Rideshare companies like Lyft claim to prioritize passenger safety, but their records of sexual assaults against passengers contradict this contention. Disturbing accounts of Lyft drivers harassing, groping, and even raping passengers have increased each year since the company has begun providing data. Lyft passengers assert that the company is liable for the sexual misconduct of its drivers because it failed to implement reasonable safety measures to disqualify unsuitable applicants, deter sexual misconduct, and address passenger complaints about inappropriate drivers.
Survivors are now seeking compensation for the financial losses they have sustained as a result of being sexually assaulted by their Lyft rideshare drivers, as well as the emotional toll that their trauma has caused. The Lyft sexual assault attorneys of Dolman Law Group are determined to pursue fair compensation on behalf of survivors.
We can offer Lyft sexual assault survivors unparalleled service based on our specialized knowledge of rideshare accident laws, decades of combined experience, and proven negotiating techniques. Our skilled team can be reached at (727) 451-6900 or through our online contact form to schedule a free consultation.
Why Choose the Lyft Sexual Assault Lawyers of Dolman Law Group?
As personal injury lawyers, we regularly encounter cases where a company’s negligence has resulted in preventable trauma, leaving the injured party to deal with the fallout. At Dolman Law Group, we believe that survivors of Lyft sexual assault should not have to suffer in silence, nor should they have to drown in debt. Our team has been an active voice for survivors of sexual assault and sexual abuse for the past decade. We understand the importance of recovering the full value of damages like medical bills, lost wages, and emotional distress in a sexual assault lawsuit.
If the Lyft sexual assault lawsuits are consolidated, like the Uber sexual assault multidistrict litigation, you will need a personal injury attorney who has the resources and understanding of mass tort dynamics to negotiate for your individual needs effectively. Our team of dedicated personal injury lawyers has handled many such claims, including the AFFF firefighting foam lawsuits.
Our expert team will work tirelessly to maximize your compensation by gathering compelling evidence of Lyft’s liability, presenting proof of your damages, and navigating the obstacles of the personal injury claims process.
Survivors should also consider that sexual assault lawsuits present their own set of challenges that require a personal injury lawyer with a background in representing these types of cases. At Dolman Law Group, we have represented survivors of sexual assault in over 400 individual claims to ensure they receive the effective and sensitive legal services they deserve. Clients trust us based on our strong record of results and reputation for integrity.
What Qualifies as Sexual Assault in a Lyft Rideshare Claim
Lyft’s company policy differentiates between sexual assault and a broader, non-physical sexual misconduct category, based on definitions from the National Sexual Violence Resource Center.
In Lyft’s safety report, the company further divides the accounts of sexual assault into different types of physical non-consensual sexual contact. Lyft recognizes five kinds of sexual assault including:
- Non-Consensual Sexual Penetration
- Attempted Non-Consensual Sexual Penetration
- Non-Consensual Kissing of a Sexual Body Part
- Non-Consensual Touching of a Sexual Body Part
- Non-Consensual Kissing of a Non-Sexual Body Part
This classification system was suggested by RALIANCE, an organization that campaigns against sexual violence. The terminology was proposed as a way to limit ambiguity and standardize data. The utility of this framework is largely rooted in the fact that it is widely applicable.
Categories like non-consensual sexual penetration are specific enough to describe the incident, yet general enough to include various types of penetration.
Furthermore, the language that Lyft relies on acknowledges that sexual assault can involve perpetrators and targets of any gender or sexuality. Lyft’s report does not provide a demographic breakdown of survivors’ gender or specify what percentage were riders. Established sexual assault patterns among rideshare services like Uber would suggest that women make up the majority of sexual assaults perpetrated by men, and more riders are targets of sexual assault than drivers.
Thousands of Lyft Passengers Were Sexually Assaulted by Lyft Drivers According to Internal Report
Lyft was launched in 2012 following the success of rival rideshare company Uber, but no data is publicly available on sexual assaults that occurred during the company’s first five years of operation. In 2021, Lyft released a long-awaited safety report detailing incidents of sexual assault between drivers and passengers. The findings ran contrary to Lyft’s public attempts to brand itself as a company committed to customer safety.
During the period between 2017 and 2019, Lyft received reports of 4,158 sexual assaults. This included 360 instances of non-consensual penetration. By far the most common allegation was non-consensual touching of a sexual body part, which accounted for more than half of the total sexual assault complaints each year. Lyft notes that 99% of their trips were completed without a passenger or driver reporting a safety issue, a statistic that Uber has echoed.
Since its inception, Lyft has added safety features to protect riders and drivers alike, particularly after investigations revealed the prevalence of sexual assaults in rideshare trips in 2018. This makes it all the more disconcerting to see that the number of Lyft sexual assaults increased each year between 2017 and 2019. Survivors do not always come forward for a variety of reasons, so the true rate of sexual assault in Lyft rideshares may be markedly higher.
Lyft Sexual Assaults Inflict Physical and Emotional Trauma
Sexual predators may use coercion and manipulation to assault Lyft riders or even resort to physical force to overpower their target. That being said, survivors can sustain serious injuries during the course of a sexual assault regardless of the perpetrator’s methods.
It is important to seek medical treatment for your injuries, even if you think they are minor. Medical records are used as essential evidence to show that your injuries are the result of the sexual assault and that you accurately described their severity. Physical signs of sexual assault can include injuries like:
- Bruising around the wrists, inner thighs, or genitals
- Internal damage, such as tearing and bruising to the vagina or anus
- Broken bones
- Trauma to the face
- Unintended pregnancy
- Sexually Transmitted Diseases
Psychological Injuries Inflicted by Lyft Sexual Assault
While sexual assault may or may not leave behind any physical marks, survivors often carry emotional wounds. They may experience paranoia and moodiness, have trouble sleeping, struggle to maintain relationships, and exhibit risk-taking behavior.
Sexual assault can also be a precursor to serious mental health issues, such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and depression. Both PTSD and depression can be debilitating illnesses that interfere with a person’s ability to manage stress, care for themselves, and engage socially with others.
The Consequences of Lyft Sexual Assault Demonstrated Through Case Study
One traumatic Lyft sexual assault case represents how the actions of a predatory rideshare driver can have extensive long-term implications for the health and well-being of a survivor. Tabatha Means was repeatedly raped by her Lyft driver in a violating incident in 2019. She became pregnant, which already entails a multitude of health risks as well as physical and emotional strain. Means was treated for three hemorrhages, making the experience more stressful.
When her son was born more than a month before his due date, she had to undergo a C-section for him to be delivered safely. As a consequence of her Lyft driver’s actions, she was subject to extreme pain, unpleasant pregnancy side effects, major surgery, and considerable anxiety as she watched her son be cared for in the NICU. Too many survivors of Lyft sexual assaults have dealt with similar mental and physical health struggles because the rideshare company was careless with their safety.
Types of Damages Available in a Lyft Sexual Assault Claim
The events of one rideshare trip can have ramifications for years to come for Lyft sexual assault survivors. A traumatic incident like a sexual assault can impact the way that a survivor approaches relationships, work, and their own identity. Beyond the immediate financial expenses associated with medical treatment, many survivors experience ongoing costs.
For example, they may require professional support to deal with mental health issues related to sexual assault or suffer career setbacks because of symptoms related to their trauma. In a Lyft sexual assault lawsuit, plaintiffs may seek compensation for damages like:
- Medical bills
- Emergency room treatment
- Lost wages
- Missed promotions
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of quality of life
Establishing Liability in a Lyft Sexual Assault Lawsuit
Although Lyft drivers are independent contractors, not employees, the rideshare company still has a legal responsibility to riders to make a reasonable attempt to ensure that the drivers they hire are qualified. Like Uber, Lyft now conducts ongoing criminal background checks on their drivers in addition to an initial assessment during the hiring process. However, neither rideshare company reliably uses biometrics like fingerprints to confirm the identity of their drivers, creating a gap for predators to exploit.
Lyft Negligence and Lack of Action Regarding Rider Safety and Driver Vetting
Not only have Lyft plaintiffs taken issue with the rideshare company’s hiring practices, but they have also argued that Lyft has been negligent in its duty to protect riders by failing to expediently remove drivers from the app, allowing them the opportunity to re-offend. They also argue that rideshare companies like Lyft and Uber need better monitoring systems in place, such as dashboard cameras, to deter potential misconduct, or at least capture evidence of wrongdoing. Plaintiffs have the burden of proof in personal injury claims, so they must offer enough evidence to show that Lyft is more likely than not liable for their damages.
To start with, the Lyft driver must have been acting in their role as a rideshare service provider when the injury occurred for Lyft to have any legal obligation to the rider, just as in a Lyft car accident claim. Once plaintiffs have established that Lyft owed them a duty of care to limit their risk of sexual assault by rideshare drivers, they must provide evidence that Lyft’s negligent oversight resulted in their Lyft driver being able to commit sexual assault.
From there, it is a matter of convincing fact-finders that the sexual assault occurred, it resulted in physical or mental injuries, and that those injuries have had financial and emotional consequences for the survivor.
What to Do If You Have Been Sexually Assaulted by Your Lyft Driver
Remove yourself from the situation as soon as you reasonably can. You may be able to use one of Lyft’s in-app safety features to call for help or alert one of your contacts that you are in danger. Try to find a populated, well-lit area to call for help. Avoid eating, drinking, showering, using the bathroom, or changing clothes. At this stage, it is critical to seek medical treatment, even if your injuries are minor. Medical professionals will be able to treat and document your injuries, as well as offer you additional resources.
At the hospital or clinic, you may choose to undergo a more thorough forensic examination known as a rape kit, if it is available. This does not obligate you to contact law enforcement or press criminal charges, it merely preserves evidence until you are ready to decide how you want to proceed. Even if you do not file a formal police report, you can notify Lyft about the incident so that there is a record that the driver behaved inappropriately.
While the details are still fresh in your mind, it is a good idea to try to make notes about what transpired. Make sure you screenshot any information from your trip, including the driver’s profile and your route. As you recover physically and mentally, you may find yourself needing to take time off from work, struggling to sleep and care for yourself, and accumulating medical bills related to your treatment. Your next step should be speaking with a qualified sexual assault attorney in a free consultation about recovering compensation for your economic and non-economic damages.
Frequently Asked Questions About Lyft Sexual Assault Lawsuits
What kind of lawyer do I need to handle my Lyft sexual assault claim?
If you are interested in pursuing civil action after a Lyft sexual assault, you need a personal injury lawyer. Unlike criminal cases, personal injury claims are focused on providing financial restoration for the injured party. This area of law recognizes that parties should still be held accountable for the harm they cause, even if their actions were not against the law.
A personal injury lawyer’s job is to establish that the defendant owed their client a duty of care and breached it, resulting in the incident that caused their client’s injuries and damages. From there, they negotiate with the representatives of the defendant about the value of their client’s financial, physical, and emotional losses to recover the maximum compensation possible.
Is there a Lyft class action lawsuit for sexual assault survivors that I can join?
As of January 2024, there is no pending class action lawsuit against Lyft pertaining to sexual assault. Nearly 20 personal injury lawsuits have been filed against the rideshare company based on its failure to protect riders from sexual assault by carefully vetting the drivers it hires. As this issue becomes more salient, Lyft sexual assault attorneys anticipate that more survivors may come forward, which may lead to a mass tort claim like the Uber sexual assault multidistrict litigation. Survivors should check the statute of limitations for the state where they plan to file their individual Lyft sexual assault lawsuit to determine if they are still eligible to do so.
Can I pursue a Lyft sexual assault claim even if I did not sustain serious physical injuries?
As discussed, sexual assault can include a wide range of non-consensual behaviors, which may or may not leave visible marks on the survivor. In the context of the Lyft sexual assault lawsuits, survivors who were stalked or kidnapped by their rideshare drivers may also be eligible to file claims for compensation, as the trauma of the event can cause lasting psychological harm.
Even without more visible physical injuries, a sexual assault can still inflict profound emotional injuries on a survivor, which should not be overlooked. In many cases, sexual assault does not result in significant physical injuries, so it would be wrong to exclude these survivors from seeking compensation in a Lyft sexual assault lawsuit.
How long do I have to file a Lyft sexual assault lawsuit?
The statute of limitations for personal injury claims varies by state, but most provide injured parties with three years or less to file their cases. Some states allow more time for plaintiffs to bring sexual assault and sexual abuse claims, especially if the survivor was under 18 when the incident occurred or when there is new DNA evidence available.
There has been an encouraging trend of states eliminating or suspending the statute of limitations for cases of sexual assault, but an extension is not guaranteed. Due to the lack of uniformity and high degree of specificity of each state’s statute of limitations, you should consult with a Lyft sexual assault attorney who is based in the jurisdiction where you are considering filing your claim.
Is sexual assault the same thing as sexual abuse?
Sexual assault is used to describe an experience involving non-consensual sexual contact. Typically, the term sexual assault is used in cases where the survivor is an adult although it is not age specific. Sexual abuse refers to the repeated sexual exploitation of someone. Survivors of sexual abuse almost always know their abuser, while about 20% of sexual assaults are committed by someone who is unknown to the target.
How Survivors Can Benefit From Hiring a Lyft Sexual Assault Lawyer
For companies like Lyft, reputation is everything. Lyft is already competing to maintain its market share against rideshare giant Uber, so it cannot afford to be seen as complicit in the sexual assault of its riders. You should expect that Lyft will not hesitate to leverage its considerable legal resources to diminish your sexual assault claim. The most effective way to protect your case is to hire a capable personal injury lawyer to advocate for you.
Lyft sexual assault lawyers have the staff to investigate your sexual assault claim, research applicable rideshare laws, review any statements or depositions you provide, keep up with paperwork deadlines, and manage other key aspects of your Lyft sexual assault claim. These resources often prove invaluable in uncovering critical details that help establish liability, maintain a claim’s eligibility, and help plaintiffs avoid errors that could jeopardize their potential settlements.
A personal injury lawyer is the most qualified person to compile evidence into a cohesive argument for compensation, and then strategically negotiate for a fair settlement. Sexual assault lawsuits that are represented by personal injury attorneys appear more credible, which can also be used to the plaintiff’s advantage in negotiations. Without the expert guidance of a Lyft rideshare lawyer, survivors run the risk of recovering less compensation than their claim is actually worth.
Contact Dolman Law Group For Help With Your Lyft Sexual Assault Lawsuit Today
As rideshare service platforms like Lyft have grown, riders have been led to believe that companies have made great strides in keeping them safe. However, the thousands of Lyft passengers who have been subject to sexual assault while using the rideshare service do not share this sentiment. At Dolman Law Group, we share your discontent with the insufficient progress made by rideshare companies like Lyft, and we are invested in helping our injured clients recover the compensation they are due.
Our team of sexual assault attorneys has the skill set and background to champion your personal injury lawsuit. Dolman Law Group has over 120 years of combined legal experience and are handling a variety of lawsuits involving sexual abuse such as:
- Southern Baptist Sex Abuse
- Omegle Sexual Abuse Claims
- Human Trafficking
- Hotel And Motel Human Trafficking
- Clergy Sex Abuse
- Child Sex Abuse
- Nursing Home Sexual Abuse
We take pride in our hard-earned expertise, as it has allowed us to negotiate outstanding settlements for survivors time and again. If your Lyft sexual assault claim is taken to trial, we have the courtroom experience needed to be effective advocates for your case.
You can reach our team of seasoned personal injury attorneys at (727) 451-6900 or by filling out our online contact form to schedule a free consultation. We encourage you to take advantage of this opportunity to discuss what your rights are during this process, what damages are applicable in your claim, and how our team can best assist you in recovering maximum compensation for your Lyft sexual assault lawsuit.