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Uber Ride App Incites Intense Legal Debate Following Death of 6-Year-Old Girl

In the last few decades, technology has become a ubiquitous part of our lives as Americans. If you were to pick out a random individual walking down the street and ask him or her to empty their pockets, you would probably find that they have at least one piece of technology on them, if not several. While things like smartphones, tablets, Mp3 players, and navigation systems have the potential to make our lives easier and more enjoyable, they can be incredibly hazardous inside an automobile. In the aftermath of a deadly car accident that killed a 6-year-old girl and seriously injured two members of her family, the smartphone app designer Uber is raising questions all over the country regarding the safety of the technology in vehicles, and who is to blame when it goes wrong.

Four years ago, Uber was created as an ambitious Silicon Valley startup, and it has been on an upward trajectory ever since. The software, now valued at approximately $4 billion, can be used by anyone with a smartphone to get a ride in a similar fashion to a taxi. However, with Uber rapidly hiring in an attempt to satisfy larger amounts of customers, many users have expressed dissatisfaction with the quality of their drivers, a grievance made more urgent after an Uber affiliate hit a mother and her two children in a crosswalk on New Year’s Eve, killing a 6-year-old.

This fatal accident has brought about the first wrongful-death lawsuit against Uber, and represents a new area of controversy in the legal realm. Regulators and courts are struggling to categorize Uber, unsure as to whether it is a taxi company or a technology platform. With drivers owning their own vehicles, but being employed as affiliates of Uber, these cases fall into a gray area of employee vs. freelancers. If the previous four years are any indication, Uber will only continue to grow larger, and with more Uber drivers taking to the streets, the chance of accidents affiliated with the company become greater and greater. Many personal insurance policies refuse to cover commercial activity, and in response some states, such a California, have required Uber to carry a $1 million per accident liability policy to pay victims for their injuries in the event of a crash. (New York Times)

Despite this ongoing legal debate, more and more drivers are being solicited by Uber everyday, and in the event of an accident many states are still unsure who to seek compensation from. Our lawyers stay up to date on everything related to Illinois car accident law, and we know how to help you effectively navigate commercial and pedestrian motor vehicle cases. If you or a loved one has been injured because of negligence on the part of a company or individual it is never acceptable, and we will ensure that they are made accountable for their actions.