Uber Sexual Assault Lawyer

This article was fact-checked and edited by Attorney, Matthew Dolman – 20 years of experience representing sexual assault survivors

Rideshare apps like Uber process millions of rides every year. While rideshare apps offer convenience to people who need regular transportation, some drivers victimize their passengers.

Unfortunately, rideshare apps like Uber don't offer remediation for sexual assault victims. Your best chance of receiving justice as a survivor of such a horrific crime is hiring an Uber sexual assault lawyer to submit a claim on your behalf.

The Uber Sexual Assault Attorneys who produce Lawsuit Legal News (LLN) are committed to helping sexual assault victims receive justice and fair compensation for their trauma. 

The physical, mental, and emotional damage of sexual assault is too great to ignore. Get in touch with our legal team today to submit your Uber sexual assault claim. We have served as a resource to numerous sexual assault survivors and remain ready, willing, and able to assist you in pursuing legal action via a civil lawsuit.

In the following article, we will update you on the Uber rideshare sexual assault lawsuit MDL (multidistrict litigation). In late October, all Uber rideshare sexual assault lawsuits that have been filed in Federal Courts were consolidated in the United States District Court in the Northern District of California (San Francisco) before Judge Charles Breyer.

Rideshare Sexual Assault Attorney, Matt Dolman

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

Uber Sexual Assault Lawsuit MDL Updates

Our goal is to make this the most current page on the web for updates concerning the Uber rideshare sexual assault MDL, along with Lyft sexual assault lawsuits being filed throughout the United States.

February 12, 2024 - Uber Sexual Assault MDL Reaches 100 Lawsuits

The 100th lawsuit was filed into the Uber sexual assault MDL this week. While this is a slower-growing mass tort as opposed to commercial products, this lawsuit continues to grow. We attribute the slower pace of growth to the lack of advertisements concerning this lawsuit on television and radio and sexual assault survivors being reticent to speak out about what they went through. We anticipate there will be over 300 sexual assault cases filed into the MDL by this summer.

February 11, 2024 - Additional Feedback on Uber's Appeal of JPML

As previously stated, Uber has argued the JPML abused their discretion in creating the sexual assault multidistrict litigation (MDL) and ignoring the various state laws in play. However, to wit, the JPML has never been overruled or reversed on their decision to centralize cases and this appears to be nothing more than a hail mary.

February 6, 2024 - Uber Fighting to Dismantle Sexual Assault MDL - Uber Files Appeal

On October 4, 2023, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) decided to consolidate all federal cases filed by Uber passengers who claim Uber rideshare drivers sexually assaulted them. Last week, Uber attempted to convince Judge Breyer to disband the MDL while we wait to receive the appellate court's decision on this issue.

Uber argued the formation of the MDL was an abuse of discretion and didn't take into account the various state laws that would apply to these cases. Uber could not give any precedence for this argument since no one has overturned a Panel's MDL decision during its 55-year history.

January 17, 2024 – Court Scheduled to Resolve Consequential Dispute Over Cut-Off Date

When the Ninth Circuit agreed to reconsider the merits of the Uber sexual assault multidistrict litigation, the rideshare company moved to prohibit the enrollment of new claims. In recent days, plaintiffs implored Judge Gergel to reject the request, arguing that denying entrance into the MDL would undermine the integrity of the legal proceedings. The court is poised to resolve the issue after a status conference on January 19.

We have noted six new lawsuits filed by Uber passengers alleging sexual abuse by drivers. Two of the six lawsuits alleged reports of rape. All six lawsuits alleged that Uber failed to implement even basic safety measures to safeguard all passengers and ensure rider safety for those utilizing the rideshare app.

Uber’s attempt to deny liability in select cases constituting the rideshare sexual assault multidistrict litigation (MDL) has prompted the Ninth Circuit to request the intervention of the California Supreme Court. The situation arose after a plaintiff in the MDL argued that Uber could be held liable for the sexual assault she experienced at the hands of a former Uber driver who continued to present himself as an independent contractor after his termination. 

The rideshare company has said that it cannot be held liable for the crimes of an individual who was not actively working as a driver. 

January 4, 2024 – Uber Sexual Assault Attorneys and MDL at a Standstill Following Ruling from Ninth Circuit 

After failing to convince the court to remove the term “sexual assault” from the case name, Uber succeeded in requesting a hearing to dismiss the MDL. The rideshare company has long argued that the consolidation of individual lawsuits for pretrial proceedings was inappropriate on account of the diversity of claims, injuries, and applicable laws they pose. 

In response to the December ruling from the appeals court, Uber requested a two-month stay for the proceedings of the MDL. At this point in time, neither the recently appointed Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee nor Judge Breyer have responded to Uber’s motion.

December 12, 2024 - Uber Loses Bid to Change Name of MDL Referencing "Sexual Assault"

The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) issues an opinion they will not change or remove the term "sexual assault" from its name for federal Uber sexual assault cases that have been coordinated before Judge Breyer in the Northern District of California. Uber's lawyers claimed the term presumed judgment against the defendant and cited other MDLs wherein the name was changed. 

October 11, 2024 - Uber Sexual Assault Cases Centralized in Northern California

A panel of Federal Judges that comprise the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation has consolidated nearly eighty (80) lawsuits before Judge Charles R. Breyer in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. The consolidation of all existing federal lawsuits is known as multidistrict litigation (MDL) and the number of lawsuits within the MDL will only grow from here.

Defining Sexual Assault 

Although sexual assault is often used as a broad term to encompass any kind of unwanted sexual contact or overture, the actual definition is more specific. In an Uber rideshare claim involving sexual assault, this distinction is important because it emphasizes the severity of the violation. A sexual assault describes the perpetration of a sexual act against a non-consenting party.

In cases where a passenger is underage, intoxicated, asleep, or mentally incapacitated, there is already an implied lack of consent, and the term sexual assault would still be applicable. Sexual assault is used to reference a single incident, which may involve people of any gender, size, age, race, or occupation. That said, the dynamic in most Uber sexual assaults is a male driver violating a female passenger.

Examples of what can be considered sexual assault can include:

  • Nonconsensual kissing of a non-sexual body part
  • Groping over or under clothing
  • Nonconsensual Touching of genitals, breasts, or buttocks
  • Non-consensual sexual penetration of the vagina or anus with digits or an object
  • Rape or attempted rape
  • Being forced, coerced, or pressured to perform sexual acts

It is important not to confuse sexual assaults with physical assaults. Not all sexual assaults consist of violent physical encounters. Sexual assaults are not always violent crimes.

Sexual Assault Versus Sexual Harassment and Sexual Abuse

Sexual assault is a step beyond sexual harassment because it involves an act of physical aggression, even if the act is not overtly violent. Sexual harassment is usually expressed verbally, digitally, or written down. The quintessential example is catcalling, where one person makes a crude or sexually suggestive comment to a stranger on the street. Sending explicit pictures, asking for sexual favors, and making jokes that target another person’s sexual preferences or experiences are all examples.

There are a number of contexts where sexual harassment can occur, including the workplace, schools, hospitals, churches, the military, stores, and virtually any public space. Sexual harassment issues are generally handled internally by an institution or in a civil claim.

The term sexual assault can also be conflated with sexual abuse. Like sexual assault, it can happen to anyone, but it is more common in situations where there is a power imbalance. The dynamic allows the perpetrator to repeatedly harm the disadvantaged party, which is what separates abuse from assault. In many cases, sexual abuse involves an adult hurting a child or a vulnerable person, such as someone who is disabled, elderly, or homeless. Places such as churches, schools, and nursing homes are common sites that provide opportunities for sexual abusers to prey on others.

Sexual Assault Can Result in Physical and Mental Injuries for Survivors 

Many people think of sexual assault as a violent event, and it can be. Perpetrators may use restraints, weapons, or sheer force to subdue their target in order to sexually assault them. In some cases, injury may be inflicted even if the person being assaulted does not physically resist. There can also be internal damage resulting from the assault itself. However, the majority of sexual assaults produce minimal physical injuries. Too often, this is used to gaslight or discredit survivors, which can compound their mental trauma.

The reality is that whether a perpetrator used physical violence, intimidation, manipulation, or some other tactic to carry out a sexual assault, survivors are left with mental scars, even if they do not have corresponding physical injuries.

Types of Injuries Associated With Sexual Assault

The impact of a sexual assault varies widely from person to person, and there is no one right way to process this kind of trauma. Tragically, it is not uncommon for survivors to minimize their experience by rationalizing that it could have been worse or even blame themselves for the assault.

In the aftermath of a sexual assault, many survivors struggle with issues like self-esteem, substance abuse, eating disorders, self-harm, and even suicidal ideation. Survivors with a strong support system, as well as access to mental and physical healthcare, often fare better with recovery.

How Common Are Rideshare Sexual Assaults?

Sexual assault is one of the most common crimes in the United States. According to a recent report, a sexual assault incident occurs every 68 seconds

Rideshares are no stranger to growing sexual assault claims. Both Uber and Lyft were hit with thousands of lawsuits from alleged sexual assault victims. 

Rideshare Sexual Assault Lawyer

These Lyft and Uber sexual assault lawsuits have one thing in common. All claimants allege that Uber and Lyft provided no meaningful safety features to prevent sexual assault incidents. They also claim that these rideshare companies offered no recourse when they reached out.

Uber and Lyft Sexual Assault Statistics

Although rideshare services like Uber and Lyft have existed for over a decade, we have limited data about the rate of sexual assault perpetrated by their drivers. Uber has released two reports containing statistics about the sexual assault complaints it has received, and Lyft has issued one report. The data portrays a grim picture of rideshare safety, particularly for female passengers.

In its first report, Uber revealed that there were 5,981 reports of incidents involving sexual misconduct during 2017 and 2018. Lyft reported 2,351 sexual assault incidents during the same time period, which should not necessarily be interpreted to mean that Lyft rides are safer, as Uber dominates Lyft in the rideshare market in the U.S. Uber’s report divides the allegations into five different categories, including rape, attempted rape, non-consensual kissing of a sexual body part, non-consensual kissing of another body part, and non-consensual touching of a sexual body part.

Both Uber and Lyft reported increasing numbers of rape between 2017 and 2019. Uber documented 247 rapes in 2019, and Lyft disclosed 156 rapes in the same year. Riders are overwhelmingly the targets in cases of rape. Both rideshare companies experienced a major disruption of service due to COVID-19, likely explaining the decrease in incidents during 2020. Despite receiving thousands of sexual assault complaints, Uber and Lyft both claim that 99% of their trips are completed “without incident”. 

Uber released their 2022 U.S. safety report indicating 141 rapes (non consensual sexual penetration) were reported to the company along with 998 sexual assaults during that calendar year.

These companies failed to protect riders whom their drivers victimized.

Sexual assault victims deserve to tell their stories and receive fair compensation for their injuries. 

Ultimately, hiring a rideshare sexual assault lawyer makes it possible to stand up against powerful rideshare companies and fight for the fair compensation you deserve.

Lyft Sexual Assaults May Be More Common Than Once Thought

Lyft reported more than 4000 incidents of sexual assault between 2017 and 2019.

This includes 2300 incidents of non-consensual touching of a sexual body part.

And, most disturbing, 360 incidents of forced penetration (rape, though other types of rapes were reported in separate categories. We are presently representing several individuals who were victims of nonconsensual sexual penetration. Our victims allege a lack of simple safety protocols and procedures contributed to their sexual and physical assault.

And since Uber has a much larger market share of rideshares, it is very likely that incidents of sexual assault and rape are much higher among Uber—despite these statistics being horrifyingly high.

How to Protect Yourself in an Uber Rideshare

While the plaintiffs in the Uber sexual assault claims will hopefully receive the compensation and acknowledgment that they deserve, the hope is that the need for such claims can be eliminated. Obviously, the responsibility for preventing sexual assault lies with individual drivers and Uber. As a passenger, you may be able to diminish your risk by implementing the following safety precautions..

  • Set your pick-up location to a well-lit, public place
  • Make sure your phone is charged
  • Travel with at least one other person, if possible
  • Check the vehicle’s license plate and the driver’s picture before getting in
  • Ask the driver to confirm the name of who they are picking up
  • Sit in the backseat of the vehicle and check that the child locks are off
  • Use Uber’s Share Trip feature to let someone else track your route
  • If you have been drinking, make sure someone else knows that you are taking an Uber home
  • Always act as if you have someone expecting you at your destination at a certain time, specifically a male family member, friend, or partner
  • Keep self-defense tools handy
  • Start recording with your phone if your driver starts behaving inappropriately or makes you feel unsafe, and send it to someone you trust as a backup 
  • If something feels wrong, use the 911 button in the app to contact the authorities, dial 911 yourself, or message the person who can see your route and ask them to call 911

What to Do If You Were Sexually Assaulted by Your Uber Driver

While the majority of Uber rides are completed without incident, it is wise to be prepared if you or someone you know is sexually assaulted by an Uber driver.

Get out of the vehicle as soon as it is safe, and get to a public place. You may be in shock, but it is important to seek medical attention immediately, especially if you suffered severe injuries or were drugged. If you decide to file a claim later on, medical evidence will be essential to validate the severity of your injuries and your account of events to the defendant’s representative.

At the hospital, you can decide to do a rape kit or opt just to receive treatment. During this type of exam, a provider who specializes in dealing with survivors of sexual assault will collect DNA evidence and document your injuries. Generally, if you are at least 18, completing a rape kit does not mean that you have to file a police report. This simply preserves evidence so that you have options in the future. If you can, do your best to gather your own evidence.

Take pictures and videos of your interaction with the driver, your injuries, and their profile on the Uber app. Document every detail you remember, including what time you were picked up and your destination. As a result of this experience, you may have medical bills, need to take a few days off of work, and have ongoing mental health issues from the trauma.

Even if you are not interested in pressing criminal charges, you should consider filing a personal injury claim to seek compensation to deal with the damages. Start by researching experienced sexual assault attorneys and taking advantage of a free consultation to see if you can see yourself trusting them to represent you.

Types of Damages Available in an Uber Sexual Assault Lawsuit

The purpose of civil claims, like personal injury lawsuits, differs from criminal prosecution in that personal injury claims are meant to reimburse the injured party for the losses caused by the defendant’s actions, while criminal courts are focused on punishing the defendant and deterring the behavior. The plaintiff’s losses, or damages, can include monetary costs and the emotional toll associated with their injuries. 

For example, survivors may be burdened by the price of ongoing therapy or take medication to treat their trauma-related anxiety. Financial costs like these would be considered economic damages. The plaintiff’s emotional or intangible losses, such as being unable to have a sexual relationship with their spouse or debilitating anxiety, can be compensated as non-economic damages. Examples of the damages you can claim in an Uber sexual assault lawsuit include:

  • Medical bills
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Mental anguish
  • Lost wages
  • Loss of quality of life
  • Loss of consortium

How Do Rideshare Companies Handle Sexual Assault Claims?

Rideshare companies may treat sexual assault claims with indifference. Many of them ignore claims backed by concrete evidence of sexual assault and rape.

In recent years, 14 women sued Lyft for mishandling their claims. These women accused Lyft of intentionally preventing law enforcement officials from investigating legitimate cases of sexual assault while failing to perform background checks on drivers. 

The verdict is clear.

Rideshare companies will devote tremendous resources to protecting themselves from scandal, bad press, and damaging lawsuits. 

If you survived a sexual assault, you can’t count on the rideshare company to have your best interests in mind. The best way to look out for yourself is by hiring an attorney to represent you in court and hold them accountable. 

How Rideshare Companies Fail to Protect Passengers

Rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft owe a high duty of care to passengers. This is because they regularly match passengers with drivers, who are strangers.

Unfortunately, Lyft only recently required its drivers to undergo continuous background check monitoring. However, this basic security measure is not enough to protect passengers from sexual assault.

Rideshare Sexual Assaults

What’s more, Lyft’s only major security feature is for passengers to call 911 to report sexual assault during or after it takes place. 

If a rideshare driver sexually assaulted you, the company may bear responsibility.

Hire a Lyft and Uber sexual assault attorney to represent you. Rideshare companies traditionally don’t respond well to solo claims. The best way to hold them accountable is by filing an Uber or Lyft sexual assault lawsuit with a reputable personal injury lawyer by your side. 

How You Should Navigate Your Sexual Assault Claim

A successful sexual assault claim requires a substantial preponderance of evidence. This means you’ll need convincing evidence that proves the rideshare company was negligent in handling your ride.

Here are some ways you can help bolster your claim while hiring an attorney:

  • After an Uber or Lyft sexual assault, visit a hospital immediately and call the police. Medical treatment for your injuries and a sexual assault forensic exam (also known as a rape kit) can reinforce your case.
  • File a police report. Provide as many details as possible. Try to remember the license plate number, vehicle make and model, and driver’s description. Ideally, give the police a full account of what happened to you. 
  • Report the incident to the rideshare company to begin a paper trail of your incident.
  • Take screenshots of your ride information in the app to show you were in the same vehicle as the assailant.
  • Take pictures of your injuries to show in court.
  • Hire a rideshare sexual assault lawyer to gather evidence, find eyewitnesses, and file your claim.

Uber Sexual Assault Lawsuit FAQs

Is Arbitration With the Rideshare App Necessary?

Arbitration and mediation aren’t required if you file a sexual assault claim against a rideshare app. These companies may pursue either process on a case-by-case basis. 

As a result, take matters into your own hands by hiring an Uber sexual assault attorney. Calling on an Uber sexual assault lawyer will end in two outcomes: You’ll either take your claim to court or negotiate a settlement. You’re more likely to settle out of court.

What Is the Deadline to File a Sexual Assault?

The deadline, or statute of limitations, for a sexual assault claim, varies by the state where the incident took place. Consult your attorney to find out the specific statute of limitations in your state so you can move forward.

Evidence of a sexual assault can quickly disappear as well, so please call LLN today and we can connect you with a rideshare sexual assault lawyer.

Is There an Uber Sexual Assault Mass Tort? Is an MDL a Good Thing?

Since the number of Uber sexual assault lawsuits has been growing rapidly, the cases were recently consolidated into multidistrict litigation (MDL) which allows major parts of all the lawsuits to be done at once to save time for everyone involved.

When a large number of lawsuits are put into an MDL, they are all settled at once in what is called a global settlement. If everything goes well, Uber and any other named defendants will have to pay for the damages they caused the victims through their negligent practices and lack of recourse.

Since an MDL is settled all at once, it is usually a large amount of money that is then split up among the defendants. Each case is ranked based on its severity, injuries, and strength of evidence. Because of this method, it not only ensures you will get your money much sooner than an individual case (assuming there are thousands of similar cases pending) and you may get a higher amount of compensation depending on the tier you fall into.

How Can a Rideshare Sexual Assault Lawyer Help You?

Hold Your Abuser Accountable

Rideshare companies, like Uber and Lyft, are massive corporate enterprises. These companies are armed to the teeth with experienced legal teams who will do their best to protect their clients.

For this reason, filing a claim on your own is a risky bet. When you hire an experienced lawyer, you’ll receive legal assistance and significant resources to pursue your claim and receive due compensation for your injuries. 

The Uber sexual assault attorneys who are part of LLN's legal team are devoted to helping sexual assault survivors seek justice and fair compensation. We believe that many rideshare companies like Uber have failed in their duty to protect sexual assault victims through reasonable security precautions. If you're ready to begin your rideshare sexual assault claim, call (866) 535-9515 today or complete our online contact form for your free consultation. 

We will stand by your side throughout the legal process. Every sexual assault case is different. Our lawyers are experienced in handling claims that arise out of sexual violence and are trained to be empathetic to your needs. We offer a free and confidential consultation to all sexual assault survivors. 

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

Latest News