SC Orders Uber to Halt Services in State

As Uber’s Legal Woes Continue, South Carolina Demands Mobile App Cease and Desist

UberOn Thursday, January 15th, the Public Service Commission of South Carolina ordered popular and infamous ridesharing service Uber to stop its operations in the state.

Uber has faced numerous accusations, including personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits, as the mobile app company expands rapidly across the globe. One of the most common accusations has to do with the company’s employee screening process: although Uber company spokespeople have repeatedly claimed that the rideshare startup company screens its potential drivers as thoroughly or even more thoroughly, than state regulations require, many passengers have said they were victimized.  Allegations include assaults, such as sexual assaults and rapes, as well as other types of personal injury, and even wrongful death accidents.  Many believe that these issues have arisen because the drivers are not screened carefully enough to keep passengers and pedestrians safe.

For example, Uber faces a wrongful death lawsuit in San Francisco, in which a driver who was using the mobile app to pick up a fare while operating his vehicle, struck and killed a 6-year-old girl on New Year’s Day 2014. He hit two other members of the family as well, who survived. The driver himself faces criminal charges for vehicular manslaughter and distracted driving, but the family also filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the ridesharing company because they claim the mobile app nature of the business encourages drivers to use their phones while operating a vehicle.  It’s this mobile nature that can be a deadly combination.

In Chicago, a 22-year-old victim has filed personal injury charges against the company after her Uber driver drugged and sexually assaulted her while she was drunk.

Ridesharing companies like Uber, and its major competitors Lyft and Sidecar, also face accusations that the businesses rely on individual drivers’ personal insurance, which does not provide adequate, if any, coverage for passengers that suffer personal injury in the event of a car crash. These companies recently changed their driver policies to pay for insurance to cover cars while they are working for the rideshare service, but some opponents of the ridesharing services question if the coverage is enough, when these companies still try to dodge responsibility for personal injuries and wrongful deaths, often pointing to the drivers themselves, who are independent contractors with the companies, not full employees.

South Carolina demanded that Uber cease and desist operations in the state because the company refuses to register as a taxi service, which could help customers and drivers in the event of a personal injury or wrongful death claim.

“Consumers benefit from, and deserve choices in, the marketplace,” the directive states. “However, those choices must be consistent with state law intended to protect the public.”

“Despite working closely with the PSC for the past several months on a permanent solution for Uber in South Carolina, today’s actions are unexpected and not reflective of the progress made thus far,” Uber spokesman Taylor Bennett said. “We will challenge the order and remain committed to providing South Carolinians with greater opportunity and choice.”

Uber faces similar regulatory questions in its home base, San Francisco, as safety regulators in the city try to decide who can inspect Uber’s vehicles for safety and emissions regulations.

“We believe the vehicle inspections mentors conduct are very rigorous,” said Chelsea Wilson, a Lyft spokeswoman. “They’ve gone through training and have an exhaustive checklist. We very much stand behind the safety of those inspections.”

However, safety inspections for taxis are much more rigorous than the self-appointed inspectors for Uber and Lyft, so many states have raised concerns about vehicular safety.

The Strom Law Firm Defends Victims of Distracted Driving in Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Cases

If you or a loved one have been injured or killed because of an accident, whether it was caused by distracted driving or DUI, the South Carolina personal injury and wrongful death attorneys at the Strom Law Firm can help. The sooner you hire one of our accident lawyers, the sooner we will be able to investigate your case and the stronger your case will be. We offer free, confidential consultations to discuss the facts of your case, so do not hesitate to call us. 803.252.4800

Uber Driver Faces Criminal Charges Tied to Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Suit

personal injury and wrongful death

Criminal Charges Filed against Uber Driver Related to Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Claim

personal injury and wrongful deathIn the continuation of one wrongful death lawsuit, an Uber driver in San Francisco has been charged with vehicular manslaughter after hitting a 6-year-old girl at a crosswalk last New Years’ while checking the Uber mobile app.

Syed Muzzafar was charged with vehicular manslaughter on Monday, December 29th. On New Year’s Day this year, Muzzafar was reportedly checking the Uber mobile app to pick up a fare when he struck several members of the Liu family as they were crossing at a crosswalk. He injured two, and killed Sophia Liu, 6 years old. Uber now faces a wrongful death lawsuit from the family as well.  Uber maintains that Muzzafar was actually off-duty at the time of teh accident, meaning that the company denies liability for the wrongful death accident. The company also maintains that it is against employment policy for drivers to check the mobile app while driving, because that can lead to dangerous distracted driving accidents.

“The last thing I saw before the Uber driver killed my little girl, and forever changed my life, was him looking down at his phone,” Huan Kuang, the girl’s mother, is quoted as saying in a statement issued by her attorney on Tuesday. “The driver is a man who was working to feed his family and he did wrong, but Uber is the one who makes the drivers look at their phones as part of the way they do business. Uber is just as responsible as Muzzafar, but they say they are not.”

“The design and use of these mobile applications requires drivers to violate the law as they have just seconds to respond to instant messages from Uber or they will lose the fare and receive negative ratings and possible termination of their driver status,” the Liu family’s attorney said in a statement.

Uber has been accused not only of implicitly encouraging distracted driving, which can lead to personal injury and wrongful deaths, but of also failing to screen drivers according to state standards. This can also lead to serious injuries for passengers, including a case involving the rape of a 22-year-old woman.

In Chicago, an unidentified 22-year-old woman said she used the Uber mobile service to catch a ride in November, after a party with coworkers. She was picked up by driver Maxime Fohounhedo, who asked her about 20 minutes later to sit in the front seat with him as he was unfamiliar with the area. Then, he assaulted her in the vehicle and she blacked out; later, she woke up later in an unfamiliar apartment with him on top of her. Fohounhedo has been criminally charged with sexual assault and criminal sexual abuse. However, he is only the latest in a string of accusations against Uber drivers, claiming assault and rape.

The Strom Law Firm Can Help with Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Cases

Although many of the people we represent in these cases are from right here in South Carolina, our lawyers routinely take clients from throughout the Southeastern U.S. and, in certain types of product liability or pharmaceutical cases, from across the country as well. If you or a loved one has been injured or killed through no fault of your own, you may have a personal injury or wrongful death case. Contact the South Carolina wrongful death attorneys at the Strom Law Firm, LLC today for a free, no-cost consultation today. 803.252.4800

Rideshare Services Don’t Do Proper Criminal Background Checks

criminal background check

Rideshare Services Accused of Failing Criminal Background Check Policies

criminal background checkAfter sweeping the United States and the world with its popularity, rideshare services like Uber, Lyft, and Sidecar now face accusations in their homestate – California – that the companies don’t conduct thorough enough criminal background checks, to prevent personal injury and car accidents.

The district attorneys of both San Francisco and Los Angeles said on Thursday, September 25th, that Sidecar Inc in particular, but other rideshare companies as well, have failed to conduct proper, thorough criminal background checks on their contract employee drivers in accordance with California business law.

The rideshare services have already encountered numerous accusations as they expanded across the country, hiring drivers in nearly every major city, including three cities in South Carolina. In particular, taxi companies have filed lawsuits against Uber, Lyft, and Sidecar for violating taxi company codes, which regulate drivers and their vehicles in the event of a car accident. Uber also faces a wrongful death lawsuit from a family in San Francisco, accusing the service of promoting distracted driving through the mobile app that helps drivers find fares. On New Year’s Day, this year, a driver in the city hit two children and their mother while the family crossed the street, killing a 6-year-old girl and injuring the other two victims.

In response, Uber and Lyft have both expanded their insurance coverage of drivers, but the companies have primarily hidden behind vague employment laws around contract employees, claiming their drivers much provide their own personal insurance because they use their personal vehicles, rather than specifically-labeled company provided taxis. The companies have also argued that they created a mobile app business, not a taxi company, and they cannot regulate how users interface with the smartphone app.

George Gascon, the district attorney of San Francisco, and Jackie Lacey, his counterpart in Los Angeles, filed a complaint against all three major rideshare companies, with a focus on Sidecar, stating that the companies mislead customers on how thoroughly they run criminal background checks. Without submitting employee drivers to criminal background checks, drivers with histories of felony DUI or assault and battery could become employees and find victims through the rideshare service.

According to Sunil Paul, the chief executive of Sidecar, he has already discussed the issue of background checks with local regulators, but he was surprised by the “sudden escalation” in concern in California. Mr. Paul said that his company runs thorough criminal background checks in accordance with the state’s law, but that Sidecar also cannot exclude potential employees if they were convicted of a felony seven years ago or more.

“We value innovation and new modes of providing service to the public,” San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon said in a statement. “However, we need to make sure the safety and well-being of consumers are adequately protected in the process.”

The Strom Law Firm Helps Victims of Distracted Driving in Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Cases

If you or a loved one have been injured or killed because of an accident, whether it was caused by distracted driving or DUI, the attorneys at the Strom Law Firm can help. The sooner you hire one of our accident lawyers, the sooner we will be able to investigate your case and the stronger your case will be. We offer free, confidential consultations to discuss the facts of your case, so do not hesitate to call us. 803.252.4800

Charleston Police to Bust Uber Drivers

Uber Rideshare is Illegal in SC, Charleston Police Will Bust Uber Drivers

Uber driversThe Charleston Police Department announced on July 18th that they had plans to bust Uber drivers, and dissuade Charleston residents from using the mobile rideshare app.

The move came after the police department spoke with local taxi companies. Uber recently launched in four major South Carolina cities – Charleston, Myrtle Beach, Columbia, and Greenville – despite warnings from state and local governments that driving for Uber technically breaks the law in South Carolina.

Concern has been raised in several states across the US about the company’s lack of insurance, which can leave injured passengers in a tough financial spot if they are in a car accident in an Uber vehicle. Both Uber and Lyft recently stated that they insured their drivers in the event of an accident, but because drivers for the companies are independent contractors using their personal vehicles, the companies rely primarily on the driver’s personal insurance.

“I guess you would say they’re operating outside of the law,” said Dawn Hipp with the state Office of Regulatory Staff. “We weren’t able to get a regulatory framework started quickly enough for them or they felt like compliance with state law wasn’t something that they were interested in doing.

“We know that Uber has indicated it has a million-dollar insurance policy that would extend to those drivers, that would fill that gap. However we’ve not seen proof of that,” Hipp added.

The mobile rideshare apps have also been criticized for encouraging distracted driving. A family in San Francisco, the home base of Uber’s company, recently filed a wrongful death lawsuit after an Uber driver struck and killed a 6-year-old girl on New Year’s Day as the family crossed the side walk. Rideshare apps allow drivers to log in and find fares, which the plaintiffs claim encourages Uber’s drivers to look at their phone instead of the road.

Charleston police declared on Friday that Uber violates a number of state and local laws by using personal vehicles to pick up fares, instead of specially-licensed vehicles. Undercover police operations in the city will hand tickets to Uber drivers as high as $1,049, after beginning with warnings.

Concern has also been raised about the quality of Uber’s drivers. Although the rideshare company says that they run background checks on their contract employees, AJ Franklin, an owner of Charleston Green Taxi, reiterated other public concerns by stating that taxi companies are not vetted by proper authorities.

“We have a big public safety issue here, and we need to get them to understand that this a problem … and that we do not intend to ignore it,” City Councilman Bill Moody said.

After learning about the sting operations, Uber spokesman Taylor Bennett said that the company would pay all tickets issued to Uber drivers in Charleston, even if the same driver is busted more than once.

On Tuesday, June 24th, the South Carolina State Office of Regulatory Staff released a statement of public advisory warning potential ridesharing users that uberX/Uber and other such companies do not have adequate insurance or registration with the state, putting passengers at risk of loss in the event of an SC personal injury accident.

“It’s a pretty serious issue,” said Russ Dubisky, executive director of the S.C. Insurance News Service. “My simple advice is just to read the policy and if they don’t have coverage, to make sure that they can get coverage somewhere.”

The Strom Law Firm Helps Victims of Distracted Driving in Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Cases

If you or a loved one have been injured or killed because of an accident, whether it was caused by distracted driving or DUI, the attorneys at the Strom Law Firm can help. The sooner you hire one of our accident lawyers, the sooner we will be able to investigate your case and the stronger your case will be. We offer free, confidential consultations to discuss the facts of your case, so do not hesitate to call us. 803.252.4800

Uber Rideshare Branches Into South Carolina

uber rideshare

Despite Licensing Issues, Uber Rideshare Service Begins Across South Carolina

uber rideshareIn spite of a warning from the South Carolina Office of Regulatory Staff on June 24th, the popular Uber rideshare mobile app service has expanded into South Carolina.

Uber’s ridesharing service will cover four major metropolitan areas in South Carolina – Columbia, Charleston, Myrtle Beach, and Greenville. The rideshare service was invented as an alternative to taxi cabs, which are highly regulated in each state. Uber, however, is a national service based off an app for smartphones. The company is based in San Francisco.

On Tuesday, June 24th, the South Carolina State Office of Regulatory Staff released a statement of public advisory warning potential ridesharing users that uberX/Uber and other such companies do not have adequate insurance or registration with the state, putting passengers at risk of loss in the event of a  SC personal injury accident.

Ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft have insisted in other state cases that they are not a traditional taxi service, but a mobile app that connects passengers with drivers, who use their personal vehicles and rely on personal insurance in the event of an accident. However, past problems with accidents have shown that the driver’s personal insurance does not always cover the costs of personal injury in the event of a car accident.

“It’s a pretty serious issue,” said Russ Dubisky, executive director of the S.C. Insurance News Service. “My simple advice is just to read the policy and if they don’t have coverage, to make sure that they can get coverage somewhere.”

The OSR said in its public statement that using ridesharing apps that hire drivers without a certificate from the Public Service Commission could leave customers with potential gaps in insurance coverage in the event of a car accident leading to personal injury. Some vehicle insurance policies have specific clauses that do not cover personal injury in the event that the driver uses the vehicle for commercial purposes.

However, Uber rideshare, along with Lyft and some other ridesharing companies, recently changed their driver policies to pay for insurance to cover cars while they are working for the rideshare service. Uber also insists that it conducts rigorous background screenings of drivers, as well as a driving history check, and also has regular quality control screenings. All drivers are independent contractors with Uber.

Uber rideshare does not, however, require certification for transportation services with the state, which has created regulatory problems in several states, including South Carolina. Additionally, local Charleston regulations require drivers to get a chauffer’s license, which Uber does not require.

The Strom Law Firm Defends Victims of Distracted Driving in Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Cases

If you or a loved one have been injured or killed because of an accident, whether it was caused by distracted driving or DUI, the attorneys at the Strom Law Firm can help. The sooner you hire one of our accident lawyers, the sooner we will be able to investigate your case and the stronger your case will be. We offer free, confidential consultations to discuss the facts of your case, so do not hesitate to call us. 803.252.4800

Ridesharing Companies: What Happens After A SC Personal Injury Accident?

Ridesharing Companies Branch Out to SC, Personal Injury Dangers Loom

ridesharing companiesSC personal injury accidents occur every day.  If you are the victim of an accident, you may be looking for insurance coverage to help you pay for your medical bills and lost wages.  With the expansion of ridesharing companies such as uberX into South Carolina, the South Carolina Office of Regulatory Staff is warning South Carolina citizens that they may not be covered in the event of an accident.

On Tuesday, June 24th, the South Carolina State Office of Regulatory Staff released a statement of public advisory warning potential ridesharing users that uberX and other such companies do not have adequate insurance or registration with the state, putting passengers at risk of loss in the event of a  SC personal injury accident.

The office said that uberX had posted craigslist ads looking for drivers in Myrtle Beach, Columbia, and Greenville, which means the San Francisco-based company could move into South Carolina in 2-3 weeks. The ORS said that it has not received an application to operate as a commercial transport service, meaning the company violates South Carolina regulations.

Ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft have insisted in other state cases that they are not a traditional taxi service, but a mobile app that connects passengers with drivers, who use their personal vehicles and rely on personal insurance in the event of an accident. However, past problems with accidents have shown that the driver’s personal insurance does not always cover the costs of personal injury in the event of a car accident.

The OSR said in its public statement that using ridesharing apps that hire drivers without a certificate from the Public Service Commission could leave customers with potential gaps in insurance coverage in the event of a car accident leading to personal injury. Some vehicle insurance policies have specific clauses that do not cover personal injury in the event that the driver uses the vehicle for commercial purposes.

Ridesharing companies Uber and Lyft both recently announced that they would expand insurance coverage for their drivers in the event that the contract employees are involved in an accident while acting as employees. If the driver is logged into the mobile app to accept fares, whether the driver is driving a fare or not, Uber says its new insurance plan will cover the driver in the event of an accident. The insurance will cover the driver after the driver’s personal insurance fails, up to $100,000 in bodily injury and $25,000 in property damage.

“Uber is taking this step to eliminate any ambiguity while the insurance industry and state governments update policies and regulations for the new world of ridesharing transportation,” the company wrote in a blog post. “We are proud to be the standard bearer on this issue as we believe that this clarity is in the public’s best interest.”

“Safety always comes first in the cities and communities we serve,” Uber says. “We make sure all ridesharing drivers undergo background checks that are among the most stringent in the industry.”

A lawsuit going forward in San Francisco alleges that the mobile app also distracts ridesharing drivers, because it encourages them to take their eyes off the road in order to pick up fares. This distracted driving problem led to the death of a little girl on New Years Day in San Francisco, and the family has filed a wrongful death personal injury suit against Uber.

The Strom Law Firm Defends Victims of Distracted Driving in Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Cases

If you or a loved one have been injured or killed because of an accident, whether it was caused by distracted driving or DUI, the attorneys at the Strom Law Firm can help. The sooner you hire one of our accident lawyers, the sooner we will be able to investigate your case and the stronger your case will be. We offer free, confidential consultations to discuss the facts of your case, so do not hesitate to call us. 803.252.4800

Uber Files Defense in Wrongful Death Lawsuit

Uber Files Defense In New Years Eve Wrongful Death Lawsuit

wrongful death lawsuitUber, a mobile app that hires drivers and connects the drivers to customers who need a ride, became a codefendant in a wrongful death lawsuit alleging that the company encouraged a driver to use the app and become distracted, leading him to accidentally kill a young girl on New Year’s Day in San Francisco.

In San Francisco on New Year’s Eve, a family was struck by an Uber driver while crossing a crosswalk – the mother and brother were injured, while a 6-year-old was killed. On Monday, January 27th, the little girl’s family will file a wrongful death lawsuit against Uber, not just the driver, in Superior Court in California. Sophia Liu, 6, was the victim of driver Syed Muzzafar, 57, on New Year’s Eve. Muzzafar was arrested following the child’s death on charges of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence and failure to yield to pedestrians in a cross walk. He reportedly cooperated in full with police investigators, and later posted bail. Muzzafar worked full-time as an Uber driver, supporting four children on his income.

Uber hires drivers under contract to act like a taxi service for as many hours a week as the driver wishes to be available. However, the drivers are not, strictly speaking, employees of the company, but independent contractors – therefore, responsibility for personal injury or wrongful death cases could shift to the individual and not the company.

On May 1st, Uber officially filed their defense, alleging that the driver – Syed Muzzafar – was not technically a driver and not logged into the app to pick up a fare at the time of the accident.

“Uber and its affiliated companies sympathize with the Liu family and understand their desire for redress for their loss and their injuries,” attorneys said in a response to a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the family in San Francisco Superior Court. “However, the companies did not cause this tragic accident.”

Uber’s response, filed Thursday, said Muzaffar was “never an employee, agent, joint venture or partner of Uber.”

“The only information displayed on the screen was a GPS-generated map with his location – akin to the information displayed by a smartphone map application,” the defense statement continued.

“Uber shares in the profits of its drivers and must share in the responsibility for the harms they cause,” the family’s attorney, Chris Dolan, said in a prepared statement. “The use of the Uber app by drivers violates California laws designed to eliminate driver distraction. Drivers are constantly interacting with their mobile devices creating serious risk to both passengers and the community … Uber’s claims that they are not responsible for injuries caused by Uber drivers who are logged on to the system but not carrying a fare flies in the face of hundreds of years of law. New technology does not eliminate well-established legal principles.”

The Strom Law Firm Can Help with Wrongful Death Cases

Although many of the people we represent in these cases are from right here in South Carolina, our lawyers routinely take clients from throughout the Southeastern U.S. and, in certain types of product liability or pharmaceutical cases, from across the country as well. If you or a loved one has been injured or killed through no fault of your own, you may have a wrongful death case. Contact the South Carolina wrongful death attorneys at the Strom Law Firm, LLC today for a free, no-cost consultation today. 803.252.4800

Wrongful Death Lawsuit Leads Uber and Lyft to Better Insurance

Uber and Lyft Expand Insurance for Drivers After Wrongful Death Lawsuit

UberRide-share companies Uber and Lyft have agreed to expand insurance coverage of drivers after Uber faced a wrongful death lawsuit filed in January of this year.

The wrongful death lawsuit involved an Uber driver, Syed Muzzafar, driving while distracted by the Uber app and trying to find a fare. On New Years Day, he struck the Liu family while they crossed a crosswalk in San Francisco, and 6-year-old Sophia Liu was killed. Her mother and brother were injured in the accident.

Uber defended itself in the face of the wrongful death lawsuit by saying the company required drivers to have their own personal insurance on their vehicles, and that the company, like Lyft, was only a mobile app. As contractors, Uber and Lyft employees are responsible for their own coverage and their own car accidents.

However, because Uber and Lyft are mobile apps, they can encourage drivers to use their smart phones while driving, which creates a dangerous situation. Most states have passed legislation that prevents drivers from using mobile devices to text, check email, or use social media while driving, and the plaintiffs argued that Uber and Lyft created a situation in which drivers were encouraged to break the law for the sake of their jobs.

Now, the mobile ride share companies have announced that they will expand insurance coverage for drivers in the event that the contract employees are involved in an accident while acting as employees. If the driver is logged into the mobile app to accept fares, whether the driver is driving a fare or not, Uber says its new insurance plan will cover the driver in the event of an accident. The insurance will cover the driver after the driver’s personal insurance fails, up to $100,000 in bodily injury and $25,000 in property damage.

“Uber is taking this step to eliminate any ambiguity while the insurance industry and state governments update policies and regulations for the new world of ridesharing transportation,” the company wrote in a blog post. “We are proud to be the standard bearer on this issue as we believe that this clarity is in the public’s best interest.”

“Safety always comes first in the cities and communities we serve,” Uber says. “We make sure all ridesharing drivers undergo background checks that are among the most stringent in the industry.”

“We want legislators and regulators to know we are putting our best foot forward to make sure (our coverage is) not ambiguous,” Uber CEO Travis Kalanick said Thursday.

While the insurance coverage does not eliminate questions about distracted driving and personal injury, it does help alleviate liability in potential future personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits as the company takes more responsibility.

The Strom Law Firm Defends Victims of Distracted Driving in Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Cases

If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a South Carolina ATV accident or a bike accident, contact the Strom Law Firm today. If you or a loved one have been injured or killed because of an accident, whether it was caused by distracted driving or DUI, the attorneys at the Strom Law Firm can help. The sooner you hire one of our accident lawyers, the sooner we will be able to investigate your case and the stronger your case will be. We offer free, confidential consultations to discuss the facts of your case, so do not hesitate to call us. 803.252.4800

Uber Faces Wrongful Death Lawsuit in California

Famous Internet Car-Sharing Service Uber Goes to Court in Wrongful Death Lawsuit

UberIn San Francisco on New Year’s Eve, a family was struck by an Uber driver while crossing a crosswalk – the mother and brother were injured, while a 6-year-old was killed. On Monday, January 27th, the little girl’s family will file a wrongful death lawsuit against Uber, not just the driver, in Superior Court in California.

The case could define responsibility in the “sharing economy,” dominated by websites and mobile phone apps that act like vendors for “self-employed” drivers, room-renters, and other services.

Uber hires drivers under contract to act like a taxi service for as many hours a week as the driver wishes to be available. However, the drivers are not, strictly speaking, employees of the company, but independent contractors – therefore, responsibility for personal injury or wrongful death cases could shift to the individual and not the company.

The family’s attorney, Chris Dolan, argues that in this case Uber is liable in the wrongful death case, in part because the company makes some money from their drivers’ fares, and also because California law states that using phones or devices while driving is illegal unless the device is set up to be hands-free. Uber, which is based in Silicon Valley and therefore falls under California law, has put its drivers in the position of breaking the law, because the mobile app is not set up to be used hands-free.

“Uber shares in the profits of its drivers and must share in the responsibility for the harms they cause,” said Dolan in a prepared statement. “The use of the Uber app by drivers violates California laws designed to eliminate driver distraction. Drivers are constantly interacting with their mobile devices creating serious risk to both passengers and the community … Uber’s claims that they are not responsible for injuries caused by Uber drivers who are logged on to the system but not carrying a fare flies in the face of hundreds of years of law. New technology does not eliminate well-established legal principles.”

Sophia Liu, 6, was the victim of driver Syed Muzzafar, 57, on New Year’s Eve. Muzzafar was arrested following the child’s death on charges of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence and failure to yield to pedestrians in a cross walk. He reportedly cooperated in full with police investigators, and later posted bail. Muzzafar worked full-time as an Uber driver, supporting four children on his income.

The family’s wrongful death lawsuit states:

“[Uber] derive[s] an economic benefit from not only having USERS transported by DRIVERS collecting a portion of the charge for transportation, it derives an economic benefit, and competitive advantage, by displaying the location of available vehicles near the USER’s location. USERS seeing the ready supply of UBER and/or Uber X vehicles have greater consumer confidence that they will be able to obtain one-to-one prearranged transportation services rapidly and are therefore more likely to be repeat customers… Therefore, regardless of whether a DRIVER actually has a USER in their car, is on the way to a USER who has engaged the DRIVER through the APP, or simply is logged on to the APP as an available DRIVER, UBER… derives an economic benefit from having DRIVERS registered on the service.”

The Strom Law Firm Can Help with Wrongful Death Cases

Although many of the people we represent in these cases are from right here in South Carolina, our lawyers routinely take clients from throughout the Southeastern U.S. and, in certain types of product liability or pharmaceutical cases, from across the country as well. If you or a loved one has been injured or killed through no fault of your own, you may have a wrongful death case. Contact the South Carolina wrongful death attorneys at the Strom Law Firm, LLC today for a free, no-cost consultation today. 803.252.4800