Uber and a California driver are to be charged with a negligence lawsuit filed by a garbage truck worker who was injured when a passenger opened the truck’s door, a state appeals court said Friday.
Uber Technologies Inc. and a California driver should be charged with a negligence lawsuit filed by a garbage truck worker who was injured when a passenger opened the truck’s door, a state appeals court said Friday.
William Mason said he was standing on the back of a garbage truck in downtown San Francisco in 2017 when a passenger opened the door of an Uber parked on the street and punched him, causing him to fall and sustain injuries.
The Uber driver had parked in the street in front of the passenger’s destination, a hotel, rather than in the hotel driveway, Mason said. He sued Uber and the driver for negligence.
A court granted a preliminary injunction against Mason, finding that the driver had no legal obligation to monitor his passenger’s behavior or warn her that the garbage truck was approaching. And Uber had no increased duty of care as a regular carrier, because such duty was owed to passengers, not third parties like Mason, the court said.
The California Court of Appeal, First District, has revived Mason’s lawsuit, finding that drivers of car-sharing other vehicles have a normal duty of care in choosing where and how to unload passengers.
It is reasonably foreseeable that passengers exiting a vehicle parked along a city street could open a door to traffic, Judge Sandra L. Margulies wrote in the unpublished opinion.
Passengers disembarking from a rideshare vehicle may be unfamiliar with the location where they were dropped off, disabled or simply inattentive, she wrote.
Given the high volume of traffic on the city’s streets, it’s not surprising that such accidents can happen and that Uber drivers, who make their living carrying passengers, are aware of these risks.
The burden of requiring Uber drivers to choose a reasonably safe place to unload passengers or to warn passengers departing of oncoming traffic isn’t an unreasonable expectation on busy streets, Margulies said.
And there is a matter of fact where in this case the driver has breached his duty to take reasonable care when unloading passengers. How reasonable the driver was in choosing a location to drop off his passengers or not to check his mirrors or warn passengers when exiting the car is a reasonable matter of fact for the jury.
Judge Kathleen M. Banke and Judge Rochelle C. East, at the direction of the San Francisco Superior Court, echoed the advice.
The case is Mason v. Uber Techs. Inc., Cal. ct. App., 1st dist., No. A161000, 25-3-22