Rideshare driving can be a dangerous line of work, and not only due to the risk of car accidents. Too often, NJ Lyft drivers are assaulted on the job. They can suffer serious injuries as well as emotional trauma. In the most horrifying situations, Lyft drivers lose their lives due to their attackers’ actions.
The assault has changed your life forever. You deserve to get financially compensated for all that you have been through. Lyft drivers and their families have legal recourse for the damages that result from a physical or sexual assault while working. Our New Jersey Lyft driver injury attorneys can help.
Lyft’s Community Safety Report sheds some light on the data pertaining to physical and sexual assaults “involving an individual using the Lyft platform.” The report encompasses safety data for the years 2017, 2018, and 2019.
For each of the years included in the report, multiple fatal physical assaults occurred involving people who were using the Lyft platform. Additionally, more than 1,000 sexual assaults involving individuals using Lyft occurred during each year included in the report. In fact, the total number of sexual assaults rose each year during the period the report covered, from 1,096 total sexual assaults of all types in 2017 to 1,255 sexual assaults in 2018 and 1,807 sexual assaults in 2019.
All told, the report revealed that 4,000 total assaults and 10 fatal physical assaults involving people using the Lyft app happened between 2017 and 2019.
Unlike competitor Uber, Lyft doesn’t break down in its report whether the victims of sexual assaults or fatal physical assaults are drivers, riders, or third parties. The report also doesn’t address the data pertaining to non-fatal physical assaults other than to say that “physical assaults that do not result in a fatality are addressed by our Specialists.”
National news headlines, however, don’t shy away from characterizing victims as Lyft drivers in reports of assaults. Lyft drivers in NJ and across the United States have been attacked by single assailants and ambushed by groups. Sometimes, the attacks are angry outbursts that result from road rage or disagreements between the passenger and the driver (or even between multiple passengers). Disgruntled passengers may refuse to leave the vehicle and become physically aggressive. Other times, assaults on rideshare drivers have been premeditated, often setting up the Lyft driver as the victim of a robbery or carjacking.
Lyft drivers have been punched, kicked, held down, beaten, stabbed, and shot. Some have been threatened at knifepoint or gunpoint. Their injuries have ranged from bruises, scrapes, and other minor harm to broken bones and damaged organs. Some Lyft drivers have been killed while driving for the rideshare company, allegedly by passengers or other parties involved in the assault.
While the limited data available from Lyft’s Community Safety Report shows that sexual assaults and fatal physical assaults involving Lyft drivers and riders are real and ongoing concerns, this report doesn’t tell the full story of how often drivers’ safety is at risk. An April 2023 article published by the business magazine Fast Company reported that two-thirds of Uber and Lyft drivers “have been threatened, harassed, or assaulted while on the job—in the last year alone.” The article cites national survey data collected from more than 900 rideshare drivers by the Strategic Organizing Center, a labor union coalition.
Even after the assault is over, the terrible impact it has on your life has only just begun. You and your family have to live with the physical, emotional, and financial consequences of the assault forever—but that doesn’t mean you have to handle this burden alone. You may have legal avenues to pursue financial compensation after being assaulted while driving for Lyft.
Know your legal options.
An assault can lead to serious injuries. Assaulted Lyft drivers often end up hospitalized and in need of emergency medical care. They may need to undergo scans and other tests, surgeries, physical therapy, and other treatments.
The medical bills that arise out of an assault can quickly add up to a massive financial burden. Even with health insurance, you may have trouble affording your share of the medical bills. Lyft drivers who don’t have insurance could be facing a mountain of medical expenses. This hardship comes at the worst time—when the driver is out of work due to their injuries and, often, not entitled to lost wages payments through any sort of workers’ compensation insurance.
Other losses, too, may result from the assault. The driver’s injuries may keep them from doing their usual activities. In some cases, they may have to hire outside help to perform the tasks they would otherwise do themselves. The emotional scars of the assault can affect the victim’s life just as much as the physical wounds. Therapy can help survivors of assaults cope with trauma, but injured Lyft drivers may not be able to afford this care when they’re already struggling financially.
Outside of the economic losses are non-economic harms, like the pain and suffering the driver has been through.
All of these consequences of the assault are valid and legitimate losses. They’re also among the damages for which you could pursue financial compensation in a New Jersey Lyft driver assault claim.
If the driver was legally considered an employee of the company providing transportation services in New Jersey, their medical bills would be covered through the employer’s workers’ compensation insurance. This insurance would also cover their lost wages, at least in part (typically 70%).
However, Lyft drivers are generally not employees. Instead, they’re gig workers hired as independent contractors. They aren’t covered under workers’ compensation policies.
This technicality means that Lyft may be able to get out of paying injured drivers’ medical bills, even though the company would have to cover those expenses if the driver was an employee instead of a gig worker. In at least one recent Lyft driver assault that made national news, Lyft “denied [the driver’s] claim seeking medical benefits despite making a public statement of “support.”
If you need help affording the medical bills that arise out of being assaulted while working as a Lyft driver, you will probably have to file a lawsuit to get the money you deserve.
A rideshare driver assault claim is a type of civil legal action. Rather than a criminal case in which the alleged perpetrator of the assault is facing jail time or other criminal punishments, a civil case is often resolved with a monetary payout. The same Lyft driver assault may give rise to both a criminal case against the victim’s attacker and a civil lawsuit.
In a rideshare driver assault claim, the injured Uber or Lyft driver may name as defendants any party that caused or contributed to the assault. Often, a driver will name both their attacker and the rideshare company as defendants.
In the lawsuit, the driver’s personal injury attorney may present arguments as to how Lyft failed to protect the victim from being assaulted. Already, Lyft and other rideshare companies are facing numerous lawsuits filed on behalf of drivers and riders. In these lawsuits, the plaintiffs allege that the rideshare company failed to protect them and, in some instances, that the company failed to handle allegations of assault properly.
Suing Lyft or another rideshare company over an assault perpetrated on a driver is a challenging process. You can’t expect Lyft to simply hand over the money to pay for your medical bills and other damages. To get the money you deserve, you will have to navigate the complex legal process and make a compelling argument as to how Lyft failed to protect you.
Figuring all this out is the last thing you need when you’re dealing with your injuries and the trauma you have been through. You should be focusing on your physical recovery, not stressing over a legal battle. That’s why our attorneys are here to help.
At Console & Associates, P.C., we have fought for the rights of injured victims for decades. We understand the intricacies of this challenging area of law, and we aren’t intimidated by the prospect of standing up to big companies like Lyft. We have a history of success helping victims who were assaulted at work hold all defendants accountable for the harm they caused or allowed to happen. We would like the chance to help your family, too.
Our personal injury firm makes every client we represent our No Fee Promise. Under this promise, we start by answering your questions and evaluating the unique facts of your case at no cost during a free, confidential consultation with our compassionate professionals. If we’re able to help you move forward with a Lyft driver assault lawsuit, we will represent you in all legal proceedings and handle every aspect of your case at no upfront cost. You’ll only ever have to pay for our services if and when we succeed in getting monetary compensation for you.
With Console & Associates handling your case for you, you won’t have to worry about the stress of a legal claim or the hardship of paying hourly attorneys’ fees. You can focus on getting better while we fight for the money you deserve.