Rideshare Sexual Assault Cases
What a Rider Should Do After Being Sexually Assaulted by an Uber or Lyft Driver
Ridesharing companies, such as Uber and Lyft, have tried to maintain a good image by keeping riders safe from getting themselves into harm’s way. Many people turn to Uber and Lyft to avoid driving on the road while being under the influence of alcohol. Others use these ridesharing companies to conveniently travel from one place to another. However, there have been thousands of cases where sexual assault has occurred during these trips.
Uber released a safety report in 2019, which included sexual assault cases from 2018 to 2019. The ridesharing company stated that nearly 6,000 sexual assault claims and 464 reports of rape have been submitted by both drivers and riders. 89 percent of these victims were women, while 8 percent were men. About 92 percent of rape victims were riders and 7 percent were drivers. It is predicted that these sexual assault cases may be even higher than what Uber is releasing since these types of incidents are often not reported by the victim.
Lyft has yet to publish a transparency report. The ridesharing company stated that they are currently waiting for Uber to resolve the ongoing problem with the California Public Utilities Commission before they release their report.
Survivors of sexual assault can hold these ridesharing companies accountable by filing an insurance claim and/or lawsuit for damages. Below, our expert team of Uber and Lyft accident attorneys at West Coast Trial Lawyers break down the legal implications of an Uber or Lyft sexual assault case.
Rideshare Sexual Misconduct and Sexual Assault
When you get into the back seat of a rideshare driver’s vehicle, you are expecting that the driver will do their job and drop you off at your selected destination. Unfortunately, there are drivers who do not have the intention of keeping you safe during your trip. Within the past few years, It has become more common for a rideshare driver to commit sexual misconduct and sexual assault towards a rider.
Sexual misconduct is when a driver begins to insinuate inappropriate comments or gestures. Sexual assault is the action of nonconsensual touching, kissing, or violating among other inappropriate actions towards an individual. If a rideshare driver is found to commit either action, they should be reported to Uber or Lyft.
As previously stated, a majority of victims of sexual assault or misconduct have been women. Uber has taken notice of this alarming fact and is committed to help prevent these incidents before they occur. The ridesharing company has partnered up with women’s safety groups, along with creating policies and raising awareness to put a stop to these horrific events. Uber also has a 24/7 support team that is available to handle sensitive reports.
Steps to Take After Being Sexually Assaulted
The aftermath of being sexually assaulted can be an emotional haze, and although it can be very difficult to process the actuality of what took place, it is important to take action quickly to hold the perpetrator and the ridesharing company accountable.
- Call 911 for emergency services. A medical professional will examine and conduct a series of tests to collect evidence. This is known as a “rape kit.” It is also imperative that the police file an official police report. Make sure to share important information with the police, such as the rideshare driver’s information and a description of the vehicle they were driving in. Both of these details can be found on the app.
- Report the assault to Uber or Lyft as soon as possible. It is imperative for you to report the sexual assault so that the ridesharing company can initiate an investigation and look into the driver’s history.
- Gather evidence. Sexual assault can leave a victim feeling shameful and wanting to crawl out of their skin. While this is understandable, it is crucial to acquire any type of evidence that will help the victim file a claim against the perpetrator. It can be difficult to revisit this horrific incident. Once you are mentally and emotionally able, try to document exactly what happened. This includes having the date, time, and location of where the assault took place, personal information of the rideshare driver, and any other details that you believe would help strengthen your case.
- Contact an experienced rideshare attorney. A rideshare attorney can guide you through the process of building your case to ensure that you get the maximum compensation you deserve for having undergone such a terrible situation at the hands of a perpetrator.
Liability in a Sexual Assault Case
Sexual assault can occur for a number of different reasons. A driver might want to:
- Take advantage of the rider’s limited abilities due to intoxication.
- Kidnap a rider to sexually violate them.
- Force themself on a rider.
All of these situations are the fault of the driver and of the ridesharing company for not properly screening their drivers before employing them.
Prior to the passing of California Assembly Bill 5 (AB5), Uber and Lyft drivers were considered independent contractors rather than employees, which created a loophole for these companies to not be held responsible for the actions of their drivers.
Uber and Lyft currently use third party screening companies to provide them with quick turn around background checks that are inexpensive and can help them acquire more drivers. This is considered negligent and is false advertising on behalf of the company because they are not taking the proper precautions to thoroughly investigate their employees before hiring them. This form of negligence can greatly contribute to the increase in sexual misconduct and sexual assault cases.
Need an Uber or Lyft Attorney? West Coast Trial Lawyers Can Help
Our experienced team of Uber and Lyft accident attorneys at West Coast Trial Lawyers can help you get the compensation you deserve for your losses, including medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. No fees will be charged until your case has been settled.