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Uber named as defendant in wrongful death lawsuit

A growing car service called Uber uses a convenient mobile device application that allows a taxi to quickly pick up fares from patrons and take them to their destinations. Despite offering low-cost cab services to busy cities throughout New Jersey, Uber is facing controversy after a recent accident that led to a wrongful death lawsuit.

The lawsuit against Uber followed the death of a 6-year-old girl in a fatal pedestrian accident on New Year's Eve. The lawsuit questioned the safety of Uber and other transportation-related mobile device apps used by motorists.

According to the lawsuit and police reports, the girl died after being struck in a crosswalk while she was crossing the street with her mother and younger brother. The driver, a 57-year-old man, had been a driver for Uber. The man's Uber account was immediately deactivated by the company, which sought to distance itself from the driver. It claimed the man was not providing services for Uber at the time of the crash.

The driver is facing charges of failure to yield to pedestrians in a crosswalk and vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence.

In their lawsuit, the plaintiffs are claiming that the driver was logged on to and using the mobile application when the pedestrian accident occurred. They allege that the driver's distraction using the app led directly to the fatal accident.

Mobile devices and their use can take a driver's eyes off the road, often with deadly consequences for other motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians. While the wrongful death case against Uber may establish the potential liability of mobile devices and apps in the event of a pedestrian accident, it can also serve to remind New Jersey drivers to be attentive. The lawsuit may relieve the family of damages associated with their tragic loss.

Source: Auto World News, "Lawsuit claims Uber App Distracts Drivers After 6-Year-Old Girl Is Killed," Jordan Ecarma, Jan. 28, 2014

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Gary D. Ginsberg is a Certified Civil Trial Lawyer who has been recognized as an expert in litigating cases in the courts of New Jersey.

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