You have ordered a ride and feel you will get to your destination safely. There is an inherent trust in a stranger when you both agree to a ride. Drivers and passengers should be safe and free from sexual assault. Uber and Lyft say they run background checks and have passenger safety at the forefront of their practice. Reports of sexual assault would show the opposite. The hiring process is often to blame for these incidents happening. If you or a loved one suffers sexual assault, speak to a Philadelphia Lyft/Uber sexual assault attorney.
Handling unwanted contact
Frequent users of Uber and Lyft may have all experienced at least one incident where they have felt uncomfortable. Sometimes, you push these feelings aside since you are technically safe. It can be the driver’s skills or the conversation or music they play. However, the stakes are much higher when you suffer unwanted physical contact. It can be easy to end a ride or submit a negative review for uncomfortable situations, but many people are unaware of what to do when they are sexually assaulted. Here are some tips on what to do.
End the ride
The first step you should take is to end the ride. Both rideshare companies allow passengers to end rides anytime for any reason. Sometimes, you cannot reach your phone because of the assault. Try to get your driver to pull over and, in the worst situations, try to escape the vehicle. This is the most challenging part of protecting yourself.
Call law enforcement
When you reach safety, contact the police to report the incident. You can discreetly inform law enforcement using the rideshare app itself. If you still have your phone, you can provide details about the ride to the officer. It will show the vehicle and driver information so the police can include it in their report. Once this report is complete, you will want to request a copy from the relevant agency.
Your clothes and app information are crucial evidence to use in your legal claim. Even if you do not go to the hospital immediately, you should not throw out or wash your clothes. Keep them in a bag until you can provide them to the relevant parties. If you go to the hospital, they may administer a rape kit. They will also collect and store your clothes in a sealed bag to give to law enforcement.
Get medical attention
If you suffer physical injuries, you should get medical attention. Inform the medical staff that you received your injuries during a sexual assault. You should also explain how you got each injury so they can adequately document them for medical and legal purposes. All of this is potential evidence to use in your claim.
Document the incident
When calm and safe, you should write down what you remember about the incident. It is reasonable to be apprehensive about recounting the incident, but it can be beneficial to your claim. According to psychologists, it can also help you start the healing process. Some of the basics you can write down are:
- Date and time
- Details about the assailant
- The location
- Details about the vehicle
- Anything else you can remember
Report the incident to the rideshare company
You will also want to report the incident to a rideshare company representative. This ensures the driver is removed from the app and barred from continuing to drive for the company. Before you speak to the rideshare company, you may want to talk to a Philadelphia Uber/Lyft sexual assault attorney. We advise legal representation first since these companies aim to reduce their financial impact on their passengers. They may try to get you to say or agree to certain things.
Understand your legal options and rights
You could be wondering what to do next once you go through the basic steps of reporting and getting medical attention. You will have various choices, and how you proceed is up to you. Many survivors find it beneficial to call a hotline like RAINN to discuss their reporting options and next steps. These agencies can also help you understand the laws in your local jurisdiction.
Definition of sexual assault
Sexual assault encompasses various actions, and they are all without consent. Often, it involves physical force, but it can also involve coercion, manipulation, and more to commit the assault. Examples of sexual assault include:
- Oral sex
- Attempted rape
- Penetration of any kind without consent
- Unwanted touching or contact like fondling
- Forced kissing
- Verbal threats to commit assault
- Attempted or non-consensual touching
Unwelcome comments about sexual topics or sexually explicit comments can make you uncomfortable. It can also be a warning sign that the driver could be dangerous. Even unwelcome personal questions can make the ride unsafe. End the ride and report the driver.
Speak to a Lyft/Uber sexual assault attorney in Philadelphia
Kwartler Manus, LLC is ready to fight for you. Our team will gather evidence, report the incident to the appropriate parties, and negotiate with the opposing legal team. We will also calculate your losses and help connect you with the necessary medical resources and guidance. We applaud you for taking steps to fight your perpetrator. This is a challenging time, and we are here to guide you. Schedule a confidential consultation with our Lyft/Uber sexual assault attorney in Philadelphia.