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Sexual Assaults Committed By Rideshare Drivers: Holding Companies Like Uber and Lyft Accountable

March 29, 2024 | Category: Automobile Accidents | Share

For many rideshare passengers, the risk of being injured in an accident is not the only risk they face when they get in the passenger seat. For many, the threat of sexual assault is a very real concern as well. According to data from Helping Survivors, thousands of rideshare passengers fall victim to sexual assaults each year. If you have been sexually assaulted by an Uber or Lyft driver in Florida, you should speak with a Lee County personal injury attorney as soon as possible.

As the data from Helping Survivors make clear, rideshare sexual assaults are alarmingly common—and this fact is acknowledged by both Uber and Lyft. According to the organization:

“Uber’s first safety report revealed 5,981 sexual violence or assault allegations in 2017 and 2018 — 3,045 of which were in 2018. Lyft’s first safety report was released in 2020 and showed similar percentages of sexual violence against rideshare passengers.”

But passengers are not the only ones who are at risk. As reported by NBC News, according to a subsequent safety study, “[r]iders were the accused party 43% of the time in sexual assaults from 2019 to 2020, similar to the 45% Uber's 2017-2018 report.” However, in the most serious cases, passengers are far more likely to be victimized. As NBC News goes on to explain, “for rape, the survivor was the rider in 91% of incident reports, the drivers were survivors in 7%.” Among all rideshare drivers and passengers, “[w]omen made up 81% of the survivors of rape, men comprised about 15% from 2019-2020.”

Understanding Your Legal Rights Following a Sexual Assault During (or After) an Uber or Lyft Ride

For victims of sexual assault during (or after) Uber and Lyft rides, filing a claim for just compensation can be an important step in the recovery process. Sexual assaults can cause severe physical and psychological trauma, and this trauma can lead to both financial and non-financial costs. Victims of sexual assaults are entitled to just compensation for these costs under Florida law—and, in cases involving rideshare drivers, companies like Uber and Lyft can often be held accountable.

Just as Uber and Lyft have obligations to take reasonable steps to ensure that their drivers are qualified to be behind the wheel, they have obligations to ensure passengers’ and drivers’ safety in all other aspects of their operations. This includes taking reasonable steps to prevent sexual assaults. If they fail to take these steps, they can—and should—be held accountable. Holding them accountable not only allows victims to recover the financial compensation they deserve, but it also helps to mitigate the risk of similar attacks in the future.

What You Should Do Following a Sexual Assault During (or After) an Uber or Lyft Ride

With this in mind, if you have been sexually assaulted during (or after) an Uber or Lyft ride in Florida, there are some important steps you should take as soon as possible. These steps include:

1. Report Your Sexual Assault to the Police

If you have not done so already, you should report your sexual assault to the police. Rape and all other forms of sexual assault are serious crimes under Florida law. Once you report your sexual assault, the police should investigate promptly, and they may ask you to submit evidence through a rape kit. It is important that you do what you can to help the police with their investigation—and, if you feel uncomfortable or have any questions or concerns, you should seek advice from an attorney promptly.

2. Seek Treatment for Your Physical and Psychological Trauma

Along with promptly contacting the police, it is also important that you seek treatment for your physical and psychological trauma as soon after the attack as possible. You are a victim, and you should not feel ashamed about anything that was beyond your control. The doctors and nurses at the healthcare facility you contact will be able to help you—from providing necessary treatment for your physical injuries to making sure you get the psychological care you need to start your emotional recovery.

3. Take Detailed Notes

While we know it can be difficult, it is important that you take detailed notes about the attack as well. You should do your best to write down everything you can remember, from when you requested a ride (or received the ride request) to when you began the recovery process. No detail is too small; and, the more information you can provide to your Lee County personal injury attorney, the better able your attorney will be to establish accountability on your behalf.

4. Prioritize Your Physical and Emotional Recovery

As you begin the difficult process of moving on, it will be important for you to prioritize your physical and emotional recovery. Falling victim to sexual assault can impact you in several ways, including ways that you might never have imagined. You are coping with an extremely difficult set of circumstances that no one should be forced to endure, and it is important to acknowledge this fact. Doing so will help you focus on the recovery process—which will be important for protecting both your health and your legal rights.

5. Talk to a Lee County Personal Injury Attorney

Finally, you should speak with a Lee County personal injury attorney promptly. Once you hire an attorney to represent you, your attorney will be able to communicate with the police on your behalf while taking all necessary steps to hold Uber, Lyft, or any other at-fault party accountable. Hiring an attorney costs nothing, and it is one of the most important steps you can take to ensure that the long-term consequences of what happened are no greater than necessary.

Schedule a Free and Confidential Consultation with Lee County Personal Injury Attorney Randall L. Spivey

If you need to know more about how to protect yourself after a sexual assault involving an Uber or Lyft ride in Florida, we strongly encourage you to get in touch. To speak with Lee County personal injury attorney Randall L. Spivey of Spivey Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.A. in confidence, call 239-337-7483 or Statewide call 888-477-4839 or reach us online at now. There are no costs or attorney fees until we receive a monetary recovery for you. 

Randall L. Spivey was named to the 2023 Florida Super Lawyer List for exhibiting excellence in his practice of personal injury.  Attorney Randall L. Spivey is also among only 1 percent of Florida lawyers who have the honor of Board Certification in civil trial law, the highest level of recognition by the Florida Bar for experience and competency.

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