By attorney Michael Ehline of Ehline Law Los Angeles injury attorneys (Click Here): A wrongful death lawsuit was filed against a Uber driver in the New Years Eve death of a six year old girl. This is the first Uber wrongful death suit that has been filed in the death of six year-old Sophia Liu in the transit startup. But Ehline law believes we are seeing a trend that could lead to mass class action lawsuits.
The transit company has distanced itself from the driver, stating that they were just the contractor. The basis of the lawsuit is that the driver was distracted and it is a dangerous design and violates California state law. The suit claims that the company also shares responsibility in the deadly accident.
The attorney for the family said in the lawsuit that UBER and/or Uber X Drivers are required to respond fast when a user makes a request for service, which is done by physically interfacing the APP on wireless communication devices including GPS and smartphones. This is in violation of California Vehicle Code 23123. In subsection (a) that states a person shall not use a wireless phone without the telephone being designed specifically and configured to be hand-free to talk and listen while driving a motor vehicle.
The suit goes on to detail that in a Uber there will be at least one smartphone next to the steering wheel and prior to pick-up the driver is required to tap on the app to fine the fare, accept it and then make a rating when the ride is over. If the driver needs to be contacted either prior to or after the ride, then there is more interaction.
In the lawsuit the Uber driver is also said to have been negligent in its responsibility to train drivers, on how to use the app safely, which resulted in the death of Sophia Liu. The attorneys stated that they will need to prove the Uber app is a distraction and violation of California’s state law. They said this case will be revolutionary in the fact that they will be using theories of the agencies employees and their relationship with their drivers. The attorneys said this may be the first time that Uber has to take responsibility, since they are a company that generally lays blame elsewhere. Look out for more cases like this.