On Monday a personal injury law firm in El Paso filed a lawsuit against the ride-sharing company, Uber.
The lawsuit filed by Glasheen, Valles & Inderman, claims that Uber uses technology that is distracting for its drivers.
Uber drivers must have their phones with them to find a customer’s location and to also learn the route to the customer’s drop-off location since the service is run on smartphones.
In July of 2017, Jimena Martinez was involved in a car crash after she was picked up by an Uber driver in central El Paso.
Her attorneys say the driver was distracted by his phone that was mounted on the dashboard at the time.
The driver ended up running a red light when it was then t-boned by another vehicle.
Martinez suffered a joint separation to her right shoulder and even though the crash happened nearly a year ago, she’s still recovering.
“I was going to my home and I figured that I would be safe,” Martinez said.
Martinez had to have surgery, she’s still undergoing therapy and her medical bills are up to $80,000.
Noe Valles is Martinez’s attorney.
“We’d like to think that they (Uber) can come up with a better system instead of having a system that’s basically distracting your drivers,” Valles said.
Valles believes part of the problem is that Uber drivers are competing against each other to get more customers.
He says the case should serve as a warning to Uber customers.
“People need to understand that when they get an Uber vehicle, they need to keep in mind that the Uber driver makes his living by taking more and more rides and so he’s got to be paying attention to that phone,” Valles said.
Christopher Jones has been driving for Uber for more than a year.
“The ride goes to whichever driver is closest,” Jones said. “It gives you about 15 seconds to decide whether you want to take that ride or not, so it’s not like you have to decide right away, you can get to a safe spot and then take the ride.”
Jones did add that an Uber driver could rely more on their phone if they’re unfamiliar with the city.
“It definitely helps if you know the city well,” Jones said. “If you’re new to the city then I can see it being a little more distracting.”
Uber drivers are covered by a one-million-dollar insurance policy anytime they’re working.