Lyft Sexual Assault Lawyers
If you are a victim of Lyft sexual assault, Cutter Law is a firm of competent attorneys who can help you seek justice. Sexual violence is a horrifying crime that demands restitution. We are prepared to guide you as you seek damages and monetary compensation. You have rights, and we are here to help defend them. Contact our legal team to learn how we help our clients understand the legal issues associated with Lyft’s safety problems.
Rideshare companies are quickly becoming everyone’s favorite mode of transportation. All over the world, Uber and Lyft make millions of trips every single day. But unfortunately, the innovation of these rideshare apps has inadvertently equipped sexual predators to prey on women.
According to recent research, someone in the United States becomes a victim of sexual assault every 68 seconds. Apps like Lyft have not done their due diligence to prevent their next passenger from being this minute’s incident. These platforms have failed to introduce safety features that prevent sexual assault. When aggressors have used their platform to commit these crimes, they have failed to respond in any meaningful way.
For example, Uber’s 2017-2018 safety report disclosed more than 3,000 sexual assaults. Many similar cases likely went unreported.
Survivors and victims of sexual assault deserve to tell their stories. In recent months, dozens of women have come forward to file civil lawsuits and sexual assault reports against Uber drivers, Lyft drivers, and the rideshare companies themselves.
Recent Sexual Assault Lawsuits Brought Against Lyft
Alison Turkos, a survivor of sexual assault by a Lyft driver, wrote a touching letter to federal attorneys. They were reluctant to act, but Alison indicted them for denying her a day in court instead of fighting for her justice.
She expressed her disappointment to Jackquelyn Kasulis, the acting U.S. Attorney of New York’s Eastern District, via a recent Medium post. In the letter, she recounts her brutal sexual assault and aggravated kidnapping.
She also insists that the attorney’s office has dismissed her attestation and case proof.
In another court filing against Lyft, St. Louis rape survivor Cristen Giangarra accuses the company of victim-blaming. The transportation company claimed that Cristen was already aware of her behavior’s risks of injury and damage.
Cristen is suing the rideshare company. She asserts that Lyft is holding back from verifying drivers’ criminal backgrounds so they can continue to drive for Lyft.
Cristen used the Lyft app to ride home safely after a night of fun with friends. The ride was supposed to last only six minutes. Instead, the ride became 51 minutes of terror with the driver on top of her. Authorities have since held the driver under suspicion of kidnapping and rape. His trial will proceed in November 2021.
According to CNN Business, fourteen women sued Lyft over sexual assault complaints mishandling. In one 40-page lawsuit, these women claimed that Lyft intentionally prevents law enforcement from investigating assault claims against their rideshare drivers. They also alleged that Lyft neglected its responsibility to check drivers’ backgrounds, which failed to protect their passengers.
The suit alleges that one of the drivers retrieved his victim’s phone after raping, adding a $25 tip to her ride bill. Another allegation states that a blind woman had taken a Lyft to the grocery store during the daytime when her “driver” offered a free ride home. She did not order the free ride through the app. He ended up raping her.
According to this woman, Lyft was unsympathetic when she reported the incidents to them.
In March 2019, authorities charged 34-year-old rideshare driver Ghassan Shakir with rape and sexual assault of a woman in her hotel bathroom in SeaTac. This was two months after he had handcuffed and assaulted another woman he had picked up at Bellevue.
Authorities suspect Shakir of at least five similar sexual harassments from 2014. He is currently under investigation for rape allegations in Seattle and Kirkland.
A lot of sexual assault victims have filed cases against Lyft in recent years. While it has yet to disclose the exact number of sexual assault incidents, hundreds of passengers continue to line up for potential lawsuits.
How has Lyft responded to the sexual assault lawsuits?
As Lyft continues facing new sexual assault lawsuits, the rideshare company has updated its passenger safety features.
Lyft has reassured riders by making available an in-app 9-1-1 feature. However, riders still must call 9-1-1 or Lyft’s 24/7 response line if they face any problem. Lyft has also restrengthened its partnership with anti-sexual assault nonprofit RAINN (Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network) in building a compulsory safety exercise for every driver applicant. Lastly, the company has shared its plans to add a feature that detects unexpected delays on trips.
The company has also committed to continuously checking for drivers’ criminal backgrounds and offering critical feedback on trips rated less than four stars.
While Uber revealed the number of current passenger sexual assault cases, Lyft has not reported theirs. When CNN Business followed up on the status of Lyft’s report, the company promised to release it. The following year, they promised the same. In the third year, they claimed there was a roadblock preventing them from releasing it.
How has Lyft failed to protect riders from sexual assault?
Lyft connects strangers and places its patrons in situations where they are potentially vulnerable. Because of this, Lyft owes its passengers a high duty of care. However, Lyft has not pursued proper background checks for its drivers. If a Lyft driver fails to act reasonably, resulting in harm to their passengers, victims can hold the driver and the company as a whole responsible for negligence. More cases against Lyft are being reported day by day.
In one recent instance, authorities charged a Lyft driver in California for failure to transport a passenger safely. The driver went ahead to leave the passenger on the wayside, where another vehicle hit him. The driver then got in a heated exchange with the passenger, pepper-sprayed them, and ejected them off the car. The passenger died on the spot.
This tragedy and the many others like it caused by drivers’ negligence have opened Lyft to liability. The driver should have shown more concern for their passenger when dropping them off. Additionally, Lyft should require drivers to pass criminal background checks and place video monitors in their vehicles.
What should I do if I am a victim of Lyft sexual assault?
You should take several steps if your Lyft driver has sexually harassed or assaulted you.
- If someone raped you, visit a doctor immediately for injury treatment and medical examination. The medical report can be crucial evidence for your case.
- Call the police to file a report. Include as many details as possible, including the driver’s description, license plate number, your account of the incident, and any other information the police may request.
- Report the assault case to Lyft.
- Screenshot the application to prove that you were in transit with the person who assaulted you.
- Get a copy of your bank statement that shows your ride payment.
- Take pictures of any injury or damage you suffered.
- Record any available eyewitness statements. Record their personal information to contact them later when the need arises.
- Contact an experienced sexual assault lawyer who can pursue your claim for you. The lawyer can also assist in gathering as much evidence as possible.
Will I have to go to mandatory mediation or arbitration with Lyft?
No. Lyft has drastically changed its approach to sexual harassment cases by scrapping the arbitration requirement.
Instead, you can take your claims to court or settle them by any other dispute resolution method, including mediation of your choice.
How can I prove that my Lyft driver sexually assaulted me?
An array of evidence will reveal the truth of your assault. Present any photos taken during or after the incident as proof. You may also use information from medical and police reports to support your claim. These reports can contain photographs of physical evidence of assault, including:
- signs of defensive wounds or bruises on your arms, legs, or genital area
- fractured or broken bones
- the abuser’s skin under your nails
- bloodstains and other biological evidence (i.e., DNA or semen on or in your body)
Additionally, eyewitness testimonies of the abuse or events leading up to it are crucial for your case.
Experienced Lyft sexual assault lawyers will know what evidence you need to support your case and how to gather it.
What is the deadline to file a sexual assault claim against Lyft?
The amount of time you have to sue for sexual assault – a deadline called the statute of limitations – depends on the specific state where the crime took place.
In most cases, adult victims of sexual assault have two years to sue their aggressors. If you fail to file within that time frame, you may lose your right to sue.
Many states have extended their statutes of limitations on some sexual crimes, but this is mostly for child sexual abuse. Consult with your state to see how long you have to file a lawsuit.
How can a Lyft sexual assault lawyer help me?
A sexual assault case is challenging to prove. There are a lot of parties involved, and the threshold of evidence is high. If a Lyft driver has sexually assaulted you, you deserve to work with a lawyer who understands the seriousness of your situation.
At Cutter Law, we seek to change the lives of sexual assault victims. We will fight tirelessly for the best legal remedy.
Contact us today for a free case review.
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