Report: At Least 50 Uber/Lyft/Delivery Drivers Killed in Gig Economy Since 2017

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How Can I File an Uber or Lyft Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

How Can I File an Uber or Lyft Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

May 12, 2022

At least 50 people have been killed while gig working as drivers for Uber, Lyft, and other app-based companies since 2017, according to a new report from Gig Workers Rising, a campaign supporting and educating workers who are organizing for better wages, working conditions, and jobs. Incidents of drivers who were killed in fatal car accidents or from injuries sustained while on the road were not included in the report.

At Least 50 Uber/Lyft/Delivery Drivers Killed in Gig Economy Since 2017

Gig Workers Rising’s report highlights some troubling statistics relative to the safety of Uber and Lyft drivers. For example:

  • Over 63% of the app-based workers murdered or killed in the last five years were people of color.
  • Workers of color, however, comprise less than 39% of the overall workforce in the U.S. economy.
  • Gig Workers Rising’s report found evidence of drivers working for Uber, DoorDash, Lyft, Instacart, Postmates, and Grubhub who were killed on the job.
  • The Gig Workers Rising database of murdered workers may or may not include the 19 people Uber listed in its safety report as having been killed through physical assault in 2017-2018.
  • The report may or may not also include the 10 people Lyft listed as killed through physical assault in its safety report covering the years 2017-2019.
  • No evidence of safety reports published by any of the other gig corporations operating in the United States was found.

The Gig Workers Rising database also offered statistics relative to what the organization referred to as a “sense of the magnitude of danger and additional injury and death not represented in this report.” Those statistics include:

  • There were 43 fatalities in 2019 among taxi and limousine service workers (which includes rideshare drivers).
  • There were another 25 fatalities that year among couriers and express delivery services workers (which includes food deliverers).
  • There were 65 fatalities in 2019 in the category of ‘Fatal crashes involving taxis and electronic ride-hailing vehicles,’ according to the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Gig Workers United also noted that evidence exists which indicates rideshare workers face “even more danger” than taxi and limousine workers or regular drivers. The organization stated that this is, in part, because of the “unique pressure gig workers feel to accept passengers and lack of information about those customers.

The organization specifically references a report on carjackings by The Markup, which quotes an expert who says, “Lyft and Uber drivers are much more vulnerable than other carjacking victims.

The report also included multiple tragic stories of drivers throughout the United States who had been murdered while working for rideshare companies.

But perhaps the most troubling aspect of the Gig Workers Rising report involves how rideshare and delivery service corporations such as Uber, Lyft, DoorDash, Grubhub, Instacart, Postmates, and more will go to great lengths to avoid liability when their workers are killed on the job.

As the report notes:

“When workers in other industries are injured or killed on the job, employers have a legal responsibility to their workers and/or their families. Part of that responsibility is typically to maintain workers’ compensation insurance and to pay into the disability insurance system to cover income shortages in the case of illness, disability, and/or death. Traditional taxi drivers, for instance, usually have access to workers’ compensation and/or occupational hazard policies.”

But as app-based companies typically classify workers as independent contractors (e.g. California’s AB 5 law), the Gig Workers Rising report notes that they “too often contend that they bear no responsibility for their workforce.”

Gig Workers Rising cited two sources to illustrate this point:

  • Uber has regularly argued in lawsuits that it owes no “duty of care” to any driver that has been injured, according to an independent report.
  • Uber actively avoids calling the police to evade responsibility, according to a New York Times report.

The killings are the tip of the iceberg,” Cherri Murphy, a former Lyft driver and organizer with Gig Workers Rising, said. “They’re being sexually assaulted, physically assaulted, emotionally accosted.”

A story from Marketplace.org indicated that gig companies such as Uber and Lyft have responded to the Gig Workers Rising report with written statements. Said statements reportedly point out the safety features the apps do provide drivers.

Lyft, Uber, and DoorDash reportedly offer an in-app emergency button drivers can press if they feel unsafe during a ride, according to Marketplace.org. However, as the Gig Workers Rising report notes, when physical or sexual violence occurs against a gig worker, many state laws only provide drivers with a certain amount of coverage.

These workers aren’t afforded the important legal protections that they deserve,” Murphy said.

What Happens When You File a Wrongful Death or Personal Injury Claim Against Uber or Lyft?

The Gig Workers Rising report outlines potential hurdles workers and their families may face when filing civil lawsuits against Uber, Lyft, DoorDash, and other app-based companies.

According to the report:

  • When civil lawsuits are filed against gig companies, the companies often seek to remove the cases from the public courts to private arbitration.
  • Within multiple app-based companies’ terms of service are strict arbitration clauses requiring that certain claims brought against them be settled behind closed doors.

Such clauses, according to Gig Workers Rising, can create several advantages in the legal and public spheres:

  1. Arbitration proceedings are typically private. Unlike in a court proceeding, where filings and testimony are public, app-based companies using arbitration are able to keep data, documents, and testimony from ever seeing the light of day. By avoiding the courtroom, companies may evade publicity and accountability.
  2. The process of discovery in private arbitration is relaxed and limited. In federal and state courts, the parties are required to share documents and information. Sworn depositions of witnesses and corporate representatives are commonplace. Any information that could reasonably lead to admissible evidence is typically required to be disclosed. In private arbitration, however, parties may be relatively limited in their ability to engage in discovery. Corporate data, documents, policies, reports and testimony may be less likely to be produced, and more likely to remain secret.
  3. Arbitration clauses typically require aggrieved parties to file claims individually. App companies’ terms of service usually preclude class action lawsuits. This limits workers’ ability to collaborate, share costs, and put financial pressure on the companies to reconsider their policies and procedures. Such limitations allow app-based companies that employ them to keep legal costs low and portray each claim as a “one off” incident, as opposed to a systemic issue. Furthermore, low income workers may not have the knowledge, means, or ability to challenge this system.

Gig Workers United also noted in its report that rather than extending injury protection coverage, Uber began offering occupational accident insurance in 2017 for purchase to its drivers through insurance companies OneBeacon and Aon. However, the report cautions that the explanation of coverage and payment per trip indicates Uber’s policy would not cover driver “deadhead” time (i.e. time spent waiting to be hailed or for a delivery). In other words, unless an Uber or Lyft driver is actually transporting a passenger or en route to pick up a passenger, the above policy would most likely be challenged in any civil proceeding.

Gig Workers United provided a table demonstrating how Uber’s Optional Injury Protection Insurance (only available to Uber drivers outside California through purchase) and DoorDash’s Occupational Accident Policy are inferior to those of taxi workers under New York workers’ compensation laws:

Insurance plan offerings available to Uber, doordash and NYC taxi workers

Gig Workers Rising cites multiple examples of families whose loved ones were killed while driving for Uber, Lyft, etc., yet received no compensation. The report also confirms instances of app-based rideshare and delivery companies taking questionable steps to keep legal disputes from going public.

Gig Workers Rising pledged to continue working towards greater accountability on the part of major rideshare and delivery service companies, such as Uber, Lyft, DoorDash, etc.

Gig Workers Rising continues to support workers who are organizing for safer conditions for gig workers everywhere. Workers are demanding accountability from gig corporations for unsafe conditions; not only this, workers are also demanding that gig corporations proactively create safe conditions for their workers. Gig Workers Rising wants to emphasize, however, that the solution lies not in more surveillance or policing. Increased surveillance and policing will not keep workers safe; increased accountability from corporations will,” the report said.

To read the full report from Gig Workers Rising, please click here.

How Can I File a Lawsuit Against Uber, Lyft, or DoorDash?

Gig workers who are injured or tragically killed on the job have legal recourse. Whether you’ve been sexually assaulted, physically assaulted, or a loved one has been killed through a senseless act of violence, a civil lawsuit can be a means of recovering due financial compensation for various types of losses. Given the report from Gig Workers United, let’s first look at how to file an Uber, Lyft, DoorDash, etc. wrongful death claim.

What is an Uber or Lyft Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

Wrongful death is a subcategory of personal injury law that can cover a wide array of claims that lead to lawsuits involving everything from murder to medical malpractice to major car accidents. When you hear the term wrongful death, it is most likely in reference to a civil lawsuit brought by the family of an individual whose death resulted from negligence or misconduct.

In a wrongful death lawsuit, the objective is to recover damages that can fall under three categories:

  • Economic
  • Non-economic
  • Punitive

Wrongful death lawsuits can be pursued even if a criminal lawsuit has been attempted and failed.

At Dordulian Law Group (DLG), we help families of Uber and Lyft drivers who have tragically died on the job through an act of violence or negligence secure justice by recovering maximum financial compensation.

Under California law, the following family members or personal representatives are able bring a wrongful death lawsuit:

  • Spouses
  • Domestic partners
  • Children
  • Grandchildren (if the decedent’s children are also deceased)
  • Other minor children (including stepchildren) provided they were dependent on the deceased for at least 50% of their financial support
  • Any additional individuals who would be entitled to the decedent’s property under California’s laws on intestate succession (assets that would have passed through the decedent’s will are typically affected under such laws, usually pertaining to assets owned alone by the decedent, solely in their name)

Wrongful death lawsuits often encompass a range of accident-types and circumstances. As such, it’s advisable to always consult with a California wrongful death lawyer when determining whether or not to pursue a claim. In many instances, a surviving relative of an Uber or Lyft driver may mistakenly believe that they are not entitled to wrongful death benefits.

To learn more about your legal rights after the death of a loved one through an Uber or Lyft accident, contact the experienced wrongful death lawyers at DLG today via 818-322-4056.

What are Wrongful Death Financial Damages?

In California, economic damages for wrongful death can include without limitation:

  • The financial support the deceased would have contributed to the family during their lifetime
  • The loss of gifts or benefits the heirs could have expected to receive from the deceased
  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • The reasonable value of household services the deceased would have provided
  • Medical bills and other expenses incurred
  • Value of lost benefits, such as the decedent’s pension or health insurance

Non-economic damages for wrongful death can include without limitation:

  • Compensation for the loss of the deceased’s companionship and support
  • Protection
  • Affection
  • Moral support
  • Training and guidance
  • Sexual relations

Most California wrongful death lawsuits do not typically include punitive damages, as state law dictates they only be awarded in cases of serious or malicious wrongdoing in an effort to punish the wrongdoer.

However, in rare instances, punitive damages can be claimed through what is known under state law as a “survival action.” A survival cause of action is only applicable in cases where the decedent did not immediately die from his or her injuries. In such cases, even if the decedent lived only a short period of time between the accident and eventual death, a survival cause of action may be appropriate.

Dordulian Law Group pursues punitive damages, which are not capped in the state of California, on behalf of clients in all applicable Uber, Lyft, DoorDash, Postmates, etc. wrongful death cases.

How Long Do I Have to File an Uber or Lyft Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

The statute of limitations for wrongful death lawsuits to be filed is two years under California law. In other words, the surviving family member(s) has two years from the date that the accident occurred to file a claim.

If you believe may have a wrongful death claim and might wish to pursue a lawsuit – whether your loved one worked for Uber, Lyft, DoorDash, Uber Eats, Postmates, Amazon, etc. – contact an experienced attorney at DLG today for a free consultation. We have the skill and experience required to take on and win your unique case.

Uber and Lyft Sexual and Physical Assault Lawsuits

Civil lawsuits may also be filed in instances of physical or sexual assault committed against an Uber, Lyft, DoorDash, etc. driver. Sexual and physical assaults against rideshare drivers are an unfortunately uncommon occurrence. For example:

In December 2019, Uber released its first safety report confirming over 6,000 sexual assaults that were reported in 2017 and 2018 during U.S. rides (averaging about eight incidents per day).

Among those sexual assaults reported to Uber in 2017 and 2018:

  • 235 were rapes
  • More than 1,500 were cases of non-consensual kissing, touching, or attempted rape experienced by riders and drivers in the U.S.
  • Most victims of rape were riders (with approximately 7% being drivers)
  • Nearly 90% of Uber sexual assault survivors were women

Moreover, Uber isn’t the only rideshare company to have received thousands of sexual assault claims from its drivers and passengers.

In October 2021, Lyft released data confirming 4,148 sexual assault incidents and 360 reports of rape throughout 2017, 2018, and 2019.

If you’ve been sexually or physically assaulted as an Uber or Lyft driver, DLG is here to help. We have proven experience representing rideshare drivers in successful civil lawsuits, including a $2.25 million settlement against a major app-based company for a woman who had been raped by her passenger.

Additionally, DLG is currently representing the family of a beloved Los Angeles street vendor in a wrongful death case after he was tragically killed in a stolen Amazon delivery truck crash.

Contact a Los Angeles, California, Uber or Lyft Injury/Wrongful Death Lawyer

Contact DLG’s Uber and Lyft accident lawyers today at 818-322-4056 for a free consultation. DLG was founded by Sam Dordulian, a former Deputy District Attorney for Los Angeles County with more than 25 years of experience helping victims secure justice through maximum financial compensation. To date, Dordulian has successfully handled more than 100 jury trials on behalf of injured victims, in addition to obtaining countless maximum financial settlements.

Ready to file a claim and pursue justice through a financial damages award? Our expert attorneys are available online or by phone now.

You have nothing to lose and everything to gain by ensuring that you and/or your family’s rights are protected after an Uber or Lyft sexual assault, physical assault, car accident, or wrongful death. With DLG’s experienced rideshare accident lawyers, there is never any obligation or upfront fee, and you never pay a dime until we successfully recover a maximum financial damages award for your Uber/Lyft accident claim.

Reach out to DLG’s experienced team today. We are here to answer any questions you may have 24/7. And with more than $100,000,000 in settlements and verdicts recovered for our clients while maintaining a 98% success record, you can be confident that your Uber/Lyft lawsuit is in the best possible hands.


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