Uber Settles Fatal Self-Driving Car Accidents

A car accident involving a self-driving Uber vehicle left one man dead. His family filed a wrongful death lawsuit, and the ride-sharing company settled it quickly. Is it normal for a corporation to settle a wrongful death suit so fast? As injury attorney Tom Metier explains in this video, no. Usually cases like this take more time to resolve. However, since Uber has invested so much capital into this technology, it makes sense that it would want to quell any negative press as swiftly as possible. He also explains how this incident could lead to stronger safety standards for autonomous vehicles.

Video Transcript:

Uber has avoided a potential lawsuit from the family of the pedestrian that was struck and killed by one of their autonomous vehicles. The terms have not been disclosed and Uber isn’t commenting. Is a settlement this soon after a fatal accident unusual? Attorney Tom Metier of the Metier Law Firm says:

“It’s unusual for a major corporation, such as Uber, to so quickly settle a wrongful death suit. However, Uber has billions and billions of dollars riding on developing a safe technology for autonomous driving and cannot afford to have questions linger in the press about this tragic and senseless death caused by the failure of uber’s technology. Therefore, Uber quickly opened its checkbook and settled the wrongful death claim in order to purchase as much silence as possible and avoid any further scrutiny.”

He goes on to say:

“I fully expect that uber required the surviving family members to sign a secrecy agreement keeping the family from telling the amount of money paid in the settlement or from making public comment about Uber.”

The crash has also increased the calls for more government regulation of self driving cars. However, auto manufacturers and tech companies are asking the federal government to stay hands off while the technology is still developing. They say their extensive testing is a sign they are committed to safety.

Metier says:

“Americans need to have significant regulation of the development of driverless technology for the protection of us all. Technology companies and auto manufacturers are hoping to sell the concept that they should be solely self-regulating and are hoping in the process to insulate themselves from liability for the failures of their technology by getting individual states and congress to prohibit claims and lawsuits in the name of “technological progress.” To the contrary, reasonable regulation and the establishing of safety standards is critical to providing safety for drivers, passengers and pedestrians.

Metier continues…

“The marketplace of progress should be subject to regulation and the court system to ensure we each maintain our rights to be safe and protected. We should not allow our children, ourselves and our loved ones to become fodder for unregulated technology experiments.”

In the meanwhile, Uber says they are going to stop testing the autonomous cars on public roads for the time being.

That’s breaking news… I’m Rob Rosenthal for AskTheLawyers.com