We are thinking of using Lyft or Uber for our residents.  Are there legal issues we should consider?

If a provider of services to seniors decides it will contract with Lyft, Uber or cab companies to provide transportation services to its residents, there is potential liability. I think the provider must ask or investigate every area of each company to help it circumscribe its potential liability, especially if the provider is going to choose which company its residents must use. 

An operator should determine which transportation company provides adequate levels of insurance, as well as high standards when approving the drivers. It also should know which company has the highest standards to ensure drivers are licensed properly and offer high-quality services.

An operator also must check whether its liability insurance will cover providing transportation through a third party. In light of all these issues, my first suggestion is that providers let each resident decide which, if any, third party they wish to hire. 

They also should inform residents that the provider of services to seniors is not liable for any harm or damages caused to residents by the third party they hire. If a provider owns a van that transports residents, the provider hires only qualified, properly licensed drivers and carries adequate insurance to cover such transportation. It also must ensure that vehicle(s) are well maintained and serviced. In addition, consider: Does the vehicle allow safe transportation of residents who may be wheelchair bound or need medications dispensed while being transported? 

In sum, provision of transportation services to your residents raises a broad spectrum of liability whether you provide transportation directly or when you approve the transportation company.

Please send your legal questions to John Durso at [email protected]