Lyft is being targeted after a Lyft driver hit a pedestrian who suffered a brain injury as a result of the accident. Teresa Brookes is suing Lyft Inc., Lyft Florida Inc., Hertz Corp. (a Lyft partner), and the driver of the Lyft vehicle, Wilky Ilet.
According to the police report, Ilet hit Brookes as she was crossing State Road A1A on January 4th of this year. Ilet saw the pedestrian attempting to cross the road and swerved left to avoid her but ended up striking the woman on her right side causing the woman to leave the ground and fly into the center of the intersection.
Drugs or alcohol were not a factor in the accident and it was unclear whether or not the driver had a green light. Nonetheless, the driver should have yielded the right of way to the pedestrian and the fact that he didn’t see her until it was too late is going to play a major role in the lawsuit that the plaintiff will initiate against Lyft.
Is Lyft’s App Inherently Dangerous?
In a typical case car accident involving a Lyft or Uber driver, a determination is made as to whether or not the driver was picking up or deliver a fare. In other words, was the driver ‘on the job’ when the accident occurred? In cases where the driver was on the job, Lyft and Uber both have insurance policies that cover the driver even when the driver causes the accident.
In this case, the plaintiff is alleging that the app itself spurs its drivers to drive recklessly. Indeed, this same case has been made against Uber and other rideshare companies that perform minimal background checks for qualifying drivers.
The plaintiffs are alleging that the driver was distracted by the Lyft app which is why he didn’t see the pedestrian until it was too late. If that’s the case, then Lyft can have a problem. Hertz is being named in the lawsuit because the driver was using a rental car rented from Hertz and Hertz makes a commission on the use of their vehicle.
In this case, since the driver was using a rental car, it may not matter whether or not the driver was attempting to pick up a fare or dropping one off. The mere fact that they were using the rental car may be cause to consider them ‘on the job’.
In addition to blaming the app for the accident, the plaintiffs are alleging negligent hiring of an independent contractor. The plaintiffs contend that the Lyft app, which requires drivers to continuously monitor the app for potential fares, puts the public at risk by creating distracted drivers.
The plaintiff has a month-long hospital stay as a result of the crash and requires round-the-clock care and monitoring due to her condition. The woman is said to have suffered a severe brain injury and requires both occupational and physical therapy as a result. In cases like this, the brain damage suffered by the pedestrian may be permanent.
Talk to a Florida Personal Injury and Car Accident Attorney
If you’ve been injured by a reckless driver, the Vero Beach car accident attorneys at Vocelle & Berg LLP can help you recover substantial damages for your injuries. Give us a call or contact us online for a free consultation.