Lyft is the second largest rideshare company in the United States. It also faces many of the same allegations of sexual assault and failure to protect riders that its competitor, Uber, has faced many times before. Multiple victims have come forward alleging various sex crimes involving Lyft drivers. The crimes range from rape and sexual assault to kidnapping and other crimes.
Our California sexual assault attorneys are available to provide legal advice, guidance, and support if you or a loved one has been a victim of Lyft sexual assault. Contact our office for a free consultation with one of our experienced California personal injury attorneys.
Key takeaways from this article:
- Details of the recent lawsuit against Lyft alleging sexual assault and other wrongdoing
- Are rideshare companies doing enough to protect passengers?
- Do you know your rights if a Lyft driver or Uber driver sexually assaults you?
- Steps to take after a Lyft assault or Lyft sex crime
- How a California rideshare sexual assault attorney can help with an Uber or Lyft lawsuit
New Lyft Lawsuit Alleges Company Failed to Protect Riders
Another lawsuit against Lyft filed in December 2019 claims that Lyft failed to prevent rideshare drivers from sexually assaulting passengers. The lawsuit also claims that the rideshare company ignored complaints of assault by victims. Almost two dozen women joined the lawsuit. One woman named in the lawsuit was raped in the back seat of the vehicle.
The lawsuit seeks damages, but it also demands that Lyft require cameras in all of the vehicles. Lyft claims that it has initiated safety measures, but at least eight women claim they were assaulted after those measures were implemented.
The women in the most recent Lyft lawsuit join hundreds of other women who have come forward to share their stories of rape and sexual assault by rideshare drivers. Unfortunately, the problem is much bigger.
Uber issued a safety report that analyzed billions of rides in 2017 and 2018. According to the Uber safety report, the company received thousands of reports of sexual assaults by its drivers, including non-consensual touching or kissing and non-consensual sexual penetration. There were also 19 fatal physical assaults reported.
In addition to sustaining physical, emotional, and mental injuries because of the rideshare sexual attacks, individuals have also been victimized by the rideshare companies that ignore their complaints and turn a blind eye to the dangers faced by rideshare passengers at the hands of Uber and Lyft drivers.
Allegations of Wrongdoing and Negligence in Handling Complaints and Claims
In September 2019, fourteen women filed a lawsuit against Lyft claiming they were sexually assaulted or raped by Lyft drivers. That lawsuit also claims that Lyft mishandled complaints against drivers. In some cases, the drivers were allegedly allowed to continue driving for Lyft.
According to the lawsuit, the rideshare company failed to perform adequate background checks on drivers. Allegedly, Lyft received almost 100 sexual assault complaints against California rideshare drivers from 2014 through 2016. However, the company worked to conceal complaints of sexual assault by Lyft drivers instead of taking steps to protect future rideshare passengers.
One of the Lyft victims stated in a news conference that it’s apparent that Lyft cannot be trusted to police itself and that the company ignored her telephone calls. Sadly, it appears that Lyft, Uber, and other rideshare companies have put profit above the safety of their passengers. In doing so, the rideshare companies have placed passengers in danger.
Uber and Lyft Announce Increased Steps to Protect Passengers
In response to allegations and complaints from victims of rideshare sexual assault and sexual abuse by rideshare drivers, Lyft and Uber have announced that they are increasing their efforts to protect passengers.
On January 14, 2020, Lyft announced that it was creating a Safety Advisory Council. The Safety Advisory Council includes expert partner organizations that will advise Lyft on current and future safety initiatives.
According to the release, one out of every five Lyft employees worked on projects related to the safety of the platform during 2019. The company claims that it initiated 15 new safety features for drivers and riders in 2019 as a result of its efforts to improve the platform’s safety. Examples of the safety steps Lyft initiated include:
- Smart Trip Check-In allows the company to predict if someone needs help if a ride appears to have unexplained delays.
- Passengers and drivers can access 911 from the Lyft app.
- Continues criminal monitoring and daily screenings of Lyft drivers for criminal convictions.
- Photo and license verification so that riders known who their Lyft driver is in advance.
- Sharing routes and ETA with friends and family members before the ride begins.
Uber has many of the same safety features announced by Lyft. Both companies have recently increased their efforts to protect passengers. However, have the companies done enough? Do safety features release the rideshare companies from all liability for injuries and sexual assault by rideshare drivers?
What Are Your Rights If a Lyft Driver or Uber Driver Sexually Assaults You?
Rideshare drivers are independent contractors. Therefore, liability for harm can be unclear. When is the company liable for damages and injuries caused by sexual assault committed by a driver?
When Uber and Lyft began receiving complaints of injuries and sexual assaults committed by rideshare drivers, they attempted to shield themselves from liability by claiming their drivers were independent contractors. However, the platforms advertise their services and promote ridesharing as safe forms of transportation. Uber and Lyft both claim rideshare services are a safer alternative than driving when you had too much to drink.
When you advertise your platform as safe, you owe a duty of care to the users of that platform. However, the rideshare companies can only be held liable for their negligence and wrongdoing.
Therefore, many of the lawsuits against Lyft and Uber involving sexual assault by rideshare drivers allege that the companies were negligent. Examples of negligence by Lyft and Uber that might give rise to a personal injury lawsuit include, but are not limited to:
- Failing to conduct adequate background checks on drivers
- Failure to correctly interpret or review the results of background checks
- Ignoring the results of a background check
- Failing to conduct ongoing background checks
- Failure to respond to allegations and complaints of rideshare sexual assault
- Allowing an Uber driver or Lyft driver to continue driving after becoming aware of a sexual assault allegation
- Failing to remove drivers from the platform who have repeated negative reviews alleging wrongdoing and misconduct
- Failing to conduct adequate and prompt investigations of complaints and sexual assault allegations against Lyft drivers or Uber drivers
- Failing to provide adequate warnings of the risk of using rideshare services, especially if the passenger is intoxicated or otherwise impaired
Proving Negligence in an Uber or Lyft Lawsuit
To recover compensation from Lyft or Uber for sexual assault damages, you must prove each legal element of a negligence allegation.
The legal elements of a negligence claim against a rideshare company are:
- The rideshare company owed you a duty of care to the passenger;
- The rideshare company breached this duty of care;
- The breach of duty caused the passenger to be harmed;
- The rideshare company knew or should have known the dangers and risks to the passenger that could result from its negligence; and,
- The passenger sustained damages because of the harm suffered.
Proving the elements of negligence in a Lyft sexual assault case requires a thorough investigation to determine the unique facts and circumstances relevant to the case. You need an experienced sexual assault attorney on your side to help you fight for your legal rights to justice and recovery of compensation for injuries and damages.
How Can A California Sexual Assault Attorney Help with an Uber or Lyft Lawsuit?
A California sexual assault attorney can help you with your claim against Lyft and Uber in many ways. Examples of why you need an experienced Uber and Lyft lawsuit attorney include, but are not limited to:
- Our lawyers are familiar with the legal requirement for proving that Uber or Lyft is liable for damages caused by a sexual assault committed by a rideshare driver.
- We have a thorough understanding of California negligence laws and sexual assault laws.
- Our law firm has extensive resources to perform thorough and exhaustive investigations into the allegations of sexual assault by an Uber or Lyft driver. We have access to experts, investigators, and other professionals to assist in the investigation.
- We search for all parties who might have liability for a sexual assault claim, including rideshare companies, insurance providers, companies that conduct driver background checks, and other third parties.
- Rideshare companies aggressively defend lawsuits alleging negligence and liability for sexual assaults by drivers. Uber and Lyft have huge legal teams that fight the company. You need and deserve a legal team who fights even more aggressively to protect your legal rights and your best interests.
- We work closely with your physicians, therapists, and counselors to evaluate your injuries and damages to determine the compensation you deserve for your claim.
- Our lawyers are talented and aggressive trial attorneys. We understand the complex evidentiary and legal rules and court procedures required to litigate sexual assault cases. We handle all aspects of your case both inside and outside of the courtroom.
- We provide legal advice, but we also provide support throughout the process. We understand your decision to come forward may have been emotional and difficult. We respect your privacy and your wishes throughout the case. Our job is to help you seek justice while minimizing the stress and anxiety that you might feel as you pursue your attacker and the parties responsible for your injuries.
The entire legal team of The Thompson Law Office is here for you. You do not need to face this matter alone. From start to finish, you can trust that we will do everything within our power to help right this terrible wrong that you have suffered.
Steps to Take After a Lyft Assault or Uber Assault
If you are the victim of rideshare sexual assault, it is important to take certain steps to preserve your legal right to hold the driver and the rideshare company accountable for your injuries and damages.
Some important steps to remember include:
- Your safety is the first priority. Get to a safe location and call 911 immediately. Ask for the police and emergency medical services.
- File a report of the sexual assault with local law enforcement agencies. When being treated by medical providers, tell them that the injuries sustained are from a sexual assault. They will need to gather evidence of the attack during the examination.
- Take photographs of visible injuries. Preserve your clothing, if the police or medical staff did not do so.
- Take a screenshot of the rideshare application, including the ride details.
- Report the sexual assault or attack to the rideshare company. You may be able to do this through the rideshare app. Remember to take screenshots if you use the rideshare app to report the attack. If you contact the rideshare company by telephone to report the assault, make notes of your conversation, including the date and time of your report, a report number, and the name of the representative who took the report.
- Contact an Uber or Lyft lawsuit attorney as soon as possible for legal advice. An attorney helps you take additional steps to protect yourself and your legal rights after being sexually assaulted by a Lyft driver.
Contact the Lawyers of The Thompson Law Office for Additional Information
Being sexually assaulted by a rideshare driver is a traumatic experience. We understand that it may be difficult for you to discuss this matter. Our lawyers and legal team are sensitive to your needs. We provide a safe environment where you can speak confidentially about what happened to you. We are dedicated to providing our clients with the trusted, compassionate service they need as they continue to heal from a sexual assault.
Please contact our office to schedule a free consultation with an experienced California sexual assault attorney. Call 1-650-513-6111 to speak with a member of our legal team.