San Francisco Rideshare Sexual Abuse Lawyer
A rideshare vehicle such as an Uber or Lyft is generally viewed as a safe way to get around. For many, however, these rides turn into nightmares when they are sexually assaulted or abused by their drivers. Survivors of rideshare sexual abuse can suffer immense emotional, psychological and physical harm.
If you or a loved one was sexually assaulted in a rideshare vehicle in San Francisco or the Bay Area, the attorneys at Manly, Stewart & Finaldi can help. We are dedicated to serving victims of rideshare sexual abuse and can help you understand your legal rights. Contact us today for a free and confidential case review.
Why Trust Manly, Stewart & Finaldi With Your Case?
- We are America’s leading sexual abuse law firm. We have everything it takes to handle your rideshare sexual abuse claim, including highly experienced attorneys, state-of-the-art resources, and a long track record of success in and out of the courtroom.
- We operate on a contingency fee basis. This means your San Francisco rideshare sexual abuse lawyer will not charge you a dime until and unless we secure financial compensation on your behalf.
- Our lawyers will always put you first. We will protect your identity and keep you anonymous, if desired, throughout your case. Your lawyer will personalize your legal services for the best possible experience and case results.
How Our Lawyers Can Help
A rideshare sexual abuse attorney can help you seek justice and maximum financial compensation for the heinous crime that has been committed against you. Your attorney will be your advocate and guide throughout the legal process. You can trust that your lawyer will aggressively advocate for your best interests when going up against a rideshare company or another entity on your behalf.
Your sexual abuse attorney can help you in many ways, such as:
- Listening to your story and investigating your claim.
- Addressing your safety concerns and making a plan for your safety.
- Explaining your legal rights and options as a sexual abuse survivor.
- Identifying the liable party or parties.
- Searching for all available evidence to support your sexual assault case.
- Hiring qualified experts.
- Filing your claim by California’s deadline.
- Determining the accurate value of your case.
- Negotiating with an insurance company for fair financial compensation.
- Going up against Uber, Lyft or another defendant at trial, if necessary.
Most importantly, you will be given the ability to concentrate on healing while your lawyer does the difficult legal legwork of your case for you. You do not have to worry about confusing legal paperwork, filing deadlines, evidence collection, proving your case, attending meetings or communicating with insurance companies. An attorney from our law firm can skillfully handle every part of your case while protecting your rights and confidentiality.
What Is Rideshare Sexual Abuse?
Sexual assault is the unlawful act of engaging in sexual activity or touching someone else’s private parts without consent. A pattern of sexual assault incidents is typically referred to as sexual abuse; however, sexual abuse can also refer to an isolated incident. If you are inappropriately touched or unwillingly involved in sexual activity with a rideshare driver or passenger, you are a victim of sexual abuse.
Examples of rideshare sexual abuse include:
- Touching of intimate parts
- Forced oral copulation
- Rape or attempted rape
- Drug or alcohol-facilitated rape
- Statutory rape
- Stalking or harassment
- Hate crimes
Sexual abuse can take place without the victim’s consent, without the victim’s knowledge, while the victim is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, after restraining the victim, using force or the threat of force, or using violence or menace. If the sexual activity was against the will of the person touched or done without consent (including against a minor under the age of 18), it is sexual abuse. Rideshare sexual abuse can be from a driver against a passenger, a passenger against a driver, a stranger against a passenger or another combination.
Rideshare Sexual Assault Statistics
Ridesharing apps are relatively new. The top ridesharing companies – Uber and Lyft – were both created in the last couple of decades. Uber began its operations in 2009, while Lyft was launched in 2012. Since their advent, however, experts have been concerned about the safety of these services.
The business structure of a rideshare company does not adhere to the same strict rules and regulations as traditional taxicabs. From the beginning, this has led to concerns regarding passenger safety. For example, Uber and Lyft only background check their drivers as far back as the past seven years. If an applicant received a criminal conviction prior to the last seven years, it would not appear on the rideshare company’s background check unless it is a certain offense, such as murder or sexual offenses.
In their separate safety reports for 2019-2020, Uber reported 3,824 incidents of sexual assault and Lyft reported 1,807.In the previous year (2017-2018), before the COVID-19 pandemic affected ride rates, Uber reported 5,981 sexual assaults. The categories of these offenses included “nonconsensual touching of a sexual body part,” “nonconsensual kissing of a sexual or nonsexual body part,” “attempted nonconsensual sexual penetration,” and “nonconsensual sexual penetration.”
Who Is Liable for Rideshare Sexual Assault in San Francisco?
You have legal rights as a rideshare passenger in San Francisco. If these rights were violated by an Uber or Lyft driver in San Francisco with an unthinkable sex crime, you may be able to collect financial compensation for the damages suffered. Filing a civil lawsuit against one or more parties can lead to justice, accountability and a financial recovery to help you during this difficult time. Our lawyers can help you determine the liable party or parties in your rideshare sexual assault case.
Uber or Lyft
Companies such as Uber and Lyft have a legal obligation to provide a certain level of service and safety to customers. This involves responsibilities regarding the drivers they hire and the vehicles that are used, as well as certain obligations when incidents of sexual misconduct or violence are reported. Numerous failures by the rideshare company could constitute negligence in a sexual assault case, including:
- Failure to conduct proper background checks on new drivers.
- Failure to terminate a driver’s account after misconduct or poor ratings.
- Failure to listen to rider complaints and respond correctly.
- Failure to conduct driver or ride safety evaluations.
- Failure to use the proper protocols in an emergency.
If there is evidence that the rideshare company reasonably should have done more to prevent the crime committed against you, the company can be named as a defendant in your sexual assault lawsuit. Uber and Lyft have faced thousands of sexual assault and harassment lawsuits – most of which are brought in the San Francisco Superior Court, as this is where both Uber and Lyft have their headquarters.
The individual who committed the sexual assault or abuse could also be held responsible in civil court for the damages caused by the incident. This may be the rideshare driver or a passenger. If a rideshare driver is sued for sexual assault, the rideshare company typically is not held vicariously liable. This is because rideshare drivers are classified as independent contractors, not employees. However, you may be able to hold Uber or Lyft responsible, as well, if the company’s negligence contributed to the crime.
Financial Compensation Available in a Rideshare Sexual Abuse Lawsuit
Bringing a civil lawsuit in San Francisco for rideshare sexual abuse could result in a financial recovery for multiple damages suffered. The compensation available falls into two main categories: compensatory and punitive. Compensatory damages compensate a survivor for the losses suffered due to a tort or act of wrongdoing. Punitive damages are rarer and only awarded in cases where the defendant is proven to be guilty of malice, fraud or oppression.
Compensatory damages are the most common, and can include:
- Medical expenses. The current and future estimated medical costs associated with the sexual assault, which may include a visit to the emergency room, prescription medications and psychological counseling.
- Lost wages. If you had to take time off of work after the crime was committed, such as for counseling sessions, medical care, emotional recovery or to avoid the perpetrator, you could be reimbursed for losses of income.
- Out-of-pocket costs. Any money you spent because of the incident, such as transportation, travel, relocation costs and domestic services can be reimbursed to relieve you of the financial burden connected to rideshare sexual abuse.
- Pain and suffering. Emotional distress, psychological trauma, post-traumatic stress disorder, mental anguish, diminished quality of life, physical suffering and other intangible losses suffered as a survivor of sexual abuse.
A lawsuit against a perpetrator and/or rideshare company for sexual abuse could result in thousands of dollars in damages being awarded to you for your losses. The potential value of your claim will depend on the circumstances, such as the severity of the attack. Your lawyer can accurately valuate your claim and negotiate for maximum financial compensation from an insurance provider on your behalf.
What Is California’s Statute of Limitations?
The statute of limitations, or deadline for filing, a sexual abuse claim is 10 years from the date of the sexual assault or 3 years from when an injury caused by sexual assault is discovered, whichever is later. If the sexual assault occurred when the survivor was under the age of 18, he or she has until age 40 to file a claim or 5 years from the date of injury discovery, whichever comes later.
Steps to Take as a Rideshare Sexual Abuse Survivor
If you find yourself in the frightening position of being sexually abused or assaulted in a rideshare vehicle in San Francisco, there are steps that you need to take to protect yourself. Help is available from multiple sources to address your physical, emotional and legal concerns as a sexual abuse survivor. Here’s what to do:
- Go to a safe place. Your personal safety is paramount. Go to a friend or family member’s house where you feel safe immediately after the assault.
- Tell someone. While it is difficult to talk about sexual assault, it is important to speak up to bring the perpetrator to justice and potentially protect others.
- Get medical care. Go to a hospital that offers sexual assault forensic exams. They can provide care for you as well as collect any evidence of the assault, such as DNA or photographs of bruising or injuries.
Report the rideshare driver or passenger to the authorities. Call 911 to file a police report regarding the sexual assault. Report the incident to Uber or Lyft, as well.
- Write down what happened. It is common for survivors to forget exactly what happened during an attack. Take as many notes as you can immediately after the incident, including personal information about the perpetrator and the time, date and location of the assault.
- Seek emotional support. As a sexual abuse survivor, you may be dealing with a variety of mental and emotional effects. Get the support you need by seeing a therapist or psychologist. You can also contact the national sexual assault hotline if you wish to remain anonymous.
- Gather documents and contact an attorney. Gather any relevant information, such as your medical records, a copy of the police report and the ride information from the rideshare app, and schedule a free case consultation with a lawyer at Manly, Stewart & Finaldi.
- Take legal action. With our assistance, you can file a lawsuit against one or more parties for sexually abusing you or failing to protect you from rideshare sexual abuse. We can help you seek the justice that you deserve, whether or not you reported the incident.
Our attorneys will ask you questions, listen to your story and believe you. Then, we will investigate the rideshare sexual abuse incident and inform you of your legal rights. We can help you take legal action in San Francisco by filing a civil lawsuit against the perpetrator and/or rideshare company on your behalf.
Were You Sexually Assaulted in an Uber or Lyft? We Can Help – Call (855) 204-3493
Manly, Stewart & Finaldi is dedicated to making sure that rideshare sexual assault survivors have their voices heard. We understand how traumatic this crime is and the enormous impact it can have on every aspect of your life. We are here to help you protect yourself, exercise your legal rights, hold one or more parties accountable, and obtain the case results that you deserve. Start with a free confidential case consultation in San Francisco. Contact us online using our secure form or call (855) 204-3493 today to schedule your case review.