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Court Rules Uber is a Common Carrier – Subject to Duty to Care for Passengers

A recent court ruling marks a positive change for the legal duties Uber drivers have to their passengers, and their liability when passengers are injured or killed when using the ride-hailing app. In the underlying case, the parents of a 19-year-old college student sued Uber after their daughter was run over and killed on a highway. Just before she was run over, the company’s driver allegedly ordered the girl out of his car and a second Uber driver failed to pick her up.

After answering the parents’ lawsuit, Uber claimed it had no responsibility for the death of 19- year-old Stella Yeh, a sophomore at University of California at San Diego. According to court records, Stella’s friends had summoned Uber to drive the young girl home to her dorm. During the ride, however, she vomited on the dashboard at which point the driver exited the highway and demanded she get out of the vehicle. Stella attempted to order another Uber and was stumbling up the freeway ramp when it arrived. Instead of taking her home, the second Uber “abandoned her.” Minutes later, the young girl wandered into the freeway where she was struck by two cars and killed.

In response to Uber’s contention that it had no duty to Stella and thus no responsibility for her death, the state court judge ruled Uber is a “common carrier” subject to the same duties as taxi companies, which includes a duty of care for its passengers. Importantly, the court ruled the duty does not end until a passenger is “discharged into a relatively safe space.” This ruling marks an important decision by courts to uphold common carrier duties to Uber, including the duty to take reasonable steps to ensure their passengers’ safety during the entire time it is hired to transport a person from one place to another.

If you or a loved one has been injured, killed, or impacted as a passenger in an Uber, taxi or any mode of transportation, call Abraham Watkins today. It is imperative that you find a law firm to manage your claim as soon as possible following an incident of this nature. Further, it is important to find a skilled law firm with experience handling these cases to ensure that companies are held fully accountable. The law firm of Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner is the oldest personal injury firm in Texas, and our attorneys are standing by to assist with your claim. Call us today at 713-396-3964 or 800-594-4884 for your free consultation.

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