Uber Technologies Inc. has reached a settlement in a suit in California state court brought by the family of a 6-year-old girl who was killed by a car the family said was driven by a driver of the smartphone-based ride-hailing service. Six-year-old Sofia Liu was killed and her mother and 5-year-old brother were injured when a driver, who was logged in on Uber’s system, hit them as they were crossing a San Francisco street in a crosswalk. Sofia’s family blamed the fatal collision, which happened on New Year’s Eve in 2013, on Uber’s system of requiring drivers to use the mobile app while driving.
The victim’s family, in a filing with the court, said the parties had tentatively reached a resolution of the wrongful death case. They sought to file the settlement under seal to protect the privacy of Sofia’s brother. It was stated:
This information, if made public, makes him susceptible, along with his family, to identity theft and to individuals taking advantage of the minor when he … comes into settlement funds. Failure to seal the records creates a real risk that the plaintiffs’ financial privacy interests and future well-being are jeopardized.
It was alleged in the suit that when an Uber user places a request for a driver in the area, the driver must respond quickly or risk losing the business and the pay that comes with it. This need for a quick response leads to distracted drivers, according to the complaint. Uber said after the collision that the driver wasn’t working for Uber at the time of the wreck and that his account had been deactivated.
The suit filed by the family sought damages for wrongful death, negligence in a motor vehicle, negligent infliction of emotional distress, negligence, negligence per se, strict products liability, negligent hiring retention and supervision, loss of consortium and wrongful death survival action.
Uber announced in March 2014, after the accident, that it was expanding its insurance coverage for drivers. California Gov. Jerry Brown, in September, signed an amendment to state law boosting the insurance requirements for Uber and other transportation network companies. The new law requires drivers of the services to maintain primary liability insurance coverage of at least $50,000 per person and $100,000 per occurrence of death and personal injury during the time they are working via the companies’ apps. While it’s good that the state will require liability insurance, the amounts are grossly inadequate.
In January, California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones approved a personal auto insurance policy offered by Metromile Inc. for UberX drivers in an effort to close the insurance gap during the prematch period — from when drivers have logged on to the application until they have a passenger match.
Contact us today for a free legal consultation with an experienced attorney.
Fields marked *may be required for submission.
If you would like to subscribe to the Jere Beasley Report digital edition, simply visit our Subscriptions page and provide the necessary information or call us at 800-898-2034.
Attorney Advertising - Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.