Have You Experienced Sexual Assault Or Abuse?

Uber Sexual AssaultLawsuit

If you have experienced sexual assault, abuse, or harassment in an Uber, you have rights and options, including filing a lawsuit against Uber. Continue reading below to understand your rights and options, including connecting with an Uber sexual assault lawyer.

Key Takeaways

  • The recent consolidation of Uber sexual assault lawsuits in a Multi-District Litigation (MDL) proceeding means individuals has reached over 100 cases as of February 2024
  • According to Uber’s own safety reports, there have been over 10,000 reports of sexual assault between 2017 – 2020. There is not data currently available for 2021 – present.
  • If you or someone you know has been the victim of Uber sexual assault, you have legal rights and options and should file a report with both law enforcement and the platform as soon as possible. We can help victims of Uber sexual assault seek compensation and prevent future harm by filing a lawsuit against Uber for the harm that happened to them. 
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Uber and other ride-hailing services have become an increasingly popular mode of transportation. However, poor hiring and vetting of drivers, as well as inadequate reporting mechanisms put Uber customers at risk for sexual assault and other forms of harm.

If you have been sexually assaulted by a driver or other rider while taking an Uber, you can seek compensation, justice, and accountability through a sexual assault lawsuit against Uber and/or the perpetrator. Many Uber sexual assault victims are suing Uber for inadequate vetting and hiring policies, deceptive trust and safety related marketing, and a lack of oversight of drivers once hired.

Uber has released two US safety reports, the first covering the years 2017-2018 and the second from 2019-2020. While they have stated that statistically sexual assault and other harms have decreased by significant percentages between the total number of assaults reported between the two reports, they do not provide the rate at which Uber rides may have decreased during 2019-2020, although they do note that during the pandemic rides decreased as much as 40% during this time.

Uber’s second US Safety Report which reports on incidents between 2019-2020 showed:

  • 137 incident reports of non-consensual kissing of a non-sexual body part
  • 82 incident reports of attempted non-consensual sexual penetration
  • 528 incident reports of non-consensual touching of a sexual body part
  • 110 incident reports of non-consensual kissing of a sexual body part
  • 141 incident reports of non-consensual sexual penetration

Read on to learn more about the rights and options of individuals who experience sexual assault or other harms during a rideshare ride, why people are suing Uber, information about previously filed Uber sexual assault lawsuits, whether Uber mandates mediation and arbitration, what compensation victims may be entitled for an Uber sexual assault settlement, and finally the process and duration of filing an Uber sexual assault case.

Uber Sexual Assault Lawsuit

Last Date Modified
February 28, 2024
Content Reviewed By:

Kathryn Kosmides
Managing Director | Helping Survivors

If you are a victim of sexual assault by a rideshare driver or passenger, you have the option to file a lawsuit against the company and the perpetrator.

As its name suggests, an Uber sexual assault lawsuit is a legal action taken against:

  • File a Lawsuit Against Uber – You can sue Uber as a company for a failure to adequately protect users from predatory drivers and riders
  • File a Lawsuit Against an Uber driver or rider – You can choose to separately sue the driver or rider individually for attempted or actual sexual assault during or after an Uber trip

You can file an Uber sexual assault lawsuit if an Uber driver or rider has forced or attempted to force a sexual act on you when you were unwilling or unable to refuse or consent. If you were intoxicated, asleep, were under 18 at the time of the incident, or under the influence of drugs or other substances, you can not consent to any sexual interaction.

Examples of Uber sexual assault that you can file a lawsuit for include:

  • Unwanted fondling or touching
  • Attempted rape
  • Rape
  • Other non-consensual sexual acts, such as oral sex

Perpetrators of Uber sexual assault often use physical force, but they may also use blackmail, threatening words, or any kind of coercion to force sexual acts upon you. Because Uber drivers have information about you, including the address you were picked up from and the address you are being dropped off at, this gives them access to potential information they can use against you. Be wary if early into the ride a driver starts asking questions such as if you live there, where you’re going, who you’re meeting, what you do for a living, if you have a partner, or if you have children.

Why Are People Suing Uber?

In the last few years, many people have sued Uber for failing to protect its users from sexual assault and other violent offenses. Because Helping Survivors work focuses on helping individuals who have experienced sexual assault and abuse, the information provided focuses mostly on how victims of sexual assault in Ubers.

Most sexual assault survivors are suing Uber for:

  • Poor hiring and vetting of drivers: Although Uber performs background checks on drivers and automatically disqualifies anyone convicted of sexual offenses or sexual assault, background checks have tremendous flaws and issues that allow bad actors to bypass them. As revealed by a 2016 lawsuit, Uber used low-cost background check services that failed to access databases with full criminal histories and, as a result, hired drivers with prior criminal histories. While they have since improved their background check process, background checks in general still have many well-known issues and can miss up 97% of gender-based violence perpetrators.
  • Deceptive marketing: Some victims are suing Uber for deceptive marketing practices that perpetuate a false image of safety despite having lax screening procedures for drivers.
  • Lack of monitoring or oversight of drivers: Victims are suing Uber for failing to monitor its drivers during trips and during their work relationship with the company.

As mentioned, you may also file a lawsuit against the perpetrator of harm directly. You can speak to a specialized Uber sexual assault lawyer about this option, although they may recommend against this option as if they do not believe they can easily win nor easily collect any kind of compensation for the harm, it may not be worth the potential retraumatization that many survivors face goign through the civil legal systems against individuals.

If you report the individual to law enforcement, they may also choose to press charges against the individual and prosecute the offense.

2024 Uber Sexual Assault Lawsuit Updates

Since Uber was founded, thousands of individuals have come forward as victims of sexual assault while using Uber’s rideshare services, either as passengers or drivers. In a significant development in October 2023, a panel of judges made the decision to consolidate approximately 80 of these cases and have them collectively heard in federal court.

Although the individual cases are scheduled to proceed to trial in their respective states, all pretrial matters, including witness and expert depositions and document discovery, will be under the jurisdiction of Judge Charles Breyer in the Northern District of California. This comprehensive pretrial process is anticipated to provide insights into the widespread issue of sexual assault within the Uber platform. If you are in California, you should understand the specifics related to California Uber Sexual Assault Lawsuits

Presently, all cases are set for trial in their respective states. Nevertheless, there exists the possibility that Judge Breyer may opt for a “bellwether trial” to serve as a representative trial for all the cases. As of November 2023, legal professionals are being invited to apply for leadership positions within the Uber sexual assault cases. The selected group of expert lawyers will be tasked with taking actions during the MDL (Multi-District Litigation) proceedings that will benefit all the plaintiffs involved.

On February 12, 2024, the MDL against Uber has reached a milestone with its 100th lawsuit filed. Initiated in October 2023, the MDL aims to provide a platform for the more than 10,000 Uber passengers who have reported sexual assaults while using the service to seek justice and compensation for the harm they have experienced.

In February 2024, Uber appealed for the dissolution of the MDL, arguing that its formation was an abuse of discretion and failed to consider the different state laws applicable to the cases. The appellate court’s decision on this matter is pending. Historically, the JPML’s decisions to centralize cases have never been overturned or reversed. The outcome of this appeal is still to be determined.

As mentioned, In October 2023, the JPML consolidated the cases into the “Uber Passenger Sexual Assault Multi-District Litigation (MDL).” Uber sought to change the MDL’s name to exclude the term “sexual assault,” claiming it suggested a presumption of guilt. However, in December 2023, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) chose not to modify or remove the term “sexual assault” from the title of the federal Uber sexual assault cases overseen by Judge Breyer in the Northern District of California.

Helping Survivors is actively collaborating with these leading law firms to ensure that victims of Uber-related sexual assault have access to the experienced legal representation they rightly deserve.

Does Uber Mandate Mediation and Arbitration?

Prior to 2018, Uber required customers to pursue sexual assault claims through independent arbitration and mediation rather than court. Their policies also prevented survivors from speaking about their experiences publicly by requiring them to sign nondisclosure agreements.

Uber finally ended required mediation and arbitration in 2018 after immense pressure from several large scandals and an open letter penned by 14 female victims of sexual assault.

Today, Uber sexual assault survivors can now choose to settle claims through:

  • Mediation: You can attempt to reach a collaborative settlement
  • Arbitration: You can resolve the claim with a trained arbitrator
  • Court: You can pursue legal or financial accountability

How Long Do I Have to File an Uber Sexual Assault Lawsuit?

After you experience a traumatic incident, the most important thing is to find immediate physical and mental safety. This will look different for everyone but may include calling 911 if in immediate danger, visiting an emergency room, or calling a trusted person to come to where you are.

The next step is to document the experience independently to ensure you write down everything you can remember as soon as you feel okay doing so. Then, it is up to you on whether you choose to file a report with law enforcement. But, in order to be able to file a sexual assault lawsuit against Uber, it is critically important to file an in-app safety report as soon as possible.

While it can be emotionally hard to file this report, it is the foundational step to preventing future harm, putting you on a path towards healing, and, if you choose to, filing a lawsuit against Uber.

The actual deadline for filing an Uber sexual assault lawsuit depends on the state the incident occurred in. If you do not live in the state or county the harm happened in, you may find it more difficult to report the harm, especially if outside of the US or your local country. If you choose to report to law enforcement, you must report in the jurisdiction the harm happened in irregardless of where you live, where you were picked up, or where the offender lives.

The location of where a civil lawsuit can be filed is dependent on a variety of factors, including if you are filing the suit against Uber as an entity, joining a class action lawsuit, or suing an individual.

In general, filing a lawsuit for sexual assault against Uber or an individual follows the same laws as filing a lawsuit against any other individual or entity for these types of harms in that jurisdiction. FindLaw offers a guide to civil law statutes for sexual assault cases to provide readers with information regarding each state’s deadline for filing lawsuits related to sexual assault.

To ensure that you have the most up-to-date and accurate information, you should speak to an attorney.

Uber Sexual Assault Lawsuit Settlement Amounts

While there is no price tag large enough to compensate victims for the physical harms that happen to them, monetary compensation can help victims seek medical care including mental health services, pay for missed employment, and compensate you for your time and suffering after the experience.

While there is not set amount that a sexual assault lawsuit claim against Uber is worth, the amount of potential compensation from damages and the time involved to handle the claims will vary depending on the type of harm you experienced and the facts surrounding the case.

For instance, let’s say the assault resulted in emotional scarring, post-traumatic stress disorder, and depression, and these conditions have made it impossible for you to work. Because the assault has permanently changed your life, you would be more likely to receive a larger settlement.

If the perpetrator of harm was a driver who passed a background check but had a known history of harm such as a previous user report or a criminal arrest or conviction record, this will also likely increase the size of the settlement and their hastiness to resolve the complaint.

A trained attorney experienced in lawsuits against Uber and other personal injury complaints can estimate the damages based on current and future expenses and financial losses along with their knowledge of previous settlements with the company and in the industry. While many factors will influence the value of your case and the final settlement or award amount, it is always worth speaking to an attorney regarding your experience.

Lawsuits Filed Against Uber

Over the last few years, survivors have filed hundreds of lawsuits against Uber and other rideshare companies.

2024 Uber Passenger Sexual Assault Multi-District Litigation

In October 2023, a notable ruling by a panel of judges led to the consolidation of approximately 80 legal cases into one collective proceeding in a federal court – alongside new cases filed under the MDL. Although each case will proceed to trial in its respective state, all preliminary legal matters will be overseen by Judge Charles Breyer. This unified pretrial process aims to address the problem of sexual assault on the Uber platform, which is especially pertinent for individuals in California acquainted with the state’s Uber Sexual Assault Lawsuits. As of February 2024, there are now over 100 cases under this MDL.

2019 CPUC Lawsuit Against Uber - $9M Settlement

 

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) filed a landmark case against Uber due to concerns over the company’s internal handling of customer-reported sexual assault incidents, rather than reporting them to law enforcement. After negotiations failed, the CPUC ordered Uber to provide detailed information about the assaults, including the names of those involved and witnesses, leading to a $59 million fine when Uber did not comply. Ultimately, Uber settled the case for $9 million, agreeing to report future sexual assault incidents during rides to the CPUC, with the provision to protect 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 an Uber sexual assault lawsuit in a San Francisco court. The lawsuit detailed the claims of 550 women in multiple states who were sexually assaulted, kidnapped, raped, harassed, stalked, falsely imprisoned, or otherwise attacked by Uber drivers with whom they had been matched through the Uber app.

New York Woman
Sues Uber

In September 2020, a New York woman filed a civil lawsuit against Uber, claiming the company failed to protect her and other riders against sexual assault, despite a pattern of reported incidents. The plaintiff argued that Uber’s negligence resulted in her 2018 sexual assault. She also sued the company for:

  • Engaging in deceptive marketing practices that created a false image of safety, despite a lack of safety policies at the time of her assault
  • Providing zero oversight or monitoring of drivers while riders were in their care

Massachusetts Woman Files Uber Sexual Assault

In July 2020, a Massachusetts woman sued Uber for a 2018 sexual assault. The driver accused of sexual assault was arrested but soon fled the country.

Oregon Woman Sues Uber for More than $1 Million

In January 2020, an Oregon woman sued Uber and one of its drivers for sexual assault. The woman, who was assaulted by the Uber driver in 2018, asked for over one million dollars in damages. The accused driver had previously faced charges related to the assault but was acquitted of these charges in 2019.

Steps to File an Uber Sexual Assault Lawsuit

If you have been sexually assaulted by an Uber rider or driver, the first step to file an Uber sexual assault lawsuit is to speak with and hire an experienced lawyer.

Although it’s possible to file a sexual assault lawsuit by yourself, we don’t recommend doing so as self-representation can be incredibly stressful and difficult, especially when you are a sexual assault victim. It also requires a lot of time, energy, and resources. One misstep or missed deadline, and you may miss the opportunity to file your lawsuit forever.

That’s why it’s best to find a law firm and/or lawyer who specializes y lawyer who has experience with ride-hailing service sexual assault lawsuits. Typically, these types of cases are taken on contingency, meaning that you do not have to pay unless and until a settlement is reached or damages are awarded. This means you do not have to pay anything up front and that the law firm will take a percentage of the money awarded.

This means that it is at least worth speaking to an experienced attorney who can properly evaluate your case, provide you with the various options, and support you through the journey.

  • Analyzing your case
  • Gathering and preserving photographic and physical evidence, such as torn clothing and incriminating photos, videos, and audio recordings
  • Building solid arguments
  • Filing paperwork ahead of deadlines
  • Negotiating with insurance companies and the opposite party
  • Representing you in court
A skilled, compassionate, and knowledgeable Uber sexual assault lawyer will handle every step of your case so that you can focus on healing and what’s next in your life and journey.

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