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South Carolina Rideshare Sexual Assault Lawyers

No one should fear for their safety when using a rideshare service. You trust the driver to take you to your destination without incident. However, the unthinkable happens more often than many realize. Sexual assault by a rideshare driver shatters that trust and leaves victims dealing with trauma that no one should endure.

If you or a loved one has suffered sexual assault by a rideshare driver in South Carolina, you may feel overwhelmed, scared, and unsure of where to turn. At Evans Moore, LLC, we understand the profound impact of this horrific crime. Our compassionate Georgetown rideshare sexual assault attorneys are here to support you during this difficult time and fight for the justice you deserve.

Understanding Rideshare Sexual Assault

When a rideshare driver sexually assaults a passenger, the trauma and harm extend far beyond the despicable actions of the individual perpetrator. The rideshare company itself may bear responsibility for the attack. Holding these companies accountable often requires pursuing a civil lawsuit and any criminal charges against the driver.

Rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft have a legal duty to take reasonable steps to keep their passengers safe. This includes appropriately screening and monitoring drivers, responding to complaints, and enacting safety measures to prevent and address sexual misconduct. When these companies fail in these duties, they can be held liable for the sexual assault of a passenger.

Grounds for Liability

Several key factors can establish a rideshare company’s liability in a civil lawsuit for sexual assault:

Negligent Hiring Practices

Rideshare companies must conduct thorough background checks before hiring drivers. These checks should include criminal history, driving records, and past employment. If a company fails to screen drivers properly or hires someone with a history of violence or sexual misconduct, they may be liable for negligent hiring.

For example, if a driver had prior sexual assault convictions that a proper background check would have uncovered, the company could be responsible for allowing that driver on the platform. The same applies if they hire a driver with a history of sexual harassment complaints from prior employers.

Negligent Retention of Dangerous Drivers

Liability doesn’t end with the hiring process. Rideshare companies must also act when they become aware of complaints or allegations against drivers. If they receive reports of sexual misconduct but allow the driver to continue offering rides, they may be liable for negligent retention.

For instance, if a passenger reports a driver for inappropriate sexual behavior, but the company fails to suspend or terminate the driver, they could be responsible if that driver goes on to assault another passenger. The company had notice of the danger but failed to take appropriate action.

Inadequate Safety Measures and Supervision

Rideshare companies have a responsibility to enact and enforce policies to keep passengers safe from sexual predators. This includes measures like in-app safety features, clear codes of conduct, and robust systems for reporting and investigating complaints.

If a company fails to implement reasonable safeguards or does not properly monitor and address driver misconduct, they may be liable for resulting assaults. For example, if a company became aware of a pattern of drivers sexually harassing passengers but did not enact stronger safety protocols, they could bear responsibility.

Misrepresentation of Safety and Driver Screening

Rideshare companies often market their services as safe and trustworthy, emphasizing their driver background checks and safety features. However, if these claims misrepresent the actual level of safety or thoroughness of their vetting process, the company could face liability for negligent misrepresentation.

For instance, if a company advertises “industry-leading” background checks but uses a cut-rate service that regularly misses criminal records, they may be overstating the safety of their platform. If a driver with a missed criminal record then assaults a passenger, the company could be liable for false safety claims.

Pursuing Accountability Through Civil Justice

Sexual assault is not only a criminal offense but also a civil wrong. While the criminal justice system focuses on punishing the perpetrator, the civil justice system allows victims to directly hold rideshare companies accountable and recover compensation for their harm.

A civil lawsuit can provide a measure of justice and much-needed financial support for survivors. Damages pursued may include:

  • Medical expenses for physical injuries and STD testing
  • Therapy and counseling costs for emotional trauma
  • Lost wages from missed work due to the assault and recovery
  • Pain and suffering
  • Punitive damages to punish the company for gross negligence and deter future misconduct

It’s important to note that the standard of proof in civil court is lower than in criminal court. While a criminal case must prove guilt “beyond a reasonable doubt,” a civil case must show the defendant is liable by a “preponderance of the evidence.” This means holding a company accountable is possible even if the driver wasn’t convicted criminally.

That’s why it’s critical to have an experienced rideshare sexual assault attorney in your corner. A skilled lawyer can investigate the assault, gather evidence of the company’s negligence, and build a strong case for maximum compensation. They can also handle communication with the rideshare company and their legal team, relieving you of that burden.

South Carolina Rideshare Sexual Assault Lawyers

What to Do If You’ve Been Assaulted by a Rideshare Driver

If you have been the victim of sexual assault by a rideshare driver, your first priority should be your health and safety. You may hesitate to come forward, but know that it’s not your fault and you are not alone. Here are steps you can take:

  • Get to a safe place. If an assault occurs, try to get to a safe location away from the perpetrator as soon as you can.
  • Seek medical attention. A medical exam can check for injuries and potential STDs. A rape kit can also collect important forensic evidence, even if you are unsure about involving law enforcement.
  • Consider reporting the assault. You can report the crime to local law enforcement and/or the rideshare company. While reporting is a personal decision, it can help hold the perpetrator accountable and may protect other potential victims.
  • Preserve evidence. Resist the urge to shower, brush your teeth, or change clothes before a forensic exam. Save any clothing, bedding, or other items that may contain DNA evidence. Screenshot or save any digital correspondence.
  • Reach out for support. Consider contacting a sexual assault support organization for confidential advocacy, counseling, and support groups. Loved ones can also provide crucial support during this time.
  • Consult with an experienced lawyer. A rideshare sexual assault attorney can advise you of your legal rights and options.

Seeking Justice with Dedicated Legal Advocacy

The trauma of sexual assault is something no one should have to go through alone. At Evans Moore, LLC, we provide more than legal representation. We offer a compassionate ear, steadfast support, and tireless advocacy when you need it most.

Our track record speaks for itself. We have recovered over $100 million in verdicts and settlements for our injured clients. Our team understands the needs of sexual assault survivors and will handle your case with the utmost sensitivity and discretion.

You have already shown tremendous strength in surviving. Let us help you take the next step. Contact Evans Moore, LLC today at (843) 995-5000 for a free, confidential consultation. You don’t have to face this alone. We’re here to advocate for you and support you on the path to healing and justice.