers every year suffer from sexual harassment, assault, and rape.

For instance, between 2017 and 2020, nearly 10,000 Uber trips involved some form of reported sexual assault. This does not include other rideshare companies or unreported attacks. It may be that the number is much higher, especially if passengers feel uncomfortable reporting the assault to the company. If a rideshare company permits a driver to continue working for the platform after receiving reports of sexual behavior, they could be partially liable for the incident.

What You Can Do If You’ve Been Hurt by a Rideshare Driver

If you’ve already been harmed by a rideshare driver, they and their employer may be liable for your losses. You can hold them accountable and pursue just compensation for the harm you’ve suffered by taking legal action. Here’s what to do after you’ve been harmed:

  • Get legal or medical help. If you’ve been physically injured, get medical treatment as soon as possible. If the rideshare driver committed a crime, such as assaulting or stealing from you, report it to the police. This gives you a better chance of recovering from the incident and generates a paper trail if you decide to take legal action.
  • Report the incident. Next, inform the rideshare company about the incident. However, don’t accept anything they offer in return – file your report and do not respond to communications for the moment. Anything else you say to the platform may impact your legal case.
  • Collect evidence. Gather documentation like medical records and police reports about the incident. Other important information to have on hand includes medical bills, insurance reports, receipts for anything that was stolen, your work schedule if you have to go on medical leave, and any other communication you have with the rideshare company or the driver.
  • Work with an experienced attorney. A qualified lawyer is an essential partner if you want to take on a rideshare company for the harm their driver caused you. Your lawyer will help you gather evidence, respond to the rideshare’s communications regarding the incident, build a case, and choose the most effective legal strategy for your situation.

Stand Up Against Dangerous Rideshares with the Law Offices of Gomez & Gomez

If you’ve been harmed by a rideshare driver, you deserve compensation for the losses you’ve faced. You can take the first step by reaching out to the expert personal injury attorneys at the Law Offices of Gomez & Gomez.

We have represented personal injury clients in Florida for over 25 years. We pride ourselves on using our experience and knowledge to support our clients and help them receive fair compensation for the harm they have suffered. Schedule your consultation today to learn more about how we can help you stand up to the rideshare company that harmed you.