Attorney explains who could be held liable in the fatal self-driving Uber crash
PHOENIX (KSAZ) - The fatal accident involving a self-driving Uber car is raising new questions about who's to blame when technology is controlling a car. Now, FOX 10 Phoenix has learned the victim's daughter has hired a law firm.
"You would sue Uber, sue Volvo, include the driver, the person sitting in the driver seat, and potentially also sue the City of Tempe because of potential lighting conditions," said Rich Richelsoph, who went on to say that this is a negligent case.
Although the victim, since identified as Elaine Herzberg, was not on a crosswalk, there are still legitimate concerns that can be brought up by the family, one being the vehicle and its inability to detect the woman crossing the road.
"Usually the argument is someone was negligent, and they didn't follow through with that duty, which is negligence," said Richelsoph.
Gov. Doug Ducey has been a supporter of self-driving technology, and signed two executive orders that helped bring both Uber and Waymo to Arizona. Richelsoph, however, says that in the orders, it is not clear what the operator of the vehicle, in this case identified as Rafaela Vasquez, should be doing.
"The state hasn't defined what that person in the driver seat is supposed to be doing, other than have the ability to override the vehicle controls," said Richelsoph.
Richelsoph, however, went on to say the state is most likely covered when it comes to a case like this.
"For policy decisions that allow technology to take place, generally, states aren't liable for policy-type decisions," said Richelsoph.
Richelsoph says moving forward, this case will bring new policy decisions. but he does believe Uber was prepared for something like this to happen, as they test out the new technology.
"I think they had to be prepared for it," said Richelsoph. "I don't think it was a question of if this was going to happen. It was a question of when it was going to happen."