Uber's self driving car kills a pedestrian, why are they not on trial? - Reyes Browne Reilley Law Firm

Auto Accidents

When Tesla came onto the scene with the first mass production of autonomous cars, the world was in awe. The vehicle’s design is incredibly complex and hoists features most humans never thought possible. However, despite the efforts to keep them as safe as possible with the added usage of sensor fusion, path planning, and ideological models of typical human behavior, accidents still happen.

From the beginning of autonomous vehicles bursting onto the scene, there have been massive debates on their safety features. Are they safe enough? Is there more to implement to keep not only the driver and passenger safe, but also pedestrians? Uber learned this lesson the hard way. Or was it really a lesson for them to learn?

2 years ago, in Tempe Arizona, a “self-driving” Uber car collided with a pedestrian, killing her in the process. Elaine Herzberg did not receive the true justice she deserves with Uber being on the list as the primary defendant. Instead of Uber paying out a proper lump sum to the victim’s beneficiaries, compensating them for their loss, the only criminal charge which came from this incident was against the safety driver behind the wheel of the Uber.

The Legalities of the situation

Prosecutors pressing charges of negligent homicide against Rafaela Vasquez has undoubtedly raised a few eyebrows. Especially considering Uber went out of the way to desensitize the software which detects unidentified objects. At the time of the accident, the Uber vehicle was traveling 39 mph. The sensors then show an unidentified object in front of the vehicle. After the vehicle made the decision to disregard it as a “false positive,” six seconds later, the vehicle hit Herzberg.

These Cars have standard emergency braking technology for pedestrian safety reasons. This car was certainly capable of having this technology kick in and Elaine Herzberg would still be alive. However, Uber made the decision to disable this particular vehicle’s emergency braking system.

While many individuals will initially call for Uber to be put on trial, Vazquez is certainly getting her fair share of the blame. The in-car video clearly shows her staring down rather than looking at the road prior to the impact with Herzberg. While she states her eyes were on the vehicle’s interface at the time of the incident, she was the determining factor in the case by the National Transportation Safety Board because she was texting while driving.

Uber’s Previous Safety Track Record. Why do They Never Pay Out Injury Claims?

Uber has a clear history of a lack of safety concerns. Disabling safety systems to create a “smoother ride” for their passengers will probably rest towards the top of the list of their problematic past decisions. They clearly should pay for their mistakes as negligence came to play in the deactivation of the vehicle’s safety features.

Unfortunately, it’s doubtful Uber will pay a claim to the victim’s family for wrongful death or any type of personal injury payout. The safety driver’s insurance company is where the family will be able to receive compensation for any type of injury claim. Uber requires its drivers to have their own insurance. This allows Uber to be liability-free when it comes to anyone trying to seek compensation for their injuries following a car wreck.

In a Wreck? Hit by Another Car?

If an accident has left you or your loved ones with injuries, whether it be as a pedestrian or in your own vehicle, your injures deserve compensation. Let our top-rated personal injury professionals go to work for you and get you the money you deserve. We have been navigating the personal injury field flawlessly for nearly 30 years. We’ll treat you like family and take all the stresses of your car accident off your shoulders. Call us now at (214) 526-7900 for your 100% free consultation or by submitting your information through our secure website submission form here.

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