Uber may have revolutionized the sharing economy with its convenient and easy-to-use app, but there are still legal gray areas when it comes to accidents. As independent contractors, drivers are responsible for carrying the auto insurance that covers not only their vehicles but their passengers as well. But what happens when an Uber driver collides with a pedestrian? Who is responsible then?
Uber Vehicle vs. Pedestrian Accident
Recently, when an Uber contractor operating an autonomous vehicle collided with a pedestrian in Arizona killing her, a tangled web of legal issues began to emerge. The driver had criminal violations in the last seven years but had satisfied Uber’s background check requirements. The driver also had more than three moving violations in the last three years, a condition that would normally be disqualifying for an Uber driver.
However, test operators for Uber’s fleet of autonomous vehicles are not required to meet the same standards as their traditional drivers. After completing three weeks of training, these safety drivers are allowed to hit the road and operate autonomous vehicles with passengers.
Who is Responsible?
As independent contractors, Uber drivers are required to carry their own auto insurance. In the event of an injury or accident, they are then responsible for any repairs to other vehicles and medical expenses for passengers. However, Uber also carries a large insurance policy on behalf of their drivers in the event of a catastrophic injury to a passenger or pedestrian. To discover if there is a case, fault must be established. Was the pedestrian following established traffic laws and posted signs? Did the driver make attempts to protect the safety of the people around them? Was there a malfunction with the vehicle itself or was the driver at fault?
Next, liability will determine who is responsible for damages, if any. In the case of an autonomous vehicle, what amount of liability does the safety operator carry? If they are not driving the car, but are there to ensure the safety of the passengers, how much responsibility do they have for the operation of the vehicle? How do you determine if the autonomous vehicle malfunctioned or if the driver was distracted? Does Uber bear more responsibility to the victim of an auto-pedestrian accident of a self-driving car than they do for a traditional Uber driver?
Even though it will take years to sort through the legalities of the case in Arizona, a few things are clear. Anytime you are involved in an auto-pedestrian accident; it is vital that you contact a personal injury attorney at The Elan Law Firm before speaking with an insurance company. Not only can a lawyer help you sort through the facts of your case, in many cases they can help you determine who is at fault. If you are a pedestrian involved in an accident with an Uber driver, contact the Uber accident lawyers at The Elan Law Firm today to discuss your case. We can untangle the complicated legal web and help you receive the compensation you deserve. Call us right now!