Something Not So Little You Need to Know about Uber
Uber has become a household name when it comes to finding quick and affordable means of getting from Point A to Point B. The concept involves independent drivers using their own vehicles to provide rides. Part of Uber’s marketing plan includes an emphasis on safety. And, their claim to fame as “everyone’s private driver.”
But, just how safe is it to get into the backseat of an Uber car? After all, what do you know about the person behind the wheel? Should you have considered a regular taxi service if you’ve had too many drinks? Maybe you’d rather help out a struggling student or save some cash.
The truth? Like every industry, Uber has its issues. Of course, it does some checking into drivers. However, that doesn’t mean the system is bulletproof. And, we’re not just talking about looking for license abstracts or DWI convictions.
The proof is in the numbers. According to a recent news article, 103 Uber drivers across the nation have been accused of sexual assault or sexual abuse. More than likely, that’s just the acts that were reported.
Ironically, it’s not just millennials who find ride services advantageous. It’s not uncommon for any age woman to call Uber after a few too many drinks. However, this literally means climbing into the back seat of a total stranger’s vehicle. Some say it is just one step above from hitchhiking.
Meanwhile, you might rely on the fact that Uber drivers are all vetted. Like taxi cab drivers. Unfortunately, background checks aren’t as extensive as you’d expect.
For one, up to now, Uber only looked into driver’s criminal history every two years. This has now been changed to every year. Nonetheless, the background checks are conducted via public records instead of with government databases.
When an Uber Driver Sexually Assaults a Passenger
If you’ve been sexually assaulted by an Uber driver, you’ll want to make a report to the police department. The process may seem daunting and embarrassing. As far as you’re concerned, the driver should be put behind bars…for a very long time.
That said, when someone hurts you, you have the right to pursue monetary damages in a civil action. Obviously, your first claim will be against the individual who molested you. In short, there’s more than one way the individual should pay for the harm they’ve done.
But, let’s get back to Uber. Could they have some responsibility? Once again, their website stresses their commitment to providing safe rides. Obviously, it’s not just about the driver’s conduct behind the wheel.
The Fine Print
Some call it the fine print…others the “shrink-wrap.” Few really pay much attention to the Terms and Conditions they agree to when they sign up for any type of application.
Up until now, claims against Uber were subject to forced arbitration and determined on an individual basis. This precluded filing a lawsuit against the company.
Is this fair? Some say it is in direct violation of public policy. In fact, a class action suit of nine sexual abuse victims disputes the idea that claims should be limited to arbitration.
Meanwhile, there are changes….as of today. Uber announced that it will cease forcing arbitration on sexual assault or sexual abuse victims. Claimants involving both passengers and drivers may seek justice in court.
The Law Offices of Anthony Carbone has decades of experience representing sexual assault victims. If you were a passenger in an Uber vehicle and were raped or otherwise sexually abused, we want to help you. Contact our office for assistance.