Uber Sexual Assault Lawsuit
If you have experienced sexual harassment, abuse, or assault in an Uber, you have rights and options, including filing a lawsuit against Uber.
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.
- 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
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
- Other non-consensual sexual acts, such as oral sex
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.
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:
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.
How Much Is My Sexual Assault Claim Against Uber Worth?
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
Here are some recent lawsuits filed against Uber:
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.
How 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 personal injury 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 personal injury lawyer will handle every step of your case so that you can focus on healing and what’s next in your life and journey.