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Chicago Personal Injury Blog

How Will Uber’s Settlement of Self-Driving Car in Pedestrian Accident Impact Crash Litigation?

by Jared Staver in Auto Accidents, Pedestrian Accidents

Less than two weeks after a fatal pedestrian accident involving a self-driving car, Uber settled a wrongful death claim that was filed by the daughter and husband of the accident victim. The Chicago Tribune reported that the attorney representing the family members declined to discuss any details regarding the Uber settlement. The compensation amount and liability issues were not disclosed, and an investigation into the incident remained open upon execution of the settlement agreement.

Under the circumstances, it may be too early to determine the impact of the pedestrian accident settlement on self-driving car crash litigation. Without additional information, liability questions remain.

If you are undergoing settlement negotiations, it is essential to retain an experienced, knowledgeable attorney to protect your rights. To speak with a Chicago pedestrian accident lawyer at Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. during a free consultation, contact us today at (312) 236-2900.

Details of the Uber Settlement

In March 2018, a self-driving Uber vehicle struck and killed a pedestrian in Tempe, Arizona, while operating in autonomous mode for testing purposes. The victim had been walking her bicycle across the street, straying outside the crosswalk of an intersection. The accident was the first fatality involving an autonomous vehicle driving in test mode, and it prompted her loved ones to file a wrongful death lawsuit against Uber.

The parties resolved the claim just a few days later, even though the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and Tempe police had not finished their investigation into how a self-driving car failed to avoid a pedestrian accident. From some estimates, the settlement amount could range from $1 million to $3 million for the victim’s family.

Why Self-Driving Car Manufacturers May Be Eager to Settle

It’s speculated that the speed in resolving the Uber settlement is due to the potential implications of an official investigation. The NTSB and Tempe police were still looking into possible failures of the car’s advanced technology, including radar, speed control, crash avoidance systems, multiple sensors, and a backup operator.

Legal Challenges for the Victim’s Family

The wrongful death claim in the fatal pedestrian accident was not entirely substantial either since the victim was jaywalking and straying outside a designated crosswalk at the time of the incident. The facts raise questions about comparative negligence, which can threaten compensation in a personal injury case.

Under Illinois law, this legal concept takes into account a victim’s actions and whether they contributed to the pedestrian accident injuries. Comparative negligence rules may reduce your amount of compensation according to the percentage of fault.

Call a Chicago Pedestrian Accident Lawyer to Discuss Your Claim

In the self-driving pedestrian accident, the case didn’t proceed to the point where it’s possible to tell precisely how the Uber settlement may affect the future of crash litigation. The primary takeaways are that fault will often be a factor in pedestrian accidents, and the key to succeeding on such a claim is retaining a skilled personal injury attorney to represent your interests.

If you were a victim of a pedestrian accident, call Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation. Contact us at (312) 236-2900 today.