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Uber Lyft sexual assault

 

Uber and Lyft Sexual Assault Cases

Sexual assault is one of the most traumatic experiences anyone could suffer, physically, mentally, and emotionally. Sexual assault is not defined by gender. Men, women, and people who do identify as either gender can all suffer sexual assault. Men and women can both be the attackers, while the same can be stated regarding the victims. Although sexual assault usually involves a male attacker and a female victim, sexual assault can be male-male, female-male, and female-female. In some cases, there are multiple attackers and one victim. For the purpose of this document (and because most information available and documented incidents of sexual assault are male-female), the discussion on sexual assault below will be referring to attacks against women made by males. According to statistics, approximately one in every five women in the United States (a total of about 23 million women) experience rape or attempted rape at some point during their life. Every year, there are 1.47 million physical assaults against women involving rape or attempted rape – approximately 80% of women being raped before the age of 25 and 41% of women being raped before age 18. Unfortunately, our society is aware of these numbers. This information is common knowledge. We all know that sexual assault is a pervasive problem in our society – especially among women. As a society, we teach our girls and tell our women to be more careful and cautious of their surroundings. This might work to prevent attacks to a certain extent; however, it has proved to be useless when hiring certain services, such as rideshare services. Over the years, there have been many instances of sexual assault involving Lyft and Uber passengers. Specifically, these rideshare drivers are targeting and attacking their riders. Lyft and Uber are supposed to provide their riders with safe rides to their destinations. Overall, both Lyft and Uber have focused their marketing techniques to highlight the fact that using rideshare vehicles are safer than driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

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Consider the following hypothetical scenario: You and your friends plan a night out at your favorite bar. One friend agrees to pick everyone up as long as everyone can find their way back home – since she doesn’t plan to stay as long as everyone else. Everything goes as planned; everyone has a good time while having a little too much to drink. You and your friends are ready to call it a night and go home. Two of your friends, who are sisters, order a ride (through Uber or Lyft) and get home safely. You also order a ride – but you will have to ride alone. At the time, you do not see the issue as your driver seems polite and decent when he arrives to pick you up. After a few moments of small talk, you start losing consciousness (you had too much to drink). You wake up some time later to the rideshare driver sexually assaulting you in a dark street near your home.
What Is Sexual Assault?
Uber Lyft sexual assault attorneyThere are common details that can be found among different Lyft and Uber sexual assault incidents. These patterns emphasize the seriousness of the situation. As more and more victim of rideshare-related sexual attacks come forward, the amount of victims pursuing legal action against their attackers and against the rideshare companies is also increasing. Without a doubt, victims of sexual assault during Uber or Lyft rides have the right to take action against their attackers. They could also take action against the rideshare companies. Because these types of claims are still relatively new, there are many questions and general lack of information that can get in the way of pursuing legal action. As a victim of sexual assault during an Uber or Lyft ride, you have to be aware of your right to take action and receive compensation for the harm that you suffered.

The Effect of Sexual Assault on Victims

The Effect of Sexual Assault on VictimsWithout a doubt, sexual assault could affect victims in multiple ways. Some victims are never the same after suffering a sexual assault. Other victims are able to move on with their lives eventually; although they are internally affected, they continue living their life to the best of their abilities. Without a doubt, there is no uniform way in which sexual assaults could affect victims. Some of the most common effects of sexual assault include the following:
  • Minor physical injuries, such as bruises, scratches, and welts
  • Serious injuries, such as head trauma, facial trauma, lacerations (caused by weapons), bullet wounds, and even death
  • Injuries of the sexual organs (requiring extensive surgery to treat)
  • Chronic pelvic pain
  • Decrease in quality of life
  • Decreased ability to function socially
  • Sexual dysfunction (due to traumatic experience)
  • Sexually transmitted infections
  • Unwanted pregnancy (usually resulting in termination of pregnancy)
  • Rape-trauma syndrome (RTS)
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Alcohol/drug abuse
The victims of sexual assault can be affected in many ways. Regardless of the way in which you were affected, you likely have grounds to pursue a legal action. Although pursuing legal action might not reverse any of the harm resulting from the sexual attack that you suffered, doing so will likely help you move forward with your life.

Reports on Sexual Assault Incidents Involving Rideshare Services

Understanding Liability in Uber and Lyft Sexual Assault IncidentsSexual assault has become a pervasive problem in the rideshare industry. Sexual attacks against riders have become so common that both Uber and Lyft have begun collecting information regarding these incidents. As sexual assault incidents continue to occur over the years, important media companies have taken interest in developing a deeper understanding of these incidents. A CNN investigation specifically looking at rideshare incidents concluded that at least 103 drivers in the country have been accused of either sexually assaulting or sexually abusing their passengers. This number is based on four years of police reports. These drivers have either been arrested, named in civil courts, or are currently wanted by police. At least 31 of these drivers have been convicted for sexual assault. Many others are awaiting criminal and civil cases.
Sexual Assault Statistics

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Besides the information mentioned above, the CNN investigation also concluded in the following:
  • Since 2016, there have been 24 reports of Uber driver sexual assaults and 3 reports of Lyft driver sexual assaults in Boston.
  • Since 2016, there have been 13 reports of Uber sexual assaults and 8 reports of Lyft sexual assaults in Los Angeles. There were also more than 12 incidents involving rideshare drivers in which the rideshare company was unclear.
  • Since 2016, there have been at least 16 reports of Uber sexual assaults in Austin and at least 10 reports of sexual assaults involving Lyft drivers.
  • Since 2015, there have been at least 9 reports of Uber sexual assaults and at least 12 reports of Lyft sexual assaults in Denver.

Understanding Liability in Uber and Lyft Sexual Assault Incidents

About Forced Arbitration and Recent Changes in UberYou were sexually assaulted during your Uber or Lyft ride. Without a doubt, you could take action against your attacker; after all, it was his intentional and malicious actions that resulted in your harm. Could you also pursue a claim against Uber or Lyft? The answer to this question depends on the specific circumstances surrounding your claim. Although it is possible to be able to sue Uber or Lyft for sexual assault, victims do not always have grounds to pursue claims against the rideshare companies. In general, Uber and Lyft are not liable for the actions of their drivers. Drivers are independent contractors; therefore, rideshare companies cannot be held liable for their actions. Without a doubt, drivers can be negligent, reckless, and malicious – all of which could lead to innocent riders being severely affected. However, Uber and Lyft can only be held accountable for the actions of their drivers if their own negligence contributed to the driver being able to harm the rider. If this can be proven, the sexual assault can likely be covered under the companies’ insurance policy. When are Uber or Lyft liable for sexual assault? When boarding new rideshare drivers, Uber and Lyft subject applicants to background checks. Prospective drivers are subjected to background checks that are looking red flags – including past incidents involving sexual assault and violent crimes, for example. Uber and Lyft have also started to subject their drivers to random and recurring background checks. However, background checks are not foolproof. Background checks can miss important information – making otherwise ineligible parties eligible to drive or continue driving for Uber or Lyft. If Uber or Lyft fail to conduct the proper background checks, fail to evaluate the information found on the background checks, or ignore background checks, these rideshare companies could be liable for the intentional and malicious actions of their drivers. Uber and Lyft allow riders to rate their drivers. These rideshare companies also encourage their riders to report any concerning incidents. After a sexual attack, a rider might report the incident. After receiving the report, it is the duty of the rideshare company to investigate the incident and take action against the driver. In most cases, drivers are deactivated and not allowed to continue driving until after the rideshare company completes the investigation and confirms that the driver does not pose a threat to riders. If Uber or Lyft negligently allow a driver to keep driving for them after becoming aware of allegations of sexual assault, they could be liable for all harm to the victim. If you would like more information about Uber and Lyft’s liability for sexual assaults committed by their drivers and suffered by their riders, do not hesitate to seek legal assistance as soon as possible. A knowledgeable attorney could provide you with the necessary information to better understand Uber and Lyft’s liability for these incidents.

About Forced Arbitration and Recent Changes in Uber

Sexual MisconductUber and Lyft are both aware of the sexual assault incidents that continue to pose a major safety concern for their passengers. Uber, in specific, has done some things that make it clear that they are working to address the issue. Uber issued a list of 21 different categories of sexual misconduct/harassment; the list reads as follows:

Sexual Misconduct

  • Comments/gestures – asking personal questions
  • Comments/gestures – comments about appearance
  • Comments/gestures – explicit comments
  • Comments/gestures – explicit gestures
  • Comments/gestures – flirting
  • Displaying indecent material
  • Indecent photography (without consent)
  • Masturbation or indecent material
  • Soliciting sexual content
  • Staring/leering
  • Verbal threat of sexual assault

Sexual Assault

  • Attempted kissing – non-sexual body part
  • Attempted kissing – sexual body part
  • Attempted non-consensual sexual penetration (attempted rape)
  • Attempted touching – non-sexual body part
  • Attempted touching – sexual body part
  • Non-consensual kissing – non-sexual body part
  • Non-consensual kissing – sexual body parts
  • Non-consensual sexual penetration (rape)
  • Non-consensual touching – non-sexual body part
  • Non-consensual touching – sexual body part
Teacher misconduct sexual assault Claim

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Sexual AssaultThis list is demonstrative of Uber’s willingness to begin taking these incidents seriously. This list also goes hand and hand with a recent announcement that Uber will not be requiring mandatory arbitration anymore. This gives victims more options when it comes to settling their sexual assault claims, allowing them to choose confidentiality, arbitration, or open court. Why is this important? Up until this change, Uber enforced mandatory arbitration. Mandatory arbitration requires that claimants settle their claims/disputes behind closed doors, meaning that claims were never heard publicly in court or by juries. Uber, in general, has always been very secretive in terms of legal action. The removal of mandatory arbitration also resulted in the removal of certain confidentiality provisions and non-disclosure agreements for settled sexual assault claims – allowing survivors of Uber sexual attacks to share their experience. Following the release of this information, Lyft ended forced arbitration and removed all confidentiality requirements. What else are rideshare companies doing to address sexual attacks committed by their drivers? To continue working towards achieving complete passenger safety, Uber has introduced a sort of panic button to their mobile application, which will allow riders to contact 911 straight through the Uber app. Uber’s action prompted a response from its competitor, resulting in Lyft’s introduction of a panic button to their mobile application.

Examples of Past Incidents

Sexual assaults committed by Uber and Lyft drivers have become pervasive. Women no longer feel safe while using these rideshare services alone. Our community is riddled with horror stories that make women fear for their safety while using these services – which is sometimes unavoidable. Below, you will find just a few of the most recent incidents involving Uber, Lyft, and sexual assault:
  • A woman in San Diego ordered an Uber ride. She was intoxicated; during the ride, she had to ask the driver to pull over because she wanted to vomit. She then lost consciousness. When she woke up, the Uber driver was raping her just a short distance from her home.
  • A woman in Miami went to a bar with friends and took an Uber home. The woman lost consciousness during the ride. When she woke up the next morning, her pants and underwear were on the floor. She claims that the Uber driver carried her into the apartment and sexually assaulted her.
  • A woman in Long Beach ordered an Uber and fell asleep in the back of the vehicle (she was intoxicated). She woke up to the Uber driver sexually assaulting her.
  • A woman in Lompoc was raped by a Lyft driver who escorted the woman (who was unconscious) into her home after arriving at the destination. When the woman woke up, she was naked, bruised, and bleeding.
Hotel Sexual Assault Injury Attorney

Examples of Past Sexual Assault Cases

Examples of Past IncidentsAlthough Uber and Lyft sexual assaults have been happening for many years (and there have been many cases involving these incidents), the confidentiality and non-disclosure agreements surrounding these incidents made it impossible for the public to have access to this information. Although specific Uber and Lyft cases are not readily available for evaluation (this will change soon), there are many sexual assault cases unrelated to Uber and Lyft that are available to the public. Consider the following case, which has similarities with some Uber and Lyft cases: In 2002, Jaime Jimenez – a volunteer football coach at Benjamin Franklin High School – subjected 9 victims (all of which were minors) to sexual misconduct. According to the case, the misconduct occurred in multiple locations (including on-campus) from 2002 to 2015. In 2016, Jimenez was arrested and sentenced to more than 36 years in prison. The victims pursued a civil case against Jimenez, the high school, the school district, and the football association. Eventually, Jimenez and the high school were dismissed from the claim. However, the plaintiffs maintained that the school district (LAUSD) and the football association (Glendale Junior All American Football) failed to address clear red flags that indicated that the students were being victimized. Some of these red flags included giving students rides after practice, buying students gifts, inviting students to his house, giving students alcohol, secluding students in locker/equipment rooms, and taking pictures with students. The defense claimed that there was no way that they could have known that Jimenez was victimizing the students, even though it was clear that the volunteer football coach was too close to students. The claim resulted in an $8 million settlement. How does this relate to Uber and Lyft sexual assault cases? According to the case described above, the school district and the football association failed to properly supervise the volunteer football coach and his interaction with the students. If these parties would have properly supervised the interaction, they would have likely noticed the inappropriateness of the situation and taken action to remove the football coach and prevent further incidents. Likewise, if Uber or Lyft become aware of incidents, they can remove drivers and prevent incidents from reoccurring. The school and the football association failed to address the football coach’s misconduct, making them liable for the damages suffered by the students. Therefore, Uber and Lyft would also be liable for the damages caused by the actions of their drivers given that they also failed to address risks that they were aware of or should have been aware of.

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Ensuring that You Claim is Taken Seriously

After suffering a rape, victims are encouraged to have a sexual assault forensic exam – often known as a rape kit. In many cases, sexual assault cases fall through because victims do not take the necessary action after suffering an assault. Without a doubt, there are many things that victims should do after being sexually assaulted; doing these things can increase the possibility of holding liable parties accountable for their actions. Completing a rape kit is essential to ensuring that your case is taken seriously – especially considering that DA’s are quick to deny claims due to a lack of evidence. A rape kit is the physical kit that professionals use to extract evidence from the victim’s body, clothes, and other personal belongings. Completing a rape kit does not automatically result in a police report. On the other hand, completing a rape kit allows you to have the evidence necessary to eventually file a police report and take action against the party who harmed you. Consider the following information regarding rape kits:
  • A rape kit is a container that provides examiners with the tools to collect/store important evidence. Rape kits might include swabs, the materials necessary for blood samples, combs, bags/paper sheets, document forms, envelopes, and thorough instructions, for example.
  • Rape kits should be completed within 72 hours of the attack. This ensures that the maximum amount of evidence is extracted and preserved. Even after this timeframe has passed, examiners should still be able to find important evidence.
  • To prepare to have a rape kit completed, victims could avoid cleaning up the scene of the rape, combing their hair, changing their clothes, using the restroom, bathing, or showering. Doing any of these things could destroy important evident.
  • The sexual assault examination could take up to a few hours to complete. In general, the time associated with the examination depends on the specific circumstances surrounding your attack.
  • Only specialized parties can conduct rape kits. Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANEs), Sexual Assault Forensic Examiners (SAFEs), and Sexual Assault Examiners (SAEs) can all conduct these examples. Because conducting a rape kit requires specific skill and training, it is important that only these parties perform such exams.
  • The evidence gathered from the rape kits will be stored for a specific length of time (this time varies from state to state). In California, law enforcement agencies are prohibited from destroying rape kits for at least 20 years; this is based on California’s A.B. 1312.
What exactly happens during the rape kit? Without a doubt, subjecting oneself to a rape examination could be traumatic – especially within such a short length of time after being attacked sexually. It is important that you understand that going through with the examination is your choice – you can stop or pause the evaluation at any time. What should you expect during the rape kit? First, you can expect to get immediate medical attention to any of your injuries (e.g. scrapes, lacerations, etc.). Second, you can expect the examiner to begin asking you thorough questions about different aspects of your history (e.g. medical history, current medications that you are taking, recent consensual sexual activity/partners); this all ensures that the evidence collected is evaluated correctly. Third, you can expect to be subjected to a thorough physical examination. This might be the most difficult part of the rape kit – as some portions of this examination could feel invasive. Fourth, you can expect the examiner to report the incident. Examiners are mandatory reporters; however, this only applies to victims who are minors. If you are an adult, you should not worry about mandatory reporters – the decision to file a report is only yours. Lastly, you can expect to be offered follow-up care (e.g. preventative treatment for STIs). Why should victims ensure that they have rape kits taken after sexual attacks? The most important reason to have a rape kit taken is to ensure that all evidence (DNA evidence) is collected in a timely manner. DNA evidence is one of the most solid types of evidence for sexual assault cases. Therefore, completing a rape kit ensures that the party who attacked you is held accountable for his actions is essential for your case – if you decide to report the assault and take action against the liable party. Completing a rape kit also provides you with a sort of safety net if you take some time to make the decision to take action against the party that attacked you. After your rape kit is completed, you could take as much time as you need to come to a decision on filing a report and proceeding legally.

What Should You Do after Suffering Sexual Assault?

What are the things that you should do after suffering sexual assault? What should you do after suffering an Uber or Lyft sexual assault? There are many things that you should do immediately after being sexually attacked. Consider the points mentioned below:
  • Get to safety. You should do everything within your reach to get as far as possible from your attacker. You must make sure that you are safe after your attack.
  • Seek medical attention as soon as soon as possible. You should subject yourself to a rape kit. If you decide to subject yourself to a rape kit, you must do so as soon as possible (within 72 hours). You should be examined before you shower, comb your hair, or change your clothes.
  • Access your Uber or Lyft app and check your ride history. You should take screenshots of your ride.
  • File a police report. You should file a police report and give them a thorough statement of the sexual assault that you suffered. You should also inform them that your attacker was a rideshare driver.
  • Contact Uber or Lyft to report the incident. You will need to contact the rideshare company and inform them of your assault. You should limit the information that you reveal to them, being cautious to reveal anything that might be used against you.
  • Contact an attorney. You will need to seek legal assistance as soon as possible. An experienced attorney will be able to provide you with the necessary guidance to start your claim and
Taking action immediately after your sexual assault can be very difficult – especially considering the trauma caused by the experience. Whatever the case, you must remember that you must take action as soon as possible. If you delay taking action in any way, your claim could be severely affected in the long run.

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Could You Recover Compensation?

You were sexually assaulted by your rideshare driver. Without a doubt, you have the right to pursue a claim for the damages suffered due to your sexual assault. Could you also recover compensation? Undeniably, the victims of sexual assault likely have grounds to be compensated. For many victims of sexual assault, however, pursuing a claim against their attacker is equivalent to reliving the traumatic incident over and over again. Because of this, many victims of sexual assault will not pursue claims unless doing so seems worth reliving the trauma. Although there is no monetary value that can make you forget the trauma that you experienced during your Uber and Lyft sexual assault, recovering compensation could facilitate the process of moving forward with your life and past the incident. Because of this, it is often common for victims of sexual assault to have many questions surrounding the compensation that they could recover. How much compensation could I receive? What type of compensation could I recover for my sexual assault? What establishes the value of my claim? What can affect the value of my sexual assault claim? It is completely normal to have any of these questions. Although every sexual assault claim is different, some claims could result in some of the following types of compensate on:
  • Medical expenses: compensation for all the medical costs incurred as a direct result of the sexual attack. The higher the costs associated with any care necessary after your sexual assault, the higher the compensation you could recover.
  • Lost wages: compensation for all the income lost as a direct result of the sexual assault. Compensation awarded for lost income is directly affected by the victim’s wage history.
  • Pain and suffering: compensation for the pain and suffering caused by the assault, including mental and emotional distress, such as depression, anxiety, fear, embarrassment, and PTSD, for example.
  • Property damage: compensation for any personal property damaged during the sexual assault.
  • Loss of consortium: compensation awarded to family for the loss of ability to have a normal, loving relationship with the victim as a direct result of the sexual assault.
  • Punitive damages: compensation awarded to punish the defendant for the incident with the purpose of preventing similar incidents from reoccurring.
There is no guarantee that you could recover the compensation listed above. The specific type and amount of compensation that you recover depends strictly on the details of our claim. Besides understanding the different types of compensation that might be available for recovery, it is also important to have a thorough understanding of the different factors that could affect the value of your claim.
Consider the following information:
The value of sexual assault claims is directly affected by the extent of the physical harm suffered during the incident. For instance, in comparisons between assaults that resulted in rape and attempted rape, the assault that resulted in rape is likely to be worth more than the one that did not. There are some assaults that are so severe that victims must be subjected to extensive medical treatment to address the harm resulted from the assault. The value of sexual assault claims is also directly affected by the extent of mental and emotional harm resulting from the attack. The more mental and emotional distress caused resulting from the attack, the higher the potential value of the case. A victim that was left dealing with severe PTSD and other emotional/mental afflictions might recover higher compensation than a victim who was able to overcome the mental/emotional struggles caused by their attack, for example. There are many other factors that also affect the value of your sexual assault claim. Because the potential value of your claim can be affected by many different details, it is important that you seek legal assistance to discuss your claim with a sexual assault expert – only then will you be able to better understand the potential value of your sexual assault claim.

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Seek Legal Assistance with Downtown L.A. Law Group

Were you sexually assaulted by your Uber or Lyft driver? Unfortunately, many regular users of such rideshare services have experienced traumatic incidents with their drivers. Many unsuspecting passengers are attacked by their drivers and subjected to sexual assault – something that could change their lives forever. These rideshare companies, for many years, have appealed to a specific part of the community – the community that stays out late with friends, having fun at a bar, for example. This community has continuously been the most vulnerable to the malicious and intentional actions of Uber and Lyft drivers, especially considering that these parties can be intoxicated and lose consciousness in the rideshare vehicle. Uber and Lyft have both claimed to be the safer option when compared to driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol; however, all the incidents prove otherwise. If you were sexually assaulted while you were an Uber or Lyft passenger, you likely have grounds to pursue a claim against the party or entity liable for the harm that you suffered. If you believe that you have grounds to file a sexual assault claim against Uber or Lyft, do not hesitate to seek legal assistance with the attorneys at Downtown L.A. Law Group as soon as possible. Downtown L.A. Law Group is a personal injury law firm with many years of experience handling a variety of types of claims – including sexual assault claims. Our knowledgeable sexual assault attorneys with experience in Uber and Lyft incidents are ready to provide you with all the information necessary to pursue a successful claim. If you would like to learn more about the possibility of pursuing a sexual assault claim against Uber or Lyft, do not hesitate to contact our law firm as soon as possible. At Downtown L.A. Law Group, we are dedicated to remaining accessible to all parties who might have grounds to pursue a claim. Many harmed victims fail to take action and pursue a claim simply due to a lack of information – as they do not have legal services available to them. At our law firm, we are committed to providing you with the legal assistance that you need. Because of that, we offer both free consultations and free second opinions. During our free consultations and free second opinions, our lawyers will be available to answer all your questions and address all your concerns. Our lawyers will do everything within their reach to ensure that you have access to all the information necessary to reach a successful claim outcome. Are you interested in beginning your claim? Are you interested in redirecting your claim after it was affected by an incompetent attorney? Regardless of your answers to these questions, you could be certain that the specialized attorneys at our law firm are ready to provide you with the guidance that you need. As previously mentioned, we are dedicated to ensuring that our clients always have access to the legal services necessary to reach successful claim outcomes. The free legal services mentioned above are available as part of our Zero-Fee guarantee. What does our Zero-Fee guarantee mean to you? Our Zero-Fee guarantee ensures that our clients never have to worry about paying any upfront legal fees for any of our legal services. Our law firm is also based on a strict contingency status. Our contingency status ensures that our clients are never required to pay anything until after reaching a successful claim outcome. If you do not win, you will not be required to pay. If you are interested in learning more about your right to file a sexual assault lawsuit against Uber or Lyft, do not hesitate to seek legal assistance as soon as possible.
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