Uber/Lyft Ride Share Abuse
A report released in 2018 revealed that 120 Uber and Lyft drivers sexually assaulted their passengers. Uber and Lyft have not released data on claims of sexual assault, but allegations of such attacks appear daily. As the popularity of ride share services continues to grow, concerns about negligent hiring procedures have led to state investigations and calls for improved safety features. A host of lawsuits are now pending alleging that Uber and Lyft failed to implement adequate security checks in hiring their drivers.
State Investigations into Uber and Lyft
California filed a lawsuit against Uber in 2014 alleging that the company misled consumers about the safety of its services. The action claimed that Uber failed to comply with state laws that are intended to protect residents from fraud and injury. The basis of the complaint was that the company misrepresented the adequacy of the background checks it performed on its drivers. At the same time, Lyft reached a settlement with the state over similar claims. Other states have filed similar lawsuits.
Uber and Lyft’s Safety Precautions Described as Inadequate
Uber and Lyft both rely on third-party screening checks to verify the safety of their drivers. The third-party screening service, CheckR, conducts a seven-year criminal history check from various national, state and local databases. The service also checks the National Sex Offender Public website. However, ride share companies have been criticized for not doing enough. These background check procedures are not as thorough as state and FBI fingerprint background checks. Ride share companies have resisted efforts to make screening processes more stringent by including these types of fingerprint background checks. This has left passengers vulnerable to sexual attacks by drivers and prompted lawsuits alleging that ride share companies are negligent in their hiring and retention practices.
Lawsuits Against Uber and Lyft
Since August 1, 2019, seven female passengers have sued Lyft for hiring drivers who assaulted them during rides in Seattle, Washington, and New Orleans. Four of the claimants say that they were raped by drivers in their own homes. Claims of sexual assault against Uber drivers have continued to mount. At least 31 Uber drivers have been convicted for various crimes while driving for the service including false imprisonment and rape. Dozens of civil cases are also pending in connection with the incidents. In July 2017, one woman in Kansas City sued Uber after being raped by her driver claiming that Uber was well aware of her driver’s extensive and violent criminal history and continued to employ him.
A passenger who is sexually assaulted by a driver for a ride sharing service can assert claims for assault, intentional infliction of emotional distress, false imprisonment or negligent infliction of emotional distress. Ride sharing companies can be held liable for failing to conduct adequate and thorough background checks to ensure the safety of their passengers, including refusing to use fingerprints to conduct background checks. In some cases, ride sharing services have been accused of allowing drivers with known criminal backgrounds to continue to work for them.
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 assault by a driver for a ride share service, please contact our lawyers for a free and confidential consultation by calling 1-800-225-9825 or submitting an email inquiry on this page.