Lyft was founded in 2012 and marketed itself as an affordable, more friendly alternative to Uber. It has continued to gain ground in the ridesharing market, especially as Uber was plagued by numerous scandals. Truthfully, though, Lyft has had many of the same safety concerns as Uber. According to Lyft’s own safety report, there have been 4,158 sexual assaults during Lyft rides between 2017 and 2019. Overall, sexual assaults increased by about 65% from 2017 to 2019. There were 10 fatal physical assaults during this period as well.
Lyft recently agreed to a $25 million settlement to resolve claims from shareholders that it was not transparent about “safety problems.” This settlement does nothing to help the victims who have been sexually assaulted while using Lyft. There are, however, 14 lawsuits against Lyft from women who say that they were raped by their Lyft driver. If you or someone that you love has been sexually assaulted during a Lyft ride, there are a number of laws designed to protect your rights. It is possible that you can hold Lyft and the assailant accountable through a civil claim. Our team of experienced California Lyft sexual assault attorneys at The Carrillo Law Firm are here for you. We can evaluate all of the unique facts of your case free of cost and let you know what your legal options are. You can call us at 626-317-6875.
Lyft Faces Numerous Lawsuits Over Sexual Assault Claims
Lyft has faced numerous lawsuits from claims of passengers being sexually assaulted. According to one lawsuit against Lyft on behalf of over 100 plaintiffs, “LYFT’s response to this sexual predator crisis amongst LYFT drivers has been appallingly inadequate. LYFT, at the direction of LYFT’s officers, directors and/or managing agents, continues to hire drivers without performing adequate background checks.” The complaint also states that Lyft has allowed drivers with complaints of rape and sexual assault to keep transporting passengers on the platform. Lyft has also allegedly failed to adopt and implement reasonable driver monitoring procedures. Victims of the assaults have described truly horrific experiences that include:
- Unwanted kissing
- Forcible touching
- False imprisonment
There is a distinct pattern in a large number of the claims. Drivers took advantage of women who were intoxicated or asleep. One victim shared her story with ABC 10 News San Diego. She told reporters, “I was going to get out of the car and he climbed in the back and put his hands down my pants and said he wanted sex. It was surreal and I was terrified and I had never been in a situation like that before in my life. I was screaming and told him to stop and I was calling the cops.” Lyft has continued to fight hard to prevent many of these claims from ever going to a jury trial. As time goes on, more and more victims keep coming forward and sharing what they have gone through.
Can Lyft Be Liable In Sexual Assault Cases?
Rideshareing companies like Lyft have a legal obligation to protect passengers from reasonably foreseeable sources of harm. To this end, they must perform background checks on their drivers to weed out people with a criminal record. But the problem is that the background checks used by Lyft are far less strict than those used by other transit companies. Lyft uses third-party background checks by companies like SambaSafety, Checkr, and Sterling Talent Solutions. Rideshare companies can be liable for the negligent hiring or retention of their drivers if the plaintiff is able to demonstrate a certain set of facts.
- The driver was unfit to safely transport passengers or posed an unreasonable danger to them.
- The ridesharing company knew or should have known about the danger.
- The unfitness of the driver caused harm to the victim.
- The ridesharing company’s hiring decisions was a substantial factor in causing the harm.
Rideshare companies Uber and Lyft have approved thousands of drivers who should have otherwise been disqualified. This includes drivers with felony convictions. It also includes at least one instance where a convicted terrorist was able to become a rideshare driver. Lyft is simply not properly incentivized to use strict background checks. Both Uber and Lyft have faced driver shortages which have caused their stocks to plunge. Both companies stand to benefit by getting as many drivers as they possibly can.
What Damages Can I Receive If I Have Been Sexually Assaulted In A Lyft
Surviving a sexual assault can be extremely traumatic. Even if a victim’s physical injuries completely heal, they are are often left with long-term psychological trauma. Sexual trauma is positively linked to a number of negative health outcomes including posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, suicide, substance abuse, and eating disorders. Sexual assault survivors often report how the fear, anxiety and helplessness they felt afterwards completely upended their lives. Thankfully, though, victims who have been sexually assaulted in a Lyft do have recourse. They can be awarded different types of damages for what they have been through.
- Economic Damages: Victims of sexual assault can recover economic damages. This can include the medical bills and follow up treatment that a person may need. Many survivors will often need extensive psychological care and therapy, which can be very expensive. Lost wages from work are another form of recoverable economic damages.
- Non-Economic Damages: Victims of sexual assault can recover non-economic damages. Non-economic damages in a sexual assault claim can include pain and suffering, loss of consortium, and emotional distress. The trauma from a sexual assault often stays with survivors in some form for the rest of heir lives.
- Punitive Damages: Victims of sexual assault can potentially recover punitive damages. These types of damages are typically considered a punishment and are awarded at a court’s discretion when a defendant’s behavior was particularly egregious.
It can be difficult to know where to begin after any sexual assault. But there are a number of steps that you should follow in order to preserve your rights. Sexual assault victims should try to reach a safe location to prevent any further attacks. If possible, it is then advisable to call 911. It is also important to take as many notes as you can about what happened. Finally, assault victims should seek the guidance of an experienced sexual assault attorney. An attorney can help protect your rights and take steps to help you get the support and justice that you are entitled to.
Getting Legal Help After Being Sexually Assaulted In A Lyft
The Carrillo Law Firm is committed to standing up for sexual assault victims and helping their voices be heard. We understand how difficult it can be to come forward after any sexual assault. You can rest assured that anything that you reveal to us will be kept confidential. Though we are highly experienced litigators, we are compassionate advocates first and foremost.
If you or a loved one has been the victim of a sexual assault while in a Lyft, you do have the right to seek restitution for your injuries. Our team of Lyft sexual assault attorneys are here for you. We are fully committed to winning the cases that we take on so that our clients can begin the healing process and move forward with their lives. Whether you just have legal questions or would like a free consultation we are here for you. You can reach out to us anytime at 626-317-6875.
Does Lyft require their drivers to undergo background checks?
While Lyft does require drivers to take background checks, these are not as thorough as the background checks used by other transit companies.
Can I sue Uber if I was sexually assaulted by a Lyft driver?
Yes, you can file a negligent hiring claim against Lyft to hold them accountable.
Can I get compensation if I have been sexually assaulted in a Lyft?
Victims of sexual assaults may be entitled to economic, non-economic and punitive awards if they were assaulted in an Lyft.
What Should I Do If I Have Been Sexually Assaulted In A Lyft?
The most important thing to do after an assault is to get to safety and call police. Afterwards, you should talk to a lawyer about your case.
How many people have been sexually assaulted in Lyft rides?
According to Lyft’s own safety report, there have been 4,158 sexual assaults during Lyft rides between 2017 and 2019.