City of Tempe Facing $10 Million Claim in Woman’s Uber-Related Death
Family members of a woman who was hit and killed by one of ridesharing giant Uber’s self-driving vehicles has filed a $10 million claim against the city of Tempe. The woman, Elaine Herzberg, age 49, died in March of 2018 when an Uber car in self-driving mode struck her as she was walking on Mill Avenue. The woman’s family says the city is partially to blame in the woman’s death, since the “paved portion of the median near the accident encouraged people to cross at the site.” After the accident, police in Tempe released video footage of the accident indicating that the driver of the Uber vehicle was not watching the roadway when the crash occurred.
Notably, after the accident, the city removed the pavement from the area in question, which was not a marked crosswalk, replacing it with landscaping. Uber also pulled out of its testing operations for self-driving vehicles in Arizona following the woman’s death. The family’s claim against Uber was settled in 2018. Although the terms of the settlement are unknown, Business Insider reported that Uber’s CEO Dara Khosrowshani admitted to staff in a meeting in November that the company was partially to fault in the woman’s death.
This claim and others like it may be more common in the years to come as more and more companies look toward self-driving and autonomous ride-hailing services in the future. Uber and other companies are still perfecting this type of transportation. Waymo, a sister company of Google, launched Waymo One, a self-driving ride service, in Phoenix in December. The service, under development since 2009, has been robotically logging miles in 25 cities across the country, including in Arizona. Initially, the routes traveled by Waymo will be confined to a 100-square-mile area around Phoenix. The cities of Gilbert, Mesa, Tempe and Chandler will be included in its routes.
Other companies, including U.S. automaker General Motors, which plans to launch its Cruise ride-hailing service, and Drive.ai, a Texas-based company, are also looking to get into this evolving sector.
Companies are moving into unchartered territory with these robotic-like methods of transportation, opening themselves up to liability for riders who take advantage of the ease of getting from Point A to Point B. When riders, occupants in other vehicles on the road, or pedestrians like Elaine Herzberg become injured or killed, these companies and their representatives will still be held accountable.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a ridesharing or ride-hailing vehicle, you have the right to hold them responsible for any loss that you incurred as a result. Reach out to our knowledgeable Uber accident attorney now to find out what legal options are available to you and how to our legal staff can help you file a claim to seek compensation for medical bills, lost wages and more. Give our team a call to schedule your no-cost, no-obligation consultation and case review now.