Our Attorneys have filed lawsuits against UBER and LYFT for sexual assault and are continuing to investigate other claims sexual assault against the ride sharing company Uber, following reports their drivers have been involved in sexual assaults.
Allegations have been made regarding both Uber sexual assault and Lyft driver rape of passengers in their vehicles.
The lawsuits against Uber allege the company was negligent in hiring drivers, putting passengers-especially female passengers-at risk of harm.
Uber Sexual Harassment Becomes Assault
Uber Technologies Inc. faces lawsuits alleging the company negligently hired drivers without conducting proper background checks.
The lawsuits allege the company markets itself as having an “industry-leading” background check process, but plaintiffs allege the company actually uses a process designed to quickly hire new drivers at minimal cost to the company, putting passengers at risk of a potential Uber rape.
Uber released its first safety report in early December 2019 and noted that it had reports of 3,045 sexual assaults, nine murders and 58 crashes in its US rides in 2018.
One Uber sexual assault lawsuit was filed earlier in 2017 in California, by a woman who alleges she was sexually assaulted by her Uber driver.
Meanwhile, a different lawsuit was filed by a Chicago woman, who alleges her Uber driver sexually assaulted her, refused to let her out of his vehicle until she gave and confirmed her phone number, and sent her a harassing voicemail.
The lawsuits are not the first sexual assault lawsuits Uber has faced. In 2016, the company settled a lawsuit brought by two women who alleged they were sexually assaulted by their Uber drivers. The lawsuit was settled for an undisclosed amount.
Uber initially argued it was not responsible for its drivers’ behavior because they are contractors, not employees. But a federal court judge dismissed the company’s argument, siding with the Uber victims.
Also in 2016, Uber also reached a settlement with prosecutors in which the company agreed it would stop marketing its background checks as being “the gold standard” in background checks.
CNN Report: More than 100 Uber Drivers Accused of Sexual Assault
In April 2018, CNN conducted its own investigation into Uber drivers and sexual assault. The report, which involved examining police reports, court records and county databases for major U.S. cities found evidence that at least 103 Uber drivers in the U.S. were accused of sexually assaulting or abusing their passengers in the past four years.
Meanwhile, 31 drivers have been convicted for serious crimes, including false imprisonment and rape.
The same report found 18 Lyft drivers accused of Lyft sexual assault in a four-year period. Of those, four were convicted as of the time of the CNN report. In two cases, drivers pleaded guilty to charges related to sexual assault while they worked for both Uber and Lyft.
Among the major cities that received numerous Uber sexual assault complaints:
Los Angeles (13)
In some jurisdictions where state agencies can compel a background check, the state agencies have disqualified drivers that were approved by the ride-sharing company.
In Maryland, the Public Service Commission reportedly disqualified 1,653 drivers who passed ridesharing companies’ background checks for having criminal records.
Uber Reported 3,045 Sexual Assaults
According to Uber’s report, the company received 3,045 reports of sexual assault during its US rides in 2018. The same year, the nine people were murdered and 58 died in crashes. In comparison, The New York Times examined reports of sexual assaults on New York’s transit system and found 533 reports for 2018.
In 2017, Uber received 2,936 reports of sexual assault. It categorized everything from unwanted kissing to rape as sexual assault.
Although the report included both passengers and drivers as victims, Uber said 92 percent of reported rape victims were drivers. Other sexual assaults were split around 50 percent between drivers and passengers as victims.
In addition to sexual assault reports, Uber noted 10 murders in 2017 and nine murders in 2018.
In seven murders the driver was the victim, in eight the passenger was the victim and four murders involved third parties, such as someone outside an Uber vehicle.
In 2017, there were 49 fatal Uber trips. That number jumped to 58 in 2018. Fatal accidents included scenarios where a passenger was hit after leaving the car and crashes where the other driver was at fault.
Although Uber says 99.9 percent of its trips end without safety incidents, it is important to remember that in the case of sexual assaults, Uber is relying on the incidents being reported.
Sexual assault typically has low reporting rates, which means the actual number of non-consensual sexual incidents in Uber trips could be much higher than reported.
According to RAINN, only around 25 percent of sexual assaults are reported to authorities. Among the reasons for not reporting is fear of retaliation, fear nothing will be done to help, and the belief that the incident was not important enough to report.
Furthermore, reporting rates drop even further if the victim has been drinking, which is a common factor in these Uber sexual assaults.
As a result, it is reasonable to assume that there are thousands more sexual assaults that occur on Uber trips than are reported to the company.
Uber Personal Injury Lawyer
Uber face allegations they have not done enough to ensure passenger safety and repeatedly refuse to require fingerprinting or thorough background checks for their drivers.
Uber, meanwhile, has faced repeated concerns that it misleads customers about its driver screening process.
If it is negligent in hiring drivers and those drivers sexually assault or harm passengers, the company must be held accountable.
If you have been a victim of sexual assault by an Uber driver Cutter Law’s Uber Injury Lawyers are available to discuss your situation and advise you of your rights.