Rideshare services, such as Uber and Lyft, have become one of the most popular modes of public transportation in the last 10 years. Even after the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, millions of people around the country request Uber and Lyft rides on a regular basis. Tragically, though, thousands of people have suffered from Lyft and Uber sexual assault before, during, or after their rides. Most of these sexual assault allegations come from female passengers. In fact, dozens of passengers have filed lawsuits against the rideshare companies. As a result, both Uber and Lyft have been pushed to release reports about sexual assault data as well as implement basic safety measures in order to protect passengers.
If you have been sexually assaulted during an Uber or Lyft ride, you may have grounds to file a civil lawsuit in order to recover damages. The San Antonio sexual abuse lawyers at Janicek Law have the skill and experience necessary to fight for your justice. Call 210-366-4949 to schedule a free consultation at our law firm today.
What is Ridesharing?
Ridesharing is basically the modern day taxi hailing. Instead of standing on a busy street, trying to hail a taxi to get where you’re going, all you have to do is download an app and request a driver from the ride hailing platform. The most popular ridesharing companies are Uber and Lyft. Millions of Americans use these ridesharing services on a regular basis to get where they need to go.
How Common is Sexual Assault in Ubers or Lyfts?
Over the last several years, the two most popular ridesharing platforms have faced a slew of new lawsuits regarding sexual assault allegations. Both Uber and Lyft claim that approximately 0.0002% of their rides end in safety incidents such as sexual assault, physical assault, and/or car accidents. In other words, the average Uber or Lyft rider or driver has a very low chance of suffering some kind of harm. Sexual assaults, physical assaults, and car accidents still happen though, and each company should take responsibility and spread awareness.
Uber Safety Report Data
There have been 9,805 Uber sexual assault reports between the years of 2017 and 2020. The victims were Uber drivers in 43% of the reported cases between 2019 and 2020. It is very possible that the actual number of sexual assaults is much higher because not all victims feel brave enough to report their safety incident.
Lyft Safety Report Data
There have been 4,158 Lyft sexual assault reports between the years of 2017 and 2019. Again, the actual number of sexual assaults could be much higher because not all victims report their incidents out of fear and shame.
Common Types of Sexual Abuse in Ubers or Lyfts
Both Uber and Lyft revealed that the five most severe categories of sexual assault are:
- Non consensual sexual penetration (rape)
- Attempted non consensual sexual penetration (attempted rape)
- Non consensual kissing of a sexual body part
- Non consensual kissing of a non sexual body part
- Non consensual touching of a sexual body part
According to Uber sexual assault data, attempted rape occurred in approximately 1 in 7,000,000 completed trips. Rape and non consensual kissing of a sexual body part occurred in approximately 1 in 5,000,000 U.S. trips. Non consensual kissing of a non sexual body part occurred in approximately 1 in 3,000,000 completed trips. Finally, non consensual touching of a sexual body part occurred in approximately 1 in 1,000,000 completed trips.
Lyft sexual assault data looks similar. Rape occurred in approximately 1 in 5,000,000 completed trips while attempted rape occurred in 1 in 5,500,000 completed trips. Non consensual kissing of a sexual body part occurred in approximately 1 in 3,500,000 completed trips. Non consensual kissing of a non sexual body part occurred in approximately 1 in 3,000,000 completed trips. Finally, non consensual touching of a sexual body part occurred in approximately 1 in 800,000 completed trips.
Can You Sue Uber or Lyft for Sexual Assault?
Yes, you can sue Uber or Lyft for sexual assault if one of the following applies to you/your situation:
- You were sexually assaulted by an Uber driver between the years of 2009 and now,
- You were sexually assaulted by a Lyft driver between the years of 2012 and now,
- The sexual assault occurred when the rideshare driver was officially working for the company either before, during, or after the victim used the rideshare company.
You could also sue the rideshare companies over other issues, such as failing to perform background checks on drivers, failing to investigate or follow up on sexual assault allegations, and generally failing to protect passengers. A San Antonio sexual abuse lawyer at Janicek Law can review the details of your case and help you obtain justice from the rideshare company in question.
Both rideshare companies have faced several lawsuits in the last several years. The most notable class action lawsuit filed against Uber represents 550 victims of sexual assault, kidnapping, and other attacks according to a 2022 news report. At least 150 other attacks are being actively investigated according to the same report.
Meanwhile, Lyft is currently facing multiple lawsuits, filed in 2022 by eleven passengers and two drivers. Most of the victims in all of these lawsuits are women.
Uber and Lyft Settlements
Uber paid $9 million to improve passenger safety measures in an agreement with the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and the Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network (RAINN). $5 million will go towards the California Victim Compensation Board, $4 million will go towards addressing violent attacks within rideshare companies, and $150,000 will go towards California’s general fund.
Meanwhile, Lyft agreed to a $25 million settlement with hopes of resolving claims that the company hid safety incidents – such as sexual assault – from the public.
Sexual Assault Damages
Obviously, lawsuits cannot undo the sexual trauma that has occurred. Instead, lawsuits allow victims to receive financial compensation for the damages that they have suffered due to the attack. A passenger or driver who has suffered sexual trauma can potentially recover compensation for the following types of damages:
- Past and future medical bills
- Lost wages
- Emotional distress such as PTSD
- Mental health counseling bills
- Physical pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium
If you have suffered one or more of these damages due to your sexual assault, allow our team of sexual abuse lawyers to fight for your justice.
How Rideshare Companies Are Protecting Passengers
Both Uber and Lyft have increased their basic safety measures over the last several years in response to all the lawsuits. Listed below are just some of the safety measures that both rideshare companies have recently implemented in order to protect passengers and drivers.
- Background Checks: Drivers must undergo background checks before starting their job and again on an annual basis. People with violent criminal convictions and DUIs cannot become rideshare drivers.
- RideCheck: The rideshare app can detect when a car stops or drives off course via GPS tracking. If either of these things happen, the app can immediately connect riders to emergency services.
- Emergency Button: Both rideshare apps have an “emergency button” that riders can use in order to immediately get in touch with a 911 operator. The rider’s exact location can be shared with police and EMTs.
- Incident Report Line: Both rideshare companies have an incident report line. If you suffer a violent attack in an Uber, you can submit a report here. If you suffer a violent attack in a Lyft, you can submit a report here. Speaking up about physical or sexual trauma is extremely scary, but necessary. Not only will filing a report help you, but it can help other victims as well.
Call a San Antonio Sexual Abuse Lawyer at Janicek Law Today
While both rideshare companies maintain that both physical and sexual assaults are incredibly rare before, during, and after their rides, violence still occurs every day. Even one violent attack is one too many. If you have suffered from a Lyft or Uber sexual assault, you’re not alone. The sexual abuse attorneys at our San Antonio law firm want to pursue justice and compensation for all victims of violence and negligence through civil lawsuits. Call us today at 210-366-4949 to schedule a free consultation.