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Rideshare Sexual Assault

Coral Springs Rideshare Sexual Assault Accident Lawyers

Uber and Lyft Liability for Sexual Assault of Passengers in Florida

When you board an Uber or Lyft, you always hope to arrive at your destination safely. Sexual assault is usually the last thing on your mind, but the horrible truth is, thousands of passengers claimed to have been sexually assaulted during an Uber or Lyft ride in recent years.

As terrible as it sounds, sexual assault cases involving Uber and Lyft drivers in Florida aren’t rare. In 2018, an Uber driver allegedly raped a woman and told police that it was a 'perk' of the job.

According to a report released by Uber, the rideshare company received notices of 5,981 allegations of sexual assault in the United States for the years 2017 to 2018 alone. That means that over a two-year period, nearly 6,000 people reported to Uber that they were the victim of a sexual assault during an Uber ride (and that number only accounts for the persons who reported the incidents to Uber, and since acts of sexual assault are chronically underreported, the actual number of sexual assaults could be significantly higher).

Similarly, Lyft released a report stating that it received 4,158 reports of sexual assaults in the United States on its app from January 1, 2017, through December 31, 2019.

While Uber and Lyft like to throw around statistics suggesting that the incident rate of sexual assaults (measured as a percentage of the total number of rides) is low, and that the occurrence of sexual assaults during rides is rare, we all know that one sexual assault is too many. And from 2017 through 2019, Uber and Lyft combined received more than 10,000 reports of sexual assaults on their apps (and we don’t even have the numbers for 2019 from Uber).

If you are a survivor of a sexual assault in an Uber or Lyft ride, it’s important to know that you are not alone. Although nothing will ever make up for what happened to you, our attorneys at Law Offices Cytryn & Velazquez, P.A. are here to listen to you and to make sure that the people and companies that are responsible for what happened get held accountable for their unforgiveable actions.

Can You Sue Uber or Lyft for Sexual Assault by a Rideshare Driver?

Rideshare companies have spent millions of dollars on lobbying throughout the United States in an effort to convince state legislatures to pass laws classifying rideshare drivers as independent contractors and not employees of the rideshare companies. In many states, including Florida, the lobbying efforts have been effective. But even if Uber and Lyft drivers are considered independent contractors, that does not mean that the rideshare companies cannot be held liable when sexual assaults occur during rides.

Although rideshare drivers are often deemed independent contractors, Uber and Lyft are still responsible for ensuring that their rides are reasonably safe, and for adequately screening and hiring their drivers. In recent years, Uber and Lyft have faced a wave of lawsuits alleging sexual assaults that occurred during rides. In many instances, Uber or Lyft is accused of not having taken reasonable steps to prevent sexual assaults, such as requiring all rides to be video, or audio recorded. Some cases allege that Uber or Lyft was negligent in hiring (for example, by conducting inadequate background checks of drivers), retaining, and supervising their drivers. In short, even if Uber and Lyft drivers are considered independent contractors, that does not let the rideshare companies off the hook for the companies’ own negligence.

If you or someone you love has survived a sexual assault in an Uber or Lyft, contact our office at (954) 833-1440for a free, confidential consultation.

Hold the Rideshare Companies Responsible for Their Negligence

If you have lived through sexual assault in an Uber or Lyft, one of the most important things you can do is make sure that everybody who is responsible for this crime is held accountable. That means both the person who committed the assault, and any entity that failed to take adequate precautions to keep you safe.

For one thing, bringing a sexual assault claim can help to make sure that the person who assaulted you never drives another rideshare again. Any person who commits a sexual assault should absolutely never be allowed to drive a rideshare and endanger others again.

Additionally, Uber and Lyft should not be able to escape responsibility for their negligent actions. Unfortunately, you cannot always rely on the police or state governments to do the right thing, especially when it comes to the rideshare companies. For example, in December 2020, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) fined Uber $59.1 million after Uber refused provide specific information (such as the date, time, and location of each assault, and names and contact information of witnesses) relating to the thousands of reports of sexual assaults from users of its app. But instead of having to pay all that money, after months of negotiations, a proposed agreement between the parties revealed that Uber managed to get the fine reduced all the way down to $150,000, with Uber paying $5 million to a California state fund for victims of violent crime and $4 million toward creating industry standards to address sexual and physical violence during ridesharing.

By brining a claim against Uber or Lyft for their negligence, you are not only fighting for compensation for your injuries. You are also taking an important step toward making sure that these companies are held responsible for their negligent actions.

What Qualifies as Sexual Assault on an Uber or Lyft?

In Florida, sexual assault includes a wide range of offensive conduct, such as:

  • Non-consensual sexual intercourse (i.e., rape)
  • Non-consensual sexual contact, such as kissing or inappropriate touching
  • Threatening unwanted sexual contact
  • Attempting to commit non-consensual sexual contact
  • A number of other types of non-consensual sexual conduct
Damages for Sexual Assault in Uber or Lyft in Florida

Sexual assault can be a life-changing event; survivors often still suffer from the trauma many years later. If you have survived a sexual assault, you deserve compensation from the people and entities responsible for your trauma.

Some of the damages that you may be entitled to include:

  • Payment for any medical care for physical injuries resulting from the sexual assault
  • Counselling, therapy, and rehabilitation costs
  • Compensation for lost wages if you missed work due to the sexual assault
  • Compensation for physical pain and suffering resulting from the incident
  • Compensation for mental anguish resulting from the assault
  • Compensation loss of enjoyment of life
  • Other damages resulting from the assault
How Law Offices Cytryn & Velazquez, P.A. Can Help You

Our office is located in Coral Springs, and we handle cases throughout all of Florida. We would be happy to discuss your case over the phone or via video conference, or to meet with you in-person in our office. Our law firm is led by Dan Cytryn, a board-certified trial attorney with over four decades of experience handling sexual assault cases. He is one of only three board-certified civil trial lawyers in Northwest Broward County, and he has spent his career fighting for the rights of persons injured due to the actions of others.

We understand how traumatizing sexual assault is. The feelings of loneliness, isolation, and fear can be truly devastating after an assault, but you need to know that you are not alone. We know that nothing we do can make up for what happened to you. But what we can do is listen to your story. And we can fight to make sure that you receive the compensation you are entitled to, and to hold the big rideshare companies responsible for their negligent actions.

If you or someone you love has survived a sexual assault in an Uber or Lyft, contact our office today at (954) 833-1440, or click here to schedule a free and confidential consultation with an attorney from our law office.

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