Each car accident claim is unique. One accident might be caused by a driver's carelessness, while another is caused by poor road conditions. One accident might cause a passenger to have a stiff neck for a few weeks, while another might cause a life-altering brain injury. Similarly, each rideshare passenger who is injured during a ride might have a different theory about what Uber or Lyft could have done differently to prevent the bad outcome. For example, one injured passenger (the "plaintiff") might say Uber should have done better background checks on its drivers, while another plaintiff might argue that Lyft should have inspected each driver's vehicle. (Learn more about Lyft and Uber liability for car accident injuries.)
Because rideshare injury cases are unique, they aren't well suited for a class action lawsuit. A class action involves a single lawsuit filed by a large group of people who have suffered the same harm, typically financial harm.
Most of the class actions filed against Uber and Lyft claim that the companies' business practices caused financial harm to passengers or drivers. Let's take a look at some of the more notable cases.
Class action lawsuits filed against Uber or Lyft have accused the companies of engaging in workplace discrimination, discrimination against disabled riders, improper worker classification, and breach of contract.
United States of America v. Uber Technologie, Inc., Case No. 3:21-CV-08735-WHA
In 2022, Uber settled with the Department of Justice over allegations that it violated the Americans With Disabilities Act by charging wait fees to disabled riders who required extra time to get in their cars. As part of the agreement, Uber will waive wait time fees for riders who certify that they have a disability, and refund disabled passengers who are charged wait fees. Uber will also compensate the 65,000 riders who have signed up for the waiver program with twice the amount of wait time fees they were charged and pay over $2 million to disabled riders who complained and other harmed individuals.
Islam v. Lyft, Inc., Case No. 1:20-cv-03004
In 2020, a Lyft driver filed a class-action lawsuit claiming that the company improperly logs drivers out of the app for performing too few rides in violation ("breach") of its contract with drivers. In March 2021, a court ruled that the class members must arbitrate their claims instead of pursuing a class-action case.
O'Connor, et al. v. Uber Technologies, Inc., Case No. 3:13-cv-03826-EMC
Hundreds of thousands of drivers sued Uber for incorrectly classifying them as independent contractors instead of employees. The parties reached a tentative $100 million settlement in 2016, but a judge rejected the agreement, saying it wasn't enough for the drivers.
In 2019, the case settled for only $20 million because a U.S. Supreme Court decision that upheld the validity of arbitration clauses in employment contracts reduced the number of class plaintiffs from about 385,000 to less than 14,000.
Lopez and Medina v. Uber Technologies, Inc., Case No. 4:17-cv-06255 (YGR)
In 2017, two Uber employees brought a class-action lawsuit on behalf of themselves and more than 400 female and minority Uber employees. The plaintiffs said that Uber engaged in workplace discrimination based on employees' race, gender, and nationality. In 2018, the case settled for $10 million.
Philliben and McKnight v. Uber Technologies, Inc. et al., Case No. 3:14-cv-05615
In 2014, two Uber passengers filed a class action claiming that Uber misled passengers about the extent of its passenger safety measures and the $1 "Safe Rides Fee." The case was settled in 2016 for $28.5 million.
Most personal injury claims, including claims by passengers against Uber and Lyft, aren't a good fit for class actions. Class actions work when plaintiffs' injuries are mostly financial and uniform across the class (see above).
But rideshare personal injury cases that are factually similar can be grouped together in "mass tort" litigation. For example, dozens of Lyft passengers who were allegedly sexually assaulted by drivers filed lawsuits against Lyft claiming that the company failed to screen drivers and adopt safety measures that protect passengers. In January 2020, the cases were consolidated for pre-trial matters in San Francisco Superior Court in JCCP No. 5061.
In June 2021, dozens of Uber passengers filed lawsuits over alleged sexual assault by Uber drivers that were consolidated in San Francisco in JCCP No. 5188. In July 2022, a law firm representing 550 clients filed a lawsuit against Uber on behalf of passengers in multiple states who say they were assaulted by Uber drivers. The law firm is actively investigating 150 more potential claims.
Consolidation of similar lawsuits into federal or state multi-district litigation (MDL) is meant to save time and resources and promotes settlement. But, if the parties can't reach a settlement agreement, individual cases return to their original court for trial.
Learn more about sexual assault lawsuits against Uber and Lyft.
The rideshare legal landscape is constantly changing. If you think you have a claim against Uber or Lyft, you should talk to a lawyer. Get tips on finding the right lawyer for your case. You can also connect with a lawyer directly from this page for free.