Uber and Lyft Sexual Assault Lawyers

By:   Michael A. Winkleman

uber-driverIn recent years, the popularity of rideshare services like Uber and Lyft has exploded. These services are widely available and convenient, but you never know who is going to be coming to pick you up. Most drivers are just trying to finish the job, but some have more nefarious intentions than simply driving you to your destination. We have decades of experience in successfully handling rape and sexual assault claims, including numerous million and multi million dollar settlements in rape and sexual assault cases.  If you have been raped or assaulted while in an Uber or Lyft, let us put our experience to work for you to obtain justice and maximum compensation under the law. 

Recent Uber and Lyft Sexual Assault Incidents

Uber reported receiving almost 6,000 complaints of sexual assault involving their drivers or passengers in 2017 and 2018. The rate of serious sexual assault incidents went down from 2017 to 2018, but reporting rates for sexual violence and misconduct are low, so this doesn’t necessarily mean the service has gotten any safer. And it’s not just passengers who need to be wary. In nearly half of these incidents, the person accused of sexual assault was actually the passenger, and the driver the victim.

Lyft once had a better reputation than Uber regarding sexual assault cases, but that has begun to change. Dozens of women have filed recent lawsuits against Lyft, alleging that the company did not do enough to prevent sexual assault, and in some cases, that the company did little or nothing in response to their reports of such incidents.

What constitutes sexual misconduct during An Uber or Lyft ride?

Sexual misconduct during an Uber or Lyft ride can range from harassment, to unwanted touching or kissing or even  rape or sexual assault. Other forms of sexual misconduct  may also include masturbation, sexual propositioning, or verbal threats of assault.  Sadly, it currently appears that Uber does not even include these types of incidents in their reporting of sexual assault involving their service, although the definition of assault requires only the fear of imminent harm and does not preclude non-physical altercations from being considered assault.  Actual physical harm to a victim, if it occurs, typically becomes the separate crime of battery.  No matter the type of sexual misconduct, it is likely actionable against the company.  

woman-getting-an-uber

Can you sue Uber as a passenger if another passenger sexually assaults you?

Yes, under certain circumstances.  For example, if the other passenger is exhibiting behavior that should cause the driver to have concern for another passenger’s safety, then the driving needs to notify law enforcement and demand that the other passenger leave the vehicle immediately.  As such, if you are sexually assaulted during an Uber or Lyft ride, you may be able to claim compensation, even if the assailant was a fellow passenger. Uber and Lyft have a legal obligation to keep passengers (and drivers) safe during the provision  of their services. Because Uber and Lyft as companies have a legal duty to only recruit and work with qualified drivers, they may be held responsible if a known offender is allowed to become a driver on their behalf. The assailant may also be sued directly.

Common Damages In Uber or Lyft Sexual Assault Cases

The victim of an Uber or Lyft sexual assault incident may be entitled to receive damages for their ordeal. What types of damages you may be entitled to depend on the particulars of your case, but a victim may be qualified to receive any or all of:

  • Compensation for medical bills relating to the incident
  • Compensation for the cost of mental health treatment
  • Compensation for lost wages
  • Pain and suffering and related noneconomic damages.  

Average Settlement for an Uber or Lyft Sexual Assault Case

The value of a sexual assault claim against Uber or Lyft is difficult to predict with a high level of certainty, but we can consider some generalities regarding these types of cases. Your claim will depend on the specific circumstances of your case and your injuries, but sexual assault victims are frequently found to be entitled to significant financial compensation.  An average value may actually be misleading due to a few extremely high-dollar settlements skewing the average, but a typical assault or battery claim against a corporation is generally a significant injury with a high value.  

The amount of damages you can claim will depend on what your injuries and costs were. For example, you would be entitled to payment of your medical bills and mental health treatments relating to an incident that Uber or Lyft is held responsible for, and you may be awarded significant additional compensation for your pain and suffering or severe emotional distress.

What You Should Do if You are Sexually Assaulted in an Uber or Lyft

If you have been the victim of a sexual assault that occurred while you were a passenger or driver using a ride-share service like Uber or Lyft, the first thing you should do following the incident is to  report the crime to the police. This is the only way that your assailant may be criminally charged. It is crucial to notify law enforcement as soon as possible after an assault so that evidence may be collected and an investigation promptly opened. Reporting to the police promptly can lead to evidence being investigated and gathered while it is fresh and still available. Things like security camera footage often get recorded over and thereby destroyed after a certain amount of time. Records may also be inadvertently or intentionally lost.  

The next step should be contacting an experienced law firm that has the knowledge and the resources to successfully help you obtain the maximum recovery under the law.   We have decades of experience in successfully handling rape and sexual assault claims, including numerous million and multi million dollar settlements in rape and sexual assault cases.  If you have been raped or assaulted while in an Uber or Lyft, let us put our experience to work for you to obtain justice and maximum compensation under the law.    

Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A. is highly experienced in hotel rape and cruise ship rape cases and will help you fight for the compensation you deserve. Call Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A. at 877-233-1238 for a free consultation to discuss your case and find out what our award-winning and highly respected attorneys can do for you.