Another Self Driving Vehicle Crash-Uber Pulls Autonomous Vehicles off of Road

Uber has been pushing for self driving vehicles and is using them in select cities.  These vehicles are manned by a driver that is to take over in dangerous situations.  However, the cars are primarily driven by a computer.  As suspected, there are some issues that arise when the computers don't function as designed, or the vehicle can't account for a dangerous situation. When these failures occur the results can be catastrophic leading to injury and even death.  (Click here to read about self driving car failure resulting in death.)  Uber recently pulled its vehicles off of the road after a self driving Uber car was involved in a crash.  (click here to read about recent autonomous vehicle Uber crash.)

Self Driving cars and ride-share programs somewhat compound an already uncertain area of the law and there are other safety risks that are going to arise should Uber continue to test vehicles on the road without proper research and development in house.  Maintenance issues, malfunctions, and small issues are destined to arise.  I have heard complaints from ride share operators regarding occasional glitches with the app, so it is difficult to imagine the self driving vehicle won't have any glitches. If a self driving vehicle fails to operate during a ride and leaves a customer stranded that is later a victim of an assault or robbery, will Uber be liable?  These are all issues that may arise.  

The autonomous vehicle issues are new to Oregon and Oregon politicians and agencies are struggling to keep up with technology.  Until they are able to adequately regulate this industry it will be up to attorneys looking out for injured people to raise these issues for their injured clients and hopefully provide an economic incentive for the autonomous vehicle industry to be abundantly cautious when rolling out these vehicles.  If you have more questions feel free to read my previous blog articles:  Who is Responsible for Crash with Self Driving Car?; Licensing Autonomous Vehicles in Oregon?;  What to do passenger In Crash with Uber or Lyft?  

If you were an Uber or Lyft passenger involved in a crash, please call Ross Law at 503.224.1658.  Jeremiah Ross is happy to discuss your personal injury case with you. If you are involved in a crash with a self-driving vehicle or autonomous vehicle feel free to call Jeremiah Ross.  Legal Stuff:  Please note this article is based on the author's opinion.   Ross Law does not have any affiliations with any ride share program or taxi-cab company.  This information is not to be considered legal advice and is for information only.

What to do if injured in a Uber or Lyft Crash....

Uber and Lyft have become incredibly popular in Portland and other Oregon cities.  These convenient ride shares allow customers to quickly hitch a ride virtually any time and anywhere within the Portland Metro region.   The drivers are regular folks who are often driving as a second job.  However, this can create problems.   Uber and Lyft are regularly in the news for the various issues that arise when their drivers don't behave or make mistakes.  People have reported incidents of Assaults, Sexual Assaults, and verbal abuse from ride share drivers.   However, the most common incident with Uber or Lyft is when the driver gets in a Car Crash with a passenger in the back seat.  (Click here for recent story of Uber Driver Crashing Into Gas Pump)

If you are in a passenger in a Ride Share program and are injured in a car crash you are going to face some unique issues.  One of the major issues that you will face is whose insurance is going to pay for your medical bills and compensate you for your injuries.   Many insurance policies exclude coverage for drivers that are working for Uber or Lyft.  That means if the Rideshare driver was at fault for the crash, then their bodily injury insurance may not provide coverage to pay you for your medical bills or damages.  Uber and Lyft have their own insurance policies, but they are not usually willing to pay without being forced to.   That is why you will usually need a lawyer if you are injured while a passenger in a ride-share program.

If you are injured in a crash with an Uber or Lyft driver here are some tips for you:

  1. Ensure you preserve the driver's information.   You need the driver's name and the license plate of the vehicle.   You can take photos of the driver's license and the license plate.  However, it is important to try and document the Uber or Lyft Ride. The best way to do this is Screenshot the Lyft or Uber app right after the crash.  This is not always possible due to the severity of the injury, but that is the best way to ensure you have the driver's information.  If you were unable to screenshot the App immediately after the crash, both apps have a ride history section where you can bring up the driver's information and the ride route. (click here for instructions for UBER) (Click here for instructions for Lyft)  Once you find the ride then screenshot the page to ensure you preserve it. 
  2. Get the UBER or LYFT Driver's Insurance Information:  Get their Auto Policy information and all of the Uber or Lyft Insurance information.  If the driver drives for both Uber and Lyft then try and get insurance information from the driver for both companies.
  3. Other things to do At the Scene:   Once the area is safe, USE YOUR CELL PHONE to gather evidence: Take pictures of the car damage, the scene, the bad driver, witnesses, and the bad driver' driver's license, the bad driver's license plate, and the bad driver's insurance card.  Call 911 if there is an injury and relay what the injuries are. Have witnesses text or email you their contact information from their phones. This way you can locate them later if needed.   
  4. Seek Medical Care:  Immediately seek treatment if you are injured. Oregon auto insurance policies should pay $15,000.00 for up to two years of crash related medical treatment.  The Uber or Lyft Driver's insurance may pay as well.  This is why it is important to contact a lawyer first, as these issues need to be addressed early in the case.  
  5. Call A Lawyer at 503.224.1658:   It won't cost you anything to chat, and you can learn about what you need to do next. I will give you a free case evaluation. 
  6. If you choose not to call a lawyer, you should contact your auto insurance if you have it: Call your insurance company to set up a claim. Cooperate with them, but be cautious of their motives.
  7. Be Cautious of Discussing things with The Other Driver's Insurance and Lyft or Uber.  

If you have any questions please call Ross Law LLC at 503.224.1658 for your free case evaluation.   Legal Stuff: Please remember this post is for informational purposes only and you will likely need to do more than what is listed above to pursue an injury claim on your own behalf.  Also, the law is constantly changing, so please consult with a lawyer rather than relying on this post.