A San Francisco bicyclist’s case against Uber Technologies Inc. could very well be a landmark moment in how rideshare companies are held accountable in the future.
The Backstory: A Collision in a No-Stopping Zone
In 2018, Edgard Velarde, a hardworking immigrant from Peru, found his life irrevocably changed. While biking home from his job in downtown San Francisco, he was “doored” by a passenger exiting an Uber vehicle that had stopped in a no-stopping zone. Although he wore protective gear like a helmet, Velarde claims that the impact caused brain trauma so severe that he can no longer work. Adding to the complexity of the situation, the Uber driver left the scene of the accident.
The Legal Battle
Uber, like many large corporations, often leans on out-of-court settlements to close the book on personal injury claims. In Velarde’s case, they offered a whopping $1 million for his silence. But Velarde chose a different path. Believing in the principle of truth over silence, he has taken his fight to the courtroom. He alleges not just personal damages, but aims to spotlight the alleged inadequacies in Uber’s driver training and safety measures.
What This Could Mean for Uber and Rideshares
Uber’s defense is noteworthy, particularly its stance that they “do not belong in this case” and that the injuries Velarde sustained are “completely untethered” from the company or its app. But as San Francisco has previously rejected Uber’s request for dismissal, key concerns have arisen about how drivers decide where to drop off passengers, their attention to safety measures, and even basic steps like checking mirrors.
The lack of adequate safety training for Uber drivers is particularly concerning. According to testimonies, Uber’s safety videos and materials seem to be more of a formality rather than a comprehensive guide for ensuring passenger and public safety. Eric, the Uber driver involved in Velarde’s incident, mentioned that the company didn’t even require him to undergo any safety training – a shocking revelation considering the responsibility these drivers carry.
A Tangled Web of Deception?
Michael Stephenson, Velarde’s attorney, has put forth startling allegations against Uber. Not only did the company reportedly claim that no Uber drivers were near the accident scene, but after court orders forced their hand, evidence allegedly showed that eight were in the vicinity. This kind of obfuscation raises serious questions about transparency and corporate responsibility.
Furthermore, a perplexing twist saw Velarde’s injury claim mysteriously lodged with Lyft, Uber’s primary competitor. The motivations or errors behind this are yet to be clarified, but it certainly thickens the plot.
In Closing: A Matter of Public Safety
As advocates for personal injury victims, the case of Velarde vs. Uber is more than just a lawsuit; it’s a beacon highlighting the intersection of rapid technological advancements and public safety. This case might be unusual, as noted by lawyer Miles Cooper, but its implications are vast. Rideshare companies must be held to the highest safety standards if we’re to trust them with our lives and the lives of our loved ones.
We’ll be closely watching the case as it unfolds, hoping for a resolution that ensures increased safety measures, transparency, and, most importantly, justice for Edgard Velarde. If you or a loved one have been injured in an accident, contact OnderLaw today for your free, no-obligation consultation.