Following the death of 6-year-old Sophia Liu in an Uber accident in 2013, a San Francisco Superior Court jury has found the rideshare driver guilty of misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter, while the company had already agreed to an undisclosed amount in her family’s wrongful death lawsuit.
The Uber accident took place on New Year’s Eve, and though at the time of the incident 61-year-old Syed Abid Muzaffar was not transporting passengers or on his way to pick up a fare, he was on duty with Uber.
He reportedly struck the child, her mother and her toddler brother in a crosswalk at 8 p.m. after making a legal right turn on a green light. The mother suffered a significant injury in the collision, while Sophia died after Muzaffar reversed and backed up over her body.
Company Says Driver in Uber Accident Was Not Responding To A Fare or on His Phone
Following the Uber accident, an investigation was conducted that determined that the driver was not on his phone, responding to fare or carrying a passenger at the time of the incident.
Nevertheless, his account was deactivated by Uber and the family filed the first-ever wrongful death lawsuit against the company. Following the incident, the ride-sharing company revised its policies, providing insurance coverage for its drivers regardless of whether or not a passenger is in the driver’s car at the time of a crash if they are logged into the app and available to accept rides.
The driver’s attorney argued that the Uber accident was a result of a blind spot created by the A-pillar in his Honda Pilot. Following the jury’s guilty verdict, District Attorney George Gascon said, “We have a responsibility to each other when we get behind the wheel. It’s imperative that we all slow down and remain completely alert when operating a vehicle. Far too much is at risk, and our city is more congested than ever.”