On December 19, 2018, an Illinois appellate court revived a lawsuit regarding two individuals who were struck by a speeding vehicle after an Uber driver kicked them out of their ride.
In October 2014, Farid Kessanti, the Uber driver, picked up Sean Kramer and Jasmine Vega from the Chicago theater. After taking several wrong turns, the passengers began to question Kessanti’s driving abilities and area competency. As a result, Kessanti terminated the service mid-ride and kicked the two out of his vehicle.
The two were left in a high-traffic and allegedly high-crime area. It was poorly lit and surrounded by bars and people with varying levels of sobriety. While walking to their destination, they were struck in an intersection by a speeding driver, John Szczepaniak – who fled the scene and was apprehended the next day. Both Kramer and Vega were injured in the accident.
Initially, the two victims filed a lawsuit in 2014 against Szczepaniak; however, by the time the lawsuit reached its seventh amended version, Kessanti was included. According to their argument, a reasonable person should have been able to tell the area was dangerous and would have ejected the passengers somewhere else.
In May 2017, the lower court deemed that neither Kessanti or Uber could have foreseen the speeding car would have hit the two in a different area from where they were originally dropped off. A unanimous three-judge panel; however, said getting hit was just one circumstance that could have happened. Assault, mugging, or being physically unable to walk to the final destination were also listed as dangerous incidents that could have occurred because of the terminated service and ejection.
As a result, the case has been reinstated. The appellate court has decided the proximate cause should be decided by a jury.
Uber drivers have a responsibility to follow through with the rides they accept and drive responsibly. If an individual or group is injured in a car accident because a rideshare driver acts negligently and breaks company policy or the established traffic laws, legal action can be pursued, and that driver can be held accountable for their actions.