It is a sad and scary fact that sexual assault is still prevalent in Washington DC and across the United States. Up to one in four girls, and one in six boys will be sexually assaulted by the time they are 18 years old. This adds to the annual cost of sexual violence, which is $127 billion per year. If you were a victim of sexual assault, the most important thing for you to know is the assault was not your fault. You have nothing to be ashamed of and you are not alone.
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If you are the victim of sexual assault by an Uber driver, you have rights to justice and rights to compensation.
The Uber sexual assault attorneys at Regan Zambri Long have a history of showing enormous compassion for their clients in the office and fighting fiercely for their rights in the courtroom. The lawyers will make your voice heard and make sure you receive the maximum compensation for medical expenses, mental anguish, and pain and suffering. You do not have to go through this journey alone. Contact the caring lawyers at Regan Zambri Long today for a free consultation and take the first step in reclaiming your life after suffering sexual assault.
Sexual assault is any nonconsensual sexual act, including situations where the victim lacks the capacity to consent. It is an act of violence, anger, and power over another and it can happen to anyone. According to the Metropolitan Police Department, only 28% of sexual assault victims report the crime. Some do not report because of a personal matter, fear of reprisal, or fear of police bias. We know how scary it can be to come forward after being assaulted, but by doing so, you have a better chance of seeing justice served in your case.
If you’ve experienced any of the following by an Uber driver, then you have been sexually assaulted:
If you experienced anything on the list above while in a rideshare vehicle, contact an Uber sexual assault lawyer at Regan Zambri Long immediately for a free case evaluation.
Uber, founded in 2009, quickly grew into the largest rideshare company in the world. For Washington DC residents, it is a great way to get around the city easily on a night out, especially if you decide to have a few drinks and don’t want to get behind the wheel of a car. However, as convenient as Uber is, rideshare services also opens up customers, especially female customers, to being in a vulnerable position with a stranger. In 2019, NPR reported that Uber had nearly 6,000 sexual assault claims in just a two year span from 2017 to 2018. Lyft is following right behind with almost 1,800 sexual assault claims in 2019 alone.
Sexual assault can only occur when the assaulter has the ability to take advantage of someone else. Rideshare services, unfortunately, offer prime opportunities for that to occur. Many times, the abuser has the victim alone and in an environment where he or she is incredibly vulnerable.
Several problems have been with Uber’s hiring practices. When hiring Uber drivers, Uber does not meet with the candidate in person, or interview them before adding them to the roster. Some argue that an interview would provide additional screening into the driver’s background.
Uber drivers do have to go through a background check. However, the check only goes back seven years, as opposed to background checks for taxi medallions, which goes all the way back to when the driver was 18. One of the main concerns is that the background checks do not include fingerprinting. Uber refuses to implement fingerprint background checks because of the cost to the company. However, criminal experts contend that fingerprinting is the most sturdy background check available and would make it easier for the rideshare companies to spot applicants who lie about their names and other personal information.
By using an app like Uber, passengers are inherently putting their trust into their rideshare driver, much like we put trust into medical workers, pilots, and other service workers. Passengers assume their drivers have been properly vetted and trained. It is up to rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft to make sure their passengers are correct in that assumption.
Being sexually assaulted is shocking. It can be difficult for the victim to remember what to do in that situation. There are steps to take if an Uber sexual assault takes place to ensure that you are safe and that justice can be served to the criminal who sexually assaulted you. If you are ever in a situation where you are sexually assaulted by an Uber driver in Washington DC, be sure to take the following steps:
This is the single most important thing you can do is to ensure your safety. Try to reach a safe location, preferably with other people around. If possible, get yourself to a hospital. The Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Program at Washington Hospital Center ensures that the victim will be in a private room for examination, will not wait more than one hour to be seen, and will be attended to by an expert in sexual assault.
If you cannot get yourself to a hospital, call 911. The responding police officers will be able to coordinate getting the correct medical attention and get you to a hospital. The officer will also begin to assess and investigate the situation. He or she will document the situation, including a statement and details regarding the assault.
Though the most important thing is the medical attention and your safety, calling the police will also help in your sexual assault case. Reporting the incident as closely to the incident actually occurring will help you remember more details. It will help the police apprehend the criminal and help you when you file a sexual assault claim against Uber or Lyft.
Don’t Go Alone
If a friend or family member can escort you to the hospital, allow them. The DC Rape Crisis Center offers individuals who can help you following a sexual assault.
Preserve Physical Evidence and Try to Remember
Do not shower, bathe, change clothes, or throw away clothing if a sexual assault occurs. Take note of everything you can remember, including the time, the date, and the location of the assault. If you know the individual’s name, document it. If you cannot remember the make and model of the car, don’t worry – it will be saved on the Uber app.
Any details regarding the assault will be greatly helpful in an investigation to find the perpetrator. It will also help your claim. It can be hard for sexual assault victims to remember the details because of the trauma they just suffered. Be kind and compassionate to yourself, and try to take down notes as soon as possible so you don’t have to put yourself through the trauma at a later time.
Once you sought help and your medical needs were addressed, contact an experienced sexual assault lawyer as soon as possible. The lawyers at Regan Zambri Long understand they can’t take away the terrible crime committed against you. However, they will work tirelessly to ensure you can have some consolation that justice was served in your case.
Civil sexual assault cases are handled by the accuser (in an Uber and Lyft sexual assault claim, the victim of the assault would be the accuser) and their attorney. In these cases, the accuser, with their lawyer’s guidance, decides everything: how much to ask for in damages, what evidence is used, etc. The outcome of a civil case will determine whether the defendant (in Uber and Lyft sexual assault cases, the defendant would be Uber or Lyft) should be held responsible for the damages.
In civil sexual assault cases where you are making a claim against ridesharing companies, you would not be suing for sexual assault. Instead, you would charge the company with negligence, intentional infliction of emotional distress, etc. If the judge or jury finds the defendant liable, then the party or parties must pay the damages asked for, including legal fees, compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, mental anguish, and emotional distress.
Criminal sexual assault cases are different. These cases are brought to the court by the state, rather than the victim of the crime. In criminal cases, the defendant is the person who actually committed the sexual assault crimes. You, as the victim, would only be brought in as a witness against the defendant. The result of criminal sexual assault trials, if the defendant is found guilty, can include jail time or probation.
You lawyer will be able to answer any questions regarding the claims process, including what kind of suit will be filed. Your lawyer will determine the best strategy to secure the maximum financial compensation and hold both the driver and the driver’s company responsible for the heinous crimes committed against you.
Speak to a Regan Zambri Long Uber sexual assault lawyer today to begin the process of a civil lawsuit against Uber or Lyft for negligence, and against the Uber or Lyft driver for committing the crime.
There are several ways men and women can protect themselves from criminal Uber drivers. Consider the following safety tips next time you request a ride:
A: According to the Council of the District of Columbia, there are no limitations for filing a criminal suit in sexual assault cases. However, civil cases may be different in the District. Contact a Regan Zambri Long personal injury attorney to discuss the best way forward in your case against Uber or Lyft. Your lawyer will make sure all claims are filed correctly and in a timely manner.
A: Uber made changes to its app to include safety features, such as the emergency button. It also partners with different organizations to protect customers, especially women, against sexual abuse. Take some time to read through what Uber is doing and be sure to follow all the safety guidelines before riding.
A: Yes, there are several outlets in Washington DC to help victims of sexual assault:
Filing a claim against large ridesharing companies can be extremely intimidating, but you don’t have to go through it alone. Call a Regan Zambri Long Uber Sexual Assualt lawyer today for a confidential consultation regarding your case and begin the claims process with a legal advocate by your side.