What You Need to Know about Rideshare Sexual Assaults
In the era of rideshare services, where convenience meets technology, there’s no denying that platforms like Uber and Lyft have revolutionized the way we get around. However, amid the convenience and cost-effectiveness, there’s a concerning issue that has come to the forefront – the occurrence of rideshare sexual assaults. While we’ve touched on this topic before, it’s crucial to delve deeper into this issue and shed light on what you should know to stay safe.
The Facade of Safety
The assumption that rideshare services are inherently safe often stems from the belief that these companies meticulously vet their drivers. While it’s true that rideshare platforms conduct background checks on their drivers, the thoroughness and effectiveness of these checks can vary widely.
According to The New York Times, the initial growth of many ride-hailing companies was marked by a disregard for regulations, allowing almost anyone with a vehicle to become a driver, often bypassing the rigorous screening and licensing required in the traditional taxi industry. As a result, incidents of sexual assault and even more severe crimes have become increasingly common as rideshare services have gained popularity.
The existing background checks have limitations, primarily looking back only seven years into a driver’s history. If a driver had committed a violent crime or felony beyond this seven-year window, the rideshare company would likely remain unaware of it. Additionally, these checks are confined to the applicant’s U.S. history, potentially missing any criminal record in another country, making them an incomplete measure of a driver’s suitability.
These security gaps contribute to an environment where passenger safety could be compromised, highlighting the need for greater awareness and precautions.
What to Do After a Rideshare Assault
If you find yourself a victim of sexual assault during a rideshare journey, there are essential steps to take:
- Contact the Police: It’s crucial to report the incident to law enforcement promptly. Your safety and well-being are paramount.
- Seek Medical Attention: Even if you believe your injuries are minor, seeking medical care is essential. Prompt medical attention not only ensures your physical health but also provides crucial documentation of injuries for potential legal action.
- Report to the Rideshare Company: Notify the rideshare company about the incident through their app or customer support channels. This helps create a record and holds the company accountable.
- Preserve Evidence: Safeguard any evidence related to the trip, including the clothing you wore, ride receipts, screenshots of any relevant communication, medical reports, and bills. These pieces of evidence may prove crucial in any legal proceedings.
- Consult an Attorney: Reach out to an attorney experienced in rideshare sexual assault cases. They can guide you through the legal process, advocate for your rights, and help you pursue justice and compensation.
Determining responsibility in rideshare-related assaults can be complex, but the following parties may be held accountable:
- The Assailant: Whether the driver or another passenger, the individual who committed the assault can be held responsible in civil court for the harm caused to the victim.
- The Rideshare Company: If the rideshare company is found negligent in its hiring practices, such as hiring known sex offenders or dangerous individuals, they may also bear liability for sexual assaults.
Legal Avenues: Negligence and Negligent Security
In legal terms, rideshare sexual assault cases often fall under the umbrella of “negligence.” Businesses, including rideshare companies, have a legal obligation under Florida law to provide safe conditions for their customers. Failure to do so may result in civil action for negligent security. Florida law extends this duty to protect against foreseeable criminal acts, which includes any actions that the business owner could have reasonably prevented.
Victims of sexual assault can benefit from legal representation in various ways, including:
- Contacting Insurance Companies: An attorney can handle communications with insurance companies on your behalf.
- Recovering Costs: Legal representation can help you recover the costs of medical treatment, lost wages, and other expenses incurred as a result of the assault.
- Representation in Legal Proceedings: Your attorney will represent you in communications with insurance companies and throughout legal court proceedings.
- Fighting for Your Rights: An experienced attorney will fight tirelessly to protect your rights and seek justice on your behalf.
At SteinLaw, we understand the immense emotional and physical toll that a sexual assault can have on victims. While compensation cannot erase the trauma, it can provide assistance with bills, lost wages, and medical expenses incurred due to the assault. Our personal injury lawyers are dedicated to advocating for you and your family. We are available and ready to support you. Contact us today.