The city of Tempe has been named in a $10 million lawsuit stemming from Uber’s autonomous vehicle crash last year. The crash involved the first person to ever die in an autonomous vehicle accident, 49-year-old Elaine Herzberg. Herzberg was crossing the street on a Sunday evening when the autonomous vehicle hit her.
The incident occurred around 10 pm when the Volvo, which did have a driver behind the wheel to take control of the vehicle if it operated improperly, hit the woman.
Herzberg was walking her bike across the road when the accident occurred. She was taken to the hospital where she later died.
Tempe and Uber were involved in the investigation of the incident. The rideshare company did capture full video of the events in which many believe that the safety driver behind the wheel of the vehicle could have prevented.
Christine Wood, Herzberg’s daughter and Herzberg’s husband Rolf Ziemann, have filed the claim. Each of the survivors is asking for $5 million in damages. The city will not comment on matters that include pending litigation.
The lawsuit claims that the city should be responsible due to the brick pathway meant to allow pedestrians to safely cross the road. Since the accident, the city has removed the brick path and replaced it with plants and landscaping to prevent pedestrians from cross into the road.
Changes to the walkway came shortly after the city was hit with a claim.
Rafaela Vasquez, the driver behind the wheel of the vehicle, which was running in autonomous mode at the time of the accident, was found to be watching “The Voice” at the time of the accident. Woods had already settled a lawsuit with Uber just two weeks after the accident, but details of the settlement were not disclosed.
Legal experts suggest that the case is highly unlikely to end in a settlement for a high dollar claim. People, in this case, have an obligation for their own safety, especially in incidents where dangers are open and obvious.
A crosswalk was not provided at the site of the brick pathway, and the attorneys for the family will use this as a way to prove their claim. Legal experts say that the accident would not have been prevented if there was a painted crosswalk present. The claim is highly unlikely to be settled in favor of the family or Herzberg’s husband, at least not at the $5 million each mark.