Here you will find answers to some common questions regarding the legal implications of Uber/Lyft sexual assault in Columbus.
Rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft have significantly improved the country’s personal transportation industry in numerous ways. With Uber and Lyft, you can quickly order a ride to your preferred location within minutes using a ride-sharing app. While these ride-hailing companies offer customers convenience and ease, they’ve also been at the center of numerous sexual assault reports. As a result, Columbus personal injury lawyers are continuously bombarded with cases from rideshare sexual assault victims seeking justice.
The various reports of sexual assault, harassment, and rape committed by rideshare drivers are mostly against vulnerable female passengers. These drivers may often resort to severe physical assault to carry out their criminal acts. In a long-awaited report, Lyft admitted to receiving not less than 4,000 sexual assault reports from 2017 to 2019. Meanwhile, Uber reported more than 3,000 sexual assault incidents in its safety reports for 2018. As such, customers have called for rideshare companies to provide additional safety measures and improve their approach to safety issues.
Both Lyft and Uber have pledged their commitment to ending this menace by partnering with RAINN, an anti-sexual violence organization. However, passenger safety from abusive drivers remains an ongoing issue. As such, passengers using ride-sharing services must utilize basic safety measures to guarantee their protection from assault.
This article aims to contribute to ending rideshare-related sexual abuse by providing adequate information on legal concerns surrounding this issue. Here, you’ll learn more about your legal rights after an Uber or Lyft sexual assault.
What Counts as Sexual Harassment or Assault in Columbus Rideshares?
Many people have misconceptions concerning what amounts to sexual assault and what doesn’t. However, understanding what sexual assault means is vital to filing successful harassment lawsuits against abusive drivers.
- Nonconsensual Touching, Groping, and Fondling
While non-sexual body contact like consensual handshakes wouldn’t raise an eyebrow, sexually suggestive touches are grossly inappropriate. Unwanted touching makes up a significant number of sexual abuse claims against rideshare drivers, according to Uber’s detailed safety report.
Nonconsensual touching refers to situations where the abusive driver intentionally and sexually touches a passenger’s body without consent. That includes touching a woman’s breasts, a man’s groin, grabbing legs, smacking buttocks, etc.
- Highly Suggestive and Inappropriate Comments
Not all sexual abuse cases involve inappropriate body contact. Sometimes, abusive rideshare drivers harass or assault passengers by making suggestive sexual comments. These also include unwanted sexual jokes and derogatory terms that attack a person’s sexual orientation.
- Nonconsensual Kissing
Forceful kisses make up thousands of sexual safety incidents against rideshare drivers. This could include a kiss on the cheek or mouth-to-mouth contact without your consent.
- Rape and Attempted Rape
Attempted rape and actual rape are among the most devastating cases of sexual assault. Rape refers to sexual intercourse or penetration of a person’s vagina, anus, etc., without consent. It doesn’t matter whether rideshare drivers achieved penetration with physical assault or not.
- Other Unwanted Sexual Activities
Numerous other activities could pass as sexual harassment or assault. For example, an Uber driver showing a passenger his genitals is sexual harassment. If you feel abused by a driver in any way, it’s important to let your attorney know immediately.
Who Is Responsible For Rideshare Sexual Assault in Columbus
A ride-sharing company is pretty different from every other transportation company in the USA. As such, many victims may not know how to go about filing a claim for compensation. It’s particularly challenging to try to determine who should bear liability for your injuries between the driver and the rideshare company.
Again, specific Uber and Lyft policies may make it difficult for claimants to proceed against them in court. For example, Uber and Lyft had previously included an arbitration agreement for sexual assault victims. That was to help their public image and meant that victims will submit to mandatory arbitration. Fortunately, victims can now sue as both companies have removed the forced arbitration clause from their policies.
Rideshare companies often try to absolve themselves from liability by claiming that the driver is an independent contractor. That’s because vicarious liability doesn’t cover the actions of independent contractors.
However, many claimants argue that Uber and Lyft are complicit in the assault incidences through negligence. That includes actions like hiring drivers without rigorous driver background checks. They also failed to provide adequate safety tech solutions. There are also claims that Uber and Lyft ignored several complaints against errant company officials and drivers in the past.
Claimants may also hold the rideshare services liable for false representation. Uber and Lyft have always stated that they’re a “safe ride” option for Americans. However, this has proven to be untrue.
Seeking legal help from a qualified attorney can help you proceed against the proper party in your claim. They’ll determine who should be liable for your incident and provide you with legal options for your case.
What Do I Do If My Lyft or Uber Driver Sexually Assaulted Me in Columbus?
After a rideshare sexual assault, your priorities should be your health and a successful compensation claim. As such, you should ensure that you take the right steps towards achieving them.
Doing the following can help:
- Call for medical treatment immediately if you were physically assaulted or raped. It’s also important to get a rape kit as soon as possible. Rape kits help to gather essential forensic evidence to identify the abusive driver.
- Contact law enforcement. Calling a police officer can also help your compensation claim as they can gather essential facts against the perpetrator quickly. Law enforcement officers are also an essential part of a criminal sexual assault lawsuit.
- You will also need to make a report to Uber or Lyft. Uber and Lyft have processes that victims can leverage to report alleged incidents with their drivers.
- Another important thing to do is provide evidence that you were on a ride with the abusive driver. You can do this by taking a screenshot of your ride-sharing app.
- Ensure that you take pictures and videos of your injuries. So this as soon after the incident as possible. This ensures that you can provide fresh evidence to prove the severity of your injuries.
- If possible, speak with any eyewitnesses available at the scene. Get them to give recorded statements about what transpired.
- Contact a Columbus sexual assault lawyer. They are legal experts on sexual assault that can give you advice on how to proceed with a sexual assault lawsuit.
Will I Receive Damages After a Successful Sexual Assault Claim?
Using a rideshare service should never result in sexual violence. Unfortunately, despite claiming to be a safer platform for transportation with numerous safety features, you can experience sexual assault using a rideshare service. These are traumatizing experiences, and you deserve maximum damages for your pain and suffering.
You may be able to get the following compensation after a rideshare sexual assault:
- Medical bills and costs of ongoing treatment
- Lost wages and future earning ability
- Pain and suffering
- Compensation for emotional trauma, PTSD, depression, anxiety, etc.
- Costs for counseling or therapy
- Punitive damage in an Uber or Lyft sexual assault lawsuit
Do You Have a Sexual Assault Complaint Against a Rideshare Driver in Columbus? Contact Us Now
There have been several sexual assault allegations against USA’s top rideshare companies for years now. If you experienced sexual assault when using any rideshare service, you could get compensation for what you went through. The compassionate injury attorneys at our law firm want to help victims who have gone through this terrible situation.
At Babin Law, LLC, our Columbus Uber/Lyft sexual assault lawyers are experienced in rideshare assault cases. If we are able to take on your case, we can help you file a civil lawsuit so you can recover the compensation you’re entitled to. Contact us today for more information.