It's been two weeks since Roberto Chicas, a 35-year-old bartender at The Cavalier, was allegedly attacked by his UberX driver, 26-year-old Patrick Karajah. While Chicas has been receiving intensive medical care, he's still in a great deal of pain, having sustained fractures in his face; his left eye remains completely swollen shut, and it remains unclear if he'll be able to regain sight in it.
At a press conference held yesterday with his attorney, Harry Stern, Chicas spoke out about the incident and encouraged Uber to take responsibility. "Using Uber at the end of the night is supposed to be the responsible, safe thing to do when you are out with friends. To do that and wake up in the ICU is something I hope no one has to go through," he said. His attorney, Stern, argued that Uber isn't taking responsibility for the incident, and that the company needs to do more extensive background checks on its drivers. "The basic legal premise is very simple, and that's you can't offer this kind of service out in the marketplace, reap all the benefits and profits and not take responsibility."
Uber has expressed sadness over Chicas' injury, but continues to dance around any potential liability. "The injuries suffered by Mr Chicas are deplorable and we wish him a quick recovery. Uber's insurance provider is in contact with representatives of both the rider and driver, and of course we will continue to cooperate with authorities throughout the investigation." The alleged attacker, Karajah, has plead not guilty to charges of assault with a deadly weapon and battery with serious bodily injury.
While Chicas says he will likely file suit against both Karajah and Uber, his medical bills and living expenses still need to be addressed. To help, 25 Lusk is throwing a fundraiser for Chicas this Sunday, with wine, beer, cocktails, and raffle prizes; admission is $35, and all the money will go to Chicas. There's also a GoFundMe page set up for him, and Louie's Bar is continuing to offer the Chicas Special, a beer and a shot of Fernet, with $1 going to Chicas' recovery fund. "It's my way to give back," owner Eric Mejia, a high-school classmate of Chicas, told SFist.