Ridesharing apps like Uber and Lyft have become a popular means for people to obtain transportation in cities around the world. With the touch of a button, a person can request a ride from the closest rideshare driver in their area. However, people do not really know who they are requesting these rides from.
Unfortunately, the past ten years have seen an increase in incidents of sexual assault and misconduct committed by rideshare drivers. Many drivers are not properly screened by the companies and others simply are essentially put in a position to prey on vulnerable and unsuspecting passengers.
People who have suffered assault at the hands of rideshare drivers should have the right to demand compensation with the help of an attorney. A Michigan Uber/Lyft sexual assault lawyer can help a person understand their legal rights and pursue lawsuits that demand proper payment for their losses.
Information About Uber & Lyft
Uber is a rideshare company based in San Francisco, California. According to its website, Uber has made 10 billion trips worldwide and has over ninety million active platform users. The company operates in over 700 cities and completes 14 million trips every day. There are almost 4 million Uber drivers.
Lyft is also a rideshare company based in San Francisco. It is the biggest competitor to Uber and is gaining market share. Lyft has over 23 million users worldwide and is available in over 350 cities in the United States.
Are Drivers Considered Employees of Uber & Lyft?
A U.S. labor agency recently determined that Uber drivers were independent contractors and not employees of the company. The same ruling applies to drivers of Lyft and other similar companies. This ruling was a big win for rideshare companies because drivers are not entitled to the same benefits as company employees and cannot form a union to bargain for their rights.
However, this does not mean that Uber & Lyft are not liable for physical assaults, including sexual assaults and rapes, by their drivers. Many lawsuits have been successfully filed and won against the companies for acts committed by their drivers.
The Threat of Assault for Rideshare Users
Uber and Lyft purport to perform background checks and thorough screening for all their drivers. However, accepting one of these rides involves getting into the car of a complete stranger. This is not to say that the victims of sexual assault share any blame for an attack, but rather that Uber and Lyft should take more aggressive steps to provide protection. Sadly, they have failed in this duty.
Lawsuits Filed Against Uber & Lyft
Many lawsuits have been filed against the rideshare companies for the criminal conduct of their drivers. Many of these cases have resulted in large settlements.
As of 2018, 103 separate allegations of sexual abuse have arisen against Uber drivers. Many of these are by women and men alleging they were raped by the drivers. Some of these incidents have resulted in criminal investigations and convictions against the drivers in question. Recently, a Washington D.C. woman has sued both Uber and a driver for $10 million as a result of a sexual assault committed by a driver.
As of October 2019, more than 30 women have sued Lfyt alleging they were raped, kidnapped, or assaulted by Lyft drivers. The lawsuit Complaints detail the terror and horror experienced by the female victims. The cases demand significant settlements resulting from these violent attacks.
The civil lawsuits are based upon a number of legal theories. These include that the companies failed to properly screen drivers and hired a driver with a history of sexual assaults or other criminal behavior. The cases also allege that Uber and Lyft failed to keep passengers safe from sexual assaults and attacks.
Lawsuits also argue that Uber and Lyft were negligent by not providing a safe environment for their customers. Further, these claims allege the companies did not provide proper warning concerning the dangers of using its service, especially when these companies advertise themselves as a safe alternative for people who may be intoxicated or otherwise incapacitated. These are people especially vulnerable to attacks by sexual predators and criminals.
Can I File a Sex Assault Lawsuit Against a Rideshare Company?
If you were the victim of a sexual assault or rape by an Uber or Lyft driver, you can file a lawsuit demanding compensation against both the driver and company.
Our lawyers will perform a thorough investigation of the matter. We will have our investigators interview witnesses and look for surveillance video. We will also get the digital and cell phone records for both the victim and driver to chronicle the minute by minute events leading up to, during, and after the attack.
Finally, we will do an extensive background search of the driver to find previous incidents of criminal behavior and other complaints of misconduct. Our attention to the smallest details helps us win the largest settlements.
How Much are Settlements Against Uber & Lyft?
The amount of a settlement depends on the facts of each specific case. There are no “average” or “typical” settlement amounts in rideshare assault cases. This is simply because every case is completely different and the harm suffered by the victim varies from case to case.
In addition, every state has its own laws on damages. These are the laws that determine the types and amounts of compensation that can be claimed by a victim. Some states allow for punitive and exemplary damages while other states do not allow a plaintiff to claim those types of compensation.
However, all states allow for recoverable damages for both economic and non-economic losses. Economic losses include lost wages, loss of future income, and medical expenses for past, present, future medical treatment.
Non-economic losses are for physical pain and suffering, fright and shock, psychological damage, and emotional harm. This includes compensation for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other injuries caused by the assault. Many victims have permanent psychological damage from the trauma that affects their ability to return to their normal life and to maintain relationships in the same manner as before the assault.
Most settlements in these cases are kept confidential. This is because the companies do not want the compensation payout amounts to be out in the public for fear of future lawsuits and demands. Although confidential, it is understood in the legal community that these payouts are for substantial amounts of money.
Who Pays the Settlements?
Uber and Lyft drivers are provided substantial insurance policies from the companies. A portion of their fees goes to the companies and includes money to pay for liability insurance coverage. In addition, the companies themselves have insurance and significant assets to pay for their share of liability in the case.
Get the Best Uber/Lyft Sexual Assault Attorneys
You need the best and hardest work attorneys for your case. Our lawyers have won the top awards in the legal profession, including being named:
- U.S. News Best Lawyers & Law Firms
- Super Lawyers
- The Best Lawyers in America
- The Top 100 Trial Lawyers
- Multi-Million Dollar Advocates
Our law firm does not charge any legal fees unless you receive a settlement. We pay all of the case expenses and it does not cost you anything to get started. If your case is unsuccessful for any reason, you owe us nothing. We put that in writing for when you choose us as the attorneys for your case.
Contact our Uber and Lyft sexual assault attorneys now at Buckfire & Buckfire, P.C. today to learn more about your rights to seek justice following an attack. We will fully investigate your case and gather all of the evidence needed to prove and win your case.
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