An attorney declared a “nationwide crisis” at a recent press conference to describe allegations that rideshare company Lyft failed to protect its passengers and drivers.

According to information provided to AfroTech, 17 major new suits were filed against the San Francisco-based company. There were brought forth by both passengers and drivers who have allegedly been the victims of physical and sexual assault that took place while engaging in activity with Lyft.

“Lyft has a responsibility to protect its passengers and drivers. Its refusal to do so has resulted in acts of violence that left our clients with disabilities, permanent deformities, and lifelong trauma,” said Tracey Cowan, partner at the Peiffer Wolf Kane Conway & Wise, the legal company representing the plaintiffs in the case during a press conference announcing the news. “Nothing can undo the pain and suffering they endured, but it’s their hope that by sharing their stories, they can make Lyft hear them, force Lyft to protect its users, and drastically reduce the number of violent acts during Lyft rides in the future.”

The Claims

Seventeen lawsuits were filed across the states of Arizona, California, Connecticut, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, Oregon, Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

While the amount of claims filed is a significant number, TechCrunch reports that they are individual and not a class action.

At this time, the specific damages requested have not been named. However, they are reportedly seeking “compensatory damages, including all expenses and wages owed, damages for future loss of earnings, reasonable attorneys’ fees, costs and expenses and punitive damages,” according to the oultet.

At the press conference, a total of five individuals spoke out publicly against Lyft, and one driver even noted how an alleged incident in 2020 still affects her today.

Amy Collins, A Lyft Driver, Filed Her Complaint In The Superior Court Of The State California, County Of San Francisco

“This assault was traumatizing to me both mentally and emotionally, something I am still dealing with today,” said Collins in a press statement. “I developed depression after the assault and stopped working for two weeks. All I wanted to do was curl up in bed and stay there because I felt so dirty and ashamed about what had happened. This assault brought up a past trauma from 10 years ago that I thought I had worked through. It reopened my fear, depression, anxiety, and anger once again. I still don’t sleep well at night. When I finally figured out how to speak with a Lyft representative to report the assault, all I received was an email stating that they were very sorry to hear about my story. Yet again, I felt no protection from Lyft whatsoever.”

"This Is A Nationwide Crisis," According To One Attorney

Another attorney doubled down on the allegations, accusing the company of excessive failure to protect not only its contractors, but those who place trust in the brand to get from destination to destination.

“This is a nationwide crisis. It’s unconscionable that Lyft was aware of the ongoing problem for years and did virtually nothing. Lyft spends massive amounts of money on woke marketing messages and lobbying, but it refuses to protect its drivers and passengers. In reality, the only thing Lyft is concerned about protecting is its own profit margins,” said Adam Wolf, partner at Peiffer Wolf Carr Kane Conway & Wise, at the press conference.

The Company's Response

“We’re committed to helping keep drivers and riders safe. While safety incidents on our platform are incredibly rare, we realize that even one is too many,” a spokesperson said in an emailed statement, according to TechCrunch. “Our goal is to make every Lyft ride as safe as possible, and we will continue to take action and invest in technology, policies and partnerships to do so.”