Memorial for 6-year-old girl killed by Uber driver

Ride-service company Uber is facing a wrongful death lawsuit over a collision that killed a 6-year-old girl in San Francisco on New Year’s Eve. Sofia Liu was hit by a car driven by one of Uber’s contractors. But Uber maintains the driver was not on duty for the company at the time of the accident. What does the suit mean for riders, drivers and for the rapidly expanding ride-service industry?

Jon Brooks, contributor to KQED's News Fix blog who has been following the ride-service industry
David Levine, professor of law at UC Hastings College of Law

  • Joe

    Years ago I heard of a case where a speeding Fedex truck slammed into a car full of people going to a wedding, killing them all including some young girls. It was discovered that Fedex had contracted out the driving business in order to avoid liability for disasters such as that, allegedly that is. Since then I have always used UPS instead because they at least take responsibility for bad outcomes.

    • thucy

      The Dolan firm is apparently arguing that Uber’s liability stems from its requirement that drivers use a distracting iPhone app, AND that Uber does not train drivers safe procedures for using that app.

      In that sense, this case has broader implications and probably useful ones for safer driving policies to be established.

      All that said, RIP Sophia. The family is clearly devastated.

  • Shara

    Uber is responable because they hired the driver, there was evidence that the driver had a record in another state for driving recklessly, why didn’t they do a background check, every other employer does? Side notes: Uber and companies like them should not be allow in SF in my opinion for many reasons, they take jobs away from licensed Cab drivers, drivers are not held to same standards as Cab drivers, the vehicle is not inspected as much as cabs are, and perhaps the most important issues for me, there is no partition diving you from the client/driver which is very unsafe, you never know who is driving you or if the client is dangerous it’s not a good idea on so many levels.

  • Petko Petkov

    UBER is a business, and as such it will do anything to protect it’s bottom line, be it not properly insuring their drivers for exactly this liability, be it saying they’re sorry and not making any comments until they settle out of court. Surely, in comparison to admitting they have a unfair and criminal policy, getting the proper insurance, paying out damages AND giving training, it will certainly be cheaper to say “we’re sorry” and settling out of court. This is a business built on avoiding responsibility, and it is all about the bottom line. What a shame.

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