News Room

Uber and Sexual Assault

Written on Behalf of Brian Kabateck

August 31, 2018

Complaints and accusations of sexual assault have come from numerous Uber passengers as well as drivers. A recent investigation of the issue by CNN found that 103 Uber drivers across the country were accused of sexual assault or abuse. Since then, stories have continued to pour out of innocent people attempting to use the ride-sharing service to get home from a party or work only to be the victim of some form of sexual misconduct. One individual was sentenced to 80 years in prison because after he was arrested for sexually assaulting a passenger, police found at least five years’ worth of material on his computer of him sexually assaulting other women and even children.

The problem for Uber is two-fold. First, they don’t do sufficient background checks and second, they portray an image of safety to both the drivers and passengers that is not real. While cab drivers often have some sort of glass or partition in the car for protection, and may even have some sort of stick or bat to protect themselves, Uber drivers pick up a few hours of work here and there in their own vehicles and are not prepared to deal with dangerous passengers. Likewise, passengers act as if they are being driven by a professional driver, but truthfully Uber does not recognize the drivers as employees and provide little to no training on any aspect of their job.

Dozens of Uber drivers are currently facing criminal charges and worse, many other drivers have criminal pasts for which they were not screened properly. Uber did not start screening passengers much until there was a public outcry over the issue.

Tips for Female Passengers

There are times of the day and certain situations when Uber is more dangerous. Female passengers riding alone at night in more secluded areas are particularly vulnerable, so if possible ride with someone else (male or female) and that will dissuade certain behavior by potential perpetrators. In addition, while Uber and Lyft do not allow you to request the gender of your driver, there are ride-share programs that are “all female” such as Safr which is a ride-sharing app available in some parts of the country. Cab and limo companies also may allow you to choose a female driver.

Lastly, women who are extremely inebriated are more at risk of being sexually assaulted in almost any situation, but that includes Uber and Lyft rides. If a woman is headed into a situation where she may drink, having a sober person along that night to help with logistics may help prevent a number of potentially dangerous situations.

While Uber is dragging its feet in creating solutions to protect passengers and drivers from sexual assault, women must find effective ways to protect themselves.

While sexual assault and molestation can lead to criminal prosecution, a civil lawsuit is the only way that sexual abuse victims can recover monetary damages for the emotional and psychological harm they’ve suffered.

In some circumstances, a plaintiff can bring a claim against a third party in addition to the perpetrator. Examples include suing a school district if a teacher sexually abused a student or bringing actions against a city and its police department if an officer sexually assaulted a civilian.

A civil lawsuit can enact change, provide remedies and protects the private rights of victims. Although a lawsuit can’t undo the harm caused by the perpetrator, it allows victims to obtain compensation for damages which can pay for medical or therapy bills, loss wages, loss of enjoyment in life and provide a sense of vindication that can help assist with recovery and healing.

If you or a loved one has experienced sexual abuse you must learn more about your legal rights to receive compensation. Give one of our experienced personal injury attorneys at Kabateck LLP a call today to learn more about recovering damages and to explore your options. We can help you achieve the maximum compensation for the harm you or a loved one has suffered.