Why Does Sexual Assault Happen on Uber and Lyft Rides?

Why Does Sexual Assault Happen on Uber and Lyft Rides?

Transportation has become more accessible with the introduction of rideshare services due to their convenience, low cost, and simplicity, and reports show that there is a decrease in crime in the areas they operate.

Others have experienced assaults while using these services, and some riders and drivers alike have experienced the trauma and high-stakes complexities involved with sexual assault. 

More commonly, passengers have experienced an unconsenting situation from the driver, but even drivers have experienced uncomfortable and harrowing experiences of kidnapping and assault. 

Uber and Lyft should take safety measures to drivers and passengers safe, but with more and more cases surfacing, they clearly have not done enough to prevent sexual assault. 

The damages that occur from a sexual assault require recovery and healing. Both companies must implement and adhere to policies created to protect individuals using or working for rideshare services such as Uber and Lyft. If you are a survivor of sexual assault, consult with an experienced Uber sexual assault lawyer or Lyft sexual assault lawyer to recover compensation in these complicated cases.

Increased Sexual Assault Claims in Rideshare Services

Popular rideshare companies Uber and Lyft have seen thousands of sexual assault claims, and the numbers are expected to rise. Uber and Lyft have seen sexual assault cases from both drivers and passengers and each individual who files a lawsuit will have a right to fair and reasonable compensation for damages from the sexual assault. 

Assaults can occur when passengers get in the front seat with the driver. Unfortunately, this gives predators closer access to their potential victims. 

Additionally, sexual assault can occur when predators notice a lone passenger. For additional safety, before the ride, passengers should view the driver's profile in the app, ask for the driver’s name, take a photo of the license plate, and ensure their phone is ready to contact emergency services. 

Uber and Sexual Assaults

After an investigative report by CNN on Uber, dozens of sexual assaults came to light. Two safety reports documented thousands of sexual assaults including rape

Uber and Sexual Assaults

Uber defines sexual assault in its US Safety Report using their 2018 Sexual Misconduct and Violence Taxonomy. This classification system categorizes types of incidents relating to sexual misconduct and violence.

The taxonomy helps provide a structure “of consistent classification of reports of sexual violence, sexual assault is defined as any physical or attempted physical contact that is reported to be sexual and without consent.

This can include incidents within the taxonomy ranging from attempted touching of a non-sexual body part (e.g., a user trying to touch a person’s shoulder in a sexual/romantic way) to non-consensual sexual penetration,” according to the report.  

The reports showed thousands of safety incidents and claims of sexual assault (or non-consensual sexual contact) and these claims were broken down into five categories. 

Uber included the following categories in their safety report: 

  • Non-consensual kissing of a non-sexual body part
  • Non-consensual kissing of a sexual body part
  • Non-consensual touching of a sexual body part
  • Non-consensual attempted sexual penetration
  • Non-consensual sexual penetration

Each category contained further breakdowns of categories by defining body parts affected by non-consensual kissing and touching as well as non-consensual sexual penetration.

Lyft and Sexual Assaults

Lyft published their only safety report including data for 2017 to 2019. The report was published in 2021.

Lyft categorized sexual assaults in their safety report based on the 2018 Sexual Misconduct and Violence Taxonomy and included the same five of the 21 categories of the classifications in their reported data on sexual assault, similar to Uber. 

The total number of assaults documented in the report included 4,158 sexual assault incidents. These numbers are expected to increase.   

The 2021 Lyft safety report discusses how the company vets their drivers through background checks that include Social Security number tracing,  nationwide criminal searches,  county court records searches,  federal criminal searches, U.S. Department of Justice 50-state sex offender registry searches, DMV record checks, continuous monitoring, and annual checks. 

While both Uber and Lyft claim to do background checks, these multi-billion dollar companies have done little to take action against repeat offenders.  Accountability must be taken as they have failed to protect passengers, and in some cases, drivers, against harm. 

Don't wait any longer, call 866-535-9515 or submit your case for review today!

Litigation Updates

Plaintiffs have filed hundreds of lawsuits against Uber and Lyft. Some of these cases have settled, but many remain in the courts. 

The class action lawsuit titled Uber Technologies, Passenger Sexual Assault Litigation (MDL No. 3084) addresses cases filed against Uber dealing with the company’s inability to keep some passengers safe from sexual assault. The numerous plaintiff claims include negligence, product liability claims, and breach of contract. 

Important recent developments in rideshare lawsuits dealing with sexual assault span from October 2023 to date. 

Why Does Sexual Assault Happen on Uber and Lyft Rides

May 2, 2024

  • The expansion of sexual assault cases in Uber’s multidistrict litigation (MDL) increases to 252 cases pending in Federal court. 

April 17, 2024

  • A discovery challenge of the Uber Sexual Assault MDL raised the vital concern of plaintiffs' inability to access previous versions of linked digital documents. With the links only showing the most current documents, there is concern that these versions could have been edited or changed from previous versions of the digital documentation. The plaintiffs are requesting a court order for a system that allows all versions of documents to be accessible. This system will give more transparency to show what Uber may have known about sexual assaults that happened during rides and when Uber was aware that these incidents first occurred. 

April 15, 2024 

  • An investor lawsuit against Uber over the disclosure of sexual assault cases claims Uber misled shareholders about the number of pending sexual assault claims, which is estimated at 10,000 cases, to inflate the stock prices of the company.  The company's disclosure policies are in question as they affect market valuation and investor trust. 

April 10, 2024

  • Uber rolled out enhanced safety features in the press release titled, Set it and Forget it: How to Maximize Your Safety Features. Features include the RideCheck Feature which monitors if rides deviate from the requested route or unexpected stops occur. The feature asks passengers to confirm their safety through the app. 
  • Uber implemented verifications to match drivers to passengers, audio recording capabilities during the drive, and sharing location services 

April 2, 2024

  • Specific fact sheets are required to be submitted by Uber to document and facilitate accurate and consistent information regarding the sexual assault MDL as case numbers increase. 
  • This process allows for identifying critical legal issues while streamlining information gathering to manage and resolve claims efficiently and effectively.

March 30, 2024 

  • A federal judge ruled that plaintiffs can hold Uber vicariously liable for one of its driver’s actions, specifically, Kehinde Idogho Micah, who allegedly assaulted passenger Rommel Fuentes after an argument over payment. This assault case, while not sexual, affects other assault cases as it showcases continued concerns about rideshare responsibility for their driver’s actions. 

March 25th, 2024

  • Judge Charles Breyer ordered Uber to release all government-shared documents regarding sexual assault investigations. 
  • This order will help to uncover Uber’s safety approaches towards the safety of passengers and women using their service. Due to the numerous reports of sexual assault happening during rides, claims that Uber ineffectively protected passengers may constitute evidence of Uber’s negligence in these matters. 

March 4th, 2024

  • This date brought the rejection of a motion Lyft filed claiming the company isn’t liable for a driver’s actions. The driver transported a minor of 14 across state lines and allegedly sexually abused her. The rejection came due to Lyft’s policy against driving minors unaccompanied by an adult. 

February 17th, 2024

  • Consolidated safety complaints against Uber stating the company knew about alleged sexual assaults from drivers but did nothing to implement safety efforts were filed. 
  • The complaint also accused Uber of allowing drivers with histories of sexual misconduct to continue to drive for the company. 

February 12th, 2024 

  • Sexual assault lawsuits against Uber total 100. 

February 11, 2024

  • Uber appealed against the consolidation of sexual assault lawsuits into a single MDL, stating the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) neglected different state laws involved and claimed it abused its discretion. This action was viewed by many as an effort to delay proceedings in the lawsuit. 

February 6, 2024

  • Uber attempted to dissolve the sexual assault multidistrict litigation (MDL) initially established by the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) on October 4, 2023. Uber was unsuccessful as the claims of alleged misuse of discretion in forming the MDL lacked support. 

January 17, 2024

  • Uber attempts to block new sexual assault claims entering into the multidistrict litigation. Six new lawsuits have been filed by Uber’s passengers claiming sexual abuse occurred; two of the reports included rape. These lawsuits claim Uber was negligent based on not enforcing basic safety measures to protect riders. 

January 10, 2024

  • The California Supreme Court becomes involved as Uber tries to evade responsibility for specific incidents in the sexual assault MDL. The California Supreme Court reviews Ubers multidistrict litigation questions about liability for a sexual assault committed by a driver who was terminated by Uber and then misrepresented himself as an independent contractor. Uber claims it cannot be responsible for the actions of drivers not currently employed. 

January 4, 2024

  • Uber requests a two-month suspension of the MDL proceedings
  • Uber gained the approval for a hearing to consider dissolving the MDL because of the varying claims, injuries sustained, and laws involved. 

December 12, 2023

  • Uber requested to remove the words “sexual assault” from the name of the lawsuit based on the claim that the name “presupposes guilt.” The request was denied.

October 11, 2023

  • The Judicial Panel for Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) forms multidistrict litigation (MDL) for Uber’s sexual assault lawsuits and names Federal Judge Charles Breyer of the Northern California District to preside over pretrial actions and activities. 

What Do Survivors of Sexual Assault Need to Know?

Most importantly, what happened is not your fault.  

Call our rideshare personal injury lawyers. We can assist you. Call us today so we can understand your case, and can seek restitution for your damages.

Resources for Survivors of Sexual Assault

Lyft and Sexual Assaults

In addition to legal help, there are many additional resources available to survivors of sexual assault or abuse. 

  • The National Organization for Victim Advocacy (NOVA) teaches and trains advocates to offer survivors exceptional professional assistance in their recovery and healing process. 
  • The National Sexual Assault Hotline, 800-656-HOPE (4673), is provided by RAINN (Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network), and it offers confidential support 24/7. Additionally, they have an online chat hotline
  • The National Sexual Violence Resource Center educates the public about sexual violence, helps survivors by connecting them to additional resources for help, and provides resources for the loved ones of survivors.  
  • Planned Parenthood helps survivors access medical care. This care includes but is not limited to emergency contraceptives, STD testing, mental healthcare, HIV services, and pregnancy testing.

Are You a Survivor of a Rideshare Sexual Assault? 

If you are a survivor of sexual assault that occurred while riding with Uber or Lyft, contact Legal Lawsuit News at (866) 535-9515. We can connect you with fierce advocates in our network who have successfully recovered compensation for clients in these complex cases.


Matthew Dolman

Personal Injury Lawyer

This article was written and reviewed by Matthew Dolman. Matt has been a practicing civil trial, personal injury, products liability, and mass tort lawyer since 2004. He has represented over 11,000 injury victims and has served as lead counsel in over 1000 lawsuits. Matt is a lifetime member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum for resolving individual cases in excess of $1 million and $2 million, respectively. He has also been selected by his colleagues as a Florida Superlawyer and as a member of Florida’s Legal Elite on multiple occasions. Further, Matt has been quoted in the media numerous times and is a sought-after speaker on a variety of legal issues and topics.

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