Two Lyft passengers are suing the ride-hailing company for a “harrowing” ride by a driver who ignored their demands to let them out of the vehicle before striking another car. The lawsuit, which was filed on May 15, 2020, in Los Angeles Superior Court, is alleging reckless endangerment, negligence, and intentional and negligent misrepresentation. Both passengers are seeking unspecified damages.
On December 19, 2019, Ryan Larson and Matt Hinerfeld used the Lyft app before 7 p.m. to get a ride to Hinerfeld’s work-sponsored Christmas party. When the driver arrived, the two passengers noticed the smell of tobacco and another unidentifiable odor—later believed to be alcohol. The driver appeared to be slurring his words; but because of Lyft’s zero-tolerance policy for drugs and alcohol, the two assumed the driver’s speech was related to a medical condition.
As the ride continued, Larson and Hinerfeld noted the driver was acting strangely and were again concerned about the possibility of intoxication. The driver was asking the two about the party and tried to fist bump Hinerfeld while the car was in motion. As a result, the driver ended up in the oncoming traffic lane and made an unsafe left turn.
At this point in the ride, Larson and Hinerfeld decided they needed to get out of the vehicle, but the driver crashed into the car in front of them before they could cancel their ride. The force from the crash caused Larson’s phone to fly from her hand.
After the crash, the two passengers tried to leave the vehicle, but the driver engaged the child-proof door locks, saying “You are my passengers. You are my passengers. It’s gonna be fine.” Larson allegedly demanded the driver let them out, but her request was ignored. Approximately 100 feet later, the driver pulled over and unlocked the doors. Hinerfeld called Lyft to report the accident while the rideshare driver sped away, leaving the scene without waiting for the police to arrive.
Lyft has yet to comment on this incident or the lawsuit.
When a rideshare driver is negligent in any way and passengers are harmed as a result, the victims have the legal right to file a lawsuit against the driver and the rideshare company to seek compensation for any accident-related losses. If you’ve been injured in a crash and believe your rideshare driver was to blame, the Rideshare Law Group can evaluate your situation and help you determine if pursuing legal action is the right decision for you. Contact us today for more information.