Nicholas Cameron’s mother, Cheryl Hawkes, and his girlfriend, Monika Traikov, have filed a $7-million lawsuit against Uber Canada and the City of Toronto after the 28-year-old was killed while in the back of a ridesharing vehicle in 2018.
“The only thing a lawsuit can do… is name the people we feel are responsible and make them account for themselves in some way,” said Hawkes.
“It just is — for me, it’s another way of demanding accountability.”
The lawsuit was filed to the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in late February.
The list of defendants also includes the Uber driver involved in the fatal crash, who later pleaded guilty to careless driving in the incident, and the driver who rammed into the vehicle in which Cameron was a passenger.
The statement of claim said Hawkes and Traikov are each seeking $3.5 million for “punitive and aggravated damages.”
It also alleges “…the defendants engaged in conduct which was harsh, vindictive, reprehensible, and malicious…” and that Uber and the city showed “…a wanton and outrageous disregard for the safety of the residents of the City of Toronto.”
The statement of claim adds that the “…the plaintiffs have suffered severe mental distress and claim aggravated damages for this conduct.”
“I’ve lost my son, that’s not going to change,” Hawkes said. “We’ve been shattered for a couple of years now.
“It’s been emotionally draining… it shakes you up in ways you don’t even know about.”
Cameron was killed while in the back of an Uber vehicle in March 2018 on the Gardiner Expressway near Royal York Road while on his way to Pearson airport.
The Uber driver admitted his phone had fallen and that he had pulled over, partially in a live lane of traffic, to pick it up . The driver then proceeded to put his car back into motion when it was struck by another vehicle.
The statement of claim added that Cameron’s girlfriend, Traikov, who was also a passenger in the vehicle at the time, suffered multiple injuries, including a traumatic brain injury.
Hawkes has been pushing the city to implement mandatory training for all vehicle-for-hire drivers since the death of her son.
New rules for ridesharing drivers came into effect earlier this year, but training infrastructure is not in place yet.
“Everybody is putting one foot in front of the other and trying to honour Nick’s memory,” Hawkes said.
None of the claims have been proven in court.
“The City of Toronto was served with a statement of claim last week. As this matter is now before the courts, the city will reserve comment,” a spokesperson for the City of Toronto said in a statement.
Uber did not respond to Global News’ request for a response to the lawsuit. Neither of the two drivers named in the lawsuit could be reached.