Everyone seems to be talking about the so-called sharing economy. This new business approach has helped in the rise of startups such as Lyft, Uber and other ridesharing companies. Many safe drivers are able to make a little cash on the side through these services.
Along with the potential for good from these ridesharing services, there has also been a host of problems. The ridesharing industry is far less regulated than the already established taxi and public transportation industry. Because of this, there have been tragic incidents for passengers and others on the road.
Such was the case in Washington D.C.when a former Uber driver and Federal Protective Services officer was sentenced to five years in prison for killing another driver while driving drunk in May 2015.
Juan Francisco Diana was sentenced to 10 years in prison in connection to his role in the fatal accident that killed Diane Corrao. Five years of the sentence were suspended.
Diana is also required to serve five years of supervised probation, during which he is forbidden to consume alcohol or drugs and an interlock device is to be installed on his vehicle.
Court records indicate that Diana had been driving his black 2014 Ford Fusion at a high rate of speed (around 84 mph) when Corrao was killed.
The road where the accident took place has a posted speed limit of 40 mph. Diana’s vehicle crossed the double yellow lines on the roadway and his vehicle crashed head-on into Corrao’s Ford Taurus, killing her.
While Diana had been off-duty from Uber that night, the company says that it thoroughly investigates the driving record of those who do become drivers for the ridesharing service. Before the accident, Diana did not have a previous record.
At the time of his arrest, Diana was shown to have a blood alcohol level of 0.10, slightly over the legal limit of 0.08 percent.
Diane Corrao leaves behind a husband and a 12-year-old daughter.
One of the issues that repeatedly comes up in the news is that Uber’s drivers are considered to be contractors and not employees. By using this approach, not only does Uber not have to give benefits that it might give to fully-vested employees, they are also able to limit their liability when a driver breaks the law.
Even so, Uber has been sued for wrongful death because one of its drivers was responsible for the death of another person.
One such incident involves the family of a 6-year-old girl who has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the ridesharing company. In the 2014 incident, it is alleged that Sophia Liu was struck and killed while she was in a crosswalk with her mother and younger brother in San Francisco.
The driver, Syed Muffar, according to Uber, was not driving for the company at the time of the accident. The company claimed that it deactivated Muffar’s account on their system immediately following the incident. Muffar’s legal counsel disagrees and said that his client had at least one additional fare that evening and had been logged in and available in the system all of that evening.
As Uber and Lyft become more popular, the downsides are also being realized. People are getting hurt. If you do get hurt in an incident involving crowdsourced driving, North Miami personal injury attorneys Neufeld, Kleinberg, and Pinkiert can represent you. Give us a call for your free consultation or use the conveniently located contact form.