Ride-sharing has become a significant method of transportation in U.S. cities. People love the convenience of hailing and paying for a ride from their smartphone, tracking where their ride is, and often paying less than they would for a taxi. There is, however, a dark side to ride sharing.
Too many passengers have been victims of sexual assaults at the hands of their Uber driver or Lyft driver. The companies once marketed themselves as having high standards for background checks, but reportedly hired drivers with criminal pasts.
Worse, the companies used their terms of agreement to force passengers with legitimate claims into silence. Companies like Uber and Lyft put profits and efficiency over passenger safety, and too many passengers have suffered as a result. Uber passengers and Lyft passengers have a right to arrive at their destinations without fearing for their personal safety.
They have a right to drivers whose backgrounds have been adequately checked.
Uber Sexual Assault
Perhaps the most well known of the ride-sharing companies is Uber. With drivers in cities across the U.S., the company provides 15 million rides every day. Uber used to market itself as having the gold standard in background checks. According to reports, however, that wasn’t true.
A CNN report from 2018 notes that there are at least 103 Uber drivers who have faced accusations of sexually assaulting or sexually abusing their passengers over a four-year period. In each of the 103 cases, the drivers were either arrested or wanted by police or were named in civil lawsuits. Thirty-one drivers were convicted for crimes linked to sexual assault and abuse.
Uber reportedly didn’t keep track of—or allow access to—information about allegations against its drivers; CNN obtained the information from police reports, court records, and county court databases for 20 U.S. cities.
Based on the evidence available and information from 20 police departments, CNN theorizes that the actual number of Uber sexual assaults could be higher than 103. In 2016, the Boston Police Department received 24 complaints or reports of Uber sexual assaults between 2016 and 2018. During the same time, Los Angeles received 13 similar complaints or reports, and Austin received 16. Denver received at least nine.
One victim of an Uber sexual assault told CNN that taking a ride with Uber was much like hitchhiking with strangers.
Although Uber had an agreement policy that forced passengers to resolve any claims through arbitration, at least nine women joined a lawsuit alleging they were victims of Uber sexual assault. In May 2018, Uber said it would allow victims of sexual assault in an Uber vehicle to file a lawsuit, but not allow them to file a class action suit. The company also said it would release data about sexual assaults by Uber drivers.
In a separate Uber lawsuit, two women filed a claim alleging the company failed to fire a driver who was accused of sexual assault. The first woman filed a complaint with police against Uber driver John Kyle Lane. He was allowed to continue driving for Uber and allegedly assaulted another passenger only two weeks later.
Anyone who has been a victim of a ride-sharing sexual assault has the right to have their claims heard in court. It is vital that companies like Uber be held accountable for hiring drivers with criminal records or who commit acts of sexual violence against their passengers.
Lyft Sexual Assault
Uber’s competitor, Lyft, also faces allegations of sexual assault. CNN’s review of Lyft followed the same process as the Uber review. Through that analysis, CNN learned of 18 Lyft drivers accused of sexual assault in four years. Four of those drivers have been convicted. From 2016 to 2018, Boston received three complaints about Lyft, while Los Angeles received eight. Austin reported 10 reports and Denver had 12.
Like Uber, Lyft has allowed victims of sexual assault to file lawsuits as opposed to forcing arbitration on sexual assault victims. A Lyft sexual assault lawsuit was filed against the company alleging a Lyft driver sexually assaulted her after driving her to a hotel.
Uber Sexual Assault Lawyer
Based on the figures from CNN’s report, it is likely that there are many more Uber sexual assault and Lyft sexual assault victims who have not come forward. Companies like Uber and Lyft must be held accountable for putting their passengers at risk of a sexual assault or rape.
By not running adequate background checks and by preventing women from speaking out about their experiences in the past, Uber and Lyft have continued to put female passengers at risk.
Our attorneys are experienced in dealing with the sensitive information in sexual assault claims and are committed to obtaining justice for victims of sexual assault, sexual abuse, and rape. We are also dedicated to ensuring your confidentiality is protected.
If you or a loved one is an Uber rape victim or Lyft rape victim, you need a compassionate attorney who is skilled at handling private, confidential information. You need an attorney who will fight to protect your rights and, if you choose, your privacy while getting justice for you.
Contact an attorney at Patterson Dahlberg today for a no-obligation consultation. Our lawyers have obtained hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation for our clients, and we are dedicated to helping you through this incredibly stressful time.