The settlement in the Uber self-driving car case is confidential, but it still says a lot about how to settle a high-profile case.
In the big picture, it isn’t so much about the money. Of course, money is almost always the currency of civil settlements.
But settling a high-profile case for a company like Uber is more about moving on. It’s the main thing the parties have in common.
One and Done
Uber smartly settled this first-ever case almost before it began. The accident occurred barely weeks ago.
Liability was as clear as a dash-cam video. It revealed the safety-driver was not paying attention at the time of the accident, but at the same time the pedestrian was not in a crosswalk when she pushed her bicycle across the street at night.
Police reported that Uber was probably not at fault. An Uber supplier said the company turned off its standard collision-avoidance technology. Discovery for the case was basically done before the victim’s family hired a law firm.
Damages were the question mark. The decedent was homeless, which would have limited financial expectations and probably played a part in the settlement negotiations.
The attorneys did a good job for their clients. Had the case played out to a litigious end, both parties would have suffered.
Whatever the financial agreement was between them, that’s in the past. Now they can move on. For watchful self-driving companies, that means putting test vehicles back on the road.
Hopefully, they have learned from Elaine Herzberg’s tragedy and Uber’s public relations fiasco. The company does not need any more of those kinds of problems.
And hopefully the Herzberg survivors found some peace of mind with their financial settlement. As for Elaine Herzberg, may she rest in peace.