Lyft Sued by 17 Drivers, Passengers Over Sexual and Physical Assault Allegations

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17 Lyft Drivers and Passengers Sue for Failure to Protect From Sexual and Physical Assaults

17 Lyft Drivers and Passengers Sue for Failure to Protect From Sexual and Physical Assaults

Sep 1, 2022

Lyft is facing 17 new lawsuits filed on behalf of both drivers and passengers from around the country who claim the ridesharing company failed to protect them from sexual and physical assaults.

According to National Public Radio (NPR):

  • 14 of the lawsuits were filed by individuals alleging they were sexually assaulted.
  • Three of the lawsuits were filed by individuals alleging they were physically assaulted.

In response to the allegations outlined in the lawsuits, a spokesperson for Lyft said the company is “committed to helping keep drivers and riders safe.”
“While safety incidents on our platform are incredibly rare, we realize that even one is too many. Our goal is to make every Lyft ride as safe as possible, and we will continue to take action and invest in technology, policies and partnerships to do so,” the spokesperson said.

At a press conference, five of the plaintiffs described their stories of either sexual or physical assault in detail.

Katherine Rasta, a passenger from Phoenix and plaintiff in the civil lawsuit, said she was sexually assaulted in June of 2021. Her driver made unwanted sexual advances throughout the drive, she said, and once they arrived at her destination, he locked the car doors and sexually assaulted her, NPR reported.

Then he told me, ‘This is our little secret. Don’t tell anyone. Remember, I know where you live, and I know where your friends live now. I doubt you’ll want any trouble, right?’” Rasta said.

One of the common denominators among the lawsuits against Lyft entails a failure to assist victims after being assaulted.

“All of the drivers and passengers said Lyft did practically nothing to help them after they reported their assaults, other than telling them they were sorry for their experience and that they would suspend the account of the driver or passenger who assaulted them. Two drivers said Lyft offered them a few hundred dollars after they reported their assaults, but did not follow up with them afterward,” NPR reported.

Various recommendations for improving safety among Lyft drivers and passengers were included in the complaints, such as:

  • Installing cameras in all Lyft vehicles
  • Conducting biometric fingerprint scans and background checks for drivers
  • Eliminating a policy that allows users to order a Lyft ride for someone else

The complaints against Lyft also contend that the company’s policy on not sharing user information after an assault without a court order “creates a major obstacle to even the most basic criminal investigations or civil protective orders,” NPR reported.

Following the press conference, a Lyft spokesperson reportedly alleged that “false and misleading claims” about the company’s safety policies were made, according to NPR.

“The representative noted that over 99% of rides occur without a safety report, that the company requires yearly background checks for drivers, and that it cooperates with all law enforcement investigations when presented with a valid request. The spokesperson also said all drivers are required to take a community safety education course before driving,” NPR reported.

The 17 new lawsuits against Lyft come approximately a year after the rideshare company released a first-ever safety report confirming over 4,000 reports of sexual assault on its platform between 2017 and 2019.

The 2021 Lyft safety report confirmed the following statistics:

  • 4,158 total reports of sexual assault were recorded on the company’s platform.
  • Sexual assault complaints on its platform had increased from around 1,100 in 2017 to some 1,800 in 2019 (although, at the time, the company also noted that rideshare bookings increased, resulting in a 19% decrease in the overall incident rate).
  • 360 incidents of rape and 10 deaths related to physical assaults were recorded over the three-year period.
  • 2,300 reports of “non-consensual touching of a sexual body part” were recorded over the three-year period.

Additionally, Lyft confirmed through the safety report’s 18-page index that:

  • Riders reported 52% of the sexual assault incidents.
  • Reports initiated by drivers accounted for 38%.
  • 10% of reports were confirmed to be initiated by third parties, classified within the appendix as “law enforcement officials, regulators, family, friends, or media reports.”

Moreover, in September 2021, 14 women filed lawsuits against Lyft claiming that the company failed to stop “an epidemic of sexual assault and rape involving some of its drivers,” NPR reported.

Similar to the new lawsuits against Lyft, the 2021 complaints included recommendations for improving safety among drivers and passengers alike.

“Both sets of civil lawsuits are seeking damages and want the company to toughen the way it monitors and screens drivers. Those fixes would include fingerprint-based criminal background checks, video and/or audio recordings of rides and an option for women to hail a female driver, among others,” NPR reported last year.

Lyft provided a statement to the Chicago Tribune in response to the 17 newly announced sexual and physical assault lawsuits.

“Every single driver on the platform goes through rigorous screening… We require a background check before someone is approved to drive and every year thereafter, as well as continuous criminal monitoring that provides Lyft with immediate notification of any disqualifying offense. Any driver who does not pass the initial, annual and continuous screenings is barred from our platform,” the statement said.

How to File a Lyft or Uber Sexual Assault Lawsuit

How to File a Lyft or Uber Sexual Assault Lawsuit
Survivors of rideshare sexual assault have options for legal recourse regardless of whether or not any criminal charges are ever filed against a perpetrator. If you’ve been sexually assaulted as a Lyft driver or passenger, filing a civil claim for financial compensation can be an option for securing justice on your own terms.

Civil lawsuits can help victims recover financial compensation for various damages, including:

  • Emotional trauma
  • Hospital or medical expenses
  • Counseling or therapy expenses
  • Psychological harm
  • Lost wages
  • Diminished future earning capacity
  • Punitive damages
  • Diminished quality of life
  • Physical harm

2023 Uber and Lyft Sexual Assault Statistics
To speak with a Dordulian Law Group sexual assault attorney about a Lyft, Uber, or other type of ridesharing service claim, contact us today for a free, confidential, and no obligation consultation at 818-322-4056.

Dordulian Law Group: Proven Results in Uber/Lyft Sexual Assault Cases

Dordulian Law Group (DLG) is the premier full-service sexual assault firm with decades of experience and proven results serving clients throughout California and across the United States. Founded by Sam Dordulian, a former sex crimes prosecutor and Deputy District Attorney for Los Angeles County, DLG has secured justice and recovered multi-million dollar settlements for rideshare sexual assault survivors.

Examples of recent DLG victories on behalf of survivors of sexual assault and abuse include:

  • Multi-million dollar rideshare rape survivor case: DLG secured a $2.25 million settlement for a rideshare rape survivor who was drugged by her driver. As demonstrated by last year’s Lyft safety report, rideshare sexual assault incidents have been increasing steadily over the years and survivors are encouraged to report their crimes as soon as possible.
  • Undisclosed multi-million dollar rape survivor case: DLG secured an undisclosed multi-million dollar settlement for a woman drugged and raped by a man she had met on a ‘Sugar Daddy‘ website. Despite establishing a relationship with the man and having consensual sexual relations in the past, the single incident of rape constituted sexual assault and led to the victory. As DLG’s Sam Dordulian has noted in previous blogs, consent is always mandatory, and rape is always illegal.
  • Undisclosed maximum financial damages award for an employment sexual assault case: DLG secured an undisclosed maximum financial damages award under the eggshell plaintiff rule for a sexual assault incident involving minimal contact by a former employer. Despite the incident only entailing the employer putting his arm around our client and asking her to “smile more,” DLG’s sexual assault attorneys were able to secure maximum compensation under the eggshell plaintiff rule.
  • AB 218 childhood sexual abuse settlement: DLG secured a $675,000 settlement for an anonymous survivor who wished to recover the quickest possible settlement under California’s AB 218 law for a crime that occurred nearly 40 years ago.

DLG’s Sam Dordulian has been fighting on behalf of survivors for more than 25 years, securing over 100 jury trial victories and helping each individual obtain justice and maximum financial compensation.

If you experienced a sexual assault incident, don’t wait to file a claim. Contact our expert attorneys online or by phone for a free consultation today.

If you’re a survivor of Uber or Lyft sexual assault, get the justice you deserve by contacting a member of DLG’s SAJE Team (Sexual Assault Justice Experts) today. We are standing by 24/7 to answer any questions you may have about the legal process. For a free consultation to discuss your legal options, how long it may take to reach a cash settlement, and how much your claim may be worth, reach out to a DLG sexual assault lawyer.

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