Uber has made what some may consider to be a very smart business decision, by settling the wrongful death claim for the family of the pedestrian who was struck by the Uber autonomous vehicle on March 18, 2018. According to CNN, the family hired an attorney and made a settlement with Uber, so that parties could avoid a possible wrongful death lawsuit.
Uber has not commented on the wrongful death claim against them and the family’s attorney basically only said that the matter has been resolved. Understandably, the family of the wrongful death victim deserves to have its privacy. Terms of the settlement have not been disclosed, but we can assume that the family agreed to keep everything confidential, so as not to set a precedent against Uber.
It is unusual to resolve a personal injury case this quickly, however it can be done under the correct circumstances. For example, in this case, there is video of the incident and there is video of the driver of the Uber vehicle, who was apparently not looking forward at the time of the impact. Since the victim passed away, there is no issue over compensating for expensive medical care going forward. Further, Uber apparently does not want to litigate the issue, including the merits of its technology and whether the accident would have happened if autonomous driving was not engaged.
Uber also potentially has arguments that the victim contributed to causing the incident. This may have factored into the family’s decision to settle right away, rather than hire expensive accident reconstruction and other experts. This is a cost benefit analysis that goes into all cases such as this one.
Sometimes settling quickly can be beneficial for both parties, especially in a case like this one. We hope the family of the victim obtained a significant monetary recovery for their loss.