SEATTLE – Thirty-seven-year-old Jonathon Stroh and a co-worker were on a sidewalk carrying kitchen mats when the two Canlis dishwashers were suddenly struck by a Toyota Prius on May 14.
“The only thing I really remember is carrying a mat and then nothing else until I woke up in the hospital,” Stroh told KIRO 7 Wednesday.
Stroh and his co-worker were severely injured when the Prius “negligently left the roadway and entered upon the sidewalk adjacent” to northbound Aurora Avenue North, according to Stroh’s civil complaint against Uber, recently filed in King County Superior Court.
The 72-year-old woman in the Prius, an Uber customer, was killed.
Nearly two months after the crash, Stroh is still in a skilled nursing facility, unable to return home. “I had a neck injury, I had messed-up kidneys,” he said. “I just want to go home and have all this stuff settled and put behind me and go back to work.”
Stroh is also suing the Uber driver, seeking reimbursement for medical expenses, which for now will be covered by his employer’s insurance and state Labor and Industries, according to his lawyer, Karen Koehler of Stritmatter Kessler Koehler Moore in Seattle.
However, Koehler believes that had the vehicle that struck Stroh been a private taxi, truck or company vehicle, that business would be financially liable, so why not Uber?
“The shifting of responsibility that’s going on with Uber is of public concern,” Koehler told KIRO 7.
“Uber needs to take the responsibility for putting the cars on the road when they’re in use on an Uber visit.”
Koehler said Uber has been sued after accidents, mostly unsuccessfully, because the company has “gone through some effort to make sure that they’re characterizing people as not, quote ‘employees.’ But these people are working on behalf of Uber.”
“Uber wants special treatment, and we’re not going to give them special treatment,” Koehler added.
Stroh just wants to heal and get back to work. “I love my job. I love the people I work with, and I want to go back.”
Uber would not comment on Stroh’s lawsuit, but spokesman Andrew Hasbun wrote in an email that “the driver’s access to the app was removed.”
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