Uber Passenger Says Driver Struck Him with Hammer After He Told Him He Was Going the Wrong Way | NBC Bay Area

Uber Passenger Says Driver Struck Him with Hammer After He Told Him He Was Going the Wrong Way

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    The passenger who was reportedly struck in the head with a hammer by an Uber driver is speaking out publicly for the first time since the assault. Mark Matthews reports. (Published Wednesday, Oct. 8, 2014)

    The passenger who was struck in the head with a hammer by an Uber driver is speaking out publicly for the first time since the assault.

    San Francisco resident Roberto Chicas said the driver attacked him after he told the man he was going the wrong way.

    "To do that and then wake up in the ICU is something I hope nobody has to go through," he said.

    Chicas, 35, faces reconstructive surgery for the fractures he suffered to his face during the attack. He also has been unable to return to work as a bartender since the assault reported on Sept. 22.

    The driver, Patrick Karajah, fled the area after the attack and was later arrested at his Pacifica home.

    Karajah is currently out on bail and recently pleaded not guilty to two counts of assault with a deadly weapon and battery with serious bodily injury, according to the San Francisco District Attorney's Office.

    Attorney Harry Stern, who is representing Chicas, said Uber is responsible for the attack.

    "For reasons that are really inexplicable committed this unprovoked attack," Stern said. "You can't offer this kind of service out into the marketplace, reap all the benefits and profits, and not take responsibility. That's pretty simple."

    Eric Goldman, a professor of law at Santa Clara University, points out that Uber's terms of service specifically said for passengers to use the service at their own risk.

    An Uber spokesperson said the company's insurance provider is in contact with representatives of both the passenger and driver.

    Taxi drivers, who held a protest Wednesday in front of Uber's San Francisco headquarters, have been discussing the attack.

    "If I hit someone with my taxi cab, DeSoto Cab who I drive and dispatch for will pay all of their medical bills," said Beth Powder, a cab driver. "Why hasn't Uber done that for anybody that's been injured by an Uber driver?"

    Cab drivers at the protest also said Uber does not play by the rules.

    "Cab drivers are being crushed," Nazeer Sadiq said. "Why? It's a planned robbery. These people are robbers."

    Uber responded in part with a statement that said "rich taxi Medallion owners should spend their time improving customer service," rather than complaining about competition and choice.

    Meanwhile, a wrinkle in the Uber contract could cause the company some trouble.

    When Chicas received the bill for his ride it included a $1 safety fee. Stern said if the company is charging for safety, then that is a guarantee or warranty that customers are paying for, and for which the company is responsible.

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