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Personal Injury Blog

The Differences of Being Injured in an Uber or Lyft vs a Taxi

Monday, May 20, 2019

Rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft do not employ their drivers. They are contracted as independent contractors. Under current circumstances, many insurance companies may deny coverage if the driver is driving "for profit."  Uber and Lyft drivers carry "excess insurance coverage," beyond the coverage that the driver carries for him or herself. This means if you are injured in the backseat of a rideshare car, the liability insurance the company carries covers for damages, even if your claims are denied by the driver's own liability insurance.

Taxi Companies vs. Rideshare Companies

Although taxicab companies have been advertising that Uber and Lyft do not carry adequate insurance to cover passenger injury, in practice, this is not the case. According to Uber and Lyft, the rideshares carry up to $1 million in coverage. Taxicab companies' coverage varies from state to state, usually between $250,000 and $500,000. This comes to about $30,000 maximum coverage for each case. The maximum coverage for collisions in a taxicab is around $60,000 for all passengers involved in the accident.

Uber and Lyft drivers are required to carry their own personal insurance policies. The rideshare companies carry a million dollar personal liability coverage policy and one million dollars in uninsured/underinsured property damage coverage. However, it gets more complicated; rideshare drivers are simply private drivers using their own vehicles. If you have an accident while the driver is not formally logged into the Uber or Lyft system, only the driver's personal insurance will cover you and these claims are often denied. If the collision happens while the driver is logged in, but waiting for a ride request (is in an on-call mode) the driver's personal insurance will have primary responsibility, but the rideshare company may provide some additional coverage. The full insurance policy of Uber or Lyft will apply only if the driver is en route to pick up a passenger or has a passenger in his or her car.

What Has to Be Done in Case of Accident?

Accidents are complicated from the standpoint of the Uber or Lyft driver as well as their passenger. In a normal accident, what happens is pretty clear-cut. The at-fault party is liable for property damages, medical bills, and other liabilities. However, for the Uber or Lyft driver, they have a passenger to worry about. They have to keep in mind Uber's or Lyft's terms and conditions. They have to consider what state they are driving in. They have to follow procedures in the aftermath of the accident. 

  • Assess any injuries and call emergency services (911).
  • Photograph damage to both cars.
  • Collect information from witnesses if possible.
  • Call the company's hotline.
  • Call their personal insurance company.
  • They must never admit they are at fault. Even if they believe they are, they must not say so.
  • They must never escalate the situation by acting angry or threatening.

Accidents in rideshare vehicles are complicated. If your Uber or Lyft driver has an accident which injures you, it's important that you treat the collision as a legal matter.

  • Consult an Uber Accident Attorney or Lyft Accident Attorney or Rideshare Accident Attorney.
  • Seek necessary medical attention and save the medical documents.
  • Obtain all of the driver's insurance information including both the Uber policy and the driver's own personal insurance.
  • Take pictures and the accident scene and your injuries.
  • Find out exactly what the driver's log-in status was at the time--try to document it.a
  • Inform law enforcement and file a police report.

Freeman & Freeman are rideshare accident attorneys who know the nuances of ridesharing laws in California. There are many benefits to having an experienced personal injury attorney on your side.  Please contact us to learn more.

Can a Jaywalking Pedestrian Seek Compensation For an Accident?

Friday, February 15, 2019

If you live in California, you likely seek more than one jaywalker every day whether you are walking or driving. Chances are, if you are walking somewhere, you might be the one jaywalking because literally, everyone else seems to do it. If the roads seem clear, then making the extra effort to walk to the nearest crosswalk seems like a waste of effort and time when you can just cross right there. Unfortunately, there are laws against jaywalking specifically because of how unsafe it is for pedestrians. Yet, the question remains, if a pedestrian is struck by a driver while they are jaywalking, can they still get compensation for the accident?

The short and easy answer? Like usual, it is a maybe.

Duty of Care Required By Drivers and Pedestrians

By California law, both driver and pedestrian are required to exercise a certain duty of care that can be at play in these cases. Drivers are required to yield to the right of way of pedestrians at both marked and unmarked crosswalks at intersections. They are expected to reduce speed when approaching an intersection with potential pedestrians and take caution for any crossings. Unfortunately, there are times when the driver can't spot a pedestrian, and this becomes more likely when a pedestrian is jaywalking.

Similarly, the pedestrian is expected to take the same duty of care by not leaving the curb and walking into oncoming traffic. Doing so not only puts their safety at risk but the safety of the driver as well. Having to make an unexpected stop even at a crosswalk is dangerous when driving with even light other traffic as the driver can cause other auto accidents trying to avoid the pedestrian.

In truth, this duty of care still extends to jaywalking by both parties. However, as the pedestrian was jaywalking, it often limits their ability to get compensation for the accident. Though, the pedestrian is not without options. If the driver was also behaving badly, compensation can still be recovered.

Jaywalking pedestrians can still recover compensation if the driver was:

  • Speeding

  • Intoxicated

  • Distracted Driving

Unfortunately, all of the above can occasionally be difficult to prove without the help of a skilled lawyer.

California Comparative Negligence

As a comparative negligence state, the portion that the jaywalking pedestrian can be placed at fault will be deducted from the compensation they can receive. For example, if a pedestrian who was jaywalking was deemed to be about 50 percent at fault for an accident with a driver that was speeding, they can only recover 50 percent of the damages awarded by the court.

This does mean that even if you were jaywalking, you can still recover some compensation if you were hit by a motorist. However, it also means that you might not recover all the compensation that you need to cover your medical bills. For this reason, it is really best if you just make the effort to walk to the nearest crossing. Being hit by a car is pretty traumatic, but if you have to be hit by a car, you should at least be able to recover full compensation for it because you were both following the law and exercising your duty of care as a pedestrian.

Need Help?

Were you one of California's many jaywalking pedestrians that just, unfortunately, happened to be struck by a car? As you were doing something illegal, you may think your options for recovering compensation simply don't exist. However, that isn't true at all. Contact us today so we can look over your case. Come see how the Law Office of Freeman & Freeman can help you get the compensation that you deserve from a traumatic pedestrian accident.

Burns as the Result of a Poorly Trained Stylist

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Burns as the Result of a Poorly Trained Stylist

Every day thousands of people put their hair and more in the hands of a professional hair stylist so they can look good. Whether it is just a quick wash and set or a speedy waxing, things can go wrong, and if they do, it can leave very visible injuries. While most hair stylists attend cosmetology school, this is roughly just a few months of lessons. For some, they may not graduate with all they need to provide you a safe experience at the salon. Unfortunately, the hair salon can be a dangerous place when you are in the hands of an inexperienced stylist, but they can be held liable for these serious injuries.

Injuries From Hair Salon Negligence

With luck, you will never need to know all the many ways you can get hurt at the salon. However, with an inexperienced stylist or even a salon that doesn't give proper care, you very, unfortunately, could find out. Salon injuries include:

  • Curling iron burns to the scalp or skin
  • Burns from the hair dryers
  • Burns from hot wax heated beyond recommendations
  • Chemical burns from dyes and other products
  • Slips on wet or debris-covered floors

To many, the worst thing that can come out of the salon is a bad haircut or a terrible dye job, but all of the above can have a much more lasting effect. However, the good news is that if you were hurt at the salon due to the negligence of another, you have the right to compensation through a personal injury suit.

Proving Hair Salon Negligence

Hair salon cases can be difficult. Often if it is just a small burn on the scalp, many personal injury lawyers will let you know that your case isn't really worth it. However, many injuries can be very visible and may even need surgical intervention to rectify. For these cases, typically they will be stronger not only because you have very visible injuries, but because it will likely be easier to prove a breach in duty of care.

For a successful personal injury case against a salon, which will generally cover the liability of their workers, you need to prove that the employee in question failed to follow directions or the reasonable safety standards of their peers. This can come in many forms, including witness statements from the time of the accident or security camera footage. One of the most crucial pieces of evidence to your case, however, is pictures of the injuries. The thing about injuries is that they tend to heal, so courts will not get an accurate picture of how badly you were hurt unless you document those injuries soon after they happen. Evidence for every incident is different, and thus it is best to consult with your lawyer after seeking medical treatment.

Once treated and making the decision to pursue a personal injury case, it is important to keep documentation of all medical treatment. Personal injury cases are designed to cover your medical bills, but if you don't have records of all these treatments, it can be more difficult to get accurate compensation. After being injured at a salon, you can also receive compensation for future medical expenses, pain and suffering, as well as a loss of income while you recovered from the injury.

Need Help?

Have you been injured by a hair salon or other spa-type business? Whether you were hurt due to an inexperienced employee or by malfunctioning equipment, we can help you. For those in the Los Angeles area, contact us today to see what the Law Office of Freeman & Freeman can do for you.

You Have a Strong Case, But A Lawyer Won't Take It

Thursday, January 03, 2019

You don't have to be educated in the law to know what makes a strong accident case. If you were in an accident that was not your fault with your vehicle totaled, it looks like you have a pretty solid case. However, when you take it to a personal injury attorney to get your injuries and other damages covered, they turn you down. For most lawyers, they will explain why they won't take your case. However, sometimes that answer isn't really enough to satisfy you. 

So why isn't a personal injury lawyer taking your case?

In some instances, a law firm may simply be too busy to take your case. In fact, if you don't get a yes, this is the answer you want. No one wants a law firm that is technically too busy to try and take their case. It won't get the attention that it deserves.

However, aside from that very reasonable excuse not to take on your case, the main reason is that your case isn't as strong as you think it is. Even if you know that it is not your fault, legal cases are all about being able to prove it. The biggest reason that a law firm won't take your case is that they don't think they can prove it, or it would be too much of a challenge to do so.

The law firm would be responsible for presenting evidence that supports the fact that the accident was both not your fault and caused your injuries. For most accident cases, this isn't as hard. They will gather witness statements, examine police reports, and often evidence can be gathered from simply examining the scene of the crime.

Another big issue comes with proving how much you were hurt. If you were in an accident other than an auto accident, compensation comes from covering your injuries. However, they will need to prove the extent of those injuries. This is where problems can come from. Certain injuries, such as spine or head injuries, can be very tricky to prove. Furthermore, they can be worse than anyone imagines, so it is difficult to prove and get adequate compensation for them.

What does all this have to do with a lawyer not wanting your case? 

 The reason is simple: they don't want to lose. Some lawyers get paid only if they win, so if they don't win then that case has been nothing but a waste of time. Even if a lawyer does get paid for their time even if they lose, fighting a case that is extremely difficult may not be worth their time either. It means they have less time for other cases and it is a detriment to their firm.

If you have had your case denied by a law firm, it is not the end of the world. However, if you have had your case denied by several law firms, there is usually a reason for it. It is too difficult to prove and too difficult to win. However, in these cases, it may be tempting to give up. Yet, for those in an accident, giving up on their case may not be an option. You need that compensation for expensive medical bills and you need a lawyer that will help you fight for it.

If you have been in an accident in the greater Los Angeles area and need a lawyer that is willing to fight for your case, contact us today. The Law Office of Freeman & Freeman is ready to help you go over your case as well as to point out any specific problem areas that may occur.


Bus Injuries As a Result From Sudden Acceleration

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Not all injuries on a bus occur from a random accident. In fact, bus travel is a relatively safe form of travel where accidents are either fairly minor to those inside or very rare altogether. However, an accident is not the only way to get hurt on a bus. Often the biggest cause of bus-related accidents comes in the form of accidents between the passenger and just riding on the bus. One of the most common includes accidents from rapid acceleration by the bus driver.

Rapid Acceleration: Driver or Passenger Fault?

For those who ride on the bus every day, they might not be altogether unfamiliar with the rapid acceleration of the bus by its driver. You get on the bus and while looking for a seat, the bus suddenly jolts forward as the driver eagerly pushes towards their next stop. Bus drivers are trained so that this acceleration should be rather gentle, but they still should wait until all passengers are safely sat down before moving.

So if this rapid acceleration did occur, whose fault is it? It seems fairly straightforward that it would be the driver's fault for not waiting for all passengers to be secure, but that is not always the case. The driver can't always control the passengers or other outside factors on the road. If they need to accelerate to change lanes or avoid hazards, they need to do so. If this time coincides with a passenger fooling around and not sitting safely, then the fault doesn't actually lie with the driver, but with the passenger.

However, while a bus may be full of many witnesses, usually it is not the witness testimony that is relied upon to prove fault. Instead, many buses come with surveillance that helps determine the liability in the accident. If passenger surveillance determines that the passenger was misbehaving in an unsafe manner, they may be barred from compensation from the accident.

Types of Injuries That Can Occur From Sudden Acceleration

When it comes to the rapid or sudden acceleration of a bus, the most common type of accident is a fall. This can manifest a number of serious injuries. However, while a fall on a public bus may be embarrassing, it is important to remember that you must have sustained sufficient harm in order to pursue a lawsuit. A scrape or a scratch, in most cases, it is not enough to pursue what will be an expensive lawsuit.

In bus accidents, it is usually only worth pursuing a lawsuit if your injuries forced you to go to the hospital. The sudden acceleration could be breaking your arm after a fall or serious head trauma after hitting something on the bus like the edge of a seat. Both these injuries, and many others, will likely result in your hospitalization after the accident. If you have medical bills that resulted from an accident, this is always a case for litigation. However, you will find that if you only suffered minor injuries, a lawsuit seeking punitive compensation will likely be unsuccessful even if the driver is completely at fault. The world looks down on frivolous lawsuits that are solely meant to punish, and they have a much higher chance of being unsuccessful these days.

Need Help?

For most, the only bus accident they fear is a serious auto accident that will be blamed on traffic. However, injuries can happen on a bus without an actual crash. If you have been the victim of a sudden acceleration bus injury, and need help getting compensation to cover your medical bills, contact us today. Let the Freeman & Freeman Law Firm come to your aid.


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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.