Many people appreciate the convenience of rideshare companies like Lyft or Uber for getting around without having to drive. Responsible riders may also take a Lyft when they are going out drinking to avoid drunk driving or causing a DUI accident. However, passengers who get into the Lyft should not anticipate having a driver who may be impaired.
Hit and Run and Trapped Passengers
Two Lyft passengers who were involved in an accident have filed a lawsuit against the company. According to news reports, Ryan Larson and Matt Hinerfeld were on their way to a company Christmas party and used the ride-hailing app Lyft to call for a ride. When they got into the vehicle, they reported a heavy smell of tobacco and another unidentified odor.
The passengers said the driver slurred his words but they did not think the driver would be drunk because of Lyft's policy against impaired drivers. They gave the driver the benefit of the doubt and thought his slurred speech may be due to a medical condition.
The Lyft driver turned around to face the passengers, while driving, and asked where they were going. The Lyft driver then reportedly kept giving the passengers a fist pump. The driver made some comment about whether there were going to be rock stars at the party and made a dangerous left-hand turn across traffic without yielding, and the passengers suspected something was wrong.
The lawsuit alleges the driver crashed into a car in front of them as the passenger yelled “stop.” The passengers tried to get out of the car but the driver had the child-proof door locks engaged and could not get out. The driver then said, “You are my passengers. It's gonna be fine.”
The passengers had enough and demanded to get out “right now.” The driver started to drive away, almost hitting a parked car, before finally pulling over. The Lyft passenger immediately notified Lyft of the accident through the app. Meanwhile, the Lyft driver fled the scene of the accident without waiting for the police to arrive. The driver of the other vehicle reportedly said the Lyft driver smelled of alcohol.
After an Accident as a Lyft Passenger
What should you do if you are injured as a Lyft passenger? The first step after any injury accident is to seek medical treatment. At the scene of an accident, call 9-1-1 to get emergency treatment at a local hospital. In many cases, the passengers in an accident think they are fine but start feeling the effects of the accident hours later. If there is any possibility of an injury, seek medical attention.
As a passenger, make sure you have the contact information of the driver and any other parties involved in an accident. Do not leave it up to the other drivers to report the accident. If the other drivers never report the accident, the passenger may find it difficult to start a claim for injury damages.
The rideshare companies want a passenger to handle any injury claims through the app. Their policies may require reporting an accident through the app in order to get compensated. However, beware of leaving it up to the ridesharing company to pay out after an injury accident. The rideshare companies may say their insurance company is handling the claim, trying to avoid any responsibility for your expenses and medical care.
By calling an experienced rideshare accident lawyer, you will have someone on your side with your best interests at heart. Your attorney will deal with the drivers, insurance company, and rideshare company so you don't have to. Talk to a lawyer as soon as possible after an accident to get started on your case to recover compensation for your injuries. Call 303-642-8888 for a free consultation.