You probably heard about the pilot program that Uber launched in Pittsburgh testing completely autonomous Uber cars. Passengers who order cars in Pittsburgh now may either get a self-driven car or a human operated vehicle. But what you may not know is before that pilot program launched, Uber tested the technology in a “friends and family” program. It allows friends and family of Uber employees to ride in the autonomous vehicles.
But that program also included an extensive liability waiver. Uber made every person who wasn’t an employee and who rode in the autonomous vehicles, sign a waiver acknowledging the technology was experimental and to relieve the company of any lawsuits related to injury or death. According to documents obtained by the Guardian, Uber was having people sign the waivers as early as June of this year.
The waiver included a list of common risks associated with the experimental technology including equipment failure, actions of other drivers, and weather issues. You may be wondering if this waiver is enforceable, that is a difficult question to ask without seeing the document and knowing the circumstances of the injury. But, from a purely theoretical perspective, it is possible for people to waive away their rights to file a lawsuit.
Waivers are often required for dangerous jobs, tasks, or even when using experimental technology. Uber needs to test its self-driving cars, and it needs to understand how passengers accommodate the technology. From Uber’s perspective, there is no sense in developing the technology if passengers refuse to utilize it.
But, these waivers are not required of current public passengers on Uber self-driven vehicles. Moreover, Uber confirmed that all self-driving cars are covered by a $5M policy, so if you are injured in one of their cars you should be adequately covered.
Until self-driving cars become ubiquitous (and maybe even after then), car crashes are still going to be a daily occurrence. After any accident, you should always seek medical attention. You never know the extent of your injuries. If you suffered a serious injury, then you may want to speak to an attorney, you could be entitled to compensation. A lawyer can review your case and help you determine the best course of action for you and your family.