A Brave New World for Accident Litigation? (Pt. 3 of 3)

This is perhaps the most intriguing question of all in the fatal Uber accident case: In light of the facts of the case, why did Uber settle so quickly?

Why Did Uber Settle So Quickly?

The accident occurred on the 18th of March and CNBC reported the settlement on the 28th. As mentioned in part one of this three-part series, this is the fastest settlement for this type of case I have ever seen, by far, and I have been an attorney in Tennessee for 20 years.

According to all the accounts I have seen, this accident was almost completely unavoidable from the driver’s standpoint. The car was traveling at full speed at night when the victim appeared suddenly in the street right in front of the car.

It seems like no human being could have avoided that accident any better than the computerized tech operating the vehicle did. As you can see from the video of the accident, there was almost no time to react: one second, maybe one and a half seconds.

If this accident happened in Tennessee, where we have comparative fault rules, it is unlikely the driver or Uber would have been held liable for the accident. Although there is a lot more to comparative fault rules, in brief, Tennessee reduces a plaintiff’s recover by the degree to which he or she contributed to the causation of the accident.

In this case, the woman walked out into the road at night in front of a moving car. It seems unlikely Uber would have had to pay anything in this case, since the woman was almost entirely at fault and almost no driver could have avoided hitting her in those circumstances.

With the quickness of the settlement and the complete silence from the victim’s family, it looks like Uber settled a case for a significant sum.

The company seems to have assumed complete responsibility for an accident that they almost certainly would not have been held liable for in trial.

We will continue to watch for similar cases to see how one might eventually play out in court. The precedent established will be important to other victims going forward.

At the moment, we don’t have any answers and no precedent has been set in the courts. The best thing you can do is protect your own interests. If you’ve been hurt or lost a loved one from an accident involving an automated vehicle, call an attorney you can trust.

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