As part of the screening process, rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft take steps to avoid hiring drivers that may present a risk to their passengers. Unfortunately, in some cases, these companies fall short in the screening process. One of those failures involves an Uber driver accused of committing sexual assault and kidnapping in Scottsdale, Arizona.
In October of 2020, an Uber driver was arrested for allegedly sexually assaulting an intoxicated passenger in his vehicle. In addition to the potential criminal ramifications, the defendant faces– the victim also has the right to pursue a civil claim.
Accusations and arrest
The arrest for sexual assault and kidnapping stemmed from a pickup using the Uber app. The victim had been at a party and was visibly intoxicated. A concerned friend ordered the Uber ride, then assisted her into the vehicle—as she was unable to walk on her own.
Shortly after, the friend checked the status of the trip. He noticed that the driver was circling nearby neighborhoods instead of taking the victim home. When the driver came to a stop at a nearby canal that was nowhere near where the victim lived, the friend ran on foot to the location.
When he arrived, he found the Uber driver on top of the victim in the parked vehicle. The friend banged on the vehicle’s door until the driver stopped the assault, and the victim was removed from the car. The Uber driver left the scene and was subsequently reported to the police.
According to the Scottsdale Police, the driver was arrested soon after. When questioned about the sexual assault, the driver admitted he “made a mistake.” He also attempted to shift blame to the victim, claiming that she had behaved in a sexually suggestive manner during the drive. However, when questioned, the driver also admitted that the victim was intoxicated and unable to walk to his vehicle on her own.
Legal rights for the victim
The Uber driver accused of sexual assault faces criminal charges, and the likelihood of a lengthy prison sentence. In addition, victims of sexual assault at the hands of rideshare drivers have the right to file a civil lawsuit. Unlike criminal charges, which are controlled by state prosecutors, the victim has control over their civil lawsuit. Further, these claims could result in substantial monetary compensation. A successful civil lawsuit can hold the rideshare company accountable for putting a victim at risk.
Contact us today for a free consultation
If you are have been assaulted by an Uber or Lyft driver, a sex abuse lawyer can help. Contact us at Showard Law Firm right away to discuss your options during a free consultation. We advocate for the rights of victims in Southern Arizona, including Tucson and Sierra Vista.