Uber Sexual Assault
The popular ride-hailing service Uber requires you to enter a stranger’s car, exposing you to a potential sexual assault by the driver or another passenger. If you have been sexually assaulted in an Uber, call the police and seek medical care immediately. Then report the assault to Uber and contact a personal injury lawyer to file a sexual assault lawsuit against Uber.
According to the 2019-2020 Uber US Safety Report, 2019 and 2020 saw the following:
- 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
These statistics demonstrate why it’s important to take proper precautions before and while using Uber services.
Any form of sexual assault perpetrated against Uber passengers is a crime. This includes:
- Rape or attempted rape
- Unwanted sexual contact or touching
- Other non-consensual sexual acts
Why Are Uber Riders Vulnerable to Sexual Assault?
Sexual assault happens during Uber rides due to inadequate driver vetting.
Although Uber conducts yearly criminal background checks and automatically disqualifies applicants convicted of sexual assault, murder, and sexual offenses, it’s not enough. A 2016 lawsuit indicated that Uber used low-cost background check services that failed to access databases with complete criminal histories. As a result, Uber hired multiple drivers with prior arrest records.
Additionally, a person’s criminal activity only shows up for the last seven years. And drivers who have never been caught or have never before committed a crime can still commit sexual assault.
To better protect riders from sexual assault, Uber should perform social media background checks to see whether drivers have problematic behaviors. They should also require drivers to provide annual character references.
Uber's Community Guidelines
Uber has developed community guidelines to help ensure the safety of its passengers. Everyone who uses Uber’s platform — drivers, riders, Uber Eats users, delivery people, businesses, or merchants — must follow these guidelines. Note, however, that Uber does not enforce these guidelines.
Here’s a brief rundown of Uber’s community guidelines:
Treat everyone with respect: Uber has created policies and standards on sexual misconduct and assault. To comply with these standards, drivers and passengers should avoid the following:
- Commenting on someone’s appearance
- Asking whether someone is single
- Engaging in sexual misconduct and assault without the explicit consent of the other person
- Making explicit gestures or comments
- Saying lewd things
- Making explicit gestures
Help protect each other: Uber puts some of the onus on users to keep each other safe, which is why Uber prohibits account sharing. To use Uber apps, users must create and maintain their own accounts. If a user is a delivery person, they must complete all parts of the delivery themselves. Additionally, adults can’t request a delivery or ride for someone under the age of 18 who is not accompanied by the account holder or another adult.
Staying Safe in an Uber
Uber’s community guidelines have helped to curb instances of sexual assault. The 2019-2020 Uber US Safety Report revealed the rate of sexual assault reported on the Uber app decreased by 28 percent between Uber’s first report in 2017-2018 and their second report in 2019-2020. The total number of sexual assault reports also decreased from 5,981 to 3,824.
However, Uber’s guidelines can only do so much. Due to human error and Uber’s lax vetting guidelines, there will always be a chance of sexual assault.
Here are some tips for staying safe in an Uber:
How to Report Sexual Assault by an Uber Driver?
You can report a driver or other passenger for a sexual assault during and after a trip by going to Uber’s mobile app and tapping “Help.”
Tap “Help with a trip,” pick the trip during which you were assaulted, and 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.
What Can You Do If You Have Been a Victim of Sexual Assault in an Uber?
If you have been a victim of Uber or ride-share sexual assault, there are things that you should do. First, immediately report the perpetrator to Uber and the police. Once you’ve reported the incident, seek medical help, even if you are not injured. Hospitals, clinics, and other medical providers can obtain forensic medical evidence that will strengthen your case if and when you choose to sue the perpetrator.
Next, hire a counselor or therapist to help you manage stress, deal with negative emotions, and learn healthy coping mechanisms. If unsure where to go, you can call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800.656.HOPE (4673) to talk confidentially with a trained professional. They can connect you with local support groups and resources that can help you in your healing journey.
If and when you’re ready to file a claim against Uber for sexual assault, consider hiring a personal injury lawyer. The right personal injury lawyer can ensure you get the compensation you deserve by filing paperwork promptly, communicating with insurance companies and the opposing side, and advancing your claim in court.
Depending on the facts of your case, your lawyer can help you maximize compensation for the following:
- Emotional pain and suffering, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Medical bills
- Difficulty sustaining employment
- Problems with personal relationships
Seeking justice for sexual assault and harassment can be challenging because it requires you to think about the traumatic incident regularly. And you may eventually have to appear in court to face the perpetrator.
However, seeking justice for sexual assault and harassment may be the right course of action for you because it can help you:
- Make Uber safer for future riders. Your lawsuit can set a precedent by making Uber safer for future riders. This is especially true if you join a class action suit.
- Get the compensation you deserve. Recovering from sexual assault and harassment can be expensive. Depending on your case, you may require physical therapy, counseling, or even surgery. Fortunately, you can recover these costs from the perpetrator by suing them.
- Hold the perpetrator accountable. Finally, sexual assault is never your fault. Seeking justice helps hold the perpetrator accountable.