As ridesharing services remain popular in urban areas like San Francisco, there are Uber and Lyft drivers taking on new fares nearly everywhere you look. In the rush to secure their next passengers, however, many ridesharing service drivers may opt to take shortcuts and perform illegal road maneuvers.

That’s exactly what happened on November 5th, 2018, when Uber driver Roberto Carlos Blandon Martinez made an illegal U-turn from the curb, crashing directly into motorcyclist Jessica Christie in the process. A 23-year-old UC Berkeley student and barista, Ms. Christie died within hours after the crash, having sustained multiple limb fractures and serious internal bleeding.

Prosecutors have already charged Mr. Martinez with vehicular manslaughter, but the grieving family of Ms. Christie has also decided to pursue a wrongful death claim against both the Uber driver and the company, hiring our Walnut Creek personal injury lawyer Andy Schwartz to represent them. By holding Mr. Martinez and Uber accountable for the accident that caused their daughter’s death, it is our hope that the Christie family will be able to find some measure of peace after this tragedy.


In order to prove a wrongful death claim in this state, you must demonstrate that your loved one’s death was primarily caused by the negligence and carelessness of another person, and that you suffered monetary damages along with your emotional pain and suffering. Under the California Code of Civil Procedure, surviving spouses, domestic partners, and children are the main individuals allowed to bring a wrongful death claim (377.60a). However, if the deceased individual had no “line of descent,” their parents or siblings can also spearhead a lawsuit against the negligent parties, as Ms. Christie’s family has done.

Additionally, California uses the doctrine of pure comparative negligence to determine fault in car accident cases. This means that the judge or jury will try to uncover what percentage of fault lies with each party, and award appropriate compensation based on that percentage. If the defendant was a reckless or distracted driver – like Mr. Martinez, who was clearly distracted when he took on a new Uber fare – they will be far more likely to receive a higher percentage of the fault.


Given the tragic circumstances of this accident, it’s easy to see how the Christie family could be entitled to maximum compensation under the law. At Casper, Meadows, Schwartz & Cook, we’re committed to pursuing full damages on behalf of grieving families, and we want to ensure they can find peace of mind during such a difficult and traumatic time. As leading counsel on this case, we’re confident that our skilled firm partner and noted wrongful death attorney Andy Schwartz will be able to seek a fair result for the family.

For more information about our legal services throughout the Bay Area, call (925) 275-5592 today. We offer free consultations on personal injury and wrongful death cases.