News4Jax provides more scary information about ride-sharing companies that makes me pause as a personal injury attorney before I ever call them to use. According to the news agency, a UNF student recently used Lyft and her driver climbed into the back seat and assaulted her once she reached her house last month. Even though the driver was criminally charged, the UNF student is now filing a civil suit.
The Lyft driver is facing misdemeanor battery charges after police said he groped the woman, but he’s plead not guilty. The student has also filed a restraining order against the driver in addition to the lawsuit. The student’s attorney says a Lyft ride should end with a safe ride home, not an assault. The lawsuit alleges the driver and the company that hired him, Lyft should be held responsible. It goes on to state that even though Lyft markets itself as safe and family friendly, it doesn’t do enough to make sure passengers are safe. According to the student’s attorney, Lyft is advertising safety but all they do is a simple background check. There is no supervision or accountability.
The City of Jacksonville requires companies like Lyft to provide medallions (a permit issued by a government agency to operate a taxicab), background checks, insurance and inspections, but in for this driver – there was no medallion, no background check provided to the city, and no city inspection. City Councilman Matt Schellenberg shared his insight on if the company was breaking city law. “According to the Lyft representative they are following the rules that are in the ordinance in this point and time. Our general counsel says that’s not correct,” Schellenberg said. “So I think the committee that I am chairing is for clarification of what actually they are required to do.”
The lawsuit asks for damages in excess of $15,000 not including attorney’s fees. They hope the suit will lead to a more thorough hiring process and training for Lyft employees.