Uber and Lyft rideshare companies do not use the same stringent hiring or training guidelines as traditional transportation services. A lack of safety protocols could increase riders’ risk of sexual assault.
An Uber Sexual Assault Attorney Can Help
Are you a victim of sexual assault as a passenger of a rideshare vehicle? You have legal rights to ensure the abuser is held responsible for your damages, including medical bills and legal fees. A sexual abuse lawyer at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC can be your guide through the claims process.
Contact our rideshare sexual assault lawyer at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone number) to start your case with a free case evaluation. Let us listen to your story and answer your legal questions. Ultimately, we can hold responsible parties and companies accountable for their negligent or intentional actions.
Uber and Lyft Sexual Assault Statistics
Due to the relatively new nature of rideshare apps, researchers are short on information about the safety of getting into rideshare cars. However, one website has kept track of all criminal incidents involving Uber and Lyft since their debuts, revealing that ridesharing is not always a safe alternative to taxi cabs and public transportation.
The public awareness campaign reveals shocking ridesharing sexual assault statistics (as of 2019):
- Over 370 passengers have reported being sexually assaulted or harassed by rideshare drivers.
- Ninety-five passengers have filed complaints due to sexual assault committed by Lyft and Uber drivers.
- There have been sixteen alleged passenger kidnappings by Lyft and Uber drivers.
- Fifty people have died in connection with rideshare criminal conduct and traffic accidents.
These are just the incidents that passengers have reported. The actual number of assault survivors is likely much higher. Hundreds of ridesharing service passengers have told stories about unwanted sexual contact involving Uber and Lyft drivers and fellow passengers.
Unfortunately, the rideshare service companies have not taken these reports seriously enough to make any operational changes. These companies have failed to accept their legal duty to keep their customers safe.
In most sexual assault cases, the motivation for sexual violence is a desire for dominance or control. The perpetrator does not only want sexual arousal or relief – they want to exert power over the victim.
Assaults occur when a perpetrator could take advantage of someone else. Ridesharing companies have helped provide an environment where assault involving rideshare passengers can occur through the following acts of negligence:
- Lax hiring procedures. Unlike traditional taxi companies, neither rideshare service corporations check a driver’s background beyond the past seven years. They also do not meet with drivers in person or interview them.
The company’s negligent hiring practices fail necessary safety measures to capture potential rideshare drivers with criminal histories, sexual harassment charges, or registered sexual predators.
- Lack of Uber or Lyft driver training. Rideshare companies do not train their Uber and Lyft drivers nor provide ethics training in sexual misconduct behavior. They require drivers to use their smartphones while driving but do not provide any training on how to do so without driving distracted, leading to car accidents.
According to their seven-year background checks, these companies trust that people who apply are good, safe drivers.
- Lack of driver and rider transparency. Many assault cases have involved people who were not independent contractors licensed as Uber/Lyft drivers or minor passengers unlawfully using rideshare apps.
Yet Uber or Lyft rideshare companies do nothing to validate the drivers’ or passengers’ identities, despite complaints that sexual assault always occurs.
Both companies claim to care about Uber passenger safety. Uber is launching new safety features, including an in-app emergency button  to notify the rideshare company and local law enforcement, while Lyft has real-time ride tracking .
However, sexual assaults by rideshare drivers still occur. You have rights if you or someone you know has been the victim.
Criminal vs. Civil Uber and Lyft Sexual Assault Cases
As the victim of sexual assault, you or a loved one might think a criminal case is the only legal option against the perpetrator. But it is not.
As a Uber or Lyft sexual assault survivor, you likely suffered physical injuries, emotional distress, mental anguish, or other damages that could qualify you to seek compensation through the civil justice system. You could pursue legal action and sue Uber through a civil claim that could give you the financial compensation you need to move forward.
While a criminal case can sentence the ridesharing driver to jail or probation for sexually assaulting you, a civil claim can lead to thousands of dollars in compensation for your losses. You might have grounds to file a claim not only against the assailant but also against the rideshare company.
If the San Francisco-based company negligently failed to take steps to prevent the assault, it could be liable for your damages. Talk to our Uber/Lyft sexual assault lawyers about your sexual assault claim. Courts around the United States have convicted dozens of drivers for assault in the past.
Uber has settled two class-action sexual assault lawsuits, and others are pending. You do not have to go through this alone. Partner with a sexual assault lawyer in Chicago to improve your chances of claim success.
Below are some frequently asked questions raised by people who have been sexually assaulted by rideshare drivers, such as Uber or Lyft. Our personal injury law firm appreciates that these questions may give rise to other questions, so we welcome you to contact our law firm for a free consultation with an experienced rideshare sexual abuse attorney.
Call us at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone call) or use the contact form to seek justice or for additional information on Uber or Lyft drivers and sexual misconduct.
How Many Sexual Assaults Do Uber Drivers Have?
According to the New York Times , Uber reported over 3000 sexual assault incidents in the United States last year, including fatal crashes and murders involving rideshare passengers. This horrific number does not include the sexual abuse occurring in the other sixty-five countries where the rideshare corporation operates outside the US.
The number of assaults in 2019 remained flat in 2018, where 3045 assault cases were reported, which was more than the 2936 reported incidents in 2017.
Has an Uber Driver Ever Kidnapped and Sexually Assaulted Anyone?
Over the years, numerous allegations of kidnapping and raping rideshare passengers have been made. In August 2015, a thirty-nine-year-old South Carolinian sixth grade teacher working as an Uber driver at night faced accusations of sexually assaulting his twenty-three-year-old intoxicated female passenger.
In August 2019, a thirty-two-year-old New York Uber driver faced accusations of kidnapping and planning to sexually assault a fifteen-year-old passenger leaving a sweet sixteen party. The girl escaped the Uber vehicle by convincing the rideshare driver she needed to use the bathroom while driving her to his Brooklyn home.
Can You Get Kidnapped in an Uber?
In 2019, Uber Company added new safety features to the ridesharing service app to protect passengers and stop kidnapping, murder, and other felonies. Over the years, Uber has faced hundreds of allegations of sexual assault, murder, and kidnapping.
Other rideshare services have had problems, including a Lyft driver who sexually assaulted passengers in California.
The rideshare app changes will allow passengers to send text messages to local law enforcement, texting details of the trip, including the license plate, make, and model of the Uber driver’s vehicle. The app allows passengers to seek immediate medical attention and submit non-emergency safety problems, including when uncomfortable with the driver.
Has Anyone Ever Died in an Uber?
Is Uber Dangerous for Female Passengers?
Statistically, female passengers in rideshare vehicles are at greater risk than males of being injured, sexually assaulted, kidnapped, or killed. However, there are things that the female passenger can do to be safer while a passenger in a rideshare vehicle, including:
- Check the driver’s rating to ensure they have a history of following rideshare guidelines
- Sit on the right side in the back seat, where it is easier to fight off an attack by the driver
- Tell a friend your origination and destination and the estimated time of your arrival
- Remain prepared to call 911 if necessary or call or chat with a friend throughout your Uber/Lyft ride so the driver is aware that you could tell your friend immediately if something is going wrong
- Use navigational maps like Google Maps on your phone to navigate your destination and better understand your driver’s route.
Is It Safe to Take an Uber Late at Night?
Taking a rideshare vehicle during night hours could increase the risk of being injured, sexually assaulted, killed, or kidnapped. Before stepping into the rideshare vehicle, check the license plate for a match on your rideshare app, and identify your driver by name.
Confirm your destination and never assume that every driver is a good person. Don’t sit in the front seat. Instead, sit on the right side in the back seat to see what the driver is doing and ensure your safety and comfort.
The sexual assault attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC have experience handling all types of personal injury and assault lawsuits – including years representing victims of rideshare assault.
Our firm can help you go up against Uber or Lyft to pursue justice and fair financial recovery. We will start legal action with a free, confidential case evaluation at our law office.
Contact our law firm today at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone call) or through the contact form to schedule a free, confidential consultation. All discussions and legal advice involving our law firm remain confidential through an attorney-client relationship.
We accept every Lyft/Uber sexual assault case on a contingency fee basis. This agreement provides immediate legal representation with a fee promise that postpones payments until we obtain maximum compensation on your behalf through a negotiated settlement or jury award.
If you were in an auto accident involving an Uber vehicle, look at our Uber accident page.