May 14, 2021
While traveling from Atlanta to Charleston, Jovene Milligan and her daughter encountered an unexpected hurdle when their car broke down in Aiken, South Carolina. To complete the trip, Milligan relied on an Uber. But what was supposed to be a routine rideshare – and a quasi-rescue opportunity for the Uber driver – turned into a nightmare.
Video footage of the trip shows the Uber driver screaming expletives and racial slurs at Jovene Milligan and her daughter. The Uber employee can be seen driving erratically, changing lanes at high speeds with reckless disregard for the safety of the two passengers. He removes his hands from the wheel for several seconds, turning around to again scream hateful insults. It’s a truly horrific scene that is difficult to watch. Enduring such an altercation would seemingly be traumatic for anyone.
Milligan spoke with the local NBC 2 News affiliate in Charleston following the ordeal. She was visibly shaken.
“It got very scary, to the point where I didn’t know whether we’d have to protect ourselves,” Milligan said. “The driver was erratic, driving recklessly, he was constantly calling us [the N-Word].”
Milligan also stated that the Uber driver refused to let them out of the car. At times, she says, it was uncertain whether or not she and her young daughter would survive.
“I was constantly monitoring his GPS to make sure we were still in route even though he wouldn’t let us out,” Milligan said.
In the interview with NBC 2, Milligan says the video highlights a larger problem within Uber – specifically a lack of physical and verbal protocols to help keep passengers safe.
“I’m not sure how extensive the background checks are but this person is not somebody that should be driving anybody,” Milligan said. “We were not treated with any type of respect.”
Milligan immediately hired an attorney and brought a civil lawsuit. The claim was officially filed in California, where Uber is headquartered. In addition to financial damages, the lawsuit seeks new safety measures to be implemented in Uber’s user agreement – measures that go beyond background checks.
“Making sure that if something does happen to somebody, that they have a panic or emergency button. That way… we can track it down and get to some help,” Milligan said, describing the suggested safety policies for the rideshare company.
Milligan says she’s grateful that she made it to Charleston safely without her daughter being harmed. For much of the trip, she wasn’t certain either would make it out alive.
“It was scary, it got very scary,” Milligan said.
The Charleston NBC 2 affiliate reportedly reached out to Uber for a response to the incident. The company told NBC 2 that they removed the driver’s access to the app upon learning of the case. They also issued a public statement:
“Everyone has a right to feel safe when using the Uber platform and what these riders experienced is extremely upsetting. We have a clear non-discrimination policy and we have removed this driver’s access to the app.”
Sadly, both major rideshare companies – Uber and Lyft – have seen their fair share of civil lawsuits in recent years. Dordulian Law Group (DLG) recently settled a multi-million dollar case against a major rideshare company (whose identity must remain undisclosed under the terms of the agreement). In DLG’s case, our client was tragically raped after being drugged by her rideshare driver. It’s an unfortunate yet common example of what has, over the years, turned into a rash of similar incidents involving Uber and Lyft rideshare sexual assaults.
In December 2019, NPR reported that Uber received nearly 6,000 sexual assault claims in a two-year period. That’s an astounding figure that is significantly underreported. Many Uber and Lyft passengers are likely unaware of the potential danger that exists when hailing a rideshare. And while Uber has received some attention over claims of both physical and sexual assault, Lyft’s image as the “good choice” alternative for ridesharing is totally unfounded.
In January 2020, the Associated Press (AP) reported that “dozens of women” had filed lawsuits against Lyft in recent months. The claims allege the riders were “sexually assaulted by the company’s drivers.” And if the alleged behavior of the drivers doesn’t make you rethink the “good choice” perspective on Lyft, the company’s response to the sexual assault survivors’ claims may.
“They didn’t even really say sorry at all. They just said, ‘OK, well we’re going to send you your money back,'” Caroline Miller, 21, told the AP. Miller says she was raped by a Lyft driver after a night out celebrating her birthday. “I didn’t even get an email. It was crazy. They kind of just pushed it under the rug, and were like, ‘whatever.'”
Miller is one of 19 women – all survivors of sexual assault – who jointly filed a lawsuit against Lyft in December 2019. The claim argues Lyft could have done more “to protect passengers by requiring in-car video monitoring and conducting fingerprint-based background checks.” Additionally, the claim alleges Lyft “does not adequately investigate customer complaints of sexually inappropriate behavior.”
Whether you’re the victim of physical, verbal, or sexual assault, or you’re simply involved in an Uber or Lyft car accident, you have rights under the law. Filing a civil lawsuit here in California is the best means of recovering financial damages for various types of harm:
Uber and Lyft have a duty of care under the law to protect passengers from all forms of assault, and provide a safe environment in which to travel. Failing to ensure such an environment – on any level – can be grounds for a civil lawsuit in pursuit of a financial damages award.
Ready to file a claim and pursue justice through a financial damages award? Our expert attorneys are available online or by phone now.
When you’ve been harmed by Uber or Lyft – in a car accident, sexual assault, physical assault, or verbal assault – you have the right to file a personal injury civil lawsuit seeking financial compensation for various damages. Let’s review some of those eligible damages for injured or harmed Uber/Lyft passengers and riders.
Economic damages (also referred to as special compensatory damages) can be pursued following an Uber or Lyft accident or assault. Economic damages can include:
Those are a few examples of the potential economic damages that can be recovered in an Uber or Lyft personal injury lawsuit.
Non-economic damages (also referred to as general compensatory damages) tend to refer to abstract losses, such as pain and suffering, reduced quality of life, mental or physical anguish, psychological trauma, etc.
As non-economic damages are less tangible, they can be more difficult to prove (and ultimately recover) when filing an Uber or Lyft personal injury lawsuit. That’s why having a proven and experienced rideshare accident (or assault) lawyer such as DLG’s Sam Dordulian is so important.
When filing a claim, you need peace of mind knowing your attorney has the knowledge, skill, and experience necessary to secure a successful outcome. At DLG, we’ve proven that we fight aggressively for our clients each and every time, never settling for anything less than a maximum financial damages award. We’ve taken on major rideshare companies in the past and successfully recovered multi-million dollar settlements for rideshare victims.
When choosing a rideshare accident or assault attorney, don’t settle for anything less than the DLG Advantage.
In the case of Jovene Milligan and her daughter, both passengers thankfully survived what was an undoubtedly terrifying ordeal. But many Uber and Lyft rideshare passengers aren’t so lucky.
In cases where a fatality tragically occurs, filing a personal injury claim for wrongful death damages is the best option for obtaining justice. Wrongful death damages claims are filed by the decedent’s surviving family members.
Uber and Lyft wrongful death damages can include:
Settlements and verdicts in personal injury cases can vary substantially depending on a number of factors, such as:
* This last point is of particular importance for Uber and Lyft accident victims. Choosing the best rideshare accident attorney can be the difference between a thousand dollar settlement and a multi-million dollar settlement. At DLG, we’ve proven that when we take on rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft, we secure justice by recovering multi-million dollar settlements.
And our ability to secure maximum financial damages awards on behalf of our clients does not end with rideshare accident cases. As we’ve proven consistently with our past results, we never settle for lowball offers from insurance companies or at-fault parties.
We’re known as the best personal injury firm in California because of our ability to turn an initial $5,000 offer from the insurance company into a multi-million dollar settlement for our client. We never settle for less than absolute justice in the form of a maximum financial damages award.
When searching for a rideshare accident lawyer, choose DLG – the firm with the proven advantage for all injured victims.
If you’re injured in an Uber or Lyft accident, it’s important to know that you have rights under the law. In a recent blog, we outlined statistics regarding Uber and Lyft rideshare accidents, and provided information regarding how to file a personal injury claim to help recover due financial compensation.
If you’ve been injured in an Uber or Lyft rideshare accident, contact the experts at DLG to file a personal injury lawsuit. We will fight to recover the compensation you deserve – whether for hospital bills, future medical care, lost wages, psychological or emotional trauma – and ensure you make a complete recovery: physically, emotionally, and financially.
DLG was founded by former Deputy District Attorney for Los Angeles County, Sam Dordulian. Dordulian believes all injured victims should have access to the best legal representation available – regardless of economic means. Our No Win/No Fee Guarantee means our clients never have to worry about upfront costs or hidden fees.
And with a 98% success rate, including recovering over $100,000,000 for injured clients like you, DLG is always the best choice for any rideshare accident, sexual assault, or personal injury claim.
Our law firm in Glendale, CA advocates for victims of sexual assault, injury, employment disputes, and personal injury concerns.