Whether you're a daily commuter or a visitor, rideshare apps such as Uber and Lyft offer a convenient and affordable way to get around. While most rideshare drivers behave in a safe and professional manner, some behave erratically. This small handful of drivers has tainted the industry and has even deterred some prospective riders from using the rideshare platform.
How safe do you feel in a rideshare car?
In order to show the stark reality some rideshare passengers face, Uber released a safety report. The report uses incident data from 2017 and 2018 involving fatal crashes, violent assaults, and sexual misconduct.
Uber reported that there were 97 fatal crashes involving its drivers during the two-year period. Approximately 107 people died in those crashes — 30 percent of whom were pedestrians. Another 21 percent of those killed were Uber passengers. During the same period, 19 people died due to violence — eight of whom were Uber passengers.
We've heard all the horror stories about rideshare drivers sexually assaulting passengers. According to the report, most incidents of sexual misconduct from Uber drivers involved non-consensual touching — which occurred in one out of every 800,000 completed trips. Other incidents of sexual misconduct included non-consensual kissing and even rape.
A chilling incident involving a Seattle-area rideshare driver
In 2019, a Seattle-area rideshare driver was charged with "indecent liberties and first-degree kidnapping with sexual motivation" for an incident that occurred in January, according to the Seattle Times. He was also charged with second-degree rape due to an incident that occurred in March.
In the first incident, the driver picked up a woman who was visiting from Arizona. She reportedly fell asleep during the ride. Then, she woke up to find herself handcuffed and being groped by the driver. She fought the driver and was able to escape.
In the March incident, the driver dropped two women off at a hotel. He reportedly walked with them to their room and asked to use the restroom. Both women were intoxicated at the time of the incident. One of the women was raped by the driver while the other was passed out.
Police found a pair of handcuffs in the driver's car, which was impounded. He was arrested when he went to retrieve his car.
'What legal actions can I take if I'm hurt by a rideshare driver?'
If you were hurt in a collision, violent assault, or incident of sexual misconduct involving a rideshare driver, you have the right to take legal action. Rideshare companies have a duty to provide safe transportation for riders. That includes properly screening drivers and establishing a strict set of rules.
An experienced Seattle attorney at Nelson Langer Engle, PLLC can help you explore your legal options and build a strong claim. Your claim, however, will be impacted by the status of the driver at the time of the incident. For example, if the driver was logged out of the app at the time of a collision, you may still be able to pursue damages from his or her insurance company.
If the driver was logged into the app, en route to pick up a passenger, or carrying a passenger, you may be able to take legal action against the company. To learn how, contact our law firm and schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys.