Can I Fight Uber/Lyft and the Driver for Sexual Assault?

An unknown risk of using an Uber or Lyft is the potential for being sexually assaulted. Between 2019 and 2020, Uber had 3,824 sexual misconduct or assault reports. Drivers were accused in 56% of cases, and women were 81% of rape survivors. Lyft, on the other hand, provided figures for the years between 2017 and 2019, aligning 4,158 sexual assaults were reported. Even with these large numbers, the companies say that 99.9% of rides have no reported safety concerns. If you suffer a sexual assault while in an Uber or Lyft, you can pursue legal action.

When to call an Uber and Lyft sexual assault lawyer

Sexual assault survivors often feel powerless, humiliated, and confused. You want to fight back but are unsure if you can. When someone causes you harm, you have the right to fight back. An Uber/Lyft sexual assault attorney can help guide you on your options and next steps. We want you to regain your power, which involves getting you justice. We often get questions about whether you can sue the driver or the rideshare company.

You will have different legal options depending on who is responsible. If you want to fight the rideshare company, you must prove they were negligent in the incident. This might involve showing they did not do accurate background checks. While collecting evidence, we may also find that the driver had a history of bad behavior or complaints. You can hold them liable if there were failures on the rideshare company’s behalf.

You also have the option to file criminal charges against the driver. There are civil options through personal injury cases as well. They will have different consequences for the named parties. Kwartler Manus, LLC can discuss your options with you. Then, you can decide which routes you want to take and let us do the rest while you focus on recovering from the incident.

What is sexual assault by a rideshare driver?

When you hear sexual assault, your mind might go straight to rape, but this term involves much more than that. Sometimes, survivors don’t report incidents because they do not think they have a case. Sexual assault also extends to actions like:

  • Forced oral sex
  • Fondling
  • Unwanted sexual touching
  • Forced or coerced kissing
  • Masturbation

Inappropriate comments are sexual harassment, and you can report these incidents as well. Aside from physical force, there are other ways that perpetrators can use to sexually assault you. Sometimes predators use threats or manipulation to force someone into competing in a sexual action.

In rideshare sexual assault cases, the driver may threaten to hurt you or your family since they have your address. In exchange for your family’s safety, you have to complete a sexual act with them. You could have a case if your sexual assault happens in these instances.

Steps you can take to report your assault

The shock of being sexually assaulted can be jarring. All you did was call for a ride, and now you have undergone a traumatic experience. You could be unsure of what to do next. Focus on your healing and take these steps to protect your rights:

  • Call the police so they can file a report about the incident. This report will be key evidence for your legal claim.
  • Get medical attention as soon as possible, even if you think you are fine. Sexual assault can result in physical trauma. A medical team will advise you on how to treat your physical injuries. They can recommend and administer a rape kit.
  • The SART or SANE exam can be beneficial for your case, but it can be challenging to undergo. When you are getting medical attention, you may be asked if you are willing to undergo a Sexual Assault Response Team or Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner exam. SART is a group that coordinates resources for victims, often including law enforcement, medical personnel, and victim advocates. The SART exam is a medical examination collecting physical evidence signed over to the police. SANE is similar but is conducted by a nurse who records the assault and testifies in legal proceedings. 
  • Document the incident by writing down what happened. You can also record your recovery and feelings after the incident.
  • Report to the rideshare company, whether it is Uber or Lyft. Both companies have online resources for you to report the incident.
  • Get support in your healing process. It can be challenging to discuss the incident with friends and family. Confiding in friends can be difficult because this is a personal and traumatic incident. Seeking professional guidance or counseling can help move your healing forward.

Determining liability

When you are fighting Uber or Lyft for sexual assault, the most significant aspect is determining liability. You will have two legal options. You can pursue criminal charges against the perpetrator by reporting the incident to law enforcement. Your other option is a civil lawsuit with the help of an Uber/Lyft sexual assault attorney. In a civil lawsuit, you can recover damages, while a criminal lawsuit punishes the perpetrator with fines and incarceration. Uber and Lyft can be liable when they were negligent in these ways:

  • Negligent hiring practices
  • Did not provide adequate supervision
  • Retaining a driver when they should have fired them
  • Inflicted emotional distress on the victim

Speak to an Uber/Lyft sexual assault attorney

We empathize with your situation and want to fight for justice. We will gather evidence and negotiate with the appropriate parties. You can fight these companies for their negligence. Money will not erase what happened, but it can ease the financial strain that these incidents cause. Call our offices today to schedule a confidential consultation with Kwartler Manus, LLC.

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