In Miami-Dade and across the country, the popular ride-sharing service Uber has been the subject of a number of lawsuits filed by accident victims in recent years. Although many of the lawsuits remain pending, some have been settled for undisclosed sums.
Young Man Dies After Night out in Miami
In December 2015, 20-year-old Pablo Sanchez Jr. hailed an Uber to transport him and some friends home from downtown Miami to Country Walk. During the early morning ride, the Uber driver turned his GMC Yukon into oncoming traffic. The SUV flipped and caught fire, trapping Sanchez and killing him.
Sanchez’s mother filed a lawsuit against Uber and the two involved drivers in January 2016. The attorney for the Sanchez family noted that many Uber drivers go on duty late in the day after working other jobs. The company should implement safeguards to ensure that drivers are not too tired to drive safely, he argued.
Uber would not comment on the specifics of the case, but Sanchez’s friends who also were passengers said the driver was looking down just before the crash. Uber drivers’ mandatory use of a phone app to get details of their ride assignments has been a point of criticism from safety advocates.
Visiting Nurse Sustains Severe Brain Damage
Another wreck in December 2015 caused serious brain damage to a nurse visiting Miami Beach from South Carolina.
Jean Day and her husband, Dr. Richard Day, had come to town for a medical conference when their Uber driver crashed into another vehicle on Collins Avenue after turning into traffic. The driver was issued a citation for failure to yield to oncoming traffic.
Dr. Day suffered a broken leg in the wreck, while his wife sustained brain injuries that have resulted in multiple surgeries. As of March 2016, Mrs. Day was required to wear a helmet to protect her skull as she awaited another operation.
After the Day’s filed a lawsuit in March 2016, their attorney noted that Mrs. Day has not been able to go back to her career as a nurse specializing in anesthesia administration, and she likely will not work in the field again.
The lawsuit alleges that the Uber driver lacked sufficient qualifications for the job, did not receive supervision and had not undergone adequate training. Uber failed to respond to requests for comment from The Miami Herald.
Negligence Lawsuit Follows Deadly Crash
In April 2016, the family of a 28-year-old woman killed in a Longwood crash filed a lawsuit against an Uber driver and a Seminole County sheriff’s deputy.
Corey Allicock died in a December 2015 crash after her 73-year-old Uber driver ran a red light, hitting an SUV driven by the deputy. Witnesses reported that the SUV was speeding at more than 60 miles per hour through the intersection. The impact flipped the Uber car, police reported, and the impact killed Allicock.
The Florida Highway Patrol found the Uber driver at fault but did not assign any blame to the deputy, who was headed to a domestic violence scene; he was not using his siren or emergency lights at the time of the accident.
The attorney for the family stated that the deputy would be dropped from the lawsuit after being cleared of fault in the investigation.
Uber Wreck Leaves Young Woman Disabled
A young woman from University Park, Texas, took an Uber ride that drastically changed her life in November 2015. Sarah Milburn, 23, was club hopping with friends in Dallas when they decided to call an Uber.
The driver of the minivan that picked up the group ran a red light, and the vehicle was broadsided by a truck going through the intersection. The Uber van rolled, seriously injuring Milburn and leaving her quadriplegic. A year later, she had regained minimal use of her hands.
The lawsuit filed by the victim’s family states that the Uber driver’s van was not insured and that the driver had numerous arrests on his record. The lawsuit also notes that Uber has been the subject of numerous lawsuits accusing it of risky operations and that the company has settled many times. Uber declined comment on the ongoing litigation.
Uber Settles Case in Young Girl’s Death
One of those settlements came in July 2015, when the company reached a tentative agreement with the family of a San Francisco girl who lost her life when she and family members were struck by an Uber car.
Sofia Liu, 6, was walking in a crosswalk with her mother and younger brother in 2013 when they were struck by a vehicle. The driver had activated the Uber X app at the time of the crash and was noted as available to pick up riders, the lawsuit charged.
The girl’s family requested that the court keep the details of the settlement agreement confidential to protect the privacy of Sofia’s brother.
Florida Uber Accidents
Changes in transportation typically trigger new dangers, and ride sharing services like Uber is no exception.
In fact, as Miami accident attorneys, we’ve witnessed a sharp uptick in U.S. auto accidents associated with popular ride sharing services like Uber and Lyft over the last year.
That’s particularly true in Florida, where a confluence of large cities and a robust tourist population have ensured heavy demand for Uber and its brethren.
Below, we look at two alarming Uber auto accident stories arising in Florida during the last few months, each claiming the life of a young and unsuspecting passenger.
Uber Driver Kills Young Passenger in Miami Over Christmas
20-year-old Pablo Sanchez Jr. lost his life this winter when his Uber driver made a left turn in front of an oncoming Toyota Corolla at the Miami intersection of SW 144th Street and SW 157th Avenue.
The Corolla slammed into the Uber car, flipping it over and against a wall, CBS Miami reports. Both cars exploded in flames. The driver and the victim’s three friends managed to avoid serious injury, but young Pablo was trapped inside the vehicle and died.
The crash happened at approximately 4:45 AM, just two days after Christmas.
Meanwhile, the Sanchez family has filed a Florida wrongful death lawsuit against both Mr. Chica and the Uber company itself.
Police SUV & Uber Car Crash, Claiming Another Young Passenger’s Life
Seminole County Sheriff’s Deputy Scott Sullivan was patrolling State Road 434 in Central Florida when an Uber driver collided with his marked police SUV in the middle of an intersection, Orlando Sentinel reports.
The Uber driver was 73-year-old Robert Williams, of Winter Park. He was traveling northbound on Ronald Reagan Boulevard.
Both cars entered the intersection at approximately the same time, and the front of the police vehicle struck the side of the Uber car. It isn’t clear, though, which party had the red light.
Both parties were rushed to the hospital. The police officer’s injuries were minor, while the elderly Uber driver’s were more serious.
Tragically, though, the Uber car’s passenger — 28-year-old Corey Allicock, of Orlando — was killed in the crash. He was on his way home from a work party to the new condo he shared with his girlfriend.
Eerily, Officer Sullivan was involved in (but not assigned fault for) an unrelated high-speed car chase that resulted in a different auto accident in that very same intersection on that very same day. A different police officer was injured in that accident, though Uber did not appear to be involved in the earlier event.
An investigation into young Mr. Allicock’s death is ongoing.
Uber and Lyft have revolutionized the transportation industry. They have helped to reduce the number of drunk drivers on the road. However, the issue is the competence of the drivers that we entrust with our lives and our loved ones. Beyond the competence of the driver, the platform requires the operator to use a phone during the ride. Obviously, this can lead to distracted driving accidents. Not surprisingly, a large number of the accidents involve a Uber driver making a left turn at an intersection and either not paying attention or misjudging the oncoming vehicle’s speed.
We are currently representing a young man that suffered serious injuries when a Uber diver made a left turn and failed to yield the right of way. Our client was operating his motorcycle in a safe manner when he crashed into the side of the car.
Police reports do not typically identify whether a vehicle is a Uber or Lyft vehicle. Thus, we investigate all accidents and require the driver to disclose in an affidavit whether he/she was working as a Uber or Lyft driver at the time of the accident.
Mounting Legal Troubles for Uber
Uber has experienced rapid growth in recent years. However, the company also is the subject of an increasing number of lawsuits due to alleged negligence, inattentiveness and poor training of some drivers. If you’ve been injured in an accident involving an Uber vehicle, please contact Kaire & Heffernan, LLC.
Mark Kaire has been practicing law in Miami for nearly 15 years. He is dedicated to helping the injured people of Miami receive compensation. Mr. Kaire has been blogging on Miami’s legal issues for 4 years.