In December 2019, Uber released a fairly lengthy report about the safety of its rides. Now, Uber’s failure to answer follow-up questions posed by the State of California has triggered a massive fine and the potential loss of its license to operate in the Golden State. The report detailed a two-year period where roughly eight sexual assaults or rapes occurred daily on Uber rides. In too many situations, attacks occur because rideshare giants like Uber and Lyft don’t do enough to vet the people who apply to drive for the services, which means unsafe drivers carrying unsuspecting riders. When that happens to you, you may be able to take legal action. You should contact a knowledgeable Chicago rideshare injury attorney to find out more.
The action by California comes after that state’s Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) issued an order in January 2020. The order required disclosure of the “date, time and location of each reported assault, [and] a description of the circumstances surrounding the incident,” according to the Washington Post.
Eleven months later, Uber still hadn’t complied, citing what it described as concerns about the privacy and anonymity of the survivors of the attacks listed in the report. CPUC handed down a $59 million fine and ordered Uber to complete its disclosures within 30 days or face the loss of its license to operate in California, the report indicated.
The other rideshare giant, Lyft, has promised to issue a similar assault report, but has yet to do so. Lyft has not “specified plans to follow through” with its pledged report, according to the Post.
Many people, including people who have sued after suffering serious harm during their Uber or Lyft rides, have argued that the security screening process the rideshare giants use is far too lax and, often, is just a perfunctory step that ends with the applicant becoming a contracted driver almost immediately after he/she applies.
As just one example, KIRO radio reported on a Seattle-area woman who allegedly was sexually assaulted by her Uber driver in August 2019. The woman hired an attorney who hired a private investigator who, in very short order, discovered that the man had been charged with assault back in 2017, and also with a crime involving children. Uber either failed to discover these things on its background check or approved the man anyway.
What the law of negligence potentially can do for you
When rideshare drivers (and sometimes riders) attack, their victims may have recourse through the legal system. If you’ve been hurt by your Uber or Lyft driver, you may have a valid claim for something called “negligent hiring.” Rideshare services like Uber and Lyft have an obligation to their riders to make a reasonable effort to ensure that the drivers they approve are safe. If you have proof that your rideshare service failed to do a reasonable background check, that a reasonable check would have informed the rideshare service of your driver’s violent or otherwise dangerous tendencies, that the driver was approved anyway, and that these things led to the harm you suffered, then you could have the components of a winning negligent hiring case.
If you were sexually assaulted, raped or otherwise attacked by your Uber or Lyft driver, don’t make the mistake of thinking there’s nothing you can do beyond reporting the driver to the service. Instead, reach out to a knowledgeable legal advocate. Count on the skilled Chicago rideshare injury attorneys at Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca to be that kind of powerful and effective advocate to you. To set up a free case evaluation, contact us at 800-444-1525 or through our website.