Uber sells itself as a safe option for riders. Uber claims all drivers are subject to a multi-step background check. Unfortunately, this does not stop Uber drivers from sexually assaulting passengers in Colorado and across the country. For victims of sexual assault by Uber drivers, it makes it more tragic that Uber is aware of the problem of assault against passengers.
If you were injured in an assault involving an Uber ride, talk to a Colorado personal injury lawyer about your rights. The attorneys at accidentdenver.com will investigate your case, deal with the rideshare company, and work to get you the maximum compensation after an injury assault in Denver. Contact us today for a free consultation.
Uber's History of Sexual Assault Against Passengers
After more and more riders came forward with reports of sexual assault, Uber finally released statistics about the extent of violence, abuse, and sexual assaults committed by drivers. Uber disclosed there were 3,045 reports of sexual assaults in the U.S., just in 2018. With many people afraid to come forward, the actual numbers may be much higher. The reported sexual assaults range from inappropriate touching, unwanted kissing, attempted rape, and rape.
For example, in 2015 an Uber driver was accused of sexually assaulting a female passenger in Denver. Two women got a ride from an Uber driver from their hotel to LoDo. The driver gave them his personal number and told them to call him for a ride back later. One of the women reportedly passed out and awoke to find the driver sexually assaulting her. When they got out of the car, the driver reportedly tried to follow them up to their hotel room before they called police. The driver was arrested on suspicion of sexual assault.
As an example of how the rideshare company handled sexual assault claims, the terms and conditions of using Uber required victims of sexual assault or sexual harassment to go through mandatory arbitration. Arbitration is a process that is handled outside of the court system where a chosen “arbitrator” makes a binding decision on the sexual assault claim. An arbitrator could tell the sexual assault victim that they did not believe the victim was assaulted or the victim could only get a small amount of damages.
Uber likes to handle any reports of assault or injury internally. Uber will do its own investigation and may not report the assault or reports of the investigation to law enforcement.
Uber also used to require claims to be settled with a confidentiality provision that would prevent them from speaking out about the assault by the Uber driver and Uber's response (or lack of response) to the violent crime. This is a way to keep victims quiet and protect the rideshare company's image, in spite of the known sexual assault problem. Keeping sexual assaults secret may have resulted in more victims of assault because the average user was not aware of the extent of the problem.
Criminal and Civil Lawsuits for Sexual Assault
Sexual assault is a crime in Colorado. Sexual assault can include rape, forced copulation, or penetration with a foreign object. Unlawful sexual contact can include groping, fondling, or sexual battery. Sexual assault is a felony and sexual contact can be a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the situation.
If an Uber driver is convicted of sexual assault or sexual touching, the victim can use the criminal conviction in support of their civil lawsuit. However, the burden of proof for a civil lawsuit is lower than for a criminal conviction. This means that even if the perpetrator is not convicted or the prosecutor does not want to press charges, the victim can still take the Uber driver to court for damages.
Sexual assault and sexual contact can also be a basis for a civil lawsuit. In a civil lawsuit, the victim can seek damages from the perpetrator. Damages in a personal injury lawsuit for intentional assault can include economic losses and noneconomic damages.
Civil Damages for Sexual Contact and Assault
The defendant may be liable for any damages that were caused by assault, battery, or sexual contact. Economic damages can include any financial losses, including future losses, such as:
- Medical bills,
- Loss of earnings or income, and
- Impairment of earning capacity.
Noneconomic damages or injuries are common because of the traumatic nature of sexual assault. Noneconomic losses can include:
- Physical and mental pain and suffering,
- Emotional stress,
- Fear and anxiety,
- Embarrassment and humiliation, and
- Impairment of quality of life.
Denver Rideshare Injury Lawyers
The attorneys at accidentdenver.com have successfully represented Uber passengers who were assaulted in Denver, Boulder, Aurora, and throughout Colorado. Even if Uber or the police do not take your claim seriously, our experienced attorneys will fight to get the maximum compensation available for your injuries. Contact us today for a free consultation.