Ride Sharing Accident Liability
Uber and Lyft Are Skirting Accident Liability In recent years, ride-sharing companies like Uber and Lyft have become titans in the transportation industry, seemingly making billions of dollars overnight and giving taxi companies a run for their money. Their app-based business model gives them an edge in today’s digital world, as more and more people are using their smartphones to complete transactions for a growing variety of products and services. However, not only are Uber and Lyft contributing to the now trending “sharing economy,” but they are also presenting a slew of complex liability issues. For instance: *Are passengers covered by Uber/Lyft insurance?* Who is liable if an Uber driver hits another car or a pedestrian? What happens if a third party is involved in the accident? While these issues are still being hashed out in various legal disputes and will continue to develop for years to come, Uber and Lyft have recently come under pressure, especially in California, to eliminate any ambiguity in their policies and regulations regarding insurance coverage in case of an accident. How Past Accident Cases Are Effecting Changes in Rideshare Company Policies Last New Year’s Eve, a six-year-old girl was killed when an Uber driver struck her along with her mother and brother at a crosswalk. In November 2014, a Lyft driver transporting two young men swerved to avoid a stalled car and hit a tree, killing one of the passengers, a 24-year-old Sacramento citizen. These tragic stories received extensive media coverage and attracted national attention, causing scrutiny of ride-sharing companies to intensify. In California, a state which tens of thousands of Uber and Lyft employees call home, Governor Jerry Brown signed ridesharing insurance legislation requiring companies to cover drivers from the moment they turn on their app. Since then, many other state legislators have followed suit, forcing the two major ride-sharing companies to concede to some of their demands, including expanding coverage to drivers who are logged into their apps at the time of an accident. What Insurance Coverage Does Uber and Lyft Have Today? As of today, both Uber and Lyft provide $1 million of liability coverage along with $1 million of uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. However, this coverage only applies to cases involving injuries to passengers. What about accidents involving other vehicles, pedestrians, bicyclists, and the like, that occur when the driver is on call? As previously mentioned, drivers for both companies DO receive coverage as long as they are logged onto the app. Whether the coverage is adequate is another matter. Since commercial insurance is expensive, Uber and Lyft are doing everything they can to encourage drivers to get a personal injury policy. In fact, they recently announced a partnership with Metromile to sell a personal insurance policy that provides extra coverage during the gap period by using an in-car sensor to monitor driving. Also, insurers including Farmers’ Insurance, USAA, and Geico are coming up with their own special ride-sharing policies. (Photo By AAron Ontiveroz/The Denver Post) DENVER, CO. – FEBRUARY 10: Kevin Labonte, owner of Special Times Limousine, supplements his own fares with those he contracts out from Uber. State legislators may enact proposed changes supported by the taxi community that say Uber is an unregulated service. Though not regulated, Uber merely connects private drivers, who comply with all PUC regulations, to customers. This can become a problem when damages exceed the coverage provided by the driver’s policy – not an uncommon scenario when it comes to personal insurance. Since Uber and Lyft only provide uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage in their respective rider policies (passenger coverage), victims of on-call accidents are left to fend for themselves financially if the driver does not have adequate coverage. And There’s More We have extensively discussed liability issues surrounding ride-sharing companies and traffic accidents. But we haven’t even begun to cover cases involving assault, battery, sexual assault, or direct property damage committed by employees. This raises the question of whether Uber and Lyft are responsible for the criminal conduct of their drivers; however, this is an issue to be discussed in a future article. Protect Your Rights If you have been the victim of an accident involving a ride-sharing company driver and are in dire need of financial and legal support, call Wilshire Law Firm toll-free at (800) 522-7274. Our excellent attorneys can evaluate your claim, let you know where you stand, and fight to get you full and fair compensation for your losses. FREE 24/7 Consultation
Cyclists in Los Angeles Face Dangerous Roads
Dangerous Roads in LA Don’t Benefit Cyclists It’s no secret that being a cyclist in Los Angeles can be very dangerous. This is nothing new for cyclists, but was something that was brought to attention when Mayor Villaraigosa broke his elbow in a cycling accident in 2010. In Los Angeles, pedestrians accounted for about a third of all traffic fatalities, or nearly triple the national average of 11.4%. About 3% of the fatalities were bicyclists. That compares with 1.7% nationally. The study, which compared crash rates in Los Angeles, New York and nationwide, examined data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, California Highway Patrol and the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles. The database included 449,498 crashes within Los Angeles city limits, with 2,086 crashes that involved at least one death during the eight-year period of 2002 through 2009. These are scary numbers for anyone who enjoys cycling in Los Angeles. To compound the problem Governor brown recently rejected legislation that would have required motorists to give cyclists at least three feet of room while passing, or slow down — citing concern that it could cause more car accidents. Brown said he worried about requiring motorists to slow to 15 mph when passing bicyclists if there is not three feet between them. Cycling injuries can be devastating, costly, and have tremendous impact on the cyclists life. Traumatic brain injury is major problem for cyclists and can occur even when the cyclists wears his or her helmet. The problem is there hasn’t been proper education for cycling safety for automobile drivers or for cyclists. The Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition and Metro have begun to offer cyclist safety courses but a small percentage of cyclists ever sign up and participate in these programs. The Metro has also committed to an auto awareness campaign called “Share the Road” which reminds drivers that cyclists have just the same amount of rights on the roads as automobiles. None of this matters if you’ve been injured in a cycling accident or know someone who has been injured in a cycling accident. The important thing to remember is that if you have been injured in a cycling accident, you need good representation in order to get full compensation for your injuries and damages to your bike. Often times cyclists ride away from an accident thinking that they are OK, but later on realize they have had injuries that weren’t accounted for when the accident occurred. Even if you feel like you are OK and your bike is undamaged it’s very important to get the names and information of the automobile involved in the accident. When your body hits asphalt it can cause major damage to your bones, and organs. Often times the cyclist is in shock and doesn’t realize the extent of his injuries until much later. Most importantly to remember is follow the rules of the road, wear your helmet, and remember that you are no match for a several ton vehicle.
California Limousine Accident Limousine accidents injure many people at one time, very unfortunate. Limousines in the Los Angeles area are not only a form of entertainment, but it is also a luxury as well as a mean of transportation. Careless drivers or the limousine’s chauffeur can cause an accident by dangerous driving, failure to yield, and/or even reading a text while driving. Collisions with other vehicles while running a red light at an intersection or changing lanes without signals may cause minimal damage to the vehicle, but case serious injury to the passengers in either vehicle. Limousine accident victims are subject to serious injuries all caused by negligent drivers or limousine companies and the victims deserve full compensation for a speedy recovery. Medical expenses caused by a limousine accident will vary depending on the cost and severity of the situation. Despite the costs, immediate medical attention by EMTs and transportation to the hospital for further treatment is a simple way to a fast recovery. With the assistance of our personal injury attorneys, we can provide coverage for medical costs and long-term rehabilitation. Our accident lawyers fight for the full compensation of any expenses related to a limousine accident; including: Medical treatment Rehabilitation Long term damage Loss revenue due to the inability to work Our limousine accident attorneys are available and guarantee you all available treatment that is required to support your quick recovery from the injuries you recieved in the accident. For victims that lack medical coverage, immediate contact with our firm is imperative. We have the ability to arrange for payment of all medical expenses by granting a lien on the future proceeds of your settlement so are able to recover quickly from the accident. We obtain statements from all witnesses in regards to the events of the accident and present that evidence to establish the liability of all parties that are at fault for the accident. Additional evidence that is both physical and video, is developed by our firm’s team of analysts, as they can recreate the scene of an accident accurate enough to determine fault and liability of the negligent party. All evidence that is obtained is available to be used against all liable parties if a legal course of action becomes necessary to ensure a suitable compensation for the accident victim. Our experienced attorneys are experts in various practices, regulations, and many contractual standards of insurance companies. Our detailed understanding of the insurance industry gives our personal injury lawyers the ability to accurately represent your interests, even if a client of ours cannot contribute to the discussion due to be incapacitated from the accident. All of the negotiations with the negligent party and/or their insurance provider are managed in its entirety by our skilled attorneys. To better ensure your swift recovery, our firm employs legal counselors to answer any questions you may have regarding the legal and insurance claims processes. Our counselors are available for travel to your home or hospital room in order to shed light on the compensation procedure and litigation options. You do not need personal health insurance to cover the costs of medical treatments arising from the negligence of another party; however, we suggest you make immediate contact with our attorneys to ensure there is no delay in receiving that treatment. All representation fees are on a contingent basis with no up-front payment required. Reimbursement of fees to the firm is only necessary once you receive a favorable settlement. If you or someone you know is injured in an accident involving a limousine, please contact the at (800) 522-7274.