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Rideshare Accidents in and Around Los Angeles

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Rideshare Accidents in and Around Los Angeles

It's unfortunate but true. Ride-hailing companies continue to grow at an unprecedented rate, and for some, the convenient ride services are a godsend, but more cars on the roads around Los Angeles mean more accidents. What began as transportation availability in neighborhoods and communities where transit or taxis are underserving the population, is now raising the number of fatal accidents.

New Study on Rideshare Crashes

The University of Chicago's Booth School of Business, in a new working paper, points out that up to 2 to 3 percent of the crashes in a given area may relate to the introduction of Uber, Lyft, and other ride companies, such as Fare, GetMe, Curb, and others. The study acknowledges that many rideshare customers call Lyft or Uber to take them home after a night of celebration. This idea, one might think, is prudent. But the business students say:

Rideshare drivers have riders in their vehicle only a short time. More often, they are driving from fare to fare, location to location to find viable prospects. This activity is called deadheading. Traffic congestion has increased because of this practice.

People who would have taken public transit are now, because of the lowering of Uber and Lyft prices, using the rideshares. They are not substituting a trip taken in their automobile.

Before Uber launched in California, traffic deaths fell to the lowest number since 1949. This decline in deaths stopped and reversed after ridesharing became popular. The writers cannot pinpoint whether the effect is a "short-term adjustment or a longer-term pattern."

One American city, New York City, introduced a cap on ridesharing in August of 2018.

Lyft and Uber drivers have an array of regulations and procedures they must accept for them to be drivers for the companies. But what is a passenger to do if there is a fatal accident or a severe injury while riding in a ride-hail vehicle?

Cases

  • A Lyft passenger died in Sacramento, CA in 2014, after the Lyft driver swerved to avoid a Kia that spun out into the middle lanes. The passenger sitting in the left-back seat died in the crash.
  • In May of 2014,  a six-year-old child was killed in San Francisco when an Uber driver struck her as she was walking across a street near the Civic Center.
  • Pennsylvania woman was jerked out of the rideshare vehicle when the driver became disgruntled over an argument concerning the address the lady had chosen. The Uber driver pulled the woman out of his car in an unfamiliar area, at night, while it was raining.
  • A Miami man died when flames erupted in the Uber SUV in which he was riding. The driver of a Toyota Corolla slammed into the Uber vehicle, which was making a left-hand turn in Miami, causing it to roll over and burst into flames.

How We Can Help

At Freeman & Freeman, we know that many accidents are due to Lyft and Uber driver's mistakes, such as:

  • An Uber or Lyft driver who is under the influence
  • A driver who was distracted by an electronic device
  • The Uber or Lyft company overlooking thorough background checks
  • Improper vetting of drivers' health, and many more

Automobile accidents can be complex. Ridesharing accidents are even more complicated.

Uber and Lyft Attorneys

If you suffer any distress in any way during a rideshare trip, contact an experienced and trustworthy personal injury attorney, who knows the ins and outs of the ridesharing laws in California. Personal injury attorneys, like those at Freeman & Freeman, can:

  • Walk you through the insurance minefields
  • Assist you in deciding when the best time to settle your case to get maximum compensation
  • Help you navigate the rules of the rideshare company

Freeman & Freeman represents personal injury clients only. Personal injury law is what we have done for the past 30 years. Contact us today and let us guide you into getting the compensation you deserve.

Getting into a Car Accident Without Insurance

Thursday, August 08, 2019

In most of the United States, it is illegal to drive a car without proper insurance. There are consequences for being caught without insurance that vary depending on where you are. Some states charge first-time offenders a fee of at least $100, while other states may sentence first-time offenders up to 90 days in jail. Not having coverage will also cost you more for the damages you caused and will restrict the claims you can make. 

If you have car insurance but do not have proof of it with you during the time of the accident, you may get a citation for not having the paperwork with you. The citation may be dismissed if you are able to provide proof of insurance in court. In some states, you can show proof of insurance on your smartphone. 

As a precautionary measure, you should keep your policy ID card in your car at all times. 

 

What Happens if You Get Into a Car Accident Without Insurance

If You are Responsible for the Car Accident

If you are the driver responsible for the accident, you may be sued by the victim of the accident to cover the damages, medical expenses, as well as any emotional distress. You will also have to pay for any damages caused to your vehicle out of pocket.

Generally, an insurance provider would cover these costs and raise your minimum monthly payment for a period of time in exchange. However, that wouldn't be an option in this case. 

Depending on the severity of the accident, you may also have to report the accident to your state's DMV. 

 

If You are the Victim of a Car Accident

If you are the victim of a car accident, what you are allowed to sue the driver responsible for will be limited. You would go through with filing a third-party claim to the other driver's insurance. In the event that the other driver is also uninsured, they would be personally responsible for fulfilling the claims.

Again, the laws vary from state to state. Some states have what is known as the "no pay, no play" law. 

"No pay, no play" laws prevent victims without car insurance to sue for damages that aren't quantified with a dollar amount. For example, physical pain and emotional distress would not be something an uninsured victim could sue the other driver for. 

Additionally, uninsured drivers in "no pay, no play" states may also be charged with a large deductible towards repairs to their vehicle before they can go forward with suing the driver responsible for the accident. 

States with "no pay, no play" laws:

  • Alaska
  • California
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Louisiana
  • Michigan
  • Missouri
  • North Dakota
  • New Jersey
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon

 

Being in a car accident without insurance, regardless of whether you were responsible or the victim, will also raise the rates if you are to apply for coverage in the future. 

Car insurance could save you thousands of dollars in an accident. It would cover the cost of damages and legal fees, however, your rate could still rise after being in an accident. Without proper coverage, you could have to sacrifice your assets if you aren't able to pay for the damages and additional fees out of pocket. 

Head on over to our blog for more free legal advice about personal injuries, including car accidents. If you are interested in learning more information about Freeman & Freeman or scheduling a free evaluation, please contact us. You deserve to know your rights and receive proper protection and we are here dedicated to assisting you every single step of the way.


Auto Accidents on California’s Interstate System

Thursday, August 01, 2019

When you get behind the wheel in California, you're surrounded by many beautiful environments, including mountains, beaches, and deserts. Life feels good, and it's easy to get lost in disbelief that such a paradise exists. However, there are many types of drivers about when you're traveling the roads, and, quite frankly, some are just not paying attention. Using the national highway system in the Los Angeles metro, which includes Interstates 5, 10, and 15, means you could be stuck hours in traffic and risking your life due to the carelessness of other drivers. If you get in a car accident, you could be seriously injured or killed and there could be a devastating effect on your family. It's important to learn about your rights as a crash victim if you've been involved in one of these auto accidents on California’s interstate system to determine if you should pursue a personal injury claim against the defendants in your case.

The Background

California drivers and tourists who visit throughout the year due to the warm climate and popular Hollywood attractions often expect that all motorists on the Interstates will follow the speed limit, which is typically 70 miles per hour. In a perfect world, drivers are always paying attention because they're ignoring frequent distractions from their cell phones, passengers and pets traveling in their vehicle, and events happening on the highway. These statistics about driving on our Interstates might surprise you:    

  • One report found that Interstate 5 was the fourth-deadliest highway in the U.S. 
  • A 2015 report from the Insurance Information Institute found 15 percent of California drivers were uninsured, which is 11 percent lower than the worst state (Florida). 

Tips for Driving Safely on the Interstate 

Using the Interstate system does not have to claim the lives of you or your loved ones. It's possible to use these highways for efficient commuting by remembering these safety tips:

  • Talk to your boss about changing your work shift. This could enable you to use the Interstate system at non-peak times. For example, starting at 7:00 am instead of 8:00 am could get you off the Interstate before most commuters are using it. Then, you could leave work and get home before rush hour in the afternoon.
  • Watch your GPS for alerts on accidents and construction zones. Most sections of the Interstate have an alternate route. A serious accident could shut down the highway for hours, especially to accommodate onlooker delays.
  • Pack a cooler with drinks, sandwiches, and snacks. Then, you can stop at rest areas and minimize stops on the exits.
  • Schedule sections of your trip when you're likely to be tired for non-peak hours. You need all of your wits about you on the road.
  • Avoid driving late at night and during inclement weather. If you must drive at night, travel with at least one other person. This person can talk to you and help you stay awake when the road is dark and less traveled. 
  • Keep your gas level above half a tank. If there is a long traffic delay, worrying about running out of gas could distract you.
  • Stop and rest your eyes. Take a walk. Relieve the stress of being on the road.

For more information about filing a claim for injuries sustained in a California car accident, contact us at Freeman & Freeman and schedule a free consultation. We help clients in the Los Angeles metro and nearby communities. There is a statute of limitations, which is a time limit on when you can file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver in a car crash case. Typically, you have only two years to pursue a claim for injuries sustained in a motor vehicle accident. Damages can include medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. We will determine if our dedicated legal team can aggressively pursue your rights under the law. 


When A Trucking Company is at Fault for a Truck Accident

Friday, July 05, 2019

It is only natural to think that if you were in an accident with a truck due to no fault of your own that it is probably the truck driver's fault. However, the reason those truck accidents are considered more complex than your standard auto accident is typically because there are more players involved in the process. It is not just deciding fault between you and the truck driver, but it could be that the manufacturer of the truck and even the owner of the trucking company can shoulder some of that fault as well.

When is an Accident the Trucking Company's Fault?

There are a number of different scenarios where the trucking company can be held at fault. Unfortunately, where the fault of a truck driver is relatively clear in most accidents, situations in which the trucking company can be held liable are a little more vague. If any of the following was the cause of the accident, you may be able to hold the company that employed the driver at fault for your substantial damages.

  • The truck driver was not provided proper training by their company for the job.
  • The company failed to confirm proper licensing for the truck driver they employed.
  • The trucking company was pressuring their driver to work too many hours without proper rest despite worker regulations.
  • The truck company failed to enforce rules and safety regulations.
  • The trucking company was in charge of maintenance of the rig and failed to keep them properly maintained and up to standards.

The truth of the matter is that proving this fault can be rather difficult. Accident victims may find that a trucking company is more likely to try and place the blame on a single employee rather than shoulder it themselves.  It used to be that trucking companies could avoid liability completely by not owning or leasing trucks to drivers and labeling all drivers as independent contractors. If the driver is not technically an employee and they do not have any dominion over the truck, they couldn't be held liable. Luckily, federal laws have put an end to that loophole.

The good news is that gathering evidence that places fault on the trucking company is often the same process that is done to prove the singular truck driver is at fault. In fact, fault on the part of the company may even show up when investigating the driver.  Trucking logs, maintenance reports, and black boxes can all go towards proving a trucking company was at fault for an accident. By going after the company rather than a single driver, you are also working towards making the roads safer for others as well. You can be sure that a trucking company was not just being lax with one driver, but likely all their drivers as well.

Need Help?

As commercial trucks can outweigh your average car by almost three times as much, trucking accidents can have devastating results. Not only does it mean substantial damage to your vehicle, but it is likely that you will not walk away from a truck accident without injury. However, it is important to remember that it will not always be the fault of the driver. For you to get the compensation that you need for your injuries and vehicle damage, you need to have a personal injury lawyer that is willing to place the fault where it really lies. If you have been in a trucking accident in the Los Angeles area, contact us today so the skilled professionals at the Law Office of Freeman & Freeman can go over the unique details of your case.


Rideshare Accidents - When you or a Loved One Suffers an Injury

Friday, June 21, 2019

Many residents of Los Angeles prefer not to drive when they are joining friends for the evening, commuting to work, or simply running errands. In fact, a dissertation published by Anne Elizabeth Brown for her Doctor of Philosophy in Urban Planning (awarded) degree at University of California, Los Angeles shows that "between September and November 2016, riders made over 6.34 million Lyft trips to, from, and within Los Angeles County". That's a staggering amount of usage. But sometimes, things go tragically wrong when using a rideshare.

Accidents Resulting in Injury and Death

Those who are dependent on ridesharing are trusting their safety to others. Even though rideshare drivers are screened carefully and required to undergo background checks, this does not mean they are not going to be involved in an accident when you are a passenger in their vehicle.

Recently, there was a serious accident in San Diego involving a Lyft driver who was carrying two passengers and a second vehicle carrying a drunk driver. One of the Lyft passengers was ejected from the vehicle and died as a result of the accident while the Lyft driver and the other passenger suffered serious injuries. While this is outside of Los Angeles, the potential for this type of accident exists everywhere. Let's face it, the potential of being involved in an accident on Los Angeles roadways is great with the sheer number of vehicles on the roadways and the number of miles traveled on average. So, what happens when you're a passenger in a Lyft when an accident occurs?

Lyft Passengers Safety and Security

California takes insurance coverage seriously, even for rideshare services. When an accident does occur, the rideshare driver, as well as Lyft, the company they are contracted to can be held liable for your injuries or the loss of a loved one. Lyft is required to have $1 million in insurance coverage in the event an accident results in personal injury, property damage, or the death of a passenger. Assuming the driver has accepted you, or your loved one as a passenger, you are considered covered by this insurance.

Holding Lyft Accountable for Injuries

One of the challenges you may face as a victim of an accident involving a Lyft driver, or if you have lost a loved one in an accident involving a Lyft driver is understanding your rights and the obligations Lyft has to you and your family. You have the right to file a personal injury lawsuit, but you may not know where to turn, and you may not know your rights under California law. That is when we can help.

Contacting a Rideshare Accident Attorney

One of the most important things you can do after being involved in an accident as a passenger in a Lyft vehicle is to contact a Lyft accident attorney. This is important for numerous reasons but most importantly so you can understand what rights you have.

A rideshare accident lawyer can help you obtain the necessary accident reports, speak with insurance companies on your behalf and take other steps to preserve your rights. The right attorney can also help you if you have suffered the loss of a loved one in a Lyft accident. Contact Freeman & Freeman LLP at 818-992-2919 if you are involved in an accident while a passenger in a Lyft. We offer a free consultation to victims and their families in the greater Los Angeles area including North Hollywood, Encino, Van Nuys, Woodland Hills, Thousand Oak, and the San Fernando Valley as well as in Los Angeles.



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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.