A Chicago woman was allegedly stabbed in the face in an UberPool vehicle. She is suing Uber and the other passenger over the incident. This highlights the continuing safety debate surrounding the ride-sharing platform.
Attacked in UberPool:
UberPool is a service offered by Uber that allows multiple passengers who don’t know each other to share rides if they’re heading in the same direction which results in lower fares.
25 year old Jennifer Camacho called an UberPool for a ride home last January. However, as soon as she got in the car, the passenger sitting in the front seat turned around and slashed her face, she was able to fend off the alleged attacker.
34-year-old Julie Ramer, the alleged attacker was arrested by police, according to Chicago Police Department records, and was charged with battery.
According to the lawsuit that Camacho filed on Tuesday in Cook County Circuit Court, she suffered wounds to her face that doctors say will likely leave permanent scarring, according to her lawsuit.
The attorney representing Camacho, Bryant Greening said: “Uber is promoting a safe ride-share experience and is in the best position to make sure that its drivers and passengers are safe people. They should be providing training for drivers on how to deal with these types of situations and mitigate violence if it does occur.”
Greening added that the suit is asking for a judgment of$50,000 to cover the medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. It alleges negligence by Uber. The lawsuit also asks for a judgment of more than $100,000 alleging one count each of battery and assault against Ramer.
Last month, due to the fact that Camacho’s incident was not an accident, Uber’s insurance carrier denied coverage.
Kayla Whaling, Uber spokeswoman, refused to comment on the suit, but she emailed saying that the company does not “condone this type of behavior on our app.”
A safety issue:
The safety of Uber drivers and passengers have been in headlines repeatedly nationally, given several incidents recently.
Such incidents include one in Chicago last summer where an Uber driver allegedly sexually assaulted an intoxicated female passenger, while in 2015 a California driver’s dashboard camera captured video of his rider getting violent.
Despite Uber’s promoting its safety for passengers and drivers, the company agreed to pay at least $10 million last year to settle claims that it misled customers about its driver background checks.
Harry Campbell, a Los Angeles-based Uber driver who runs a blog called The Rideshare Guy, said that there’s a double standard for drivers and passengers when it comes to joining the platform. While drivers have to undergo background checks and other measures, passengers just need a credit card number and a few other pieces of information to sign up.
He said: “A lot of the stories revolve around passengers feeling unsafe about their drivers, but as a driver, the busiest times to drive for Uber or Lyft are Friday or Saturday night, when everyone’s drinking and intoxicated.”
Campbell added that this can cause trouble for both drivers and passengers. Uber needs to educate its drivers and passengers better and to increase other safety measures like how to get help if a violent situation does occur.