What to do if You’ve Been Sexually Assaulted by an Uber or Lyft Driver
According to Uber’s own report, at least 5,652 people were sexually assaulted in an Uber vehicle in 2017 and 2018. There are likely thousands more victims across both Uber and Lyft’s platforms.
After a sexual assault, it’s difficult to know how to react and what to do. When a large company with a history of minimizing the issue – such as Uber and Lyft – is involved, it can be even more difficult.
Our attorneys have experience handling these cases and have laid out a step by step plan to help guide victims and survivors in the immediate aftermath of an Uber or Lyft sexual assault.
What to do if you or a loved one are sexually assaulted by a Lyft or Uber driver:
1. Immediately contact the local police and file a report
It is important for law enforcement to document what happened, investigate the crime and collect evidence, arrest the perpetrator and refer the case to the district attorney for prosecution.
- Do not call Lyft or Uber to report it. Instead, ask that the police notify Lyft or Uber about the incident.
- You have the right to remain anonymous. If you wish to remain anonymous, be sure to request that they maintain your confidentiality.
- You may also request to have a female officer present during the interview.
2. Consider getting a SART or SANE examination.
By law, victims of sexual assault are entitled to a SART or SANE exam free of cost.
- What is a SART exam?
SART is the term used to describe an evidentiary medical examination after a sexual assault. A SART examination does two things: collect evidence that may be helpful in the event of a legal proceeding and provides sensitive and thorough medical care.SART is an acronym for Sexual Assault Response Team. This team may be made up nurses, lawyers, judges, law enforcement and other hospital personnel that have an interest in helping victims of sexual assault. In some areas of the country, it is referred to as a SANE exam, Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner.
- Where should you go to get a SART exam?
When you file the police report, the officers should be able to help you find an examination center. If not, you can ask a medical care provider directly or seek information from your city or county’s health and human services agency.
- What to do to make sure the SART exam is useful for law enforcement
To ensure that the results of your SART exam are usable in a court case, you must take the exam within 120 hours (five days) of a sexual assault. Preserving evidence is key in these exams. If possible, try not to shower or bath, use the restroom, brush teeth, change clothes, comb hair, clean crime scene or move anything the perpetrator might have touched. If you changed clothing after the assault, place clothing you were wearing at the time of the assault in a paper bag, not plastic, and take to the SART facility.
3. Make written notes of all the details you can remember
Document everything you remember about the crime in detailed written notes or use a voice notes application on your phone. This may assist in the successful prosecution of your assailant by helping you recall details. This will also help you recall details in the future if you file a civil case. It is natural for survivors of sexual assault to suppress their memories of the event. Civil lawsuits can take time before they are resolved, so it is imperative that you make notes that you can rely on later.
4. Seek help and support of Friends and Family
Your family and friends can offer you comfort, compassion, and support this critical time in your life. Don’t feel ashamed of what happened, and don’t blame yourself, even if you were intoxicated. After all, that’s probably one of the reasons why you used a ride-sharing company in the first place.
5. Seek therapy and any necessary medical treatment
Seek out a therapist that is experienced in dealing with the effects of sexual trauma. An expert counselor can provide trauma-based therapies to help you with daily coping techniques. If you suffered physical injuries as a result of the attack you should immediately seek emergency medical attention.
6. Consult With An Attorney As Soon As Possible
California has a two-year limit from the date of assault to file a civil case for personal injuries. Call a ride share sexual assault lawyer at Estey & Bomberger today for a free, confidential consultation (888) 675-8555. We are experienced in handling Uber and Lyft sexual assault cases and are compassionate advocates for survivors.
At Estey & Bomberger, every survivor is paired with one of our three Sexual Assault Victim Advocates. You are provided with personalized care, emotional support, trauma-informed services and resources, and regular updates about your case. We believe that healing from sexual assault is not a journey to take alone. We are by your side.