Auto Insurer Sues for $1M, Arguing the City of Portland Is to Blame Over Deadly Crash That Killed 17-Year-Old Motorcyclist

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A new lawsuit is accusing the city of Portland of negligence, claiming that the city failed to adhere to its own regulations regarding homeless encampments along busy roadways. It was this negligence, the lawsuit claims, that ultimately led to the death of a motorcyclist in 2022.

The one million dollar lawsuit was filed by Mobilitas Insurance Company, an auto insurance company and a subsidiary of AAA insurance that provides coverage to motorists, including Lyft drivers. Mobilitas was the insurance provider of a Portland Lyft driver who was behind the wheel during the fatal crash.

On May 14, 2022, Lyft driver Anderanik Manouki was driving his sedan with passenger Daniel Cortez when they struck a motorcyclist, 17-year-old Gabriel Almansan. The accident happened at the intersection of Southeast Powell Boulevard and 62nd Avenue, an area known for frequent homeless encampments. Cortez was seriously injured but survived while Manouki sustained no injuries. Gabriel Almansan died at the scene.

Manouki was operating as a Lyft driver at the time of the accident, and his insurance coverage from Mobilitas Insurance Company extended to both himself and his passenger, Cortez. The lawsuit does not make mention of Almansan’s death after the car accident.

After assessing the claim, Mobilitas filed its lawsuit as the insurer, arguing it is entitled to damages of over $1 million from the city because the city had a duty to its residents but that it violated that duty when it failed to adhere to city regulations on homeless encampments.

Mobilitas explains in the lawsuit that Manouki’s view of oncoming traffic as he entered the intersection was obstructed because of homeless encampments that have “created an unreasonable risk of harm and propounded the risks associated with the dangerous location.”

The complaint goes on to explain that on February 22, 2022, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler signed an emergency declaration that would ban homeless encampments along the highway, onramps, and “high crash corridors,” including Powell Boulevard.

In signing the emergency declaration, Mayor Wheeler said the ban on encampments was an effort to protect homeless individuals from being struck and killed by cars, a trend that had been ticking upwards in the months earlier.

The emergency declaration was criticized by homeless advocates and traffic safety groups who argued the new measure would only harm an already vulnerable population.

Oregon follows the majority of other states that adhere to at-fault auto laws. As an at-fault state, the insurance provider of the driver who caused the accident is generally held liable for damages.

However, falling in line with no-fault states, Oregon does require drivers to carry personal injury protection (PIP). In the event of an accident, PIP insurance will cover the medical expenses of a policyholder, regardless of fault.

Because the driver at the time of the crash was operating as a Lyft driver, Lyft's insurance coverage of $1 million can also kick in to cover damages. It is unclear if and how much of Lyft's insurance coverage applied in this case.

Generally, after an accident, victims turn to their PIP insurance coverage first to cover damages. Then, depending on the status of the Lyft driver —whether they are en route to pick someone up or with a passenger, waiting for a match, or off the clock— Lyft’s insurance coverage can kick in at different levels. In some cases, as in this one, Insurance companies like Mobilitas can take legal action via a civil lawsuit to recover damages.

The City Attorney’s Office has yet to respond to the claims made in the complaint.

Nadia El-Yaouti
Nadia El-Yaouti
Nadia El-Yaouti is a postgraduate from James Madison University, where she studied English and Education. Residing in Central Virginia with her husband and two young daughters, she balances her workaholic tendencies with a passion for travel, exploring the world with her family.
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