What Do I Do if I Was Sexually Assaulted By a Lyft Driver?
Lyft has long enjoyed a reputation as a consumer-friendly rideshare company. Despite that image, a significant scandal has quietly brewed beneath the surface. Stories of sexual assault by Lyft drivers against their passengers have come to the forefront recently, and now lawsuits against the drivers and the company have become common.
These allegations are occurring all over the country, but they each have a common thread. These claims each point to Lyft’s failure to weed out dangerous drivers as a cause of their assault.
If you are the victim of a sexual assault at the hands of a Lyft driver, you deserve justice. You are not limited to justice through criminal prosecution, however. You are also entitled to seek civil litigation against your abuser. A Los Angeles Lyft accident lawyer from Ellis Injury Law could help you hold them accountable.
Contact the police
Your first step after a sexual assault should be to contact the police. Any delay in speaking with law enforcement can only benefit the person that attacked you. Law enforcement takes these allegations seriously and should begin to investigate right away. This is important, as it becomes more challenging to recover physical evidence of a sexual assault as more time passes.
The police will typically conduct an investigation that includes collecting physical evidence from you and questioning you about what happened. It is critical that you are truthful with police, as any misstatement could work against you in the future.
Once the police have reviewed your statement, their next step is often to contact the driver. In some cases, they may simply seek their statement while in others an arrest could occur.
You can also contact a local sexual assault service provider. In addition to meeting your healthcare needs, this provider could also perform the sexual assault forensic exam.
Report the assault to Lyft
While your priority should be your health and safety, at some point following the assault you should report the incident to Lyft. That does not mean you must go into great detail regarding what occurred. However, it is important to put Lyft on notice that a sexual assault occurred. Creating a record of your assault as closely after the attack as possible could benefit your civil and criminal cases.
Pursue legal action
Whether or not a criminal case is pursued against your attacker depends entirely on the prosecutor. While they are likely to take your feelings into account, they are ultimately the ones that will decide of a criminal case moves forward.
Thankfully, a criminal case does not impact whether or not you bring a civil lawsuit. In fact, you can bring a civil claim even when the state declines to prosecute.
In California, you could bring a civil lawsuit against the perpetrator for your mental and physical injuries in the attack. You could also bring a claim of negligent hiring or retention again Lyft in some cases, too.
Lyft could be responsible for your damages if they acted negligently in hiring or retaining your attacker. Under state law, you must establish that your attacker was unfit to transport passengers. More importantly, you must demonstrate that Lyft knew or should have known about the danger. In other words, Lyft could have a valid defense if they had no reason to believe your attacker was violent. If they have a criminal record or some other disqualifying status, Lyft could face civil liability for their poor hiring practices.
The compensation available in these cases could include:
- Medical bills
- Physical pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Lost wages
- Loss of family companionship
How an attorney could help
If you believe you are ready to pursue a civil action again Lyft following a sexual assault, it is important you have the right legal team in place first. Taking on these cases is challenging without the assistance of an attorney.
At Ellis Injury Law, we can carefully review the facts of your attack. We will investigate your claim in the least-intrusive manner possible, with the goal of recovering compensation on your behalf. Schedule a free consultation with Ellis Injury Law to learn more.