Medical Malpractice and Personal Injury Law Blog

Lyft Faces Wrongful Death Lawsuit, Regulators Considering Action

Posted by Charles Gilman | Apr 28, 2016 | 0 Comments

Ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft are changing the way we do some basic things in the United States. Capitalizing on the recent movement of young professionals back into the cities, where owning a car is more of a hassle than a convenience, ridesharing companies have found a niche giving wheels on an “as needed” basis, at little cost to the rider.

However, the business models used by Uber and Lyft and their competition rely on playing fast and loose elsewhere in the law. Unfortunately, this makes things complicated when you use a ridesharing company for a lift, and things go wrong and people end up getting hurt. In an attempt to prevent this from happening, state regulators have been looking for new ways to make sure the drivers who are offering the rides are committed to safety.

Lyft Accident Kills One, Injures Two

An example of the dangers of ridesharing come from a lawsuit recently filed in California from an accident that happened in 2014.

After a Halloween party, Shane Holland and Brady Lawrence used Lyft for a ride home. Even though the driving conditions were bad, with wet roads and rainy weather, their driver, Shanti Adhikari, drove 75 mph on the highway. When he swerved to avoid a car that was stopped on the highway, his car spun off the road and hit two trees, killing Holland and severely injuring Lawrence.

At the time of the accident Adhikari had been driving with Lyft for around a month, and had a speeding conviction from a year prior. Under Lyft's hiring practices, the moving violation did not prevent him from driving for the company.

Personal Injury Lawsuit for Wrongful Death

Both Lawrence and Holland's mother sued Lyft and Adhikari for wrongful death, as well as other personal injury claims. As expected, one of the defenses that Lyft has made is that it is not responsible for the injuries because Adhikari is not an “employee” – instead, he's an independent contractor, who is responsible for his own actions. If successful in this argument, Lyft would not have to pay compensation for Holland's death.

Push for California to Regulate Ridesharing Companies More Tightly

Because of the novelty of ridesharing and the risky business model adopted by Lyft and Uber, regulators have been keeping a close eye on how to keep people safe from situations like that faced by Lawrence and Ms. Holland.

One of the proposed regulations is aimed at preventing ridesharing drivers from using rental cars unless they leased the car for more than four months to show their commitment to the profession of driving.

Maryland Personal Injury Attorneys at Gilman & Bedigian

Ridesharing is quickly becoming a popular part of our culture. It is convenient and inexpensive, and can create flexibility for lots of people, both riders and drivers. However, legal issues like the employment status of drivers and the insurance aspects of ridesharing make it risky.

If you or someone you love has been hurt while using ridesharing services, contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at Gilman & Bedigian at (800) 529-6162 or online.

About the Author

Charles Gilman

As managing partner and co-founder of Gilman & Bedigian, it is my mission to help our clients recover and get their lives back on track. I strongly believe that every person who is injured by a wrongful act deserves compensation, and I will do my utmost to bring recompense to those who need and deserve it.


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