Were You Sexually Assaulted By An Uber Or Lyft Driver?

Ride-hailing companies such as Uber and Lyft have enjoyed a surge in popularity in recent years as a more convenient alternative to taxis. With this growth, however, has a come a dark and dangerous side — sexual assault by Uber and Lyft drivers. Thousands of criminals were cleared to be Uber drivers while Uber and other ridesharing companies lobbied against strong background checks. Dozens of Uber and Lyft drivers have been accused of sexually assaulting passengers. At least 31 Uber drivers have been convicted for crimes committed upon passenger ranging from forcible touching and false imprisonment to rape, and dozens of criminal and civil cases are pending, according to research by CNN. In the vast majority of the reported incidents, the targeted victims were female, lived alone, were being transported alone, and had consumed alcohol prior to being transported.

Rideshare Companies Are Responsible For Drivers’ Behavior

As a law firm that exclusively handles sexual abuse cases for victims, we have been asked the question “Can I sue Uber or Lyft if I was sexually assaulted?” The short answer is YES.  Ride-hailing companies such as Uber and Lyft are responsible for the safety of their passengers and for ensuring that their passengers arrive at their destination without incident. Similarly, Uber and Lyft are responsible for the actions of their drivers – and also for making sure that responsible decisions are made as to who is allowed to drive passengers for their companies. In some states, such as Florida, there is a separate basis of liability known as “common carrier.” Under the common carrier theory of liability, any transportation company open to the public (including buses, trains, and ships) acts as the guarantor of the safety of its fare-paying passengers and is automatically responsible for the negligent or intentional acts of its agents, including its drivers.

Was I Sexually Assaulted By My Uber or Lyft Driver?

In order to answer this, you must first understand what behavior constitutes sexual assault.  A sexual assault occurs when a person is when one person forces unwanted sexual contact upon another person or the second person is unable to provide legal consent.   This act can involve people of any gender, ethnicity, or socio-economic status, though in the case of Uber oft Lyft assault, it is more commonly a male driver attacking a female passenger.  We have seen in Uber or Lyft sexual assault lawsuits multiple cases involving intoxication, false imprisonment or kidnapping, and physical violence related to the sexual assault. The key is that the injured party did not agree to engage in sexual activity or was unable to consent to the contact due to intoxication, age, or impairment.

Safety Precautions to Reduce Risk of Sexual Assault by Drivers

  • Always verify the license plate and driver photo provided by the app against the driver arrives.  If there is a discrepancy, do not enter the vehicle.
  • Ask your driver to confirm their name when they are picking you up before getting into the car.
  • Ride in the backseat and check to make sure the child lock is off.
  • Share your ride location with a friend or family member
  • Watch your route as you’re traveling.  Make sure the most direct route is being taken.
  • If your driver starts being hostile or make sexual advances or comments, trust your instincts and contact the authorities
  • Never reveal that if you have consumed alcohol.  Never disclose that are returning to an empty apartment or house; instead, say that someone is expecting you at a specific time.
  • Use your phone to record if you have an unsafe interaction.  Real-time recordings, screenshots and other disclosures can be invaluable.

Ask For a Free Case Evaluation

Horowitz Law is one of most experienced law firms in the country representing victims of sexual assault by Uber and Lyft drivers. If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted or raped by a driver for a ridesharing company, please contact us at 954-641-2100 or send us an email to request a free, confidential case evaluation.