The recent release of Uber’s 84-page safety transparency report has revealed thousands of sexual assaults and serious accidents involving the world’s most popular ridesharing service. According to the long-awaited safety disclosure, there were nearly 6,000 reports of sexual assault and 107 traffic accident deaths involving Uber vehicles in 2017 and 2018.
According to the Los Angeles Times, more than 460 of the sexual assault claims involved nonconsensual penetration or rape, 587 reports of attempted rape, and 3,000 incidents of nonconsensual touching of a sexual body part.
While these numbers are certainly alarming, the report emphasizes that only 0.0003% of all Uber trips involve fatal car accidents, fatal physical assault, or sexual assault claims.
The first of its kind, the report took more than 20 months to create. Uber has since encouraged other ridesharing services to publish similar data in order to improve the safety of both passengers and drivers.
Sexual Assault in Uber Vehicles May Be Underreported
The National Sexual Violence Resource Center audited Uber’s safety report in 2018. The organization has pointed out that the data on sexual assault is based on the reporting party’s account of events and therefore might not be accurate since sexual assault frequently goes unreported, with only about 25 percent to 33 percent of cases being brought to police.
Uber Has Introduced Safety Features to Combat Physical and Sexual Assault
The worldwide growth of Uber has coincided with an increase in reports of physical and sexual assault involving its vehicles. The company has experimented with and introduced a number of features to improve passenger and driver safety including a panic button that enables passengers to alert police of issues during a ride and send details about the trip to five people. First introduced in Delhi, the panic button is expected to be integrated into Uber vehicles across the United States and globally along with a suite of other safety features.
Modifications to the Uber app will also be aimed at improving rider and driver safety. Examples include an option to text local police services and a pin to verify the passenger is in the correct vehicle. The company is also experimenting with audio and video recording during trips.
Uber Alleges That Sexual Assault Complaints Have Been Lower in 2019
According to Uber, preliminary data points to a reduction in sexual assault reports involving the rideshare service in 2019; however, the company did stress that there may be an increase in such reports due to new reporting initiatives.
What Should I Do If I Was Sexually Assaulted in an Uber Vehicle?
Nearly all studies into the reporting of sexual assault indicate that such incidents are underreported to authorities. This is certainly understandable given the emotional trauma caused by such an egregious experience. Simply talking about sexual assault can be incredibly uncomfortable, and the thought of confronting the offender during legal proceedings can be overwhelming.
But by taking legal action, you may be able to save other people from the same fate. Also, it might be possible to recover monetary damages from the offender.
If you were sexually assaulted in a rideshare vehicle, your first priority should be to report the incident to law enforcement. You should also undergo a medical evaluation within 48 hours. Both of these measures will serve to document the assault and tie it to any injuries you sustained.
You should then contact a sexual assault lawyer. An attorney can review your case in a free consultation, explain your rights, and help you pursue monetary damages. Even if the offender is not convicted in a criminal case, you may still be able to recover compensation for economic and non-economic damages including medical bills, loss of income, other economic damages, and pain and suffering. It might also be possible to obtain punitive damages given the malicious nature of the offense.
What Should I Do If I Was Injured in an Uber Accident?
If you were injured in an Uber accident, you should visit a doctor right away for a medical evaluation. Seeking immediate medical attention can help you tie the injuries to the accident, prove their severity, and reduce the likelihood of facing a dispute over a failure to mitigate damages. You should then contact an Uber accident lawyer to discuss your claim in a free consultation.
There are many auto insurance policies that might be in play after a rideshare crash. If the accident was caused by the negligence of a rideshare driver who was transporting a fare at the time, you may have grounds for a claim against the commercial insurance policy of the rideshare service. If the driver of another vehicle caused the crash, then his or her insurance policy would likely be the first source of compensation for the resulting damages. The secondary source of recovery, if the defendant’s policy is insufficient, would be the underinsured motorist coverage under the rideshare policy.
In addition to contacting a lawyer, there are other steps you can take to protect your rights and give your claim the best possible chance of success. Examples include following your doctor’s orders, not discussing the accident or your claim on social media, and directing any phones calls from the insurance adjuster to your attorney.
Discuss Your Case with an Uber Accident Attorney in Long Beach
Your Injuries Are Personal to Me
Attorney Michael D. Waks is a seasoned litigator with extensive experience in both auto accident and sexual assault cases. Michael is well-versed in the statutes, case law, and procedures that pertain to personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits involving rideshare services like Uber and Lyft. He will assess your case for free and help you plot the way forward. To schedule a consultation, send us a message HERE or call (562) 206-1939.
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The average driver is involved in an accident about once every 18 years. If you are ever hurt in a crash, it is critical that you take steps at the scene to strengthen your personal injury claim. Our Car Accident Emergency .PDF outlines the information you need to gather to protect your rights. Download it for free by clicking HERE and be sure to store a copy in your glovebox.
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