Rideshare Sexual Assault Cases
What a Rider Should Do After Being Sexually Assaulted by an Uber or Lyft Driver
Rideshare companies, such as Uber and Lyft, have established guidelines to keep rideshare drivers and riders safe during trips. Certain requirements must be met in order for a driver to be given the green light to work under Uber or Lyft. A driver must have a clean background of no criminal activity and no points added to their driving record.
Although Uber and Lyft conduct annual background checks and vehicle inspections to ensure that each rideshare driver continues to meet their requirements, it is still not enough to prevent unfortunate incidents from occurring, such as sexual assault.
Uber released their second safety report in 2022. The report covered 2019 to 2020 data, which included information on sexual assault during trips. Based on the details provided, there were 3,824 sexual assaults reported by drivers and riders. 43 percent of the accused party were riders, while 57 percent were Uber drivers.
Lyft released their first, and only, safety report in 2021, which included data from 2017 to 2019. Based on what was presented, sexual assault cases progressively increased as the rideshare company was expanding. Within 2 years, there was a total of 4,158 sexual assault cases that occurred during trips.
It is predicted that sexual assault cases for both rideshare companies may be even higher than what is being released since these types of cases are often not reported by the victim.
If you were a victim of sexual assault while using Uber or Lyft services, you are entitled to file a personal injury claim against the party at-fault for damages. At West Coast Trial Lawyers, our experienced rideshare attorneys have over 60 years of legal experience in handling personal injury cases. With our track record of acquiring more than $1 billion in settlements for our clients, we are confident that we will get you the compensation and justice you deserve.
Rideshare Sexual Misconduct and Sexual Assault
Uber and Lyft are popular rideshare services that are used in many cities across California. When people are in need of transportation, they will usually request a ride through the Uber or Lyft app. However, there are those who fear the idea of entrusting a stranger to take them to their selected destination.
As reports of sexual assault cases continue to emerge, people, especially women, are starting to develop more fear and/or anxiety from the thought of entering a stranger’s vehicle alone. These feelings are justifiable as there is evidence to prove that sexual assault does happen during trips. Even though Uber and Lyft’s safety reports have mentioned that sexual assault cases are rare, people may still feel hesitant to request a ride as they believe they could be the next victim.
For those who are going through these emotions, our knowledgeable rideshare attorneys have provided helpful resources and tips in the sections below to help you detect sexual assault, what you should do if it is occurring during a trip, and how liability will be determined.
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 rideshare company has partnered up with women’s safety groups, along with establishing policies and raising awareness to put a stop to these horrific events.
Identifying Sexual Assault
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 or rider is found to commit either action, they should be reported right away. As seen in the top fears Uber riders have, sexual assault is one of the most common.
It is encouraged for sexual assault victims to seek legal representation in order to acquire compensation for losses.
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 rideshare 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 essential for you to report the sexual assault so that the rideshare 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, the rideshare driver’s personal information, 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 rideshare 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 rideshare driver and of the rideshare company. The rideshare company is given the responsibility of hiring suitable drivers with a clean background. If they did not take the time and effort into reviewing applications, they will be held responsible for their negligent actions.
Filing a lawsuit against a rideshare driver can be tricky, especially since they are classified as independent contractors, again.
In September of 2019, California Assembly Bill 5 (AB5) was passed, meaning that rideshare and food delivery drivers were to be classified as employees. However, Prop 22 was later announced. This initiative ballot was created to leave the employment status of rideshare and food delivery drivers as independent contractors.
Prop 22 passed in November of 2020, but was later identified as unconstitutional in August of 2021. The ballot is expected to make its way to California’s Supreme Court to determine whether it should be enforced or removed. As of now, Prop 22 will remain effective until a decision is made.
Need an Uber or Lyft Attorney? West Coast Trial Lawyers Can Help
If you were involved in an Uber or Lyft accident, our skilled personal injury lawyers at West Coast Trial Lawyers will help you get the compensation you deserve for your losses. We are committed to resolving your legal issues as quickly as possible while receiving the best results. Our clients are represented on a contingency fee basis. If we do not win, you owe us nothing. There is no financial risk to prevent you from reaching out.
They know what they're doing, very well. Not only did I not make a single phone call from the day I hired them, but I also received calls from their case managers and paralegals who want to make sure my treatment was going well. They whole team took care of me. Thank you WCTL for taking full responsibility of my case and getting me an amazing settlement.
I can say with confidence that this team is the best in the business. . . . Dean took the time to really listen and hear me out. He assured me that he was going to move mountains because he believed in me, and he ended up doing just that. I’ve never met a more focused and passionate attorney in my life. If you’re looking for a firm that treats its clients with the utmost respect and care, calling WCTL is a no-brainer. I wouldn't think twice about working with them again in the future.