USA- News.bloomberglaw.com writes that there have been numerous reports of people being assaulted while using a rideshare company. While Uber and Lyft have stated that they are committed to keeping customers safe, they are denying responsibility in the courtroom.
According to the companies’ stances in court, the assaults are not their responsibility because they fall outside of the employment relationship between the driver and the company. The drivers are technically independent contractors and not employees of the Uber or Lyft. When it comes to employer liability, the status of the driver as an independent contractor is factored into the analysis.
In more than 30 civil lawsuits since 2017, passengers claim that the companies are negligent for their hiring practices, false promises to keep passengers safe, and their lack of supervision over their drivers.
If the employing companies had to consider the drivers their employees, the cases against the company would be easier for plaintiffs to win. Arguably, if this were to occur, Uber and Lyft would go to greater lengths to protect passengers and avoid hiring drivers who presented risks.
The allegations against the company include several cases where women say that they were raped in their homes by their drivers. Many of the alleged victims say that they complained to the companies about being attacked and that the claims were not addressed properly.
Even if the drivers were considered employees, the companies would not always be found liable for the actions of their drivers. This is because the company would still have to have been negligent. Other people state that the status of the drivers is less important. If the company is aware of the danger presented by its platform and refuses to do anything to stop such attacks, then they can still be found liable.
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