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USC Student Raped By Lyft Driver on Halloween

child sexual abuse

University of Southern California (USC) Campus Community On Edge After Student Allegedly Raped By Lyft Driver After Returning Home From West Hollywood Club

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA (November 3, 2023) – USC is warning the campus community after a student heading back to her apartment was raped by a Lyft driver in his car.

The university is saying that the sexual assault took place around 3:00 a.m. along South Grand Avenue. A Lyft driver was taking the female student back to her home from a club in West Hollywood.

After the Lyft driver arrived at the USC student’s apartment, he raped her in his car. The LAPD have not provided any additional details about what happened after the assault.

USC students have said that they regularly use Lyft. But the recent alert from the University has led many students to question how safe the service really is.

Michael Carrillo is a sexual abuse lawyer and partner at The Carrillo Law Firm. He has long advocated that rideshare companies need to be doing more to protect their passengers from sexual assault.

“It’s tragic that these sexual assaults keep occurring. Sadly rideshare companies such as Uber and Lyft need to do a better job of screening drivers and making sure they don’t hire sexual predators. More incidents will keep happening unless Uber and Lyft hire better drivers and supervise them better.  We’re proud to represent many of these survivors in their pursuit of justice,” Carrillo said.

Liability For Rideshare Sexual Assaults

Sexual assaults by rideshare drivers is far more common than many people may realize. According to NBC News, “Uber reports 141 rapes, 998 sexual assault incidents overall in 2020, despite pandemic ridership decline. Uber received 3,824 reports of sexual assault and misconduct from 2019 through 2020.” Lyft has also released it’s own set of data which has revealed it received 4,158 reports of sexual assault on its platform from 2017 – 2019. Victims of rideshare sexual abuse have reported being subjected to a wide range of misconduct including.

  • Non-consensual kissing.
  • Non-consensual touching.
  • Attempted sexual penetration.
  • Unwanted sexual advances.

Depending on the facts of any case, Lyft and Uber can both be liable for the sexual assault of one of their customers. Rideshare companies have a legal obligation to protect customers from reasonably foreseeable sources of harm – including criminal misconduct by their drivers. To that end, rideshare companies must properly screen the drivers on their platforms. However, both Uber and Lyft have used background-check systems that are far less thorough than those used by other livery services and taxi companies. To speed up the rate at which drivers are hired, rideshare companies have abandoned fingerprinting and running drivers applications against private databases.

A large portion of the lawsuits against Uber and Lyft involving sexual assault have alleged that these companies negligently hired or retained their drivers. There are several elements that must be demonstrated in any claim alleging negligent hiring or retention. (1) The driver was unfit to safely transport passengers or posed an unreasonable danger to them. (2) The rideshare company knew or should have known about the danger. (3) The unfitness of the driver caused harm to the victim. (4) The rideshare company’s hiring decisions was a substantial factor in causing the harm. Victims of sexual assault tend to suffer very serious injuries including:

  • Physical Injuries: Cuts, bruises, sexually transmitted infections, head injuries
  • Psychological injuries: Anxiety, depression, disassociation, suicidal thoughts, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

Many of the injuries associated with sexual assault may not manifest for several weeks or months. It can be difficult to know where to begin after something as horrific as sexual assault. But there are many steps that victims can take to preserve their rights. After a police report has been generated, it is important to seek the guidance of an experienced rideshare sexual abuse attorney. An attorney can evaluate the unique facts of your case and help you get the justice that you deserve.

Getting Legal Help After Sexual Assault Involving Uber and Lyft Drivers

We at the Carrillo Law Firm, LLP extend our deepest sympathies to the victim of this horrific act and all who have been impacted by sexual assault. Any person that may have more information about the perpetrator should reach out to police. They need to be located and held accountable for what happened. Both Uber and Lyft need to also do their part. They should not cut corners when it comes to vetting their drivers. This puts all of their customers needlessly at risk.

Have you or someone that you care about been sexually abused by an Uber or Lyft driver? There are a number of laws designed to protect your rights. Our team of Lyft sexual assault lawyers and Uber sexual assault lawyers are here to help in any way that we can. We are committed to helping victims of sexual abuse and holding rideshare companies responsible for their negligence. Whether you just have legal questions or are thinking about hiring an attorney we are here for you. You can reach out to us anytime at 626-799-9375.

Author

MICHAEL S. CARRILLO, Partner

Michael works on high-profile cases that have garnered national media attention. His practice today focuses on child sexual abuse cases, police misconduct cases, catastrophic injuries and other wrongful death matters. He is a passionate advocate for his clients including the countless child sexual abuse victims he currently represents.