Posted On June 30, 2021 Personal Injury
When a rideshare driver assaulted you, it may have seemed like an isolated, though horrific, situation. The attacker who committed an awful and inexcusable crime against you happened to be a rideshare driver, but as far as you knew, that individual was the only one to blame.
Now, a wave of lawsuits against Lyft has brought to light a disturbing pattern of sexual assault by rideshare drivers, according to CNN Business. As of June 2021, dozens of lawsuits have already been filed to hold Lyft accountable for allowing this pattern to continue. In some cases, according to CNN, the victims of assault have alleged that Lyft knew – for years – that drivers were assaulting passengers but the company failed to put a stop to it.
What these developments mean for victims is that another party – rideshare giant Lyft – could be partly responsible for the assault that changed your life.
The question isn’t whether rideshare sexual assault occurs, but how widespread the problem is. An earlier CNN investigation into the issue prompted the two largest rideshare companies in the United States to announce in May 2018 that they would begin releasing safety transparency reports.
According to CNN, Uber did. Lyft did not.
Uber published its safety transparency report before the end of 2019. According to this report, the company had received 5,981 reports of sexual assault occurring between passengers and drivers —464 of which constituted rape—over the course of just two years.
Although Lyft had stated in September 2019 that the company would be publishing a safety report before the year ended, that didn’t happen. Nor did the company publish a safety report by the end of 2020. As of 2021, CNN noted that the company’s rationale for having failed to report these important safety statistics according to schedule was that it was waiting for an ongoing dispute between competitor Uber and the California Public Utilities Commission, related to Uber’s safety report, to end before publishing its own safety report.
Without safety data from Lyft, it’s difficult to glean much about how commonly sexual assaults occur between the company’s drivers and passengers (or at least, how commonly assaults are reported). Sexual assault attorneys are currently investigating hundreds of cases brought to them directly by clients, but there are bound to be incidents of assault for which the victim hasn’t yet consulted a lawyer.
However, both Lyft and Uber have faced lawsuits over sexual assaults, and we can gain some insights from Uber’s data.
It’s unconscionable that nearly 6,000 people used a legitimate and widely known app to pay for the service of a safe trip to their destination, only to discover that the person they had trusted to provide that service was a sexual predator.
One question that’s important to ask if you want to really understand the data, though, is how common assaults are in the context of total trips.
More than 99.9 percent of Uber trips involve no safety problems, whether pertaining to sexual assault, other forms of physical violence, or collisions, according to the company’s 2021 news release. A 2015 article in The Atlantic concluded that “there’s little to suggest that the newest form of ridesharing is significantly riskier than” longer-established chauffeur services, such as taxis.
Of course, without having Lyft’s safety data, there is no way to say how Lyft compares with Uber in terms of safety and sexual assault rates.
That fewer than one-thousandth of one percent of total Uber trips result in a serious incident may reassure the general population, but it brings little comfort to survivors of rideshare sexual assault. You still have to live with the impact of the assault every single day. That’s why you are entitled to pursue accountability and a claim for compensation from the rideshare company.
Whether the assault occurred moments ago or years ago, here are some steps to consider for the purpose of protecting yourself from further harm and preserving your legal rights.