Uber Sexual Assault Lawyer

January 29, 2024 | Attorney, Matthew Dolman

We Represent Survivors in Lawsuits Against Lyft and Uber 

Rideshare users, like Uber passengers, are effectively putting their trust in strangers to transport them safely to their intended destination. It has become a convenient way for many individuals to travel to and from work or social destinations. Unfortunately, some Uber drivers take advantage of this dynamic and isolation to commit sexual assault against the Uber passenger.

Uber's internal data supports the existence of an alarming and pervasive pattern. Survivors of sexual assault committed by Uber drivers are in the process of seeking compensation for damages like medical bills, emotional distress, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

Uber Driver in car - Uber Ridershare Sexual Assault Lawyer - Dolman Law Group

These brave victims allege that Uber's negligent hiring practices made them more likely to suffer harm caused by predatory rideshare drivers. We represent numerous Uber sexual assault victims who each allege the company failed to implement even simple safety measures to protect passengers.

At Dolman Law Group, our team of experienced Uber and Lyft sexual assault attorneys have been working tirelessly to support survivors in their pursuit of fair settlements and accountability. You can reach out to us at (866) 481-5340 or through our online contact form to schedule a free consultation with a qualified Uber sexual assault lawyer. 

Uber Sexual Assault MDL Update

January 27, 2024 – Plaintiffs Oppose Deadline for Novel Filings

The prosecution in the Uber sexual assault MDL filed a motion opposing Uber’s attempt to limit the number of novel claims seeking entrance to the legal proceedings. The rideshare company’s request is part of its broader campaign to get the MDL dismantled, which recently solicited the intervention of the Ninth Circuit. Judge Gergel has scheduled a hearing in which to address the contentious disagreement this Friday.

January 10, 2024 – California State Supreme Court Asked to Resolve ‘Duty of Care’ Question in Pivotal Sexual Assault Lawsuit

The Ninth Circuit has referred a thorny legal dispute to the Supreme Court of the state of California. The issue pertains to a lawsuit in which a woman claims she was sexually assaulted by an individual who impersonated an Uber driver. The rideshare company contends that it did not owe the passenger a duty of care under the circumstances and asserts that it cannot be held liable for her injuries. 

The outcome of the ruling is likely to have a direct impact on the liability row which parties in the ongoing MDL have conducted for months. 

January 4, 2024 – Appeals Court Agrees to Assess the Merits of Uber MDL

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit granted Uber’s request to assess the merits of the sexual assault multidistrict litigation, in late December. Shortly thereafter, Uber filed a motion with the transferee court in which it seeks a 60-day hiatus for all pretrial proceedings.

Judge Breyer has not issued a response to Uber’s motion, nor has the prosecution filed briefs with the Ninth Circuit or the U.S District Court for the Northern District of California. For the time being, the legal proceedings are at a standstill.

We have seen an additional two dozen lawsuits filed into the Uber rideshare sexual assault MDL. As this lawsuit generates more attention, many individuals who suffered sexual assault are coming forward to ensure this company is held accountable for placing their profit margins over simple safety measures that would have protected passengers. We believe that Uber will inevitably be held responsible for the numerous reported incidents that have come to light. 

We are also seeing several new lawsuits alleging Lyft failed to protect their passengers as well. Although Lyft sexual abuse claims are not part of this MDL, we anticipate lawsuits against that rideshare company will also be consolidated into its own multidistrict litigation.

December 26, 2023 - Texas Woman Files Lawsuit Against Uber, Accuses Rape

A Texas woman filed a lawsuit against Uber on December 14, alleging that she was raped by her driver in September 2017. The complaint, submitted to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, accuses Uber of neglecting basic safety measures to protect passengers. Among other complaints, the lawsuit filing stated that "While Uber has, in recent years, publicly acknowledged this sexual assault crisis—including through the publication of Uber’s U.S. Safety Report in December 2019—Uber has failed to implement basic safety measures necessary to prevent these serious physical and/or sexual assaults, which continue to occur to this day." The case adds to federal MDL lawsuits alleging Uber's failure to implement adequate safety protocols to prevent such assaults.

December 16, 2023 - Judge Breyer Appoints Leadership In Uber Rideshare Sexual Assault MDL

Justice Breyer has appointed three women to serve as co-lead counsel to head up the Uber sexual assault MDL along with eleven lawyers to serve in leadership. As of date, 153 lawsuits have been filed naming Uber as a defendant with similar claims. All lawsuits contain common allegations Uber deviated from their duty to safeguard passengers by failing to conduct thorough background checks of drivers which would have prevented sexual predators from for the app. Further, many lawsuits allege Uber failed to properly train drivers in the context of sexual abuse and refused to provide cameras inside the vehicle. 

In his pretrial order, Judge Breyer ordered the plaintiff and defense counsel to confer and submit proposals for a pretrial discovery plan and a schedule to brief the forthcoming motion to dismiss. 

December 15, 2023 - Horrific Sexual Assault by Lyft Driver is a National Story

Although Lyft sexual assaults are not included in this MDL, we anticipate all Federal lawsuits will inevitably be consolidated into its own multidistrict litigation. We represent survivors of sexual assaults in a Lyft. A recent story broke of a women who fell asleep in a rideshare vehicle and was raped by her Lyft driver

December 12, 2023 - Judges Deny Uber's Request to Rename Multidistrict Litigation

Representatives for Uber requested that the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) change the name of their case from “In re Uber Technologies Inc Passenger Sexual Assault Litigation” to “In re Uber Rideshare Litigation”. They argued that the plaintiffs have yet to prove that they experienced sexual assault perpetrated by an Uber driver, but by including the term in the name of the MDL it insinuates that the plaintiffs’ accusations are already fact. 

Uber’s representatives believe that allowing the term “sexual assault” to remain would constitute an unfair bias and prematurely imply that the rideshare company was liable for the plaintiffs’ damages. Attorneys for Uber also cited a recent instance from 2018 where the JPML updated the name of a case, where plaintiffs alleged General Motors had sold them vehicles with defective air conditioning units, to a less controversial title as a precedent for their current argument. 

They noted that a panel of judges in California, where the Uber sexual assault MDL has been transferred, has approved removing references to sexual assault from the names of the rideshare claims. Ultimately, the JPML rejected the name change bid on December 12th, 2023, reasoning that the original version including the reference to sexual assault allegations was appropriate for the sake of clarity and in line with past naming conventions.

October 10, 2023 - JPML Consolidates Uber Rideshare Sexual Assault Lawsuits

The Joint Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) ordered the transfer of 44 (forty-four) sexual assault lawyers to the United States District Court for the Northern District of California (San Francisco) in the creation of an Uber Rideshare MDL (Multidistrict Litigation). Judge Charles Breyer will preside over all sexual misconduct lawsuits.

Why You Should Trust Dolman Law Group to Negotiate Your Uber Sexual Assault Claim or Lyft Sexual Assault Lawsuit

Girl Sitting In Uber Concerned. Photo by Dolman Law Group Uber Sexual Assault Lawyers

Dolman Law Group has proudly advocated for clients who have been wrongfully harmed due to another party's negligence, including sexual assault survivors

We have handled over 400 individual sexual assault claims to date constituting a wide array of sex offenses.

Matthew Dolman represented a minor sexually assaulted at a summer camp resulting in a $2.25 million settlement in 2023

He also represented multiple victims of sexual abuse at a juvenile detention center that resulted in an eight-figure confidential settlement.

As accomplished personal injury lawyers, we know the value of providing each case with individualized attention. You can expect us to be thorough, communicative, and compassionate throughout the entire process.

Our sexual assault lawyers at Dolman Law Group strive to leverage existing resources, experience dealing with insurance companies, investigative skills, and legal wisdom to negotiate maximum compensation for our injured clients. Further, it is our willingness to take cases to trial and through verdict that levels the playing field for clients who square off against powerful corporations.

We have the combination of expertise needed to deal with all aspects of Uber or Lyft sexual assault cases. Rideshare sexual assault claims require a thorough understanding of state laws governing liability for companies like Uber and Lyft. The rideshare accident lawyers of Dolman Law Group regularly negotiate claims involving Lyft and Uber, which has allowed us to develop an extensive knowledge of rideshare insurance policies and applicable state laws. 

Not only do we understand the intricacies of rideshare accident liability, but we have dealt with sexual assault claims in many different contexts, including survivors who experienced sexual assault in the military, at the workplace, and in their own church. This has given us valuable experience in collecting evidence, navigating legal standards for sexual assault, and cultivating trust with sexual assault survivors.

Our credibility with survivors is based on the results we achieve, as well as the level of respect and sensitivity we exhibit towards them. It is important to note, that both Uber and Lyft rideshare apps have emergency services options built into their platform.  Over the past three years, there has been growing media attention focused on reports of rape and violent crimes by users of the rideshare app.  While Uber has received the most attention, there is increased attention on Lyft driver sexual assaults.  

Understanding What Qualifies as Sexual Assault

Uber app while in car - Uber Ridershare Sexual Assault Lawyer - Dolman Law Group

Sexual assault is when one person forces unwanted sexual contact upon another person. This act can involve people of any gender, ethnicity, or socio-economic status, though in the case of Uber assault, it is more commonly a male driver attacking a female passenger.

In Uber or Lyft sexual assault lawsuits, there have also been accusations of kidnapping and physical violence related to the sexual assault. The key is that the injured party did not agree to engage in sexual activity or was unable to consent to the contact due to intoxication, age, or impairment. 

This is distinguished from sexual abuse or sexual harassment. Sexual abuse is typically used to describe a repeated pattern of non-consensual sexual contact, usually involving a person who is known to the injured party. These acts can range from non-consensual touching or kissing to non-consensual sexual penetration.  Keep in mind that touching or attempting to touch a sexual or non-sexual body part constitutes assault.

In most cases, sexual abuse applies to situations involving children or other vulnerable people, as they are more likely to be in long-term situations where they cannot escape from their abuser. The primary difference between abuse and assault is that the term sexual assault refers to a single event.

Sexual harassment can often be a precursor to sexual assault. Harassment is seen as a lesser offense, and more often involves civil penalties rather than criminal. If an Uber driver requested a sexual favor, made crass comments about your body, or solicited sexually explicit pictures that would likely be considered sexual harassment. Other acts, like exposing genitals to a non-consenting party, can fall into a gray area between harassment and assault.

Examples of sexual assault can include:

  • Groping over or under clothing
  • Non-consensual kissing
  • Touching breasts, genitals, or buttocks
  • Non-consensual sexual penetration with digits or an object
  • Rape or attempted rape
  • Forced sexual acts, such as oral sex

How Rideshare Sexual Assault Occurs - Uber & Lyft Sexual Assault Lawyers

Rideshare users are in an inherently vulnerable position when they accept a ride from an Uber driver. As a rider, you are in an enclosed space with a stranger who has control of the car, and therefore your safety. Other circumstances can put you at a further disadvantage, such as traveling in an unfamiliar area, under the influence of alcohol, at a late hour, or riding by yourself. Uber drivers with malicious intentions may attempt to exploit this opportunity to perpetrate a sexual assault. 

There a several methods an Uber or Lyft driver may employ to commit sexual assault against a passenger. Sexual assault can be inflicted through sheer physical force, coercion, or manipulation. Physical force involves overpowering the passenger with size or strength. Impaired passengers may lack the coordination to fight off a rideshare driver, placing them at a greater risk of sexual assault. This is especially upsetting considering that Uber and Lyft drivers are heralded as an alternative to drunk driving.

An Uber driver who intends to sexually assault a passenger may also use threats to intimidate their passenger into compliance, such as the prospect of violence. Refusing to take a passenger home, plying them with alcohol or drugs, pressuring them after being rejected, and threatening a passenger’s family or friends can all be tactics used to enable sexual assault. A perpetrator may encourage feelings of shame, fear, or doubt to discourage the survivor from reporting the attack.

Injuries Associated With Sexual Assaults Perpetrated by Uber Drivers

For a survivor to secure compensation for their damages in a personal injury lawsuit, they have to be able to tie their losses to an injury they experienced as a result of Uber’s negligence. Injuries acquired during a sexual assault can range from small cuts that heal on their own to debilitating brain injuries that require surgical intervention, though severe injuries are relatively rare in sexual assault cases. 

It is important to note that sexual assault is not always accompanied by visible physical trauma. Research published in the National Women's Study found that 70% of sexual assault survivors were not physically injured during the rape. While physical injuries can be used as evidence of the assault, their absence should not be used to dismiss a survivor's account of sexual and physical assault.

In addition to the physical component of a sexual assault, most survivors experience long-term mental trauma. This can manifest as flashbacks to the experience, nightmares, insomnia, paranoia about personal safety, self-harm, social isolation, and irritability. Mental injuries can also have physical consequences for sexual assault victims, such as rapid weight loss, recurring pain, and fatigue. The most common types of injuries and health consequences linked to sexual assault include:

  • Bruising around the wrists, inner thighs, or genitals
  • Internal damage, such as tears and bruising, to the vagina or anus
  • Scratches 
  • Trauma to the face
  • Broken bones
  • Unintended pregnancy
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases
  • PSTD
  • Depression
  • Anxiety

(Keep in mind that a rape kit is not always readily available. However, medical records can provide essential evidence.)

Damages Available in an Uber Sexual Assault Lawsuit

Enduring a sexual assault is a destabilizing experience for many survivors. The effects of trauma can bleed into other areas of your life, including your career, relationships, and finances. For example, a survivor who was assaulted by an Uber driver may develop severe depression that causes them to underperform at work and need to see a therapist weekly. The emotional toll of the sexual assault, the cost of a career setback, and the expense of therapy can all potentially be considered damages in an Uber or Lyft sexual assault lawsuit.

While the trauma of such a violating experience cannot be undone, securing compensation in a personal injury lawsuit can help restore some level of what was taken. Economic damages recognize financial losses the plaintiff has sustained, and non-economic damages provide compensation for the intangible costs that resulted from the plaintiff’s sexual assault injury.  Examples of damages in an Uber sexual assault lawsuit include:

Understanding Passenger Liability in an Uber Sexual Assault Claim

Uber Driver in car - Uber Ridershare Sexual Assault Lawyer - Dolman Law Group

In a personal injury lawsuit involving a rideshare company, liability is often complicated because Uber drivers are technically designated as independent contractors (IC) under the law. That means that Uber has less legal culpability for their actions if they harm someone else because they are not considered employees. For example, in an Uber rideshare car accident, the level of coverage offered by Uber depends on whether the driver was actively picking up or transporting a passenger, awaiting a ride request, or using their car in a personal capacity. 

However, Uber and other rideshare companies are not completely absolved of any duty of care to passengers just because their drivers are ICs. In effect, that means Uber could be held liable for a passenger's damages if the company's negligence is responsible for their injuries. Uber is currently facing dozens of claims alleging that they failed to properly screen their drivers or to respond to allegations of sexual assault. 

These actions are not only within their purview but are also part of their legal obligation to passengers to take appropriate steps to reduce their risk of injury. Hence the importance of retaining a lawyer experienced in representing victims of Uber or Lyft sexual assaults. Numerous women have filed lawsuits against Uber and Lyft alleging the rideshare companies 

If plaintiffs can offer evidence that Uber had hired someone with a recent record of sexual assault incidents, or failed to fire someone with multiple complaints of sexual harassment against them, for example, that could be used to establish that Uber reasonably should have known that the driver presented a threat to passengers.

Plaintiffs may then argue that their failure to cautiously vet drivers and failure to remove problematic drivers is a breach of their duty of care, which created the circumstances for the sexual assault to occur. Whether or not courts find this narrative compelling remains to be seen.

Dozens of Uber Sexual Assault Lawsuits Have Been Consolidated

Plaintiffs in Uber or Lyft sexual assault claims say that Uber's safety practices fall short in terms of protecting passengers from being sexually assaulted. Some have pushed for additional screening measures, like incorporating fingerprinting into Uber's background check protocols and extra ride security in the form of a dashcam. In the meantime, survivors are hoping to secure fair compensation for their damages.

As of October 2023, about 80 Uber sexual assault claims have been successfully consolidated against the rideshare company, although in total hundreds of Uber or Lyft sexual assault claims have been filed. Judge Charles Breyer in the Northern District of California will oversee the pretrial process. This consolidation is a significant milestone for survivors, as Uber's terms of use policy has previously precluded class action lawsuits.

The consolidation of the claims can benefit plaintiffs by creating more consistent rulings on issues like what evidence is allowed, allowing them to advocate as a group instead of individuals, and share resources like expert witnesses. Plaintiffs still hold the burden of proof for establishing Uber’s liability, drawing a connection between their injuries and the damages they are claiming, and demonstrating the monetary value of their damages.

What You Should Do If You Were Sexually Assaulted By an Uber Driver

The first thing to do is to get yourself to safety. Aim for a well-lit, busy area if possible. From there, you should seek out medical attention. Even if your physical injuries are minor, it is important to create a third-party record that verifies the severity of your injuries, shows that you received treatment, and connects the injuries to the assault. 

Otherwise, representatives for the defendant may argue that you exaggerated your injuries or postponed treatment so your injuries would worsen to benefit your claim. In addition to seeking immediate medical attention, document everything that you can, and try to make notes about what happened. This includes taking pictures or video of your injuries and the driver’s behavior, taking a screenshot of the driver’s profile, creating a timeline of events, and recording your route. 

You may also want to consider filing a report with law enforcement, as they can conduct further investigations and help preserve critical evidence that can be used to bring criminal charges or pursue a civil claim, depending on the circumstances. If you are interested in exploring your legal options for compensation in a civil claim, you should contact a personal injury attorney who has experience handling both rideshare claims and sexual assault lawsuits. 

How an Uber Sexual Assault Lawyer Can Help You

It takes a highly experienced personal injury attorney to successfully navigate claims involving sexual assault. Survivors may be understandably reticent to undergo invasive exams or provide detailed testimony, physical evidence must be acquired quickly, eyewitness testimony may be hard to come by, and, given all that, the evidentiary standard can be an obstacle. Uber sexual assault claims are further complicated by the involvement of a third party.

The average client does not possess the investigative resources, legal expertise, or schedule availability to compile evidence into a clear, persuasive argument for compensation. Personal injury lawyers are equipped to handle these aspects of your Uber sexual assault case and negotiate a fair settlement. Clients who attempt to represent themselves in complex personal injury lawsuits are often disappointed with the outcome of their settlement.

By hiring an Uber sexual assault lawyer, you are engaging the most qualified person to accurately and reliably advocate for your best interest. They will be able to manage paperwork, interpret legal jargon, coordinate communication between parties, assess the value of your damages, and champion your claim in settlement negotiations.  Additionally, representatives for the defendants are more likely to view your case as legitimate if a personal injury attorney has agreed to represent you, which can work to your benefit in negotiations. Evidence of a crime such as a police report, will be helpful.

Dolman Law Group Has a History of Exceptional Results

As sexual abuse attorneys, we have been successful in securing settlements for clients who have been unfairly burdened with the consequences of someone else's negligent behavior. Over the past decade, we have built a niche practice within our law firm representing victims of sexual abuse in civil lawsuits against the perpetrator and parties responsible for such horrific and negligent conduct. We are committed to delivering superior results, especially in these cases, because we understand that this may be the only form of justice or acknowledgment that they receive.

As our former clients will tell you, we possess the right combination of sensitivity and determination needed to help sexual violence survivors navigate what can be a stressful process and obtain maximum compensation for their damages. We understand that trust is earned, so our team of skilled Uber sexual assault lawyers and Lyft sexual assault attorneys will remain dedicated to negotiating your claim to achieve the best possible result. Our firm offers a free and confidential consultation to all sexual abuse victims.

Dolman Law Sexual Abuse Lawyer Team standing and sitting behind large table

Contact Dolman Law Group For Help With Your Uber Sexual Assault Lawsuit

Rideshare services like Lyft and Uber were intended to provide passengers with a private, safe way to travel. However, numerous and ongoing reports of sexual assault committed by Uber drivers have demonstrated that the company has repeatedly failed to protect passengers by conducting thorough background checks and dismissing dangerous drivers. Plaintiffs in the Uber sexual assault lawsuits argue that this leaves the company liable. 

Our award-winning team of personal injury attorneys is working closely with Uber passengers who have experienced sexual assault to help them recover financial compensation for damages such as pain and suffering, medical bills, lost wages, and loss of quality of life. At Dolman Law Group, we take great pride in providing comprehensive legal services to survivors of sexual assault to maximize their compensation.

We will unapologetically advocate for your needs as your Uber sexual assault attorneys, even if that entails taking your claim to trial to obtain the compensation that you deserve. Our dependable team is available to schedule a free consultation when you reach out to us at (866) 481-5340 or fill out our online contact form. The personal injury attorneys of Dolman Law Group are prepared to offer you the legal support you need to settle your claim so that you can focus on recovering.

Our compassionate team of sexual assault attorneys will tirelessly work to pursue compensation and maximize your financial recovery. We have filed many recent lawsuits on behalf of sexual abuse survivors throughout the U.S.

Sexual abuse lawsuits are much different than your ordinary personal injury case and it is essential to retain a law firm experienced in holding wrongdoers accountable for the harm they have caused.

We offer a free case review and confidential consultation on your potential legal action.

Frequently Asked Questions About Uber Sexual Assault Lawsuits

What safety precautions can I take to reduce my risk of being assaulted in an Uber?

While the onus is not on the survivor to prevent their assault, taking proactive steps can offer an additional level of protection and peace of mind.

  • Check the license plate and driver photo provided by the app against who picks you up
  • Ask your driver to confirm who they are picking up before getting into the car
  • Ride in the backseat and check to make sure the child lock is off
  • Share your ride with a friend or family member
  • Watch your route as you’re traveling
  • If your driver starts behaving in a threatening manner, trust your instincts and contact the authorities
  • Never reveal that you are returning to an empty apartment or house; say that someone is expecting you at a specific time
  • Use your phone to record if you have an unsafe interaction

How common is sexual assault by an Uber driver?

In a publically released report referencing 2019 and 2020, Uber stated that they received:

  • 3,824 complaints of sexual assault and misconduct
  • 998 sexual assault incidents overall
  • and 141 rapes

These statistics were all published in Uber's own safety report which detailed claims of physical and sexual assault.

Sometimes Uber drivers are assaulted, and they deserve compensation too. But riders were the injured party in about 61% of the sexual assaults.

And since 63% of sexual assaults are not reported, that number is likely much higher.

Uber's rapes and incidents of sexual assault were down overall in 2020 because business was crippled by the Covid-19 pandemic and ridership plummeted, according to the company’s 2019-2020 U.S. Safety Report released Thursday.

How Much Does it Cost to Hire an Uber or Lyft Sexual Assault Lawyer?

The type of attorney needed for Lyft sexual assault cases is one experienced in representing victims of sexual abuse. Our lawyers do not charge clients before providing services. Instead, an Uber or Lyft sexual assault lawyer will review a case, agree to represent the client if they believe the claim warrants compensation, and then represent the client free of charge until the claim is settled. After the claim is settled, Lyft sexual assault lawyers recover a contingency fee directly out of the settlement or court awards, equaling about 33% of the total amount negotiated. If the claim is not settled, the client does not have to pay for the personal injury attorney's services.

 

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 successfully fought for more than 11,000 injured clients and acted as lead counsel in more than 1,000 lawsuits. Always on the cutting edge of personal injury law, Matt is actively engaged in complex legal matters, including Suboxone, AFFF, and Ozempic 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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