Have You Experienced Sexual Assault Or Abuse?

Uber & Lyft Sexual Assault Lawyer

If you have experienced harm in a ridesharing service such as Uber or Lyft, you have legal rights and options. We’re here to help you get the support you need and deserve by connecting you with a trusted Uber or Lyft sexual assault attorney.

Key Takeaways

  • Rideshare sexual assault, abuse, and harassment is a growing problem across all rideshare platforms including Uber and Lyft
  • If you are a victim of Rideshare sexual assault, you should immediately seek medical assistance (if necessary), report to the platform, and file a report with law enforcement
  • You can also file a civil lawsuit against the rideshare platform. Helping Survivors and Uber and Lyft sexual assault lawyer Melissa Reitberg can assist in this process to help you seek compensation and justice for the harm that happened to you

Uber & Lyft Sexual Assault Attorney: Melissa Reitberg

If you’ve been sexually assaulted, abused, or harassed by an Uber or Lyft driver, working with an experienced attorney may help.

Melissa Ryan Reitberg is an Uber and Lyft rideshare sexual assault lawyer who also handles other types of personal injury cases. She holds a Juris Doctorate from the Elizabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University.

At Helping Survivors, we aim to help heal, educate, and empower people who have been impacted by sexual abuse, assault, or harassment. Let us connect you with an Uber sexual assault attorney like Melissa who can help.

Last Date Modified
April 15, 2024
Content Reviewed By:

Kathryn Kosmides
Managing Director | Helping Survivors

Rideshare Sexual Assault: An Overview of the Problem

If you or someone you know has experienced rideshare sexual assault, you have rights and options. We are here to help provide transparent and honest information about what those who have experienced rideshare sexual assault can do, how to get help, and why speaking to an Uber or Lyft sexual assault attorney as soon as possible can be incredibly beneficial in helping you understand what next step to take.

Unfortunately, rideshare sexual assault appears to be a growing problem as thousands of individuals have come forward over the last few years. In both Uber and Lyft’s self-published US Safety Reports, they document over 10,000 sexual abuse, harassment, and assault incidents as defined by them between 2017 – 2020.

If you just experienced rideshare sexual assault, the most important thing is that you find immediate physical and mental safety. This could mean calling 911 if you are injured or need immediate emergency services or are fearful of further harm. This could also mean calling a friend, family member, or trusted person to come to you and assist with the immediate aftermath of the experience. You may also choose to go directly to an emergency room at a hospital if you are injured or you can visit your regular doctor to document the harm and seek any further medical treatment if needed.

You may be questioning if what happened to you is considered sexual assault and what to do next — we’re here to help. 

Types of Uber and Lyft Sexual Assault

While Uber and Lyft use five specific classifications of sexual abuse in their rideshare safety reports, based on our own knowledge of speaking to individuals impacted by rideshare abuse, we have created this list of real examples of rideshare sexual assault, abuse, or harassment:

  • Inappropriate sexual comments or questions (including asking if you are single or married)
  • Inappropriate touching of non-sexual body parts
  • Inappropriate touching of sexual body parts
  • Groping
  • Exhibition or flashing
  • Masturbation
  • Rape
  • Sex Trafficking

If you or someone you know has experienced any of this behavior by a driver, you have reporting rights and options.  

Rights and Options for Survivors of Rideshare Sexual Assault

If you or someone you know has experienced rideshare sexual abuse, harassment, or assault, you have rights and options. Whether this happened years ago or yesterday, you should seek assistance from an organization that can connect survivors of abuse with an Uber/Lyft sexual assault attorney as you may be limited by laws like the statute of limitations in your state.

Report to the Rideshare Platform (Uber or Lyft)

You can report the rideshare sexual assault to the platform at any time. If you chose not to report immediately, you can still file a report.

To report an incident with Uber, you can follow these steps:

  • Go to the Uber app.
  • Tap “Help”.
  • Tap “Help with a trip,”.
  • Pick the trip during which you were assaulted.
  • Tap “Report safety issue” on the “Trip details” page.
  • Then, tap “Report a safety incident involving a driver” and write your complaint. You can also tap “call support” at the bottom of the “Help” page to call Uber.

We recommend that you document the experience prior to filing a safety report with Uber. This will help ensure you include all relevant details and don’t forget important information. You can also choose to have a trusted person such as a family member or friend with you when you submit the report or call them to help be a witness and provide emotional support.

To make a report with Lyft, follow these steps:

  • Go to your Lyft app.
  • Tap the menu icon in the top left corner.
  • Tap “Ride history.”
  • Select the ride during which your sexual assault occurred.
  • Tap “Get Help” (on iOS devices) or “Request Review” (on Android devices). This will direct you to a chat with Lyft’s help bot, which will connect you with a representative.
  • Select “Report driver behavior.”
  • Select “Unsafe or Threatening Behavior.”

Lyft uses a chatbot service which can connect you to a customer support agent immediately. They may request more information over email, live chat, or phone.

Remember to document the experience and all important details prior to contacting Uber or Lyft and submitting a report. Additionally, make sure you keep a log of all communication with the rideshare company, including recording any phone calls.

Report to Law Enforcement

Most individuals have never had to file a police report and are unfamiliar with the process. It can be a very daunting and difficult experience, which is why we want to bring transparency to this process.
You have a right to file a report with law enforcement, regardless of when the harm happened to you. However, the ability for the state to criminally prosecute someone may be limited by the statute of limitations. The statute of limitations differs in each state and for each type of offense — which is why speaking to an experienced Uber and Lyft sexual assault law firm prior to filing a police report can be helpful. However, you do not need to speak to or hire a lawyer to file a police report.

It should also be noted that an individual can not press charges against someone. An individual files a report with law enforcement which then triggers an investigation based on applicable laws and available resources. From there, the evidence is brought to the state prosecutor who determines if and what criminal charges are filed against the perpetrator.

File a Rideshare Sexual Abuse Lawsuit

If you are a victim of sexual assault, abuse, or harassment in a rideshare, you may have the option to file a lawsuit against the rideshare company. Filing a lawsuit against Uber or Lyft is about ensuring you have the resources to heal from what happened and all of the details and your personal information can be kept confidential.

Many people have never had to seek legal representation, especially for personal injury issues such as rideshare sexual abuse. Identifying a reliable attorney and understanding what inquiries to make can be daunting and difficult, more so after enduring trauma.

Helping Survivors works with a network of law firms across the country to support survivors of all types of sexual abuse, including those affected by rideshare incidents. For rideshare sexual assault, we have joined forces with leading Uber and Lyft sexual assault law firms including the Meirowitz & Wasserberg firm. Melissa Reitberg, is the leading rideshare sexual assault attorney at Meirowitz & Wasserberg, and her deep expertise and compassion enables her to be a fierce advocate for those impacted. 

 
Have you experienced sexual assault in an Uber or Lyft?

We can connect you to the leading rideshare abuse law firms.

Get the help and healing you deserve.

Uber & Lyft Sexual Assault Lawyers: Advocates for Survivors

Any service or product you use must comply with legal requirements to protect their customers. For rideshare apps, this includes a duty of care to safeguard users from sexual assault and other violent offenses.

Survivors of gender-based violence or sexual assault can face long-term impacts, such as depression, anxiety, relationship and work-related issues. Civil lawsuits and the monetary damages they can provide often help individuals access the support they need to heal and move forward.

Depending on the facts of your case, a lawyer can help you maximize compensation for the following:

  • Emotional pain and suffering, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Medical bills including therapy
  • Difficulty sustaining employment
  • Problems with personal relationships

Claims Made Against Uber and Lyft for Rideshare Sexual Assault

1. Poor Vetting and Hiring Practices: Rideshare companies typically require drivers to undergo initial and annual criminal background checks. However, these checks often only show records from the last seven years and may only include convictions — not arrests. This means that individuals who have not yet been convicted of sexual offenses can still become drivers and potentially use these platforms to find new victims.

2. Negligence in Ensuring Rider Safety: Many rideshare companies have implemented in-app emergency assistance and a 24/7 safety team that riders can contact if they feel unsafe. However, these features are often introduced after survivors come forward with legal actions. There are calls for additional safety measures, such as video monitoring during rides.

3. Failure to Respond to Incident Reports: Survivors have criticized rideshare companies for their inadequate responses to sexual assault reports. In some cases, companies have been reported to offer minimal compensation to survivors without adequately addressing the incident.

We know that seeking assistance for sexual assault and harassment can be challenging because it requires you to think about the traumatic incident again. Helping Survivors can connect you to the best rideshare sexual assault law firms so you don’t have to go through this alone.

What To Look For In a Rideshare Sexual Assault Law Firm

Many law firms advertise that they help individuals impacted by rideshare sexual assault. However, these firms’ experience and expertise is unknown and individuals who experience harm deserve the best law firms who have immense experience to advocate for them.

The Best Uber and Lyft Sexual Assault Lawyers Offer:

  • Free Consultations: The law firm should provide a complimentary consultation to thoroughly assess the details of your experience and inform you about your legal rights and options.
  • Contingency Basis: The firm should handle your case on a contingency basis, meaning there are no upfront fees. They will receive a portion of any settlements or court-awarded damages once the case is resolved.
  • Transparency: The law firm should clearly communicate your legal rights and options, including the potential outcomes of reporting to law enforcement and pursuing a civil lawsuit.
  • Trauma-Informed: It’s crucial to work with a lawyer who is not only determined to fight for your justice but also one who is empathetic and understanding of your experience. Your law firm should be attentive, communicative, and considerate of your needs.

You may be able to file under the Uber Sexual Assault Multi-District Litigation. All of your information can be protected, meaning that the public and those in your life do not have to know the details of your experience or your name or other personal information.

Helping Survivors can put you in touch with the best Lyft and Uber sexual assault attorneys who will treat you with compassion and empathy as you take this next step towards healing. Whether you work directly with Melissa Reitberg, as seen in the above video, or another rideshare sexual assault attorney, Helping Survivors can help get you in touch with the right firm for your needs.

Melissa Reitberg - Lyft & Uber Sexual Assault Attorney & Helping Survivors Advocate

How Many Cases of Rideshare Sexual Assault Have Been Reported?

According to Uber’s second US Safety Report, they reported the following statistics related to sexual abuse, harassment, and assault for the years 2019-2020:

  • 514 reports involving non-consensual kissing of a non-sexual body part
  • 1,546 reports involving non-consensual touching of a sexual body part
  • 338 reports involving non-consensual kissing of a sexual body part
  • 202 reports involving attempted non-consensual sexual penetration
  • 247 reports involving non-consensual sexual penetration

While they claim that sexual assaults decreased by 5% between their first and second US Safety Reports, overall rideshare usage dropped up to 75% in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Uber’s first US safety report revealed 3,045 sexual assaults in all of the above categories.

According to Lyft’s Community Safety report, they documented the following safety incidents reported on the Lyft platform in the United States from January 1, 2017 to December 31, 2019:

  • 293 reports of non-consensual kissing of a non-sexual body part
  • 1,041 reports of non-consensual touching of a sexual body part
  • 203 reports of non-consensual kissing of a sexual body part
  • 114 reports of attempted non-consensual sexual penetration
  • 156 reports of non-consensual sexual penetration

Lyft has not released another US Safety report, and therefore the years between 2020-2023 have not been reported on.

Rideshare Sexual Assault Lawsuits In the Headlines

Over the last ten years, hundreds of survivors have filed lawsuits against rideshare companies including Uber and Lyft. Each story and experience is unique, but overall the numerous lawsuits and details within each suit paint a picture that rideshare companies know this is a growing issue and have continued to prioritize profit over protection.

Some of the top lawsuits filed by survivors of rideshare sexual assault include:

2024 Rideshare Passenger Sexual Assault Multi-District Litigation

In October 2023, a panel of judges consolidated around 80 existing legal cases into a single proceeding in a federal court filed under the Multi-District Litigation (MDL). Any new federal cases will also go under this proceeding — and as of March 2024, there are over 200 cases under the MDL.

Seventeen Lawsuits Filed Against Lyft for Sexual Assault

In 2022, Lyft faced 17 new lawsuits from users across the United States for failing to protect drivers and passengers from sexual and physical assault.

All of these plaintiffs reported that the rideshare company did nothing to assist them after reporting their assaults, other than apologizing for their experience and suspending the account of the perpetrator.

2019 CPUC Lawsuit – $9M Settlement

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) filed a significant case against a Uber due to concerns over the company’s internal handling of customer-reported sexual assault incidents, instead of reporting them to law enforcement. Eventually, the company settled for $9 million, agreeing to report future sexual assault incidents during rides to the CPUC while protecting victims’ identities unless they choose to share additional information.

Over Five Hundred Women Across the U.S. Sue Uber

In July 2022, the law firm Slater Slater Schulman LLP filed a lawsuit in a San Francisco court against a rideshare company. The lawsuit represents 550 women from multiple states who were sexually assaulted, kidnapped, raped, harassed, stalked, falsely imprisoned, or otherwise attacked by drivers matched through the company’s app.
New York Woman Sues a Rideshare Company

Nineteen Women Sue Lyft in 2019

In December 2019, in the Superior Court of San Francisco, 19 women filed lawsuits against Lyft They accused the company of failing to prevent sexual assaults, downplaying the seriousness of the assaults, and failing to follow up on their complaints. According to The New York Times, many of the victims, aged between 19 and 41, were intoxicated or unconscious during the alleged assaults, one has autism, and one is blind.

The hundreds of individuals who have experienced rideshare sexual abuse and have come forward in these lawsuits show the power of survivors. Together they are fighting to hold rideshare companies accountable and prevent future harm.

Rideshare Sexual Assault FAQs

Before 2018, both Uber and Lyft mandated that sexual assault victims resolve claims through independent mediation and arbitration. Now, victims of sexual assault have the freedom to settle claims as they prefer, be it through mediation, arbitration, or in open court.

Typically, most survivors can maintain confidentiality regarding their personal information and the details of the incident.

There is no fixed amount for a sexual assault lawsuit claim, as potential compensation and the time needed to resolve the claims depend on the nature of the harm and the specifics of the case.

An attorney with expertise in sexual assault lawsuits against the company and other personal injury claims can estimate the damages. This estimate will take into account current and future expenses, financial losses, and their knowledge of previous settlements with the company and in the industry. While various factors will impact the value of your case and the final settlement or award amount, a free consultation with an attorney to assess your situation is always advisable.

It’s crucial to find an attorney who specializes in assisting rideshare sexual assault survivors to ensure you have the best chance of seeing justice. We can connect you with a leading law firm in this field to support you wherever you are in the United States.

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Understand your legal rights and options as a survivor of sexual assault and abuse.