Monthly Archives: August 2016

Kansas Über Accident Attorney Explains How Lawsuits for Compensation May Change Very Quickly

Within the past few months, ridesharing company Über has announced and moved forward with plans to replace its human drivers with automated, driverless cars. While this may excite those in favor of technological advances, such a move causes problems for Über’s current roster of human drivers and raises important questions about how an injury victim will be compensated if Über’s fleet were to become driverless.

 

The Harm to the Human Drivers of Über

 

Currently, a significant number of individuals make extra money for themselves and/or their families by driving for Über. These individuals are not necessarily employees of Über: rather, they sign up to become an independent contractor / driver through Über’s website. If approved, the person will decide when he or she wishes to accept fares and when they would like to be “off the clock.” When they are accepting fares, their information is displayed on Über’s app to passengers who are needing a ride. If selected to provide a ride, the driver receives information about the passenger’s location and intended destination. At the conclusion of the ride, the passenger’s credit card is automatically billed by Über for the amount of the fare, and the driver’s share is deposited into his or her designated account. But by eliminating human drivers in favor of robotic cars, Über will be hurting these human drivers financially as some of them depend on the money they receive from fares in order to supplement other income and to help make ends meet.

Questions of Liability Will Remain

 It has always been confusing for injury victims and attorneys alike to determine exactly who is responsible when an “on the clock” Über driver injures another person. While a transition to driverless cars may change the nature of the questions that must be determined regarding liability, obtaining compensation for injury victims injured by one of these autonomous cars is still likely to be difficult. A new cast of characters may be responsible in any given Über accident, including:

  1. Über employees and the company itself, if the company knew or should have known that the autonomous car in question was defective or in need of repair;
  2. The manufacturer of the car, if a mechanical defect caused the accident. Consider the danger of an autonomous car with a steering system defect or braking system defect.
  3. The designer or programmer of the car’s “robotic brain” – the sensors and computers that tell the car where to go, when to turn, and when to stop – if the car’s computer system is behind the car crash.

This will make investigating an Über accident on behalf of an injured client even more intensive and expensive. Attorneys will likely need to consult with one or more experts on a regular basis to determine what caused a particular crash and whose negligence or carelessness enabled the accident to happen. While attorneys like Kansas City attorney Michael R. Lawless are always committed to helping injury victims obtain fair and full compensation, clients should expect that their attorney may need additional time and resources before being able to provide the client with a “game plan” for obtaining compensation.

Contact a Kansas City Car Accident Lawyer Today

If you or a loved one has been injured by an Über driver or has suffered injuries or losses in any other type of car accident case, contact

Within the past few months, ridesharing company Über has announced and moved forward with plans to replace its human drivers with automated, driverless cars. While this may excite those in favor of technological advances, such a move causes problems for Über’s current roster of human drivers and raises important questions about how an injury victim will be compensated if Über’s fleet were to become driverless.

The Harm to the Human Drivers of Über

 Currently, a significant number of individuals make extra money for themselves and/or their families by driving for Über. These individuals are not necessarily employees of Über: rather, they sign up to become an independent contractor / driver through Über’s website. If approved, the person will decide when he or she wishes to accept fares and when they would like to be “off the clock.” When they are accepting fares, their information is displayed on Über’s app to passengers who are needing a ride. If selected to provide a ride, the driver receives information about the passenger’s location and intended destination. At the conclusion of the ride, the passenger’s credit card is automatically billed by Über for the amount of the fare, and the driver’s share is deposited into his or her designated account. But by eliminating human drivers in favor of robotic cars, Über will be hurting these human drivers financially as some of them depend on the money they receive from fares in order to supplement other income and to help make ends meet.

Questions of Liability Will Remain

It has always been confusing for injury victims and attorneys alike to determine exactly who is responsible when an “on the clock” Über driver injures another person. While a transition to driverless cars may change the nature of the questions that must be determined regarding liability, obtaining compensation for injury victims injured by one of these autonomous cars is still likely to be difficult. A new cast of characters may be responsible in any given Über accident, including:

  1. Über employees and the company itself, if the company knew or should have known that the autonomous car in question was defective or in need of repair;
  2. The manufacturer of the car, if a mechanical defect caused the accident. Consider the danger of an autonomous car with a steering system defect or braking system defect.
  3. The designer or programmer of the car’s “robotic brain” – the sensors and computers that tell the car where to go, when to turn, and when to stop – if the car’s computer system is behind the car crash.

This will make investigating an Über accident on behalf of an injured client even more intensive and expensive. Attorneys will likely need to consult with one or more experts on a regular basis to determine what caused a particular crash and whose negligence or carelessness enabled the accident to happen. While attorneys like Kansas City attorney Michael R. Lawless are always committed to helping injury victims obtain fair and full compensation, clients should expect that their attorney may need additional time and resources before being able to provide the client with a “game plan” for obtaining compensation.

Contact a Kansas City Car Accident Lawyer Today

If you or a loved one has been injured by an Über driver or has suffered injuries or losses in any other type of car accident case, contact attorney Michael R. Lawless right away at (800) 734-3771. You may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other expenses you experienced as a result of your crash.

Kansas Über Accident Attorney Michael R. Lawless right away at (800) 734-3771. You may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other expenses you experienced as a result of your crash.

Kansas Personal Injury Accident Attorney Describes the Assumption of Risk Doctrine in Connection with Pokémon Go!

Unless you do not have any contact with children and have been living off of the grid for the past few months, you are likely familiar with the new Pokémon Go! app that has children and the young at heart excited about exercising. For those unfamiliar with the program, Pokémon Go! is an app downloadable to a smart phone that immerses user in a sort of digital fantasy world:

  1. The object is to find and locate digital monsters called Pokémon;
  2. These monsters are (according to the game’s premise) hiding in plain sight in our own world;
  3. Through the Pokémon Go! app, you are able to find and see these monsters (the app essentially takes the real world you see through your phone’s camera feature and overlays it with the information from the Pokémon fantasy world);
  4. Once you find them, you must capture them using digital, fantasy tools contained in the app.

The game has been a huge success so far, but has also been linked to some serious personal injury accidents in which pedestrians and motorists harmed themselves and/or others by paying more attention to the app than their surroundings. The Pokémon Go! app warns users about the dangers of trying to play the game while walking or driving and advises that players use the game at their own risk. Is this sufficient to alleviate the developers of Pokémon Go! from liability for the injuries of players and others injured on account of the game?

Assumption of Risk Doctrine Generally

A personal injury doctrine called the “assumption of risk” doctrine may provide some protections to the developers. This doctrine holds that a participant of an activity who is aware of the activity’s dangers and chooses to participate in the activity in spite of these dangers “assumes the risk” that he or she will be injured or killed. This doctrine is invoked frequently when amateur sportsmen and sportswomen undertake a new activity like rock climbing, whitewater rafting, or jet-skiing. In most states, an injury victim who “assumes the risk” from a defendant and who is thereafter injured in the activity is not able to sue the defendant-business or defendant-individual.

Kansas and the Assumption of Risk Doctrine

Some may claim that users and players “assume the risks” associated with the game by agreeing by the terms and conditions of the game (players must accept these terms and conditions when initiating the game, otherwise they will not be able to play the game). Suppose a lawsuit is initiated in Kansas against the developers of the Pokémon Go! game after an adult walks into traffic while playing the game. The adult alleges that the game developers were negligent in not putting additional warnings or safety features into the game, while the developers allege that the adult “assumed the risk” of injury by accepting the terms and conditions of the game.

If such a case were to be decided according to Kansas law, the defendants’ assertion of the assumption of risk doctrine would be ineffective. This is because the Kansas Supreme Court struck down the doctrine in 2014. Instead, the Kansas Supreme Court held that any “assumption of risk” plays into the court’s general comparative fault scheme. Any knowledge or assumption of risk by the injury victim will be considered along with all other factors in determining who is primarily at fault in causing the crash.

Michael R. Lawless is a Kansas City Personal Injury Attorney.  Contact his office at (800) 734-3771.