A victim of sexual assault in a rideshare cab should start by getting to a safe place away from further risk of harm, if possible. The victim should contact the police and then seek immediate medical attention. The victim should note down everything he or she can remember and initiate the process of recovering compensation by filing an injury claim or lawsuit against the liable rideshare driver and/or the respective rideshare company.
Steps to Take After a Sexual Assault by a Rideshare Driver
Getting to a Safe Location
A victim should prioritize his or her safety after an assault incident. He or she should try to get to a safe place away from further risk of harm.
Calling the Local Police and Filing a Report
Upon getting to safety, the victim should call the local law enforcement officers and file a report. The officers will arrive at the scene, document what took place, carry out investigations, and gather the necessary evidence. The officers may then arrest the offender and submit the case to the local prosecutor for prosecution.
Getting Immediate Medical Assistance
The victim should get immediate medical assistance by calling 911 or visiting the nearest hospital. Sexual assault victims are eligible for the Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) examination free of charge. Besides providing sensitive and comprehensive medical care, this exam gathers evidence that may increase the odds of the victim obtaining a favorable outcome in a personal injury claim or lawsuit.
The victim must take this examination within 120 hours after an assault incident to make it admissible in a court case. Evidence preservation is an important part of SART exams. The victim should, therefore, refrain from taking a shower or bath, brushing teeth, changing clothes, using the restroom, or cleaning the crime scene before the exam.
Noting Details About the Assault Incident
Revisiting the thoughts, emotions, and events before and during the assault can be distressing to the victim. Although this is understandable, a detailed account of the entire assault incident can be helpful when filing a civil case. The victim should, therefore, note down everything he or she recalls about the crime.
Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit
A typical injury lawsuit requires the victim to furnish the court with information about the assault incident. The victim must state whether the sexual assault involved attempted rape, rape, verbal assault, forceful confinement, groping, or sexual harassment.
In Las Vegas, an injury attorney who is familiar with sexual assault claims can offer the victim legal guidance as the case progresses. The attorney can collect evidence to use when filing the rideshare injury claim on the victim’s behalf. The attorney can help the victim file the injury claim within the applicable statute of limitations. The attorney can also notify the relevant rideshare company about the assault incident – something a victim may find terrifying to do on his or her own. Assault victims may recover compensation for:
- Medical costs
- Lost earnings
- Loss of earning potential
- Pain and suffering
What Causes Rideshare Assaults?
The shared rides provide a perfect breeding ground for potential sexual offenders. A rideshare driver is an ideal cover to lure in unsuspecting victims, more so women. Here are some reasons this crime has been so pervasive in this industry.
The failure to do proper comprehensive background checks for the drivers is to blame for the rising sexual assault incidences. Due to the narrow background checks involved, nearly anyone with a car can join this industry.
Until recently, the rideshare companies didn’t even bother to send a representative to vet the drivers. There was no way of knowing whether the driver is an undercover serial rapist.
There’s a loophole in the ridesharing regulation framework that makes it so easy for predators to join the system. Rideshare drivers are independent contractors for Uber or Lyft. Freelance drivers aren’t required to adhere to the same licensing regulations as conventional taxi companies.
Ridesharing has been marketed as the preferred designated driver after a night out drinking. The reality is quite different. Most of the assault victims got violated while intoxicated or passed out in the rides.
Many rideshare vehicles lack the safety features to deter assaults. Dashboard cameras, for instance, rarely work in most rideshare rides. Without a camera, the assailant is more emboldened to pull a move on the passed-out customer. Many cars don’t have physical partitions separating the riders and the driver.
The sooner a victim pursues legal action for sexual assault, the better the chances of building a solid case. After all, the evidence is still fresh. Additionally, it’s easier to trace witnesses in the first 24 hours.