Danger alert: How Uber, Lyft drivers frequently victimize passengers
A safe ride is traditionally regarded as a likely outcome. No woman or man using a ride share app should ever expect to become a victim of sexual assault, rape, harrassment or be the subject of unwanted advances from a licensed ride-share operator.
There’s a troubling truth, though, about these ride-share apps that allow sexual predators to exploit vulnerable individuals.
Here’s the unfortunate reality:
There are, literally, thousands of rape complaints and other filings alleging sexual harassment, attempted rape and other crimes.
And this growing trend of crimes need to be stopped through raising awareness, increased regulation and litigation to ensure that individuals’ rights and safety are protected and that the proper safety precautions are taken to prevent Uber and Lyft drivers from hurting unsuspecting customers.
Let’s break down the issues involved together in this guide, and how Mokaram Law Firm can help you should this happen to you.
What leads to Rideshare sexual assaults?
Unfortunately, many ride-share customers are in unfamiliar environments while traveling or in high-crime areas when they hire the ride services like Uber and Lyft. Sometimes, people use a ride-share as a responsible alternate to not drive under the influence of alcohol or other intoxicants.
When someone is under the influence, obviously they’re not as safe to protect themselves from a predatory ride-share driver or, sometimes, someone pretending to be a ride-share driver.
Yes, there are background checks conducted by these companies licensing the drivers.
No, that doesn’t rule out all bad actors with criminal histories, including sexual assault.
And, yes, it’s a fact that many of these drivers are not supervised well enough and are not properly and legally trained about sexual assault, sexual misconduct and sexual harassment.
In many cases, there are no cameras or passenger dividers.
And there has been a huge increase in the amount of sexual assaults.
In legal discovery from a lawsuit involving Uber over unpaid wages for independent contractors, it was revealed that the ride-share giant was facing tens of thousands of rape complaints.
Numbers continue to rise since an NPR report revealing that Uber released a report acknowledging 3,045 sexual assaults and nine murders involving their drivers in the United States in 2018.
One year later, the California Public Utility Commission fined Uber $59 million for the company’s refusal to share names and contact information for victims of the sexual assaults due to privacy issues. The fine was negotiated down to $150,000, but, under the agreement, Uber was required to donate $4 million to the California Victims Compensation Board and an additional $5 million toward this hot-button issue.
It’s a well-known fact that many victims, women and men, do not report sexual assault for various reasons, including fear, trauma and embarrassment. So, the numbers are likely even higher.
And Lyft has not disclosed all data, citing privacy and legal concerns.
Virtually, everyone has been in this situation.
They need a ride. Instead of calling a taxi or a friend, they opt to use the ride-share app, relying on the convenience and technology and affordability of this travel option.
And they’re not expecting to be preyed upon by a ride-share driver.In a vulnerable state, several crimes can be committed upon an individual.Those could involve, in addition to sexual assault, attempted rape, sexual battery, fondling, unwanted sexual advances, namecalling, uncomfortable staring, obscene messages or coercion, sharing sexual material, including pornography, rude comments about physical appearance, harassment.
What to do if you’ve been sexually assaulted or harassed in a ride-share?
Report the incident immediately to law enforement.Remember you are the victim and you have rights.
Obtain justice by exercising those rights.
Call the police or a National Sexual Assault hotline: 1-800-656-HOPE
Contact Uber and Lyft through their websites to report incidents promptly
.Use your voice.
What are your rights in a potential lawsuit?
Every state has a different statute of limitations for filing a civil lawsuit.Typically, you have between two to five years to file a lawsuit.That means the clock is ticking and you need to hire an attorney with the experience to handle a ride-share sexual assault incident.
Time is of the essence.
And there are liability issues at play and potential compensation if it can be proven that the company is culpable for employing and contracting with a driver it should have known or did have knowledge of a driver’s issues and potential danger for a customer.
Sexual assault and harassment can leave physical and emotional scares for years and lead to issues in relationships, substance abuse, depression and other mental health issues and eating disorders.The trauma can be relived over and over. There can be post-traumatic stress disorder involved.
There is no stigma. Everyone can be a victim. It is not your fault.
At Mokaram Law Firm, our team of highly trained Houston personal injury attorneys is dedicated to providing you with outstanding support and professionalism. Resolving complex legal issues can be difficult, especially in sensitive cases like those involving victims of ride-share app drivers.
We are here to ease your burden and seamlessly guide you through the process. You don’t have to go through this alone. Contact us today at (281) 609-9224 and find out how we can help ease your anxiety and get the compensation you deserve.
Contact our legal team today! Your peace of mind and safety are our top priorities.