In just a few years the popularity of ridesharing has surged, making the service commonplace in today’s society. Rideshare companies have essentially decimated the taxi industry, and some people are even foregoing car ownership in favor of ridesharing as their primary mode of transportation. But now that we’re using the service so frequently, and hailing a ride is practically second nature, have we become less vigilant over our safety?
If you follow the news, you’ve likely heard about a wave of lawsuits filed against major rideshare companies. In 2018, a CNN investigative report found that 103 Uber drivers had been accused of sexual assault or abuse. Earlier this month, Lyft was hit with lawsuits from 20 different women, each of whom allege they were sexually harassed by company drivers. Additionally, just weeks ago, Uber revealed its first-ever internal safety report, the details of which were truly disconcerting. The report revealed a rampant trend of sexual assault far greater than CNN’s investigation had estimated. As The Guardian confirmed last week, Uber’s report found that more than 3,000 of its passengers reported sexual assaults in 2018. Of those 3,000 reports, 229 were cases of rape, while nine resulted in murder.
The Dordulian Law Group (DLG) recently secured a multi-million dollar settlement against an undisclosed ridesharing company for a young woman raped by her driver. The settlement serves as an excellent example for why we must continue to remain vigilant whenever utilizing ridesharing services. Additionally, it demonstrates why victims of sexual abuse should be aware of their rights under the law, and why consulting with an experienced and competent sexual assault attorney following an incident is so important.
Due to a confidentiality agreement that was signed when finalizing the settlement, we are not able to disclose many of the details related to our case. However, we believe it is important for riders to be knowledgeable of potential dangers, which includes an understanding of previous incidents that have impacted fellow riders. Being aware of what methods predators use can help ensure such crimes are more likely to be prevented in the future. Therefore, although we are unable to disclose much of the information pertaining to our case, we encourage all riders and drivers (as a recent report indicated that 42% of those reporting sexual assault were actually drivers) to remain updated on news related to rideshare company assaults and lawsuits.
DLG founder and president, Samuel Dordulian, is a former sex crimes prosecutor with the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office. He pursued a civil lawsuit on the survivor’s behalf to hold the rideshare company responsible, hoping that in addition to helping the survivor obtain justice, a settlement might also provide her a sense of closure.
Although the exact details of the settlement cannot be disclosed, we are pleased to report that a multi-million dollar agreement was reached on behalf of our client.
Dordulian stated he believes such a significant settlement will leave perpetrators with a newfound perspective that could alter their future behavior. “A perpetrator may now be more prone to think about the ramifications of such an abhorrent act…Being aware that we will aggressively pursue justice for all victims of rideshare assaults will hopefully act as a deterrent to predators. Our pursuit of justice will also bring a sense of control back to the survivir and aid in their journey of recovery.” Dordulian’s client indicated that her greatest motivation for pursuing the civil lawsuit with DLG was to ensure that such a crime never affected another victim.
Dordulian took that sentiment to heart and pressed the rideshare company to mandate that all drivers be fingerprinted, which proponents say will further deter such crimes from being committed. Rideshare companies, however, have consistently fought fingerprinting measures in several cities.
As a sexual assault attorney in Los Angeles with over 18 years of experience, Samuel Dordulian stresses that, although the majority of the population is using rideshare companies more than ever before, vigilance is paramount. Passengers and drivers must take every possible precaution to help ensure their safety, especially given the recent upswing in incidents of sexual assault.
Victims of sexual assault by rideshare drivers and passengers should be aware of their legal options, both in terms of criminal lawsuits and civil lawsuits seeking damages like our specific case referenced above. Rideshare rape victims are well advised to seek a rape victim attorney with several years of experience in sexual assault cases — specifically related to ridesharing incidents whenever possible. Always be sure to research attorneys thoroughly, as many purported rape attorneys in Los Angeles claim to specialize in rape-related cases (hoping to take advantage of the increase in lawsuits against billion-dollar ridesharing companies), despite having limited experience or expertise in any type of sexual assault.
As a victim, you need to take every possible step to put yourself in the most advantageous position to secure the largest possible settlement — a figure that appropriately reflects the amount of pain and suffering you’ve endured. That means selecting a qualified, experienced, and empathetic attorney with a history of winning cases similar to yours who will fight aggressively on your behalf.
It’s also important to keep in mind that a statute of limitations exists for most sexual assault claims (your attorney will be able to explain the specific statutes and filing deadlines related to your particular lawsuit). Therefore, contacting an attorney immediately following an incident (after any medical needs have been properly addressed, of course) is critical.
For additional details regarding what steps should be taken following a traumatic incident such as sexual assault, please take a moment to visit our guide with resources for sexual assault and abuse survivors. Additionally, for information regarding our experienced sex crimes legal team — who you can be confident fights for each and every client just as we did for the survivor awarded the recent multi-million dollar settlement — please visit our sexual assault information page. We’re available 24 hours a day, every day of the year, online and by phone at 800-880-7777.
Please do not hesitate to reach out for assistance with answering any question you may have regarding an incident affecting you or someone you care about — we pledge to always provide the upmost respect, discretion, and compassion that you deserve. We’re here for you, regardless if it’s simply to answer your question, provide support or advice, or serve as your advocate and fight for justice in the courtroom on your behalf.
Our law firm in Glendale, CA advocates for victims of sexual assault, injury, employment disputes, and workers compensation concerns.