The company’s algorithms were blamed for a crash that paralyzed an aspiring doctor. Amazon says it’s not liable.

 

Ans Rana was in the back seat of his brother’s Tesla Model S when they stopped behind a disabled car just before 9 p.m. on Atlanta’s busy Interstate 75. Seconds later, a blue Amazon.com Inc. delivery van slammed into them from behind—mangling the rear of the car and sending Rana, his brother and father to Wellstar Kennestone Hospital. Rana bore the brunt of the collision, suffering life-changing brain and spinal-cord injuries.

The 24-year-old spent months clinging to life, a ventilator helping him breathe, his family unsure if he’d ever leave the hospital. He slowly recovered enough to be released and now lives with a sister who looks after him. Rana gets around in a motorized wheelchair, unable to do simple tasks such as feeding himself, changing channels with a remote control or playing video games. The March 15 crash dashed his dreams of attending medical school, and the once-aspiring doctor is now focused on his own recovery, unsure if he’ll walk again or regain control of his arms.

In June, Rana filed a lawsuit in Georgia state court, alleging that Amazon is liable for the accident. Central to the complaint: the algorithms, apps and devices the company uses to manage its sprawling logistics operation.

Source: Bloomberg