Is There an Active Lawsuit Against Uber? What You Must Know

Is There an Active Lawsuit Against Uber? What You Must Know

Established in 2009, Uber Technologies Inc. quickly rose to the ranks of a valuable startup. The backstory of this company is pretty interesting. Two men, Garett Camp and Travis Kalanick, found themselves trapped on Paris’ snowy streets one evening with no taxi in sight.

The pair wondered what it would be like to request a ride simply by using one’s smartphone. Essentially, Uber’s conception was a matter of necessity for its founders. The aim was to enable people to book a cab at their exact location without having to wait for taxis to pass by.

Today, this company is the largest ride-hailing service provider in the world with a 76% market share. It caters to a group of 150 million active users every month. In 2023, Uber made a huge revenue of $37.2 billion. It employs nearly six million couriers and drivers.

Recently, Uber has received much criticism, mainly from women who have sued the company in Federal court. In this article, we will discuss this litigation in detail.

Uber Alleged to be Unsafe for Women Passengers

Women have always been the more vulnerable party when it comes to traveling alone. The debate on whether a woman should take a taxi by herself has been an ongoing one. This is true regardless of day or night.

With Uber, this question remains although the company has technological features for safety. Its community guidelines strictly prohibit sexual misconduct or assault. Uber claims that it consistently upgrades its safety features based on feedback, analytics, and insights from women’s safety experts.

Some of the safety features built into every ride include –

  • Rider accounts are mandatory before a ride is booked. This helps promote confident pickups using the rider’s phone number or email address.
  • Phone number anonymization is facilitated by keeping all contact details hidden for both parties.
  • The ‘Share My Trip’ feature allows the rider’s family and friends to track their movement in real-time.

Despite all this, nearly 2,000 women have filed an Uber sexual assault lawsuit claiming that they experienced sexual harassment at the hands of their Uber driver. The company faces charges of failing to run proper background checks that put its passengers at risk.

Besides the inadequate screenings, Uber has failed to thoroughly implement its safety measures. According to TorHoerman Law, all cases have been consolidated into a class-action multi-district litigation (MDL) for easier handling. It is currently an active litigation, though in its nascent stages.

Who Qualifies to Sue Uber?

The company had a serious obligation to protect its riders against harm, especially in incidents where the driver is responsible. Women who have suffered from a sexual assault by their Uber driver can file a lawsuit for different types of misconduct. Incidents that qualify for suing Uber include –

  • Forced sexual activity of any kind, including non-consensual kissing, touching, or sexual penetration
  • Inappropriate sexual conduct like obscene gestures or indecent exposure
  • Abduction with sexual abuse or threats to do so using physical assault

Women who are eligible to file an Uber lawsuit for sexual assault can do so even if the perpetrator was criminally charged. This is because criminal charges are usually made by the State and not the victim.

They will have to be mindful of the statute of limitations for their state. In general, this may extend anywhere between 2 and 10 years.

Uber’s Response and Settlement Amounts

When one case of sexual assault after another surfaced, Uber conducted a safety survey. The shocking data was released in 2022, with around 998 cases of sexual misdemeanors, out of which 141 involved rape.

Since the news began circulating, the company’s trips across the US experienced a free fall. The average number of daily trips plummeted from 3.1 million to 2.8 million. Uber decided to tighten its driver screening practices.

It implemented a multi-step process that includes the following –

  • Driver background checks are done to see whether a potential driver has a criminal record or any violent offenses. Even annual checks became mandatory if the driver wished to continue accessing the Uber application.
  • Vehicle inspections are 20-point checks to analyze the performance of the vehicle’s routine functions.
  • Drug tests are considered in case of drug-related complaints or suspicion. Uber holds the right to deactivate a driver’s account if they refuse a drug test or fail to pass it.

Concerning the sexual assault lawsuit, plaintiff attorneys have estimated the average settlement amounts to range between $100,000 and $400,000. Cases where forced activities like rape are involved will receive higher payouts. Currently, no settlements have been made. Both sides are preparing for trials to be held in late 2024.

As we discussed, Uber is swamped by an ongoing litigation that questions the company’s integrity and safety practices. Still, in its early stages, the lawsuit will not reach any settlements within this year. If trials are held as scheduled in late 2024, individual payouts may begin by the end of the following year.


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