Sexual Assault in Uber or Lyft Ride – What Can I Do?
Sexual assaults in a Lyft or Uber ride are on the rise, and victims are taking action to fight back. Earlier this year, Uber was sued for $10 million by a woman who was sexually assaulted by her Uber driver. This case and similar ones are the latest in a trend of lawsuits filed against Lyft and Uber by victims of sexual assault who claim that the companies do not do enough to protect their passengers from sexual predators.
What do I do if I have been sexually assaulted by a driver for Uber or Lyft?
If you have been a victim of sexual assault or harassment by an Uber driver or a Lyft driver, there are several things that you need to do immediately in order to protect yourself from further harm and to hold the driver and the company responsible. These steps include:
- Contacting law enforcement and filing a police report;
- Seeking medical attention if you have been injured and ensuring that doctors and law enforcement preserve DNA and other evidence;
- Documenting and keeping copies of any messages, credit card charges, or driver information from your Uber or Lyft app;
- Contacting our experienced attorneys to determine whether you should file a sexual assault civil lawsuit against Uber or Lyft.
Victims Can File Lawsuits When Uber and Lyft’s Policies Fail to Protect Them from Sexual Assaults
The women in these lawsuits accuse Uber and Lyft of using flawed background check systems and negligently allowing people with serious criminal histories to work as drivers, including some who have prior convictions for sex crimes. The lawsuits also usually blame Lyft and Uber for not requiring drivers to complete sexual harassment prevention training and for not doing enough to help police departments investigate cases of rape or sexual assault involving their drivers. In one case against Lyft, the company kept allowing a driver to work after a passenger reported the driver for sexual assault.
While Uber and Lyft drivers generally work as independent contractors, ride-share companies have a duty to make sure their drivers pass background checks, and they have to put strong security policies in place to prevent sexual assaults and avoid hiring sexual predators.
It’s clear that Uber and Lyft aren’t doing enough to make sure that their drivers. Last year it was reported over a hundred Uber drivers were accused of sexual assault and abuse by their passengers over a four year period, and many of these drivers have since been convicted of rape, sexual assault, and other charges. Despite these horrific statistics, Lyft and Uber still aren’t doing enough to keep their passengers safe, and they have only recently put extra security measures in place to require more background checks and better identification for drivers. As the plaintiffs suing Lyft allege: “Lyft’s priority is not passenger safety. Profits are Lyft’s priority.”
Do I have a civil lawsuit against Uber or Lyft if I’ve been sexually assaulted by one of their drivers?
You have an absolute right to sue Uber, Lyft, or any other ride-share company when their negligent security policies lead you to get in the car with a predator. That’s true even if the sexual assault did not occur during your ride. If you are the victim of a sexual assault or harassment by an Uber or Lyft driver, you may be entitled to significant damages in the form of compensation for your injuries, including the costs of medical and mental health treatment and costs of the trauma, shock, and suffering you have experienced and might continue to experience in the future.
The lawsuits against Uber and Lyft came after lawyers thoroughly investigated the companies and their policies and identified how the weaknesses in their security policies allowed sexual predators to work as drivers. An experienced attorney can identify how Uber or Lyft’s failure to conduct adequate background checks or verify the identification of their drivers allowed a driver with a sex offense to drive for them. An attorney can also prove that the company’s complaint system is inadequate for notifying corporate security officials about abusive drivers or other passenger complaints about drivers.
Of course, the average passenger doesn’t know much about Uber or Lyft’s internal corporate policies, let alone the specific actions the companies take (or don’t take) to screen their drivers. Fortunately, you don’t have to know their policies to file a lawsuit if you’ve been victimized due to Uber of Lyft’s negligence. That’s where an experienced attorney can make a huge difference.
If you retain us, you can expect us to do the following in your case:
- Launch an independent investigation into the driver’s history and the sexual assault or harassment that occurred;
- Work with law enforcement and identify key evidence that we can use against Uber and Lyft;
- Obtain documents from Uber and Lyft regarding their policies for screening and retaining drivers in order to determine whether they had inadequate security measures in place;
- Question Uber and Lyft executives and staff under oath to determine whether they were aware of the risks involving their drivers with criminal histories;
- Put together a “demand package” in which we present the evidence, legal claims, and a formal demand for compensation to Uber or Lyft;
- Negotiate a favorable settlement on your terms, and if Uber or Lyft don’t settle, we will take them to trial.
We know from past experiences that Uber and Lyft will do whatever they can to avoid paying victims who are assaulted due to their negligent corporate policies. In 2017, for example, it was reported that Uber’s top executives had tried to use a victim’s medical records to discredit her after she accused a driver of raping her. Don’t let that happen to you. Reach out to an attorney if you have been victimized by corporate negligence.
Contact our experienced attorneys to file a sexual assault civil lawsuit against Uber or Lyft
Call us now if you need help filing a sexual assault civil lawsuit against Uber, Lyft, or the ride-share company responsible for your harm. Our experienced civil litigation attorneys handle cases across the country and the metro Atlanta area. There is never a charge for the call, there is no fee until we win, and every call is completely confidential.
Tom is a trial and appellate lawyer focusing on criminal defense and civil trials. Tom is the author of our firm’s “Eleventh Circuit Roundup” and a contributor to Mercer Law Review’s Annual Survey in the areas of federal sentencing guidelines and criminal law. Tom graduated with honors from the University of Georgia Law School where he served as a research assistant to the faculty in the areas of constitutional law and civil rights litigation. Read Tom’s reviews on AVVO. Follow Tom on Linkedin.