I Was Sexually Assaulted by a Rideshare Driver. Now What?
Being sexually assaulted by a rideshare driver can be a traumatic and life-altering experience. It’s important to know that you are not alone, and there are resources available to help you.
Uber and Lyft are facing many lawsuits over sexual assault allegations. These companies may be held accountable for the criminal actions of their drivers.
How Do I Recover Physically & Emotionally from Sexual Assault?
After a sexual assault, you should get medical treatment right away. The hospital will attempt to get DNA from the person who harmed you and treat any injuries you may have. Keep track of all medical records and bills. This information will be necessary if you file a lawsuit in the future.
While your physical recovery is essential for returning to optimal health, it’s just the tip of the iceberg. Many sexual assault victims are plagued with emotional trauma following the abuse they suffered. Some victims may experience nightmares, repeated thoughts of the event, jumpiness, or irritability — common symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. In fact, one study found that 94% of sexually assaulted women experienced symptoms of PTSD during the two weeks following the attack.
There are several recovery options for sexually assaulted victims suffering from mental and emotional trauma, including the following:
- Talking to someone you trust. Talking about what happened can help you to process your experience and begin to heal. Talk to a friend, family member, therapist, or counselor.
- Joining a support group. Support groups can provide you with a safe space to connect with other survivors and share your experiences.
- Surrounding Yourself with Loved Ones. In addition to talking to friends and family about the event, make sure that you continually spend time with them to avoid long stretches of loneliness, which may increase feelings of fear, anxiety, and depression.
Organizations that Help Sexual Assault Victims
There are organizations you can contact to help you through this difficult time. They can connect you with medical assistance and other resources that you may need.
- The National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-HOPE
- The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN)
- The National Center for Victims of Crime
Remember, you are not alone. There are people who care about you and want to help. Please reach out for help if you need it.
Where Do I Report Sexual Assault?
You should report a sexual assault to law enforcement right away. You can call 911 or go directly to the police station to make a report. The police will guide you through the steps of documenting what happened and getting the help you need.
You should also report the incident to the rideshare company when you are able. You might contact a personal injury attorney and allow them to handle all the communication with the rideshare company.
What Damages Can I Recover After a Rideshare Sexual Assault Incident?
If you have been sexually assaulted by a rideshare driver, you may be entitled to recover damages from the rideshare company, the driver, or both. The specific damages you may be able to recover will depend on the facts and circumstances of your case, but they may include:
- Past, present, and future medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium
You may even be able to get punitive damages in some cases. Punitive damages are intended to punish the rideshare company or driver for their wrongdoing and to deter them from future misconduct.
The amount of damages you may be able to recover will depend on the severity of your injuries, the extent of your emotional distress, and the other factors specific to your case. An experienced attorney can help you assess the value of your case and negotiate a fair settlement with the rideshare company or driver.
Who’s At Fault for Ride Share Sexual Assault?
Determining fault for a sexual assault in a rideshare situation can be complex, as multiple parties may bear some level of responsibility. The specific circumstances of each case will shape the legal analysis and determine who is ultimately held accountable for the harm caused.
Primary Responsibility: The Assailant
In every case of sexual assault, the primary responsibility lies with the perpetrator, the individual who directly committed the act of violence. They are the ones who made the conscious decision to inflict harm and must bear the full legal consequences of their actions.
Rideshare Company’s Potential Liability
Rideshare companies, such as Uber and Lyft, have a duty of care to their passengers, which includes taking reasonable steps to protect them from foreseeable harm. If they fail to meet this duty of care, they may be held liable for the actions of their drivers.
Potential grounds for liability against a rideshare company include:
- Negligent Hiring: If the company failed to adequately screen drivers for criminal history or potential predatory behavior, it may be held responsible for the assault.
- Negligent Supervision: If the company failed to properly monitor and supervise its drivers, it may be liable for failing to prevent the assault.
- Negligent Retention: If the company knowingly kept a dangerous driver on its platform after receiving reports of misconduct, it may be liable for the assault.
Has Uber or Lyft Ever Been Sued for Sexual Assault?
Both Uber and Lyft have been sued numerous times for sexual assault. In fact, a recent report by USA Today found that Uber was facing over 550 sexual assault lawsuits as of July 2022. Lyft has also been hit with a significant number of lawsuits, with over 40 filed in just the first 10 months of 2022.
There are several reasons why rideshare companies have been sued for sexual assault. One reason is that the companies use a background check system that has been criticized for being inadequate. Another reason is that the companies do not provide enough training to their drivers on how to handle situations where a passenger feels unsafe. Additionally, the companies have been criticized for not doing enough to respond to reports of sexual assault from passengers.
Will I Have to Go to Court for a Rideshare Sexual Assault Case?
Whether or not you will have to go to court for a rideshare sexual assault case depends on multiple factors, including the severity of the assault, the evidence available, and the willingness of the parties to settle out of court.
Settling Out of Court for Rideshare Sexual Assault Cases
In many cases, civil rideshare sexual assault cases are settled out of court. This means that the parties reach an agreement on compensation without going to trial. Settling out of court can be a quicker and more private way to resolve a case, but it can also mean that you may not receive as much compensation as you would if you went to trial.
Going to Court for Rideshare Sexual Assault Cases
If you are unable to reach a settlement out of court, you may have to go to court. This can be a long and stressful process, but it may also be the only way to get the compensation you deserve. Factors that affect whether you will need to go to court include the severity of the assault, the evidence available, the willingness of the parties to settle, and the strength of your case.
Will My Rideshare Case Remain Confidential?
We understand that you might want your rideshare sexual assault case to remain confidential. There are many reasons you might want that, including fear of retaliation.
If you settle your case out of court, then most of the details will be confidential. However, if a lawsuit is filed, then much of the information will be available to the public. It is possible to have some discovery and other personal information sealed and redacted from the public record.
We Can Help If You’re the Victim of a Rideshare Sexual Assault
An experienced rideshare sexual assault attorney can help you understand your legal options, gather evidence, and build a strong case. They can communicate with other parties, including the insurance companies, and negotiate a fair settlement on your behalf.