The father of 6-year-old Sophia Liu, who died after getting hit in a car accident involving an Uber driver in San Francisco, is suing Uber and driver Syed Muzzafar.
Ang Jang Liu filed a lawsuit in San Francisco County Superior Court on Friday with charges of wrongful death, negligence involving a motor vehicle, and negligent hiring retention and supervision, among others.
The case, which takes place in the alternative taxi service’s backyard, could get more people thinking about regulation and best practices for Uber and competitors like Sidecar and Lyft as they expand internationally. A Lyft driver was involved in an accident in San Francisco earlier this month.
This morning, Uber declined to comment on the case, which was filed against Uber and Muzzafar on Friday.
The suit alleges that Muzzafar “was logged on to the Uber app at the time the collission occurred and was appearing as a Uber and/or Uber X driver available for providing transportation services to users and/or was viewing, monitoring, and/or interacting with his wireless communications device/smartphone/GPS at or near the time of the collision.” Additionally, the lawsuit argues that Uber can benefit from having a driver appear to be available near the app’s users, because more available cars can assure users that they’ll quickly get a rider.
And drivers need to check their devices “so they can position themselves near areas of high user demand,” according to the suit. But under certain conditions, using a device while driving could be against state law. More generally, the situation could make for distracted driving. For this lawsuit, that would mean the driver’s “distraction was a substantial factor in causing the subject accident and resultant harm,” according to the case paperwork.
Liu wants a trial and is seeking general, punitive, and special damages after the accident.