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Man Sues Uber for Loss of Legs After Helping Move Stalled Car

He survived the loss of both legs due to crushing injuries sustained in a crash as he was helping his Uber driver move a stalled car onto the shoulder. Now, a 23-year-old California man is suing Uber, the Uber driver, Uber’s insurance carrier and the driver of the vehicle that struck him. 

According to local news reports, the victim was an Uber customer passenger in a newer model Jeep around 1 a.m. in March when the Jeep ran out of gas. The driver attempted to coast onto the shoulder, but instead the vehicle came to a rest in one of the lanes of the freeway. Both the driver and the passenger got out and started to push the vehicle onto the shoulder. It was at that time a second driver lost control of his vehicle and struck the customer. The severity of crushing injuries required that both legs be amputated.

Plaintiff’s personal injury lawsuit, which his injury lawyers have valued at between $25 million and $50 million, alleges the driver was not fit to operate the vehicle, and that this was a “substantial factor” in causing him to be in a position where he was hit. 

As our Orlando car accident attorneys can explain, likely the biggest hurdle plaintiff in this case will need to overcome is a defense of intervening cause/ superseding cause. An intervening cause is an event that happens after the tortfeasor’s initial act of negligence that causes harm or injury to a victim. In some cases, this can absolve a tortfeasor of liability, but usually only when it’s decided the injury was not foreseeable.

In the 2010 case of Nason v. Shafranski, Florida’s Fourth District Court of Appeal ruled that the question of whether an intervening cause is reasonably foreseeable is typically left to the jury, though there may be exceptions in cases where subsequent medical negligence in treating the initial injury is involved.

The Florida Supreme Court also tackled the intervening cause issue in the 1970 case of Autrey v. Carroll, the court noted that in general, the acts of a driver that give rise to a stream of events that culminate in an accident, those acts are the proximate cause of the accident – even if there is an intervening cause that contributes.

In civil jury instructions the state high court approved on t concurring cause and intervening cause, it states that negligence is not necessarily the only legal cause of loss, injury or damage. Negligence can be a legal cause even though it operates in combination with the act of another, some natural cause or if the other cause happens at the same time AND the negligence contributes substantially to producing the loss, injury or damage. With regard to intervening cause, in order for the original tortfeasor to still be liable, there must be a finding that the outcome was a reasonably foreseeable consequence of the initial act AND the negligence contributed substantially to producing it.

In the recent California case, the ride-sharing company declined to comment. The company has a $1 million insurance policy for drivers actively engaged in transporting a customer.

Call Freeman Injury Law — 1-800-561-7777 for a free appointment to discuss your rights. Now serving Orlando, West Palm Beach, Port St. Lucie and Fort Lauderdale.

Additional Resources:

Man sues Uber, driver, for crash that cost both his legs, April 10, 2018, By Phil Shuman, FOX 11

More Blog Entries:

Car Accident Plaintiff Wins Appeal After Motive For Lawsuit Improperly Questioned, May 5, 2018, Orlando Car Accident Attorney Blog

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