Detroit Woman Seeks To Hold Third-Party Contractors Liable in Lyft and Uber Lawsuit


Ridesharing companies like Lyft and Uber have become prolific around the world for providing low cost, accessible transportation. As helpful as these services are to customers, they are also causing a rise in legal disputes, many of which are not as easy to solve as they appear. One common legal question continues to arise in rideshare litigation, however, and that is if individuals can hold third-party contractors liable for their actions.

Sheila Hawkins is seeking to hold third-party contractors liable by suing Lyft and Uber after she was injured in a high speed accident while riding in a Lyft rideshare vehicle. The driver was allegedly distracted by the push notifications that drivers are sent regarding pickup requests. The driver slammed into the back of tractor trailer at about 70 miles per hour. Ms. Hawkins suffered a traumatic brain injury and a spinal cord injury.

How Ms. Hawkins’s case will be resolved is unclear. Drivers for both Lyft and Uber are third-party contractors. It is extremely common for drivers to work both for Lyft and Uber simultaneously, switching back and forth between companies on a ride-by-ride basis. Both Uber and Lyft send drivers notifications on their smartphones about users looking for rides around them. This is true even if the driver is still currently finishing a ride. Ms. Hawkins argues that the companies should not send notifications when they know their drivers are still operating a vehicle with a passenger inside.

Third-Party Contractors and Liability

The lawsuit filed against Uber and Lyft highlights the legal issues that are being created as tech companies invent new products and services. These new litigation issues can lead to extremely lengthy and costly legal proceedings for both sides, while the law and applicable court rulings determine exactly where liability lies.

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The litigation team at MehaffyWeber is comprised of experienced and aggressive civil trial lawyers. We have had success in trials, arbitrations, mediations, and in state and federal court proceedings. If you are facing complex litigation, contact us today to schedule an appointment.