Chicago Workers’ Compensation Lawyers & Illinois Injury Lawyers

An Uber Driver Allegedly Raped a Passenger on North Side of Chicago, Report Says

| Feb 12, 2024 | Uber/Lyft |

Recently, according to a WGN TV report, an Uber driver allegedly raped his passenger on Chicago’s North Side. Regrettably, even as rideshare services like Uber and Lyft announce new safety measures they say they are taking, reports of attacks like this North Side one keep happening. There are many possible reasons why this might be true and, in some of those circumstances, those reasons might relate to the rideshare service failing to meet its legal obligations to protect you from unsafe drivers. If you’ve been hurt by your rideshare driver, you should take action to protect your rights. Reach out to an experienced Chicago Uber injury attorney to discuss your circumstances right away.

The victim was a 28-year-old bar patron for whom bar staff had ordered an Uber. Once the woman was inside the vehicle, the driver allegedly sexually assaulted her, according to a police report. Eventually, the driver dropped the woman off in Kilbourn Park, just four miles from the bar. A resident in the neighborhood found the woman and contacted police, according to WGN.

According to some victims, rideshare services are continuing to respond inadequately to these attacks. For example, last month, a Georgia woman filed a lawsuit against Uber after her driver allegedly sexually assaulted her in her home. According to that woman’s lawsuit, Uber promised to open an investigation but Uber “essentially ignored” her, according to the Mercury News. The victim’s lawsuit stated that the victim believed that the alleged attacker continued to work for Uber.

Holding your rideshare service accountable, even if the driver doesn’t qualify as an employee

In many injury lawsuits like this one, the rideshare service may attempt to escape any liability (and thereby escape having to pay any compensation to the injured rider) by arguing that the driver was an Uber contractor, not an Uber employee, so Uber can’t be liable. Many federal courts have rejected this defense argument, with some judges asserting that a driver’s status as an employee or a contractor was irrelevant to the analysis of whether, and to what extent, the rideshare service was liable.

A San Francisco-based federal judge ruled that, as providers of public transportation, rideshare services like Uber and Lyft are something that the law calls “common carriers.” This is important because the law also says that common carriers have a legal obligation, or “duty of care,” to passengers in certain ways, such as ensuring that the rides they offer are reasonably safe.

There may several ways that you can show that your rideshare service was negligent in your circumstance. For example, if the driver who attacked you had a history of past sexual misconduct before driving for the rideshare service, but the service contracted with him anyway, then that might amount to liability for negligent hiring.

In the Georgia case, the alleged victim said that she believed her alleged attacker continued to drive for Uber, even after she reported the attack. If that driver later attacked another Uber passenger, that subsequent passenger might have a very strong case based on an argument that Uber was negligent in keeping that driver on its app. (This is called “negligent retention.”)

These attacks, tragically, keep happening. In some of those cases, the attacks potentially are occurring because the rideshare service didn’t do its duty to protect its passengers. When that happens and you’re hurt, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact the skilled Chicago Uber injury attorneys at Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca to find out what your next legal steps should be To set up a free case evaluation, contact us at 312-724-5846 or through our website.

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