Three years ago the New York Times covered the tragic death of Sophia Liu, the first pedestrian killed by a negligent Uber driver. Uber asserted it could not be liable for the collision that occurred on December 31, 2013, because its driver was not transporting a passenger at the time of the collision. Uber’s assertion that it bore no legal responsibility, if successful, would have been devastating for the Liu family. The driver had only the minimum insurance on his personal policy and no other assets. The bill for medical services alone for the family exceeded $500,000.
In the article, Chris Dolan told the New York Times: “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.” One year after the filing suit, the family reached a settlement with Uber.
As a result of the Sophia Liu lawsuit, Uber changed its policies to expand insurance coverage for collisions and crashes caused by its drivers even if there is no passenger in the car when the accident occurs as long as the driver is logged into Uber’s app and available to accept a ride.
Furthermore, with the support from the Liu family and as the then-President of the Consumer Attorneys of California, Chris successfully lobbied the Legislature for the adoption of a law requiring Uber and other ride share companies to have $1 million in liability insurance coverage for their drivers.