Uber is in the news again and the reports about sexual assaults by Uber drivers could seriously damage the reputation and bottom-line of the company. Various statistics have been quoted by different media reports, all of which are frightening.
But Uber isn’t hiding from the problem and has openly revealed that over 3,000 cases of sexual assault were reported in 2018 – 235 of which were rape. The statistics are alarming and Uber is not the only ride-share company that is experiencing these crimes committed both by their drivers and the riders.
However, Uber seems to be the only company that is being totally forthcoming and transparent about the extent of the problem and are instituting measures to prevent sexual assault from draining their business. Apart from including an instant 911 emergency dial button on their app, they are also running in-depth background checks.
These background checks have already eliminated over 1-million prospective Uber drivers in the United States. However, this has not stopped the flood of negative media reports or reports of sexual assault. The question must be asked whether ride-share companies, through their negligent security procedures, have provided sexual predators and violent criminals with a platform from which to commit these acts and what more can be done to resolve and even entirely eliminate the problem.
What Should I Do if I was Sexually Assaulted by an Uber Driver?
The question must also be asked what happens when sexual assault takes place. Who should be held responsible or liable for the assault and how can victims go about seeking justice and compensation for the terrible ordeal that they have experienced?
If you are the victim of a sexual assault by an Uber driver, the following steps should be taken immediately:
1. Report The Assault
It is critical to report the sexual assault to the police as soon as possible. If possible, call 911 if the sexual assault is in progress or just occurred. If a few days have passed after the assault, it is recommended to go to the nearest police station and make a full report of the incident. Sexual assault is unique in that victims often find it extremely difficult to talk about and are hesitant to report the assault. However, it cannot be emphasized enough how important it is to make an official report as soon as possible.
2. Medical Evaluation
Another challenge for sexual assault victims is the medical evaluation that is necessary to provide evidence that a sexual assault occurred. Once again, it is imperative to be evaluated by a medical professional who will know what to look for and collect the necessary evidence that the assault did occur. This medical evaluation is especially important in rape cases but may not be necessary in lesser sexual assault cases such as groping. Once the medical evaluation has been completed, the report should be given to the police who are investigating the case.
3. Call A Lawyer
If you have been the victim of sexual assault, it is highly recommended to seek legal counsel as soon as possible. While it is most important to get medical assistance if necessary and a medical evaluation quickly to ensure that evidence is preserved, understanding your rights and the legal process that needs to be followed is also important.
If you have called emergency services for assistance during or after a sexual assault, you will be asked to make a statement about the event and may be asked to go to the police station to make a formal report. You are not required to answer any questions immediately or make a statement. A sexual assault is a traumatic event and it may be better to wait until you have a lawyer present or have received legal advice before answering questions or making a statement.
It is also advisable to have a lawyer present while formally reporting the sexual assault to the police so that a case can be opened and investigated. While it is not necessary to have a lawyer present during a medical evaluation, this can be requested.
Be sure to call a lawyer specializing in criminal law and is skilled and experienced in the area of sexual assault crimes. Willis Law Firm represents victims of sexual assault crimes in civil cases with compassion and professionalism to ensure that they get justice and receive fair compensation.
4. The Criminal Case
Once the case has been investigated and sufficient evidence has been collected, the case will be prosecuted by a prosecuting attorney. The prosecuting attorney will in effect be representing the victim of the sexual assault. A judge and jury will hear the case and decide on the guilt of the perpetrator of the sexual assault. If found guilty, the perpetrator will be convicted of the crime and sentencing will be handed down. Sentencing will depend on the severity of the sexual assault that was perpetrated.
5. The Civil Case
Many victims of sexual assault are unaware that they have the right to a civil case against the perpetrator of a sexual assault. A civil case provides financial compensation for any losses that were incurred by the victim. This is called a personal injury lawsuit and can include claims for:
- Medical expenses
- Loss of income
- Damage to property
- Emotional distress
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment
- Loss of consortium
Contact a Negligent Security Lawyer at the Willis Law Firm to Get Help Fast!
It is highly recommended to contact an experienced and skilled personal injury lawyer to assess your sexual assault case to determine what can be claimed for and the value of the claim. It is also important to get legal advice as to who is liable for providing compensation for the losses, whether financial or otherwise. Liability means the person or legal entity (such as a company) that can be held responsible for the losses incurred whether intentionally or accidentally.
In the case of an assault by an Uber driver, the company (Uber) can be sued for compensation in a personal injury case. However, it is necessary to prove that they have some responsibility in the sexual assault occurring. For example, it they failed to run a background check on a driver or knowingly employed a driver who has a criminal history, they can be held liable for losses incurred due to the sexual assault. The perpetrator of the assault can also be sued in civil court in their personal capacity.
For more information on pursuing a personal injury case against Uber and/or one of its drivers, contact Willis Law Firm.