A Massachusetts man is suing Uber for $63 million after a car crash that left him permanently quadriplegic.
William Good, a 31-year-old chef, used the ridesharing app to get home on April 30, 2021, when the driver crashed the car. Good has filed a lawsuit seeking full damages against Uber alleging negligence and seeking to hold Uber accountable for his injuries, and for "unsafe business practices," according to his lawyer.
Good said he felt the Uber swerve before it crashed into a parked car on Highland Avenue in Somerville. The driver repeatedly asked Good, who was then paralyzed, to get up and moved him, according to a press release from Good's lawyer, Victoria Santoro Mair of Sweeney Merrigan Law.
Mair stated that Uber negligently hired the driver, identified in the lawsuit as Jonas Yohou, despite a "lengthy driving history and prior driver re-training."
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"I got into a car with a man who never ever should have been professionally driving," said Good. "Uber has taken my mobility, but cannot take my voice."
Good recalled the moments leading up to the crash on Wednesday.
"He was moving pretty quickly and he clearly was out of control when he smashed into a parked car," he said.
Good hit his head on the headrest and instantly became a quadriplegic.
He described what the crash took from him.
"The price of dignity," said Good. "Of showering, of reading a book, of going to the store."
The lawsuit says Yohou should never have been hired because of a lengthy driving record dating back 25 years.
"Uber wants to entice passengers into the car and charge them when they get out of the car," Mair said. "But they don't want to take responsibility for the safety of the passengers while they're driving in the car."
Good was not wearing a seatbelt, but his attorney says that wouldn't have prevented the crash, and Uber needs to be held responsible for not properly vetting the driver.
Uber says it can't comment on the specifics of the lawsuit, but says its drivers in Massachusetts go through a background check, as well as a two-part screening process that reviews motor vehicle records and criminal offenses, and drivers are re-screened at least every six months.
Uber policy states that US drivers undergo a screening which includes a motor vehicle check and criminal background check.
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Editor's note: Good was living in Somerville at the time of the crash but now lives in Boston. The story above has been updated to reflect this.