It seems like everywhere you turn there is another news article about an Uber accident. In fact, it happens so often that Uber has added safety features to the app including a “share your trip” feature that allows you to share who you are with, car information and the trip’s route with a friend or family member. However, all of the in-app safety features in the world could not predict what happened in Denver.
Self Defense or First Degree Murder?
In June 2018, a driver who had been with Uber for more than three years picked up a passenger on a warm summer day in Colorado. Within minutes, the passenger was dead, shot by the driver. The driver was brought up on first-degree murder charges but maintains that he acted in self-defense. While the details of the events that lead up to the passenger being shot and killed are still under investigation, sources say a skirmish of some sort broke out between the driver and the passenger before shots were fired.
Gun Laws vs Uber Policy
Uber maintains that they have a strict no-gun policy in place for their drivers. Drivers cannot carry a weapon in their car at any time, for any reason. However, Colorado law maintains that professional drivers can carry a gun for their own protection. Uber would argue that since the driver is an “independent contractor” and not an employee, they may not subject to the allowances that such a state law gives their drivers. Gun advocates claim that such a policy is an infringement of a person’s second amendment rights, especially where the state the individual operates in makes these kinds of allowances. If a judge decides that the driver was within his right to carry a gun, Uber’s no-weapons policy may be in danger of creating a host of additional liability for the company.
What Comes Next?
For the driver that pulled the trigger, he will face a murder trial to determine whether he acted maliciously or in self-defense. Uber faces legal questions regarding their no-guns policy that may pave the way for more drivers to have guns in their cars. The presence of more guns in the hands of their drivers can ultimately affect the way Uber does business. Will drivers who choose to carry be required to produce licensing for any handguns? Can passengers choose to have a driver who is armed versus a driver who is not? In the event of an Uber accident, will we see more deaths?
While the outcome remains to be seen in this case, Uber will continue to bear the brunt of legal questions that arise from ridesharing. You can expect to see more cases in the future related to the health, safety, and well-being of its passengers. If you have been involved in an Uber accident, it is important to remember that you have someone on your side, representing you. Contact the Uber accident lawyers at The Elan Law Firm to discuss your case.