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Uber & Lyft Lawsuits - Sexual and Physical Assaults

Last Updated: November 12, 2023

Companies like Uber and Lyft have – seemingly overnight – have changed the way millions of us think about getting around towns and cities. As pioneers of so-called ride-hailing – or ridesharing – apps, these companies have revolutionized the idea of taxis, introducing new business models that promise a smarter, more efficient, and cheaper deal for the customer. However, despite the advantages, with the new business model for the ridesharing industry comes many concerns about the safety of passengers.

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There have been concerns over a huge number of assaults on passengers. Uber’s long-awaited safety report in 2019 showed that passengers (and some drivers) reported almost 6,000 cases of sexual assault across 2017 and 2018. Those figures are for Uber in the United States alone. Uber and Lyft operate around the world, and many non-American companies, like Ola (India/Australia) and Didi (China), have also had issues with drivers assaulting passengers.

Uber & Lyft Lawsuits - Latest Updates November 2023

  • November 8, 2023 - Lyft permanently bans suspected driver's account following USC student rape allegations in the early morning hours of November 1st, 2023 in south California.
  • November 1, 2023 - The sexual assault victims suing Uber notch a legal victory in their long battle.
  • October 13, 2023 - Uber sexual assault survivors call for in-car cameras.
  • October 1, 2023 - Uber faces lawsuits after sexual assault victims allege that the company does not have proper safety checks.
  • September 1, 2023 - A woman is suing Uber, alleging a driver sexually assaulted her after she fell asleep in the back seat of his car, a ride she summoned because she felt it too unsafe to drive herself after drinking with friends.
  • August 15, 2023 - Alejandro Andres Tochoytochoy, an Uber driver accused of sexually assaulting tourist in Miami-Dade. Miami-Dade police say it happened Friday, August 11, at around 1 am., when Tochoytochoy, 43, picked up a woman who became intoxicated after a night out with friends.
  • August 1, 2023 - Ghazwan Alani, an Uber driver convicted of sexually abusing woman in Elmhurst, IL.
  • July 25, 2023 - Anthony Oliveras-Rivera, a Florida Uber driver accused of raping passenger celebrating 21st birthday had lengthy criminal past
  • July 1, 2023 - Shengfu Wa, 38, a Lyft driver, arrested after a 13-year old Aurora girl reported sexual assault while riding home.
  • June 1, 2023 - Rual Pujols Gonzalez, 36, is accused of sexual assault by an Uber driver in Scranton.
  • May 1, 2023 - Uber driver Luis Deleon, who was accused of forcing a female passenger to have oral sex with him, has been released and must wear a GPS tracking device.
  • April 1, 2023 - Uber driver, Felix Manuel Torres, 38, of Fort Myers, accused of sexual assault to provide correct cellphone passcode, judge rules.
  • March 1, 2023 - Uber introduces a new safety feature to metro Atlanta riders who use rideshare services.
  • February 19, 2023 - Claudio Vizcarra, 45, of Bethesda accused of posing as Uber driver in DC. Vizcarra is charged with 1st degree and misdemeanor sexual abuse for the alleged assaults last year.
  • February 1, 2023 - An ex-St. Louis Lyft driver is charged with sexually abusing a passenger. According to the charging documents, Qandagha Rafi, 32, from the 3900 block Keokuk Street, took a woman to South 15th Street and Market Streets in Downtown West around 2:50 AM Jan. 8. He drove south against the wishes of the woman and pulled over in an alleyway near South Compton Avenue and Meramec Street.
  • January 15, 2023 - Uber Technologies Inc. is being sued by a woman who claims she was sexually abused by a driver in an alley in downtown Los Angeles in 2022, after she requested a ride from a lounge in the area.
  • January 1, 2023 - San Jose Mayor Proposes Ordinance Requiring Rideshare and Taxi Companies To Report Sexual Assaults to Law Enforcement to Prevent Future Crimes.
  • December 15, 2022 - Felix Torres, an Uber driver arrested for attacking woman after dropping her off in Fort Myers, FL. Ploice says the victim used an Uber to get a ride home after being out with friends before being attacked.
  • December 1, 2022 - After an Uber driver assaulted a student at Southern Methodist University (Dallas, TX), campus faces safety concerns.
  • November 15, 2022 - Actor and comedian Andy Dick must register as a sex offender after he was convicted of sexual battery for allegedly groping an Uber driver. Andy Dick was sentenced to 90 days in jail.
  • October 1, 2022 - William Mancortes, a former Uber driver is accused of 6 sexual assaults in Massachusetts.
  • September 1, 2022 - Los Angeles Uber driver sexually assaulted a woman while she slept in backseat.
  • August 24, 2022 - Christopher Molina from Chicago IL, an Uber driver charged with zip-tying, sexually assaulting female passenger in back of his car.
  • August 14, 2022 -  Papy Nole, 44, an Uber driver of Burlington, VT, faces charges after a report of sexual behavior by a female passenger last month. It happened just after 1:30 AM on the morning of July 24.
  • August 1, 2022 - Uber and Lyft must adopt measures to prevent sexual assaults, the California Public Utilities Commission for the first time is requiring the industry to adopt measures to prevent such attacks.
  • July 22, 2022 - Uber failed to protect a woman from 3rd party criminals, after Brandon Sherman, an ex-driver at Uber raped her in 2018.
  • July 13, 2022 - Uber is being sued by more than 500 women who claim they were assaulted by drivers who use the rideshare platform.
  • July 1, 2022 - Police profiled an African American Uber driver who called 911 after white passenger pulled knife.
  • June 12, 2022 - Uber horror story: a woman claims her Uber driver texted her repeatedly following her ride, then showed up at her apartment.
  • June 6, 2022 - A complaint filed against Uber Technologies by appellants, Jane Doe Nos. 1, 2, and 3. The Jane Does are women who were sexually assaulted by authorized drivers of the Uber entities' ridesharing app.
  • June 1, 2022 - An Oceanside mother of two is suing Lyft following sexual assault allegations.
  • May 17, 2022 - Uber Massive Data Breach - Uber announced recently that hackers had accessed the phone numbers, email addresses, and names of 57 million customers and drivers. Uber admitted that hackers had accessed the names, email addresses, and phone numbers of 57 million customers and drivers. Uber also paid $100K to cover up the hack.
  • May 1, 2022 - Uber violated federal law by providing "as little information possible" to courts and police, resulting in lawsuit claims. Soha Malik, who worked for Uber, claimed in her lawsuit she was fired because of raising concerns about how the Bay Area ride-sharing company responded to official orders to produce information.
  • April 8, 2022 - After allegedly posing as Fernando Hernandez, a fake rideshare driver was arrested for sexually assaulting a woman. He was bonded out from Broward County jail Friday.
  • April 4, 2022 - Lyft driver charged with raping and robbing a customer at a Florida hotel. Police say the woman gave them her Lyft records, cell phone numbers, and they used that information to identify the driver, 35-year-old Samuel Bucevschi.
  • March 20, 2022 - Uber and Lyft drivers may consider quitting rideshare apps as fuel costs rise. Some even call the new surcharges "insulting".
  • March 1, 2022 - Uber could pay $8.4 million, under proposed agreement for misclassification lawsuit.
  • February 1, 2022 - A man who was paralyzed in an Uber rideshare car crash is suing Uber for $63 million, claiming Uber hired a driver with a dangerous driving record.
  • January 1, 2022 - Earlier last year for the 1st time Lyft & Uber share data about dangerous drivers.
  • December 11, 2021 - A Philadelphia woman who claims she was sexually assaulted by driver has filed a lawsuit against Uber and the driver.
  • December 1, 2021 - Rideshare driver was arrested in Beaverton, OR accused of rape. Beaverton Sheriff's officials said a rideshare driver was accused of kidnapping and raping a passenger.
  • November 19, 2021 - Local governments demand reform on Uber, Lyft Assault reports. Officials are trying to get state data that could help protect Uber and Lyft passengers.
  • November 5, 2021 - Lyft released sex assault report (2017-2019) 4,158 reports of sexual assault including 360 involving rape.
  • November 1, 2021 - 1 in 5 women in the U.S. experienced completed or attempted rape during their lifetime. Nearly 25% of men in the U.S. experienced some form of contact sexual violence in their lifetime. (NSVRC)
  • October 15, 2021 - Lyft got sued over sexual assault by a 24 year old woman from Omaha, NE.
  • September 2, 2021 - Defendants Uber Technologies, Inc., Received court order continuing hearing on petition for coordination – to 11/3/21 by the Honorable Andrew YS Cheng presiding, Judge of California Superior Court.
  • July 16, 2021 - Uber was recently fined $9 million by the Californian Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) for its refusal to hand over data relating to sexual assaults against its passengers and, in some cases, its own drivers.
  • July 7, 2021 - Highlighting the potential dangers for drivers as well as passengers, an Uber driver was stabbed to death in California in July 2021.
  • July 1, 2021 - One Californian law firm has over 800 sexual assault cases involving either Uber or its main rival, Lyft. The cases are at various stages of progression, but well over 100 have been filed in court as of July 1st, 2021.
  • March 11, 2021 - In March 2021, Uber and Lyft agreed to share information on drivers accused of assault. The companies agreed to work with screening company HireRight to stop drivers banned from one ridesharing company from working for the other.
Uber Lyft Lawsuits

While there are various ridesharing companies operating around the world, what links them regarding physical and sexual assault is the fact that assaults are happening – and victims, authorities and campaign groups are unsatisfied with the response to the wave of sexual attacks. Today, however, survivors of sexual assault related to the ridesharing experience are taking a tougher stance, fighting back against companies like Uber and Lyft. Hundreds of lawsuits have been filed against the companies, and specialist Uber assault law firms are calling for more people to come forward to secure justice and compensation if they have been assaulted in a rideshare vehicle.

Uber Sexual Assault Lawsuits

Sexual assaults often go unreported. For example, a study by the DOJ in 2016 estimated that around four out of every five rapes and sexual assaults are not reported to the police. So, even though pressure has been put on ridesharing companies to release data of assaults, it is safe to assume from a statistical standpoint that many Uber passengers have experienced sexual assault and have not reported it to the authorities. As such, rideshare sexual assault lawyers are calling for survivors to come forward and get the justice they deserve.

Sexual Assaults Breakdown By Party

According to NPR drivers are more likely to be the accused party of sexual assault and riders are more likely to be the reporting party of sexual assault. We have to remember that many victims do not report.

Rideshare Sexual Assaults Statistics

Accused PartyReporting Party

Uber Sexual Harassment

Critics of Uber have long held that its hiring policy, lack of driver training and allegedly poor oversight of its drivers’ conduct was always going to be a recipe for disaster. While Uber claims its vetting process is rigorous, critics maintain the company does not do enough to ensure its drivers are properly trained and that the company washes its hands of its drivers’ behavior. It’s become all too common for women to detail cases of sexual harassment and other inappropriate conduct on social media. Sexual harassment has long dogged Uber, even at the executive level. In 2017, the company was forced to fire 20 employees over a toxic workplace culture, which included 100s of allegations of sexual harassment.

Rideshare Sexual Assault Types

Sexual assault is a broad term to describe a multitude of possible acts that are considered criminal. Some of the types of rideshare sexual assaults are listed below:

  • Nonconsensual touching of a sexual body part (vagina, breasts, penis, etc.).
  • Nonconsensual fondling or groping of a nonsexual body part.
  • Nonconsensual kissing of a sexual body part.
  • Nonconsensual kissing of a nonsexual body part.
  • Nonconsensual penetration.
  • Attempted nonconsensual penetration.
  • Forcing a person to perform sexual acts, such as oral sex.
  • Drug-facilitated sexual assault, i.e., the performing of a sexual act after the deliberate incapacitation of a person.
  • Any sexual act involving someone under the legal age, as defined by the state.

The above list is not exhaustive. Additionally, it does not take into account other acts that could be considered sex crimes, such as indecent exposure, sexual harassment, distribution of pornographic material, and so on. In addition, campaigners like RAINN (Rape Abuse and Incest National Network) stress that consent may vary by location and circumstance. Sexual assault can, therefore, occur when people feel coerced or bullied into doing something they would not otherwise agree to do.

 If you believe you have been subject to a sexual assault in a rideshare vehicle, you should contact an Uber sexual assault lawyer. Free and impartial advice is available on your case, and you can start by filling out a simple evaluation form.

Uber Physical Assault Lawsuits

Not all assaults on rideshare journeys are sexual. Physical violence is all too common, and it’s something that endangers both drivers and passengers. One 2020 survey from Uber drivers showed that 53% believed the company must do more to ensure driver safety. Worryingly, the same survey said that 22% of Uber drivers felt compelled to carry a weapon when on duty. But passengers are also in danger. In 2019, for example, a Seattle resident, Brian Gorme, sued Uber for negligence for the hiring of Sharif Soajima (AKA Timothy Clark). Soajima, who had previous convictions for assault and armed robbery, stabbed Gorme in the abdomen after a 2017 Uber ride. Anyone who has been assaulted physically during an Uber ride is urged to contact an Uber assault lawyer to see if they are eligible for compensation.

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Uber History

Founded in 2009, Uber revolutionized the idea of urban transport. The concept was that drivers would be independent contractors, using Uber’s ride-hailing app to pick up and drop off passengers like a taxi service. While many hailed Uber’s model as smarter and more efficient than traditional transportation models, the company has faced many criticisms. For instance, the system of having independent contractors as drivers – and not employees – was seen as a means for Uber to sidestep certain employment rights. More importantly, when it came to passenger safety, critics wondered whether Uber’s independent contractor model allowed Uber to escape accountability for drivers’ actions, including crimes like assault.

Rideshare Sexual Physical Assault Lawsuits

Uber has grown to become a global corporation in the last dozen years. It offers more than ridesharing, incorporating logistics, food delivery and courier services. While there is competition from the likes of Lyft, Uber enjoys a 71% market share of ridesharing in the United States. But as it has grown, so too has the scrutiny and the criticism of the company. From workplace culture to drivers’ rights to passenger safety, some campaigners say Uber falls short. The Uber sexual assault lawsuits are part of that. They are not just interested in securing compensation and justice for sexual assault survivors – they are about ensuring that one of the world’s biggest brands is held accountable and makes the necessary changes so that its millions of passengers are kept safe now and in the future.

Uber Driver Background Checks

Uber performs background checks on its drivers before hiring them. This includes a criminal background check and scrutiny of the drivers’ licensing status. It states clearly that any “serious criminal convictions [including sexual assault] will result in disqualification”. Since 2018, Uber has started a policy of “continuous” background checks on its drivers.

However, comforting that is, Uber’s current background check policy came after years of criticism. In 2018, for instance, an investigation found that thousands of convicted felons were driving for Uber. One driver, Talal Chammout, had a string of convictions, including firearm offenses. As CNN reported, a simple internet search could have provided that vital information on Chammout. Nevertheless, he was hired by the company in 2015. Three months later, Chammout followed a female passenger into her home and committed a sexual assault. Chammout is now serving 25 years in prison.

Uber Safety Report

In 2019, Uber released a long-awaited safety report covering the company’s activity from 2017-2018. It uncovered 1000s of reports of sexual assault, mostly committed against passengers but also drivers in a small number of cases. The Uber Safety Report became national news, with critics contending that Uber had not done enough to ensure passengers (and drivers) enjoyed safe trips. Uber claimed that the sexual assaults represented only a tiny percentage of its journeys (the data covered over three billion trips). Despite this, Uber agreed to bring in new policies. This included sexual misconduct training for drivers and a partnership with RAINN to offer an Uber Survivor Support Hotline. Both of these policies were implemented in 2020.

However, as stated earlier, the majority of sexual assaults go unreported. And it’s extremely likely that the real number of Uber sexual assault cases is much greater than the 6,000 reported across 2017 and 2018. Moreover, the company has been operating rideshare services for 12 years – equaling billions of trips. Anyone who has experienced a sexual assault in an Uber vehicle or by an Uber driver is urged to come forward and speak with a rideshare sexual assault attorney.

Other Lawsuits Against Uber & Lyft

In the United States and abroad, both Uber and Lyft are accustomed to facing legal challenges for reasons other than rideshare assaults. In fact, the business models of both companies often cause them to fall afoul of governments who believe the companies’ practices can lead to poor working conditions, as well as problems for passengers. Below we can highlight some other Uber lawsuits based on these issues.

Uber Lawsuit Wage Theft

A key component of Lyft and Uber’s business models has been to classify drivers as independent contractors, i.e., self-employed drivers, rather than company employees. Various governments have taken issue with this model, suggesting that Uber is exploiting workers and even engaging in wage theft. This was raised in a wage theft lawsuit by California’s Labor Commissioner, who argued that the companies’ policies deprive “drivers of basic rights under California labor law.” The aim of the Lyft and Uber wage theft lawsuit was to recover the unpaid wages that Californian law deemed these drivers were owed by the companies.

Uber Lawsuit Profiling Drivers (Personal Data)

Another lawsuit against Uber was brought by European-based drivers who alleged that the company was withholding important information on the use of their personal data and how they were profiled. This secret performance-related data allowed the company to exercise “control” over the drivers, the drivers alleged. The Uber driver data use lawsuit was important for several reasons, including the fact that Uber’s control of driver data, which it uses to set terms and fees, makes a mockery of the claim that drivers are self-employed businesses. As pointed out by reporters at the time, if Uber wants to claim its drivers are individual businesses in charge of their own affairs, then the company really should have little control over how they are managed. This Uber lawsuit claimed that the reverse was true.

Rideshare Lawsuit FAQ

What is the Uber sexual assault lawsuit?

According to its own safety report, Uber admits 1000s of passengers have been sexually assaulted when using its service. The company has been operating for 12 years, and many more passengers are coming forward to report a sexual or physical assault by an Uber driver.

Why is Uber being sued by passengers?

Uber is being sued by passengers who contend that the company did not do enough to ensure their safety, particularly through its scrutiny of drivers. Thousands of passengers have been sexually assaulted on Uber journeys, and the company, claimants believe, could have done more to protect them. 

How many sexual assaults have occurred during Uber rides?

The number of Uber ride sexual assaults is unknown, simply due to the fact that the vast majority of sex crimes go unreported. Uber itself reported around 6,000 cases across 2017-2018, but the true number is likely to be much higher.

How many passengers have been physically assaulted during Uber rides?

It is not clear how many physical assaults have occurred on Uber rides, but many passengers as well as drivers have reported physical assaults, including stabbings.

What is the statute of limitations on Uber sexual assaults?

The statute of limitations on sexual assault, i.e., the maximum amount of time that can elapse before legal proceedings are initiated, differs from state to state. But many states have statutes of limitations over ten years for serious sex crimes. You can find the full details on time limits of every state on RAINN’s website.

How much is the average settlement for sexual assault cases involving Uber?

Each sexual assault case is unique and, therefore, the level of compensation can differ substantially. But passengers have sued Uber for large amounts in sexual assault cases, including a Washington D.C resident who sued the company for $10 million in 2019.

Is The Uber Lawsuit A Class Action or A Mass Tort?

The Uber sexual assault lawsuit is still at a relatively early stage. While 1000s of cases have been reported, many are waiting to be filed in courts. Moreover, it is hoped that more Uber sexual assault survivors come forward to secure justice.

However, the Uber lawsuit will not be a class-action lawsuit. This type of lawsuit occurs when many people have the same grievance against a company or individual. Each Uber sexual assault case is a serious crime, and each is unique.

Survivors, therefore, will be due different levels of compensation depending on the nature of their case. One way of achieving this is through a mass tort case. In a mass tort case, the plaintiff brings individual cases against the defendant (in this case, Uber). But the cases are linked together in the courts, with lawyers sharing evidence and other details as warranted. This would allow for more efficient handling of the Uber lawsuits in the courts rather than judges hearing 1000s of individual cases.

Uber Lawsuit Compensation

Despite being a relatively new company, Uber has a long history of paying out compensation claims to passengers and employees. By 2016, the company had already paid out $161 million in different lawsuits. And in 2019, it made a $1.9 million payout to its own employees (non-drivers) in a sexual harassment class-action lawsuit.

As for individual payouts in rideshare assault cases, it depends on various factors. Some law firms maintain that sexual assault survivors who meet the criteria can expect $100,000 in compensation from a successful case. Depending on the severity of the assault, Uber lawsuit payouts could reach millions for an individual.

Uber Lawsuit Settlements and Payouts

Before 2018, Uber often settled sexual assault cases out of court. This means that Uber had come to an agreement with the claimant and agreed to pay a sum of money, without going through a trial. Often, the amount of money paid to the claimants was undisclosed, as was the case with two California women who sued the company after being sexually assaulted by Uber drivers in 2016.

Since 2018, Uber has allowed drivers and passengers to pursue sexual assault claims in open court. It’s possible that Uber can still settle cases with individuals, of course, but the change in policy in 2018 has led to more transparency and, hopefully, more assault survivors coming forward to get compensation.

Lyft Lawsuit Settlement

While Uber is the dominant player in the ridesharing industry, it should not be forgotten that Lyft also has a large market share. And, indeed, Lyft faces its own series of sexual assault lawsuits by (mostly) female passengers. Last January, the Associated Press was reporting that Lyft’s “Good Guy” image had been “tainted” by the series of sexual assault lawsuits. Lyft has been operating since 2012, and anyone who has experienced a sexual assault during a Lyft ride is urged to come forward and speak to a rideshare assault law firm to evaluate the possibility of securing compensation.

Rideshare Safety Tips

One of the often-overlooked issues with ridesharing apps is that the vehicles used are unmarked, everyday cars, without company signs and branding. As such, anyone can pretend to be an Uber or Lyft driver. This was recorded in the harrowing case of Samantha Josephson, who was murdered by a fake Uber driver after mistaking his car for her booked ride in 2019. Obviously, you should check that the car that arrives is the one you have ordered – simply look at the booking reference and check the license plate, make and model of the car. Uber sets out some other rideshare safety tips such as:

  • Limit the amount of time outdoors waiting for your ride. The app should tell you when your driver is close by.
  • If worried about the identity of the driver (beyond looking at their credentials), ask them to confirm your name as they would have access to this info when you made the booking. If they can’t confirm your name, assume they are bogus and don’t enter the vehicle.
  • Sit in the back seat and always wear your seatbelt.
  • Share your trip details with friends and family.
  • Give feedback about the trip. Uber now has 24/7 support. If there is a safety issue you are concerned about, you can report it.

For more safety tips and to report an incident please enter: Uber’s US Safety Report

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