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Personal Injury Blog

The 7 Safety Tips for Riding Alone with Uber or Lyft

Thursday, November 14, 2019

When using a rideshare service like Uber or Lyft, it's important to take a few necessary safety precautions, and not just to be safe in case of a car accident. Uber accidents can happen to anyone, and with a responsible rideshare driver, you are at just as much risk as driving yourself. But some of the most horrifying Uber and Lyft related disasters are what happens when a rider travels alone without taking precautions to keep themself safe from the driver themselves. Riders have been picked up by the wrong car and kidnapped or attacked by their registered Uber or Lyft drivers in extreme circumstances.

Men and women, young and old, riding alone means you should show the same kind of caution as accepting a ride home from a friend-of-a-friend who you don't know personally. Some things are just common sense, but there's also a procedure you can go through specifically for Uber and Lyft to make sure you are as safe as possible. 

 

Step 1: Text a Friend

Between ordering your ride and your driver arriving, text a friend. Text three friends if you're not sure your best friend is awake or checking their phone. Let them know that you're getting an Uber and how long to wait before expecting to hear from you again. This is sort of like the safe-date policy. If your friend doesn't hear that you've arrived safely in a reasonable amount of time, they'll know to alert the authorities.

This is a smart safety step just in case you run into a personal problem with the driver or your Uber car gets into an accident and you are unable to send your second text.

 

Step 2: Check the License Plate

When a car arrives that you think is your Uber, don't just get in. Your Uber order will tell you the license plate of the car you're expecting. Only get into a car with the exact same license plates. If the driver says they're using another car that day, cancel the ride and call a new one with matching plates.

 

Step 3: Check the Driver

Next, check the photo and name of the driver. Look at the driver and make sure it appears to be the same person. Then ask the driver's name. Do not say "Are you Steven?", ask their name. If they say the correct name and have the correct appearance, get in. If not, cancel the ride and order another.

 

Step 4: Get into the Backseat & Buckle Up

Don't get into the front seat. A surprising number of passengers have been assaulted by sitting too close to the driver. We advise riders alone get into the back passenger-side seat so that you are the furthest from the driver and secure in a real buckling seat. Then buckle up. The seatbelt will keep you safe in the event of an accident.

 

Step 5: Say You Are Expected at Your Destination

Don't share your personal information with the driver. Do tell the driver that someone is waiting for you at your destination. Even if you're going home to an empty house, being expected will make it less likely for a driver to be tempted to attack or kidnap you. It sounds dramatic, but it happens more often than anyone would care to admit.

 

Step 6: Share Your Trip with the Same Friend

In your app, there is an option to share your trip with a friend. Share. It doesn't matter with who, as long as they are awake and care about your safety. They can see your trip, your driver, and your ETA (estimated time of arrival) without downloading the app. This gives you an extra line of defense and makes being expected digitally real.

 

Step 7: Keep Your Phone Ready to Call 911

Finally, keep your phone in your hand and on the dial page. Be ready to call 911 at any moment. Whether you are in an accident or if the driver gives you a reason to be afraid, being ready to call 911 will ensure that the police will be on their way ASAP. If you start to get a bad feeling, quietly dial 911 and keep your thumb over the call button. 

 

 

Rideshare accidents happen, both car wrecks and disasters between drivers and riders. If you have been in an Uber or Lyft accident, whether or not it is related to a driver attacking you, please contact us today.


How is Liability Determined for a Golf Ball Injuries?

Thursday, November 07, 2019

Golf ball injuries can be severe. Golf balls are small, heavy, and falling from great heights can increase the potential severity of any injuries caused. This increases the risk of serious head injury and even damage to critical brain functions. Bodily impact can also leave welts and even break bones with the added velocity of the ball falling from a great height.

If you or someone you know has been injured by a golf ball or suffered a sport-related golfing accident, the question of liability is a complex one. There is a fine line between the natural assumption of risk and factors that extend beyond the sport. Today, we'll help you discover whether your case can be taken to civil court.

 

Natural Risk of the Sport

Golf liability falls under the laws that define sport participation. When participants play in a shared sport, they legally accept the assumed risks of the activity. Golf players cannot sue one another for things that happen in the natural course of the game.

Assuming the natural risk of the sport includes the occasional stray golf ball.

 

Reckless Straying from Game Activity

Golfers play in a very careful and specific way. Each may have a different favorite club or type of swing, but the rules are the same. Activities outside those defined by the game that results in injury can be deemed reckless straying from the game. Therefore, these activities fall outside the assumed risk of the sport.

- Horseplay and Roughhousing

Horseplay and roughhousing are never part of the intended conduct of golf. Any injury that is the result of roughhousing or horseplay is subject to personal liability laws.

- Thrown Golf Balls and Equipment

If you are hit by a thrown golf ball, or any other thrown equipment, then the person who has thrown these objects is liable for causing harm outside the normal sporting risks.

- Swinging Golf Clubs

Golf club injuries may be considered liable even if they occur during normal play. 

 

Aggressive Defiance of Safety Protocols

The next type of liable golf ball injury is when someone is playing the game, but are doing so in defiance of safety protocols. Liability can be assumed if the person who tees off did not check the 'zone of danger' first, did not announce their swing, or was probably aiming for people rather than the open fairway.

- Hitting Balls Toward a Person or Crowd

If a player hits (or throws) a golf ball deliberately in a direction that could cause harm, even if their goal was not to cause harm, they are liable for injuries that result from that action.

- Driving While Golfers are on the Fairway

A golfer who tees off before the fairway is clear or who fails to shout is thus liable for any injuries they cause by defying safety protocols.

 

Injuries Caused by Golf Course Design

When someone is injured by a golf ball, the golf course itself must also be examined for liability. Flaws in the course design can make it more difficult or even impossible for players to know when they are putting one another at risk, or are themselves at risk from an unseen player.

- Spectator Safety Areas

In most cases, the golf course is liable for ensuring that spectators at an event are aware of where they can safely stand or sit to watch. Spectators who leave the designated safe areas, however, may waive the venue's liability.

- Holes Too Close Together

If the course holes are too close together, errant balls hit for long flight are much more likely to accidentally hit someone golfing at a different hole. There is always some risk from hole to hole, but there are also regulations to ensure safety.

- Obscuring Terrain Hiding Players on Fairway

The landscaping design of each hole also matters for course safety. A course that creates dangerous obscured sections of the fairway may be liable for injuries that result from this literal oversight.

 

Injuries Outside the Golf Course

Finally, there are golf ball injuries that occur outside of a golf course. People walking alongside golf courses often are not aware that there is golf nearby and/or have not taken on the natural assumption of risk for being near the sport. The legal owner of the path itself will often determine whether or not the golf course can be held liable. Players who intentionally hit balls over the edge are almost assuredly liable for defying the rules of the game.

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If you or someone you know has recently suffered a golf ball or golfing related injury, you can seek justice. Many golfing injuries are caused by misconduct, reckless negligence, or poor course design. Contact us today to discuss the details of your case and find out if those responsible for your injury can be held liable for their conduct.


What to Expect After a Burn Injury at Work

Thursday, October 17, 2019

What to Expect After a Burn Injury at Work

Burns are common among the types of injuries that occur in the workplace. Accidents involving fire or explosions often produce burns that range from minor to deadly. Chemical spills also account for many burns suffered at work. Individuals working in industries such as plants (especially chemical plants), welding and food service are prone to more burn injuries than other jobs. Learn what to do if you are burned at work and what legal options you have should a burn injury occur.

Types of Burns

Electrical

This burn occurs when you come into contact with an electric current. Any source of electricity can be culpable: these including facility wiring, power lines, lightning and stun guns. These burns occur as either a low voltage (under 500 volts) or high voltage (over 500 volts) event. Electrical burns generally cause more sub-dermal (tissue under the skin) harm than chemical or thermal burns.  

Chemical

You can obtain this type of burn when you come into direct contact with a chemical or its fumes. Strong acids or bases are usually responsible for these burns which range from mild to severe in nature. The face and extremities are the most likely locations for chemical burns.

Thermal

These burns are due to contact with high levels of heat as produced by such things as fire, heated objects, boiling water and other heated liquids. Common locations for these types of burn injuries are the fingers and hands. The burn is often superficial but can (in certain circumstances) be severe.  

Radiation 

The most common type of burn injury from radiation is a sunburn. It is also possible to suffer this type of burn from medical imaging procedures or from nuclear accidents. A radiation burn can range from minor to severe.

Degree of Burns 

First

Superficial burns concerning the outer layer of the skin. These burns are similar in severity to a minor sunburn that does not blister.

Second

These burns reach the dermis (underlayer) of the skin as well as the epidermis (outer layer). Signs of this degree are bright redness, shiny appearance, and swelling. Touching a second-degree burn will produce a moderate amount of pain. Scarring may occur depending on the severity of a second-degree burn.

Third

A burn that obliterates two full skin layers. Rather than a typical red-colored burn, the injury might appear white, black, brown or possibly yellow. Third-degree burns are not as painful as the nerve endings in the skin are destroyed.

Fourth

This degree of burn decimates both layers of skin and damages muscle and ligaments lying underneath the area. 

Fifth

Fifth-degree burns penetrate through two layers of skin and underlying muscle and proceed to damage the bone.

Sixth

This is the most severe degree of burn, which destroys skin, muscle, ligaments and chars bones. Fatalities sometimes occur from sixth-degree burns.

Complications

Prior to Healing:

  • Infection
  • Loss of fluids
  • Lowered body temperature

After Healing:

  • Scars
  • Joint and/or bone issues
  • Mental and/or Emotional Effects

Workman's Compensation

Get medical attention as soon as you can following a burn even if it appears minor. Alert your supervisor to the incident and follow your company's health and safety protocol to the best of your ability. You are entitled to workman's compensation when you experience a burn injury. This compensation typically pays all medical and therapy expenses and pays approximately two-thirds of your pay while you are out of work recovering. Insurance companies sometimes delay or even deny workman's compensation claims for various reasons, so you should seek out a qualified worker compensation lawyer should you face obstacles in your particular circumstance 

Other Legal Claims

Typically, you cannot sue your employer for an accidental burn unless there is severe negligence. There are some situations, however, in which a burn injury is caused by a third party. You might have a legal claim against this party.. For example, you could have a case in which the manufacturer of a piece of defective equipment is at fault for your burn.  Other burn events could involve negligence on the part of a vendor, subcontractor or even a client.

Please contact us for help with your particular circumstances.


burn injury burn injury

Legal Help for Rideshare Accidents

Thursday, October 10, 2019

If your Uber or Lyft driver gets into an accident, under current procedures, everything is usually very straight forward.

The View of Minimal Trouble

An article in Fortune Magazine describes what happened from the viewpoint of a San Francisco Uber passenger when her Uber driver got into a significant fender-bender. In the wee hours of a weekday morning, a turn into a one-way street resulted in significant damage to the passenger door of another car. The Uber driver was shaken up by the incident and she reminded him that he had to pull over. The Uber driver assured his passenger that he would be able to drive her the rest of the way home, but she refused, saying that she would prefer to walk. She was sure that negotiations between the drivers would take considerable time. Corporate Uber called the passenger days later, was very apologetic and refunded the passenger's fare. The driver had correctly reported the accident to Uber. The payment to the car sustaining the damage was covered by the James River Insurance Company. 

Under a California statute that took effect in 2015, Uber and Lyft drivers must carry increased personal insurance while online to seek riders and even more coverage during the time of the trip itself (from acceptance of the ride to the drop off). There are gaps in the legal process if a passenger were to hail a ride and not using the Uber or Lyft app online. Under those conditions, the driver might not be covered under the increased insurance.

Beyond the Easy Cases.

The basics of handling accidents by Uber or Lyft drivers are straight forward. However, there are many situations where resolution may not be simple. Difficulties are going to get more complicated once, in the near future, Uber and Lyft begin employing self-driving vehicles. In Los Angeles and California, the law says that Uber or Lyft passengers are entitled to be fairly compensated for injuries after a ridesharing accident. Sorting out the fault and the compensation for parties in an Uber accident would be complicated. There are many possible classes of victims and potential causes of accidents. Either could be private vehicles, passengers, pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists, truck drivers, bystanders. All victims are entitled to fair compensation for their injuries. All causes of accidents have to be factored into the awards picture. An experienced  Uber accident attorney, Lyft accident attorney, or rideshare accident attorney will be able to fully analyze any accident using techniques like accident reconstruction and employing experts in accident safety. Thorough legal investigation and casework an experienced attorney may find hidden insurance benefits and find the best medical and rehabilitation services available.

Uber and Lyft drivers themselves may have very complicated insurance cases especially if the rideshare driver feels that an accident was caused by another party, but the passenger feels their driver is at partly or fully at fault. The legal situation can be complicated if the insurance company decides to point its fingers at anyone other than the person whom they insure. A skilled rideshare attorney with years of experience could be the only one who can sort out such a case.

Self-Driving RideShare.

We don't know exactly when self-driving cars will be introduced into the rideshare environment. The principles and practices of insuring Uber and Lyft passengers will become much more complicated then. In a given accident, the vehicle manufacturer, the writer of the software, or the makers of individual components of the complex system could be included in the distribution of blame. These factors may involve foreign entities or entities from other states with different laws. Insurance companies may begin to count on the fact that investigations would be too costly to pursue. It could be a lot more complicated to obtain just compensation for injuries.

Freeman & Freeman have successfully handled hundreds of Uber/Lyft cases since the inception of their services. These cases have become one of our largest specialties. Please contact us to learn more.


über or Lyft rideshare accident rideshare accident

10 Steps to Handle an Out-of-State Uber or Lyft Accident - Pt 2

Thursday, October 03, 2019

Welcome back to the second half of this two-part article on Uber and Lyft accident aftermath. Last time, we covered what to do in the vehicle right after the accident. Along with taking care of medical needs and contacting the police to help clean up. Join us again today as we pick up where we left off. 

The Usual Accident Aftermath - Cont.


Collect Evidence & Witnesses

If you can, gather contact information from anyone who witnessed the accident. When combined with GPS and cellphone data, often witnesses are the best way to clarify exactly what happened on the road for legal and insurance purposes later on. Having contact with your witnesses allows you to get in touch later and take advantage of their third-party knowledge of the scene.

Get Safely to Your Hotel

Once the accident is cleaned up, please get yourself safely to your hotel. Don't let shakiness or stress after the accident put you in greater danger. Call another ride or take public transport to get somewhere you can shower and sleep off the incident. This way, you can plan your next steps from the comfort and safety of a hotel room.

Criminal or Civil Court Cases

The most difficult part of an out-of-state accident is dealing with court dates. If there is a criminal case brought up by the DA of the accident state, you may be called upon as a witness to speak for or against the charged driver. And if you choose to raise a civil case, you will likely need to file it in the county where the accident happened, not in your local court.

Court Occurs in the State of the Accident

It's important to understand that where the accident happens influences which court presides over cases. Both civil and criminal cases will be presided over by a local judge, and the local traffic laws will be what determines the outcome.

Research the Relevant Laws of the Accident State

To this end, you'll want to be aware of any relevant laws that are different from Minnesota standards. The statute of limitations for a personal injury case, for example, or different statutes for safe driving laws. Do a little personal research and confer with an experienced lawyer to find out what you need to know about a court in another state.

Work With an Experienced Lawyer

Speaking of legal counsel; you may need some. Now is the time to get in touch with an experienced rideshare accident lawyer who can help you handle the aftermath of out-of-state Uber or Lyft accident. Speak about the details of your case and then discuss your options for insurance claims and civil suits.

Be Prepared for Out-of-State Court Dates

Finally, be prepared to do a little extra traveling. Working with your lawyer and the court, you may be able to get a few remote participation accommodations. But eventually, there's a good chance you'll need to be personally present in the courtroom despite the fact that you live out of state. Be prepared for this. Know where the presiding courthouse is, find an affordable hotel nearby, and work with the court to lock down a workable set of dates for you to be available. Your lawyer can help you hammer out a plan that doesn't take you away from work for too long.

 

Dealing with Uber or Lyft

Other than legal proceedings, you may also need to deal with the rideshare company involved. Whether you were working with Uber, Lyft, or a local contemporary, it's important to keep on top of the situation because theirs is the insurance that may need to pay for your injuries. And like all insurance, claims can be denied for. Be prepared to work with a lawyer to define and defend your claim on Uber or Lyft's million-dollar-policy for incidents such as yours.

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If you or someone you know has recently been in an Uber or Lyft accident, especially if it was out of state, you will need legal assistance to navigate the future ahead. Always make sure that your injuries and the medical needs of others are taken care of first. Then consider the legal, logistical, and financial impacts of the situation. For more personalized advice on your unique situation, please contact our office today. Our legal staff is ready to help.


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From our offices in Woodland Hills, California, Freeman & Freeman, LLP, provides legal advice and representation for clients in communities throughout the state, including those in Burbank, Glendale, Encino, Sherman Oaks, Van Nuys, Tarzana, Santa Clarita, Agoura Hills, Reseda, Canoga Park, Chatsworth, Northridge, Granada Hills, Pacoima, Panorama City, North Hollywood, Thousand Oaks, Simi Valley, Lancaster, Palmdale and Alhambra.