Uber Lyft Sexual Abuse and Assault

Since 2009, Uber has been the market leader in ride-hailing apps, having reimagined the way that people get where they need to go. Since its launch, Uber has contracted with around 4 million drivers across the globe – a structure that sidesteps the liability of directly hiring someone whenever issues of sexual abuse or assault arise.

And these issues have certainly come up. In late 2019, Uber disclosed that it had documented around 6,000 total reports of sexual assault in 2017 and 2018. This number included 235 instances where passengers reported being raped while using the ride sharing service.

Yet these numbers probably barely scratch the surface, as incidents of sexual abuse and assault are chronically underreported. If you’ve been the victim of sexual abuse or assault while taking a ride in an Uber or Lyft, it may seem daunting to try and bring a lawsuit against these ride sharing giants. The team at McEldrew Young Purtell Merritt has years of experience in handling these types of cases, and is ready to support you in bringing those responsible for your assault to justice. Not only the driver themselves, but the companies protecting them as well. 


Is Lyft Safer Than Uber?

In the wake of repeated scandals on Uber that led to the #DeleteUber movement, rideshare competitor Lyft rose to prominence. Lyft captured nearly 40 percent of the market share in the United States as it approached its 2019 initial public offering, with Lyft touting a “woke” image, and contrasting itself with Ubers “techbro” culture.  

But In October 2021, Lyft reported that it had collected more than 4,000 reports of sexual assault between 2017 and 2019. This number includes a 360 reported cases of rape; a number far higher than the reports from Uber, despite the fact that Lyft serves fewer passengers than its competitor. Lyft’s report was released nearly two years after Uber released its data, and the company has yet to comment on the delay in reporting. 


Types of Sexual Abuse and Assault Reported on Uber and Lyft

Both Uber and Lyft have seen the problem of sexual abuse and assault in their vehicles grow worse every year, as the companies’ businesses grow larger and larger. The most commonly reported type of assault mentioned in both reports is a non consensual touching of a sexual body part. 

The other categories of assault mentioned in both reports are:

  • Non consensual kissing of a non sexual body part
  • Attempted non consensual sexual penetration
  • Non consensual kissing of a sexual body part
  • Non consensual sexual penetration


What Happens After You Report a Sexual Assault to Uber or Lyft?

Contrary to what many might imagine, Lyft and Uber do not automatically report incidents of sexual assault or abuse to law enforcement. Both companies rely on the person doing the reporting to reach out to law enforcement on their own. 

Uber uses a three-strikes system, which allows dangerous drivers to continue driving for the company until three uncorroborated allegations are made. Even if the accusations against the driver are egregious, Uber usually allows them two strikes before acting to remove the driver. And since Uber doesn’t report these accusations to the police, they are left without tools like a rape kit or a police report that would allow them to dive deeply into these allegations.


Taking on Big Companies Requires Experience and Determination

At McEldrew Young Purtell Merritt, we pride ourselves on having assembled a team with the depth of knowledge and experience to take on the toughest cases. Associate Marcus Washington has a long career of standing up for the injured, with extensive trial experience in both State and Federal Courts. 

As an Assistant District Attorney with the Philadelphia District Attorney’s office, Marcus advocated tirelessly for the victims of sexual assault and abuse. After several successful years as a prosecutor, Marcus joined one of Pennsylvania’s most reputable civil defense firms, and spent the next few years defending organizations against claims of sexual assault. This experience has taught him how these insurance companies think of and value cases, and he now uses this knowledge to obtain justice for his clients. If you were sexually assaulted while using Lyft or Uber, contact our team today for a free consultation by calling 1-866-333-7715, or reach out online via our form.