Uber and Lyft Sexual Assault
For those looking for a convenient ride, rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft are a popular choice. In recent years, there has been an increasing number of reports of rideshare drivers committing sexual assaults. With the help of a sexual assault attorney, a victim can file a lawsuit against the rideshare company and the driver.
Melissa Hague is a woman warrior devoted to obtaining justice for survivors of sexual assault. A rideshare assault report to the police can result in charges and jail time, but it does nothing to heal the wounds suffered by the victim.
Melissa believes that taking legal action in civil court is a crucial part of the healing process. A sexual assault can leave a survivor physically, mentally, and emotionally scarred for life. Survivors of Uber or Lyft sexual assaults can obtain the resources necessary for healing through legal action.
Let your voice be heard. If you have been sexually assaulted while riding in an Uber or Lyft, speak with Melissa Hague about your options in a free and confidential consultation.
Sexual Assault Committed by Rideshare Drivers
Uber and Lyft have been accused of failing to protect their passengers from sexual assault by their drivers for years. The companies have been criticized by victims and advocates for failing to provide a safe environment for riders, and for focusing more on their bottom line than on safety.
Lyft was sued by 14 plaintiffs in 2015 who claimed to have suffered abuse while using the company’s platform. The lawsuit alleged the company failed to adequately investigate their drivers’ backgrounds, failed to provide appropriate sexual harassment training, and failed to take reasonable steps to oversee driver behavior.
Uber has also been accused of not following up adequately on allegations of assault when they do occur.
During a 2019 investigation by the Washington Post, it was found that employees tasked with investigating allegations of misconduct against Uber drivers often neglected to report incidents to the police. Former Uber investigators said their primary goal was to protect Uber from liability rather than to protect its passengers.
Uber and Lyft have both released reports in recent years about the frequency of sexual assault on their platforms, showing that assault allegations were widespread.
- During the time period between 2017 and 2019, Lyft received more than 4,000 allegations of sexual assault, including non-consensual touching, non-consensual kissing, and non-consensual sexual penetration, according to a “community safety report” released in 2021.
- According to Uber’s 2015 safety report, there were 5,981 sexual assault accusations between 2017 and 2018.
- In 2018, Uber received 235 reports of rape, an average of about four reports per week
Reports from both companies stress that most of the rides they offer are safe, and that assaults on their platforms are low compared to the number of rides booked.
What You Can Do to Avoid Rideshare Sexual Assaults
Due to the popularity of ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft, passengers often overlook basic safety precautions. A passenger might never anticipate that a sexual assault could take place in Uber or Lyft. There are, however, a few basic safety steps passengers can take to ensure a safe ride.
Before entering the vehicle, passengers should:
- Stand in a well-lit area
- Verify that the vehicle type and license plate match the information on the app
- Have the driver provide their name and confirm it matches on the app
- Ride with a friend
- If you must ride alone, call someone and stay on the phone with them
- Sit in the back seat
When a customer is intoxicated, fatigued, or otherwise compromised, Uber and Lyft are intended as safe transportation options. Unfortunately, drivers have been known to take advantage of impaired customers.
Many victims of rideshare sexual assault report noticing suspicious driver behavior before the assault. Some red flags to look out for include:
- Making sexual comments
- Acting nervous
- Taking an unexpected route
- Missing the destination
- Asking overly personal questions
- Claiming that the app isn’t working
If you feel uncomfortable with a rideshare driver, it is best to call someone you trust, inform them of your current location, and ask the driver to let you out of the vehicle prematurely.
You can call 911 from within the Uber and Lyft apps, and the information about your driver can be shared with your friends if you want them to know exactly where you are.
What to Do if You’ve Been Sexually Assaulted by a Rideshare Driver?
Being sexually assaulted by a rideshare driver is a terrifying and traumatic experience.
A victim should get to a safe place as soon as possible. Call the police to report the assault.
A victim of sexual assault should seek medical attention immediately. Get an evaluation done by a sexual assault nurse examiner (SANE), and if necessary, a rape kit. This should be done as soon as possible so that DNA evidence can be preserved.
It is important for a sexual assault victim to keep all information about the rideshare driver. Take screenshots of the app that show the ride history, the driver’s name, any messages from the driver, and proof of payment. Be sure not to delete the app or your account.
It is also important to inform the rideshare company about the assault so that they can perform an investigation
Last but not least, a rideshare assault victim should contact an attorney who has experience handling such cases.
Both criminal and civil charges can be filed against a rideshare driver who commits sexual assault. Criminal court can bring an arrest, conviction, and jail time, as well as a criminal record as a sexual offender. Suing in civil court can help a victim receive compensation for the effects of their trauma.
Melissa Hague can help if you have been sexually assaulted by an Uber or Lyft driver.
When you put your trust in the hands of a rideshare company, sexual assault should never happen. Coming forward brings justice to a survivor and prevents other passengers from being victimized by this traumatizing crime.
Melissa Hague offers free, confidential consultations to victims of sexual assault.
Tell Melissa Your Story
It is possible for survivors of sexual assault to receive justice. An experienced sexual assault lawyer can help a survivor tell their story, however, it is still a very challenging task. Trauma, shame, confusion, and fear all contribute to a victim’s silence.
Melissa Hague and her trauma-informed team are committed to helping sexual assault survivors feel safe and supported while sharing their stories.
Melissa Hague believes that providing compensation to a victim of a sexual assault is an important part of restoring justice.
A victim’s long-term health and well-being are greatly impacted by giving them the time and resources necessary to heal from sexual assault.
Melissa is a zealous, determined advocate for survivors of sexual assault. She fights for her clients’ rights through every step of the legal process with empathy and solidarity.
Tell us your story. Request a free, confidential consultation with Melissa today.
WHAT IS MY CASE WORTH?
Frequently Asked Questions
If when you are contacted by the other party’s insurance company they will likely attempt to have your conversation recorded. You are not required to give a recorded statement, and we strongly urge our clients not to give this statement. In fact, we encourage you not to speak to the other party’s insurance company about the facts of the crash or about any injuries that may have resulted. Your conversation should be limited to information about damage to your car and its location. Tell the insurance company to contact your insurance company or your lawyer.
A car crash is never a pleasant experience. Afterward, everyone’s emotions are usually running high. It is best to remain calm and not argue with the other driver. Someone may be injured, and you should make sure everyone involved is ok, and that there aren’t any injuries. Even if the accident doesn’t seem bad, and no one appears to be hurt, you should call 911. You need the police to be present to keep everyone safe and to get the vehicles moved. Also, it is good to have the police present for insurance purposes to prove that the accident happened. Be sure exchange information with the other driver including the other driver’s name, address, insurance company name and policy number. Make notes of the make and model of the vehicle. Be sure not to make any statements as to the accident being your fault.
There are varying time deadlines, and in some instances other special “notice” or filing deadlines, that apply to injury claims. There is no law, however, that requires an injury victim to report an accident-related injury to an attorney. With the understanding that the deadlines apply whether or not an attorney is involved, the better question might be whether it makes sense to call for legal help with your injury claim now, as opposed to later? We believe the answer to this question is always or almost always “yes”. The person or company that “accidentally” hurts you usually reports what happened to a liability insurance company right away. That company then immediately begins to investigate what happened, to investigate the claims being made, and to investigate the people making the claims. The insurer does this to protect its interests and that of its insured, not the interests of the victim. Often there is an issue over who is legally responsible for what happened. When this occurs, the insurance company may deny your claim entirely or attempt to negotiate a settlement for less than full value. In addition, there is almost always disagreement over the severity of the injuries and damages being claimed, with a resulting argument over their monetary value. Insurance claim adjusters do this for a living. As personal injury attorneys, we do this for a living as well, with the critical difference that we do it for you, not the insurance company. The sooner we get to work, the sooner we are able to protect you, and the more likely it is that we’ll be able to help you obtain the full and fair compensation you deserve. We charge no extra for getting to work now as opposed to later; in fact, we charge no fee until your case is successfully resolved. If the other guy’s insurance company is already working to protect him, shouldn’t someone be working to protect you right now as well? (Call us, right now, toll-free, at 888-777-5635.)
Initially, we need you to provide us with as much information about the incident that led to your injuries as possible. How did the incident happen? Where did it happen? Who was involved? Were there any witnesses? Who did you speak with at the scene of the incident? What was said during the conversation? If you have an Exchange of Information Form, an Incident Report, or any other documents relating to the incident, we would like to have copies. Similarly, we ask that you provide us with any photographs that you may have, including photographs of your car (if you were involved in a car crash) and photographs of your injuries, such as cuts, bruises, and scars. Finally, we need information regarding the kinds of injuries that you sustained, where you have sought treatment, information related to any lost wages, and information as to how the incident has impacted you physically and emotionally.
Personal injury attorneys do not get paid like other attorneys do. While some attorneys charge by the hour or make you pay in advance, personal injury attorneys get paid a percentage of your settlement or jury verdict. This is called a “contingency fee.” Importantly, you do not have to pay us in advance to represent you and we do not get paid for our work until your case is resolved. Working on a contingency basis provides a real benefit to clients because the client’s interests and the law firm’s interests align. We are both focused on maximizing your recovery.
You should always feel free to contact your attorney with any questions you have about your case. It is important that you keep the Firm up to date with your contact information so that your attorney can get in touch with you regarding case developments. In addition to your attorney, you will also have a paralegal working on your case. Your paralegal will be working to collect all of your treatment information. You should keep your paralegal updated on where you are seeking medical care and if you are referred to any new providers. Once you are released from treatment, your attorney will keep you up to speed on negotiations with the insurance company and will provide you with guidance about your cases value. If your case is one that goes to litigation, your attorney will guide you through the litigation process.
There is not a simple yes or no answer to this question. At The Joel Bieber Firm, we take a great deal of time, effort and care in obtaining the best settlement offer we can from the insurance company. If we are able to reach an agreement with the insurance company, you will not have to go to court. However, if the insurance company doesn’t pay a fair value for your case, The Joel Bieber Firm is ready and willing to file a lawsuit and fight for your case in court.
Do not sign any document for the insurance company without consulting a lawyer. The insurance company may ask you to sign a Medical Release or a Final Release of your claims in return for some payment. Medical Release: Your medical records are protected under a federal law known as HIPAA. While the insurance company may have a right to see some records in order to evaluate your claim, the release of that information should be limited and controlled. The medical release created by the insurance company may allow the insurance company to speak directly to your doctors, to receive all of your records for an unlimited time and to use those records for any purpose even purposes not related to your claim. Final Release: Once you sign a release, you cannot seek reimbursement for any additional treatment or other losses regardless of whether you made a mistake in signing too soon. Even a release given in exchange for a property damage settlement could release your claims for bodily injuries and lost wages.
That is a very good question. It can also be the topic for an entire seminar because it can get quite complicated, and every situation is different, which is all the more reason to talk to a lawyer. But the short answer for the typical situation is this—ready?—in most cases, you better hope you’ve got good insurance coverage on yourself. Why, you ask? Because in the typical case, you will be making a claim on your own automobile insurance policy’s uninsured motorist coverage. The number of uninsured motorists on the road in Virginia is surprising. There are even more people driving around who are underinsured. When the driver at fault is uninsured, or is underinsured, your most likely recourse in the typical situation is to pursue an uninsured or underinsured motorist claim on your own auto policy. The amount of uninsured coverage on your policy is a cap, or the limit, on what money you can collect. An easier way of saying it is that the amount of coverage you have on your policy will probably be the limit on what you get if the other guy doesn’t have insurance or is underinsured. That is why it is so important to make sure you have good uninsured motorist coverage in your own policy. If there is one thing you take away from reading this, it is to go back, look at your policy, and make sure you have enough uninsured coverage on your own policy so that all damages will be covered. Here’s why. First, understand what uninsured coverage is. It is like insurance you take out on yourself to protect against a costly collision. Uninsured motorist coverage gives you money to pay for damages whether the at-fault driver is uninsured or is less insured than you are. It is insurance to make sure there is enough money to go around in case you are in a wreck with someone who has no insurance, or as we often see, has only the low minimum coverage required in Virginia. In Virginia, the minimum amount of liability coverage that a person can buy is a 25/50/20 policy. The numbers represent different types of coverage in thousands of dollars. The first two numbers (the “25,000/50,000”) are the amounts that the insurance company will pay for bodily injury claims arising from an accident that you are legally liable for. The first number is the per-person amount and the second number is the per-accident amount. This is the lowest amount of insurance you can get. It also is usually the total amount of uninsured motorist coverage (UM) and underinsured motorist coverage (UIM) available. If you have low liability coverage, you also have low uninsured coverage to cover yourself if someone hits you. Let’s take a look at a typical example. If you have a minimum policy and someone hits you is uninsured, or also has the minimum coverage, that amount is all you can get—$25,000 per person, and $50,000 for everyone in the wreck. You would make a claim and your recovery would be capped at $25,000 no matter what the total actual damages are. As we often see, $25,000 doesn’t get you very far these days in a moderate-to-significant crash. Taking into consideration all the medical expenses, lost wages, possible future expenses and lost earnings, never mind the injury itself, pain and suffering, inconvenience, and a possible impairment, damages can easily exceed $25,000, but, still, that’s all that you would get. If you have low coverage, you can easily come up short. And, unfortunately, that happens. On the other hand, if you have higher uninsured coverage—let’s say, $50,000/$100,00 or $100,000/$300,000 or even more—then you would have twice or four or more times the money available to pay for your actual damages, even though the other driver has no insurance or only minimum coverage. With higher uninsured coverage, there is more money available to cover all the damages and a better chance that all your damages will be covered. Like we said earlier, there are a lot of people out there driving around with no insurance and with only the minimum amount of liability coverage who are causing some bad accidents. There may be other ways to get around an uninsured driver hitting you depending on the circumstances, but the usual case will have you use your own uninsured coverage. So, you should take a look at your financial and insurance situation, talk to your insurance agent, and decide whether or not you need more coverage. The time to decide on the right amount of uninsured motorist coverage is obviously before there is a wreck, injuries, and bills. Now that you know that what coverage you have may be, and probably will be, the total amount you get after a wreck, make sure it’s enough– enough to at least buy you peace of mind.
Seeking medical treatment is important for two reasons. The first is your health. Whether you have been in a motor vehicle crash, fell on someone else’s property, been bitten by a dog, or been injured in some other fashion, the goal is to return to the state of health that you were in prior to the incident. That is job one. Secondarily, the cost of your medical treatment is the responsibility of the party that injured you and their insurance company and it is an important factor for determining how much pain and suffering you have experienced from the incident.
Insurance companies will sometimes offer to or even send you a check as an enticement to settle your case quickly. It is always to their advantage to get you to accept a quick payment before you really know what is wrong with you. Be aware that if you accept, endorse, deposit, or cash the check it can be found to be an acceptance of the settlement offer and your case will be over. (Do not cash or deposit the check and then try to return it later, as that may also be found to be an acceptance of the settlement offer.) This can be a very costly mistake if you are still treating for injuries from a crash, still out of work, or if you may need additional medical treatment in the future. Once the check is accepted, you will likely never be able to get the additional compensation for your injuries, medical treatment, and losses that you deserve. If you are offered a check or receive one in the mail, do not accept it unless you are 100% sure that you want to forever end your case for the amount of the check at that moment. If you are not 100% sure, you should refuse or return the check and seek legal advice about your case.