Do I Qualify for a Rideshare Sexual Assault Lawsuit?

Last Updated July 29, 2022

What is rideshare sexual assault? Can I file a lawsuit for such assault? Do I qualify for a lawsuit? These are frequently asked questions which we address below.

Do I Qualify for a Rideshare Sexual Assault Lawsuit?

Rideshare sexual assault is an egregious and pervasive issue that has been affecting our communities since the creation of rideshare platforms. A question frequently asked is “Do I qualify for a rideshare sexual assault lawsuit?” This is often asked by those who may be wondering about what their legal rights and options are in connection with an incident. 

This question highlights the fact that most people don’t know what’s all involved in a lawsuit, or what will be required of them in an investigation. Such lack of knowledge is also one of the main reasons why rideshare sexual assault survivors may be hesitant to report an incident. 

Pursuing legal action is important, because it provides survivors with the proper remedies for their injuries, adding a sense of peace and closure for what happened. Moreover, a lawsuit can help uncover other instances of negligence and help hold rideshare companies to a higher standard. 

If you or a loved one have questions about a potential rideshare sexual assault lawsuit, contact the attorneys at Levin Simes Abrams right away at (415) 426-3000. As you will read below, getting in touch with a lawyer early on in the process will help ease your mind along the way. 

What Defines Sexual Assault?

“Sexual assault” is a broad term that encapsulates a wide range of conduct. It can occur in various settings, including at the home, workplace, or when using a rideshare service such as Uber or Lyft. California Civil Code 1708.5 provides a definition for sexual assault. 

Sexual assault occurs if a person:

  • Acts with the intent to cause a harmful or offensive contact with an intimate part of another, and a sexually offensive contact with that person directly or indirectly results
  • Acts with the intent to cause a harmful or offensive contact with another by use of his or her intimate part, and a sexually offensive contact with that person directly or indirectly results
  • Acted to cause an imminent apprehension of the conduct describe above, and sexually offensive contact with that person directly or indirectly results due to their actions.

It is important to note that even if there is no physical contact, sexual assault can still occur. This occurs for instance if an Uber driver threatens someone with sexual conduct, creating an imminent apprehension of the sexual assault (“imminent apprehension” means that the person has a fear that the conduct will inevitably happen). 

Besides legal definitions of assault, rideshare services may have their own definitions and categorizations for reporting purposes. For example, in Uber’s second safety report, they refer to five categories of sexual assault: 

The sexual assault allegations that were reported fall under one of the following five categories:

  • Non-consensual kissing of a non-sexual body part
  • Attempted non-consensual sexual penetration
  • Non-consensual touching of a sexual body part
  • Non-consensual kissing of a sexual body part
  • Non-consensual sexual penetration

If any of these types of behaviors happened to you while utilizing Uber’s services, and the driver was working in an official capacity either before, during, or after the rideshare service, you may have a legal claim.

What Happens When You Report an Assault?

When reporting a sexual assault incident to law enforcement, many areas have law enforcement officers who are specifically trained and educated to interact with the survivor regarding their case. 

Many agencies have Sexual Assault Response Teams (SARTs), which provide coordinated efforts to respond to a sexual assault allegation. SART teams often coordinate between medical personnel, law enforcement, and other services to help facilitate an efficient investigation.

Also, if you have filed a complaint or report directly with the rideshare service, the company will conduct an investigation on their end. They may have their own special investigators who interact with the survivor, witnesses, and other people to determine more about the incident.  

So, what does all this mean? It means that if you have filed a report for rideshare sexual assault, or are preparing to do so, you will inevitably be interacting with several people and parties to discuss the incident. 

For this reason, it is highly encouraged that you contact a lawyer as soon as possible and early on in the process. Not only will they be able to provide representation in court, but they can provide assistance during any type of investigation where you may need to speak with various people. Such assistance comes not only in the form of legal advice, but also through guidance, empathy, and direction. 

At Levin Simes Abrams, our attorneys make it a point to listen to our clients and make sure they are well-supported throughout their entire experience with us. 

What Counts as Evidence of Sexual Assault?

Sexual assault can be proven through a broad range of evidence items. 

Evidence most often encountered in sexual assault cases include: 

  • Photos or videos of the incident (such as a dashcam recording)
  • Biological evidence
  • Fingerprints and impression evidence (such as tire marks or shoeprints)
  • Trace evidence such as hair or fibers
  • Documents such as medical records or police reports
  • Witness testimony
  • Physical items such as clothes

At Levin Simes Abrams, it is our job as attorneys, not yours, to gather, preserve, and review evidence in preparation for the legal process. Thus, if you have been subject to a rideshare sexual assault, don’t hesitate to contact an attorney for assistance, even if you have questions about the evidence for your claim.

 

Pursuing a lawsuit can provide the survivor and their families with the compensation they are entitled to for their suffering. This can include damages for costs of treatment and therapy, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

Can You Sue a Rideshare Service for Sexual Assault?

Absolutely. Rideshare services have a duty to provide safe riding experiences for patrons. This includes conducting sufficient background checks on drivers, providing various safety and reporting mechanisms for riders, and other measures. 

Failure to provide or enforce these types of safety checks can be considered grounds for legal action against the rideshare company, especially if they have knowledge of the shortcomings but don’t take any steps to remedy them.

Pursuing a lawsuit can provide the survivor and their families with the compensation they are entitled to for their suffering. This can include damages for costs of treatment and therapy, lost wages, and pain and suffering. 

Filing a lawsuit also helps raise awareness of the issue of sexual assault. Legal action forces companies like Uber and Lyft to uphold higher safety standards for patrons. 

Should I Hire a Lawyer for My Case?

Rideshare sexual assault claims are highly sensitive and require the compassionate attention of an attorney who has experience in handling such delicate matters. If you or a loved one were affected by rideshare assault, you can greatly benefit from contacting a lawyer early on in the process. 

At Levin Simes Abrams, we are leading the way in holding rideshare companies accountable for such incidents. We understand our clients’ concerns, and have the resources and track record to support their needs. Contact us at (415) 426-3000 to schedule a confidential consultation to discuss your legal rights. All communications are held in the strictest of privacy, and we treat each person with the respect and dignity they deserve. 

Levin Simes Abrams