New Finding in Fatal Uber Crash
There’s new information in the Uber self-driving car accident: the car had determined that she was not in the pathway and that she was not a danger to the car.
New Finding in Fatal Uber Crash
The Uber self-driving car that struck and killed 49-year-old Elaine Herzberg as she was crossing a roadway this past March appears to have registered the victim and her bicycle with its multiple sensors – but the car’s software algorithms deemed she was not a danger to the car.
There are systems built into the car to ensure it ignores some objects that it deems non-hazardous. For example, a newspaper that gets blown up onto a proceeding car. Uber calls this type of thing a “false positive”. So while there is an object there, it is not a hazard to the car.
Though the car’s sensor system was operating normally and a test driver was behind the wheel, neither the human driver nor the computer system braked before the collision.
TheNational Transportation Safety Board investigated and listed three reasons the car’s brakes were not applied:
- Uber had chosen to switch off the collision avoidance and automatic emergency braking systems that are built into commercially sold versions of the 2017 Volvo XC90 test vehicle. Uber did that whenever its own driverless robot system was switched on — otherwise, the two systems would conflict.
- However, Uber also disabled its own emergency braking function whenever the test car was under driverless computer control, “to reduce potential for erratic behavior.”
- Uber had expected the test driver to both take control of the vehicle at a moment’s notice, while also monitoring the robot car’s performance on a center-console mounted screen. Dashcam video showed the driver looking toward the center console seconds before the crash. The driver applied the brakes only after the woman had been hit at 39 mph.
While an attentive driver might have noticed the pedestrian – it’s unclear if the accident could have been avoided. Herzberg, the victim, entered the roadway from planted shrubbery on a divided highway median strip. Toxicologists found traces of methamphetamine and marijuana in her body.
In response to the findings, Uber announced its plans to shut down the company’s driverless car program in Arizona. Programs in Pittsburgh, San Francisco and Toronto have also been on pause since the Arizona crash. A spokeswoman for Uber said the company is preparing to resume activity in those locations and elsewhere.
“We are not shutting down our self-driving program, but our road testing is still grounded,” she said. “We are actively working to make our return to the road a reality, with a goal of resuming operations in Pittsburgh this summer. We are also in conversations with the governor of California, the California DMV and the cities of San Francisco and Sacramento.”
Two Forms of Wrongful Death Claims
There are two forms a wrongful death claim can take: negligence, or intention. This means either the victim died as the result of a negligent act of the defendant. Or the victim died as the result of the defendant’s intentions to kill the victim. Some examples of negligence include: victim’s death as a result of medical malpractice or the victim dies as the result of a faulty engine in the car the victim was riding in. An example of intention is when the defendant is believed to have murdered the victim on purpose.
Proving a Wrongful Death Claim
For the defendant to be declared liable in a wrongful death claim, the claim brought must meet the same burden of proof that the victim would have had to meet if the victim was alive. In the case of a negligence trial, plaintiffs must show the defendant owed a duty of care to the victim, that the defendant breached this duty of care, and that the breach of this duty directly caused the death of the victim.
Bringing a Wrongful Death Claim
Often the deceased person’s surviving relatives, dependents or beneficiaries bring the wrongful death suit against the responsible party or parties, seeking monetary damages for their loss. Often times the jurisdiction determines the individuals who are able to bring the claim. Generally, the primary beneficiaries (often the spouse and children, or parents) are able to bring a claim. While in some states parents of the deceased person may be also designated as beneficiaries. But, in most states, if the deceased person did not leave behind a husband or wife, any children or parents, there may be no one who will be able to bring a wrongful death claim.
In order to legally recover damages in a wrongful death action, there are some general requirements that must be met. They are as follows: (1) The death must have been caused by another’s negligence, i.e., it must be showed that the negligent person was at fault for the death; (2) if the deceased was alive, he or she would have been entitled to recover damages from the at-fault party; and (3) the party or beneficiaries must meet the legal requirements to be allowed recovery of damages in the Wrongful Death action.
Wrongful death laws vary from state to state
Not every state follows the same guidelines, principles, or rules. And each state has its own set laws regarding wrongful death. A personal injury attorney can help advise you on if your wrongful death claim is valid and can help you are you pursue a claim against the responsible party or parties.
“True” versus “Survival Actions”
Some states have “true” wrongful death acts. This is when the deceased person’s survivors or next of kin are able to bring a cause of action for their damages inflicted as a result of their family member’s death. Other states have acts called “survival actions.” This form of lawsuit is brought by the survivors on behalf of the deceased person. This cause of action is for the deceased person’s pain and suffering that resulted from the injuries that caused his or her death.
In many jurisdictions, when the defendant’s negligence contributes only in part or in tandem with other circumstances to a person’s death, and not just the sole cause, liability may still be attached to the defendant.
Arizona ‘s Wrongful Death statute outlines exactly what a party or beneficially is entitled to receive in the case of a wrongful death case. A wrongful death can be claimed when a person dies as a result of the legal fault of another person.
Jury Rulings on Wrongful Death Cases
A jury ruling on a wrongful death case is typically instructed to award damages to beneficiaries as it deems fair and just. And generally, a beneficiary will recover a monetary award. The amount recovered by a wrongful death is not subject to any debts or liabilities of the deceased unless the action has been brought on behalf of the deceased’s estate.
Types of Damages
Various types of damages can be recovered in a wrongful death claim. What you file for will be dependent on the circumstances of the case. Here is a list of damages you can claim:
- Punitive Damages
- Loss of love, affection, companionship, care, protection, and guidance since the death and in the future.
- Pain, grief, sorrow, anguish, stress, shock, and mental suffering already experienced, and reasonably probable to be experienced in the future.
- Income and services that have been lost as a result of the death, and that are reasonably probable to be experienced in the future.
- Reasonable expenses of funeral and burial.
- Reasonable expenses of necessary medical care and services for the injury that resulted in the death.
Recovering Legal Damages
In order to legally recover damages in a wrongful death action, there are some general requirements that must be met. They are as follows: (1) The death must have been caused by another’s negligence, i.e., it must be shown that the negligent person was at fault for the death; (2) if the deceased was alive, he or she would have been entitled to recover damages from the at-fault party; and (3) the party or beneficiaries must meet the legal requirements to be allowed recovery of damages in the Wrongful Death action.
Working with a Personal Injury Attorney
The attorneys at Personal Injury Attorneys PLLC have experience handling personal injury cases such as wrongful death, motorcycle accidents, car accidents, slip and fall accidents, and dog bites. After contacting an attorney they will investigate the specifics of the personal injury. The more information you can provide to them, the better. That means specifics of the crash, any witness information, any medical bills or time spent in hospital, and the specifics of your injuries. They will build a case for you based on these specifics and then defend you should the case go to trial. You’ll want to work with experienced personal injury attorneys like the ones at Personal Injury Attorneys PLLC.
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