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AP Photo/Eric Risberg
The sum of the settlement was not disclosed.

Uber settles a lawsuit over an accident in San Francisco that killed a little girl

By Hanna Kozlowska

Car service app Uber has tentatively settled a lawsuit with a San Francisco family whose 6-year-old daughter was killed in an accident involving an Uber driver, Reuters reports.

According to the lawsuit, Sofia Liu, her younger brother, and their mother were in a crosswalk on New Year’s Eve in 2013 when they were hit by a car whose driver, Syed Muzzafar, was logged into the Uber app. In its defense, the company had argued that because Muzzafar was not driving any Uber passengers at the time of the accident, it was not at fault.

The bigger question that emerges from the case is whether Uber should be liable for accidents, and accountable for its drivers’ actions. The company has held that its drivers are independent contractors, but the California labor commission ruled last month that an Uber driver who used the company’s platform to find passengers was in fact an employee. In the wake of Sofia Liu’s death, California also enacted a law on July 1 requiring ride-share drivers to have liability insurance whenever they are using apps like Uber’s.

According to court filings, Sofia Liu’s family asked to keep the details of the settlement confidential in order to protect the privacy of her brother. “I am worried that if the settlement amounts were made public, that people would try to take advantage of Anthony when he comes into the money when he is older,” the boy’s mother wrote.