Another Lawsuit Again Highlights the Danger of Sexual Assaults by Lyft Drivers and the Rideshare Service’s Alleged Inadequate Response to the Problem

Rideshare services like Lyft and Uber continue to make headlines for negative reasons. According to a multitude of riders who have filed several lawsuits recently, Lyft isn’t doing nearly enough to protect riders and that unreasonable level of inaction by Lyft has played a role many injuries, including a Brooklyn woman’s alleged gang rape.

According to that woman’s lawsuit, Lyft doesn’t interview potential drivers, doesn’t do significant background checks on potential drivers, doesn’t fingerprint drivers and doesn’t remove drivers after riders report sexual misconduct. These failures and more, she argued, created the circumstances that allowed for her rape to occur. If you’re injured here in Illinois due to an attack perpetrated by your Lyft or Uber driver, it is possible that the rideshare service’s negligence may have played a role and you may be entitled to compensation from the rideshare service. Contact an experienced Chicago injury attorney to find out more about the legal options available to you.

According to a Vice report, the Brooklyn woman was injured in 2017 after she used Lyft for a ride home from a Crown Heights party. The ride should have taken only 15 minutes and cost less than $20. Instead, the driver allegedly took her on a 79-minute drive to a remote New Jersey location and gang raped her. On top of that terror and injury, Lyft charged the woman $106 for the ride, she asserted.

The Brooklyn woman sued in San Francisco, where Lyft is headquartered.

Allegations of rapes and other sexual assaults by Lyft drivers, and lawsuits arising from them, are continuing to pile up. On the same day as the Brooklyn woman sued, four other women launched their own lawsuits in San Francisco against Lyft for harm they alleged they suffered as a result of sexual assaults perpetrated by their Lyft drivers.

They aren’t nearly the only ones. Previously, 14 women filed a lawsuit against Lyft for damages that, according to their claims, they suffered as a result of sexual assaults by Lyft drivers. Vice’s report indicated that more than 25 Lyft users have sued the rideshare service since August 1 for the sexual assaults they allegedly suffered. They, like the Brooklyn woman, asserted that Lyft made the assaults possible by taking insufficient safety steps to weed out dangerous drivers or driver applicants.

Lawsuit says Lyft’s practices and procedures were insufficient in many ways

The Brooklyn woman’s lawsuit asserted that Lyft’s safety checks on driver applicants was virtually non-existent. The lawsuit contended that applicants simply “fill out a form online” and that nearly all of those applicants are accepted and become Lyft drivers. This is done with no interview of any kind, no meaningful background check and non-biometric fingerprinting, according to the lawsuit.

In addition to driver applicants, Lyft also fails to take reasonable steps to protect its riders from its current drivers, according to the lawsuit. Allegedly, Lyft has the technology (including in-car cameras and GPS tracking) to monitor Lyft rides to ensure that both driver and rider are safe, and that the ride is proceeding according to the optimal route to the destination. This technology could protect riders because many attacks happen after a driver deviates from the optimal route to the rider’s destination or when the driver ends the ride or turns off the app before arriving at the destination, according to the Brooklyn woman’s lawsuit. Despite the availability of this technology, Lyft fails to use that technology to keep riders safe, she asserted.

Additionally, Lyft allegedly did not even weed out drivers that it knew had engaged in sexually inappropriate behavior, allowing drivers to continue driving for Lyft even after they’d been reported for misconduct.

These things were the foundations of the Brooklyn woman’s lawsuit. She asserted that Lyft was negligent because it knew, going back at least as far as 2015, that some of its drivers were sexually harassing, sexually assaulting or raping riders, yet the rideshare service did nothing to modify its safety policies and practices to reduce the risk of a sexual attack perpetrated by a Lyft driver.

When an entity knows or should have known that a danger or hazard that is under its control exists, but does not take reasonable steps to fix, eliminate or warn of that danger, then that’s negligence.

In the Brooklyn woman’s case, she used Lyft’s alleged negligence to assert multiple negligence-based claims, including general negligence, negligent hiring, negligent supervision, negligent retention and negligent failure to warn.

If you’ve been hurt by your Lyft or Uber driver, you may not know what to do or where to turn. Start by reaching out to the experienced Chicago injury attorneys at Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca. Our attorneys are here to help you throughout the process. To set up a free case evaluation, contact us at 800-444-1525 or through our website.