The Uber driver involved in a bang-up accident that ended with another car crashing through a fire hydrant at Divisadero and Hayes Streets is now being blamed for injuries to a female pedestrian hit by the flying plumbing. Because of the driver's agreement with the town car-hailing app, it is currently unresolved who will be stuck with the "enormous" bill for her medical costs, as well as damages to the surrounding buildings.
During the incident, just before midnight March 12, Uber driver Djamol Gafurov was headed South on Divisadero and attempted to make a left onto Hayes Street, striking a black Dodge Magnum that was headed north in the process. The Dodge veered off the road to the right and sheared off the fire hydrant before slamming into a tree. According to a police report the hydrant flew 81 feet, bounced off the front of a building and struck pedestrian Claire Farhbach.
Although SFist originally reported that she was attended to by SFFD emergency technicians, the Bay Guardian reports she later had to be treated for "lacerations to her body, a fracture in her lower leg, and multiple herniated discs" that will most likely require additional surgery. Farhbach is currently suing both Uber and Gafurov to cover the medical costs associated with her injuries.
According to Uber's own legal terms, Gafurov is a "partner" and not an official employee of the company, which maintains that it merely provides the technology to hook up drivers with riders via their smartphone apps. Uber drivers work for private limo services which are registered with the Public Utilities Commission and carry their own insurance. As one of the Guardian's sources uncovered, Gafruov is a self-employed driver licensed as Limo Car Service Corporation.
Gafurov has the liability insurance necessary to register with the CPUC, but not the excess liability coverage that would be needed to cover all the personal injury and property damages. Uber carries an excess liability insurance policy that could cover it, but according to its own partner agreement, the company is not liable for loss, damage or injury caused by a driver — meaning it will be up to the tech company to decided whether they want to pay up. As Trevor Johnson, director of the S.F. Cab Driver's Association told the Guardian, Gafurov will likely be in debt for the next 20 years if Uber doesn't step in. At this point Uber is staying quiet on the issue, and has simply pointed out that professionally licensed drivers should be protected by their own company.
Farhbach, on the other hand, has been experiencing a slow recovery. She has been immobile for three months, forcing her to leave two jobs in San Francisco and move back in with her family in North Carolina while she's on the mend.