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Sexual Abuse in Lyft/Uber Ride Share Services

Ride share services have become an increasingly popular mode of transportation. While services such as Uber and Lyft offer convenient and accessible transportation, these companies also face serious concerns about whether they adequately protect customers who ride in their cars. Hundreds of passengers have reported that they were sexually assaulted while riding in Uber and Lyft cars. Lawsuits against Uber and Lyft have alleged a number of complaints including failure to use their technology to ensure passenger safety and failure to address and rectify reports of sexual misconduct by drivers.

The absence of reliable and universal safety standards exposes riders to the risk of sexual assault. Uber and Lyft are responsible for ensuring that their customers are safe while riding with drivers. This entails conducting thorough background checks to ensure that drivers do not have criminal records. However, many background checks do not go back further than seven years, thereby failing to provide a complete and accurate picture of the driver’s history. In addition, Uber and Lyft have refused to require fingerprinting for potential employees, which would offer a more comprehensive background investigation. Critics also maintain that Uber and Lyft fail to monitor drivers for inappropriate conduct once they are hired. Most shockingly, riders claim that Uber permits drivers who have been accused of sexual assault to continue driving for the company.

In addition to lax standards for hiring, riders may be at risk for sexual assault due to poor verification procedures. Some cases of sexual assault involved individuals who were not actually Uber or Lyft drivers. Other cases concerned minors who were improperly using ride sharing services and whose identities were not verified by drivers.

Several states have sought to implement stricter standards for background checks on drivers. For example, in California, Governor Brown signed a law prohibiting Uber and Lyft from hiring drivers who have been convicted of violent felonies. The law also authorizes Uber and Lyft to perform complete background checks that review criminal histories beyond the seven-year limit. While these laws may help identify some dangerous drivers, they are not national in scope and still may fail to adequately protect riders from sexual assault.

While Uber and Lyft claim to value passenger safety, they have declined to implement measures that protect riders from sexual abuse. When an assault occurs, both the driver and the ride-sharing company may be civilly liable for negligent failure to provide a safe environment. New York, New Jersey and other states have recently passed legislation that extends the statute of limitations for civil lawsuits for sexual assault claims for a specified period of time.

Levy Konigsberg LLP is a nationally recognized law firm that has recovered millions of dollars for victims of sexual abuse. If you or a member of your family has been the victim of sexual misconduct while riding as an Uber or Lyft passenger, please contact our lawyers for a free consultation by calling (800) 315-3806 or submit an email inquiry.

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