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The Tops Signs That You Should Consult an Attorney After Being Injured in an Auto Accident

Sunday, July 19, 2020

After being injured in a car accident as the result of another driver's negligence, you may find yourself wondering how you will pay for mounting medical bills, and how you will get by if you are temporarily unable to work. Fortunately, you do not have to navigate this difficult time alone. A personal injury attorney can walk you through your options for filing a personal injury claim, and they can work to make sure that you are properly compensated for your injuries. Yet, many people hesitate to contact an attorney after being injured in a car accident if they are unsure whether their case warrants legal action. If you have recently been injured in a car accident and are unsure what your next steps should be, here is a look at a few of the signs indicating that you should consider consulting an attorney. 

You Are Unable to Work

If you were hurt so badly in your accident that you cannot return to work, either temporarily or permanently, it is critical that you consult an attorney to help maximize your compensation. Not only will you need to be compensated for your medical bills and damages to your personal property, but if you are unable to work you may be entitled to compensation for lost wages as well as pain and suffering. An experienced attorney will be able to assess your situation based on the extent of your injuries, and they can calculate how much you may be entitled to. If the accident has left you permanently disabled, you will need a lawyer to help you determine the proper compensation you are entitled to based on future lost wages, as your family may be left without a significant source of income.   

You Need Help Determining Fault

Of course, just because you believe that the other driver was at fault and should be responsible for your injuries, this does not mean that the other driver or their insurance company will view things the same way. In fact, the other driver's insurance company will ultimately be looking out for their bottom line, and they may try to claim that you are at least partially at fault in order to reduce their liability. If your fault in the accident is being called into question, it is important that you consult an attorney as soon as possible. You will need a lawyer by your side who can help to collect and analyze evidence pertaining to the accident and present your case for why the other driver should bear full responsibility for the accident and your resulting injuries.  

Your Insurance Company isn't Treating You Properly

It is also important that you consult an attorney if you feel that you are not being treated properly by your insurance company. While your insurance company should be looking out for your best interest in theory, the reality is that you are likely just a case number to them, and they may be trying to close your case as quickly as possible. If you feel as if your insurance company isn't listening to/addressing your needs, is treating you unfairly, or is not doing anything to progress your case, then it may be time to consult an attorney. An attorney will work for you and will work tirelessly to make sure that your needs are met. 

You Are Being Asked to Settle

If things are progressing between your insurance company and that of the other driver and you have been asked to settle your case, it is critical that you consult an attorney. The fact is that you should never discuss offers, or accept a claim settlement, without talking to an attorney, as you may not get the compensation you deserve. Insurance companies will often try to offer a lowball settlement in the hopes that you will not know what your case is truly worth. Having an attorney by your side will ensure that you have someone who is looking out for your best interests and who will negotiate on your behalf to get a settlement that is in line with your injuries. 

If you or a loved one has recently been injured in a car accident, contact us to find out more about the signs that you may want to consider consulting a personal injury attorney. 

Injured Rideshare Drivers: Who Is Responsible?

Monday, June 22, 2020

Injured Rideshare Drivers: Who Is Responsible?

Americans are increasingly relying on drivers for rideshare companies like Uber or Lyft to get them to their destination. While these drivers serve an important function, they also put themselves at high risk of injury. In 2018, there were over 3,000 fatalities due to motor vehicle crashes in California.

The results of a rideshare accident can be devastating to the driver. Injuries will mean lost wages, and damage to a vehicle could take away their only means of providing support for themselves or family. Rideshare drivers need to understand their rights for recovery if they are injured while driving for a company like Uber or Lyft.

Determining Fault

When there is a car accident, a party is considered at fault if they acted negligently in a way that caused injury to another person or property. Common actions that can lead to a finding of fault include any violation of a traffic ordinance, such as speeding or running a red light. If a driver received a traffic citation from the police, this is compelling evidence that they acted negligently.

Insurance companies will also use fault as a basis for determining which driver's insurance should pay any claims. In order to limit coverage obligations, insurance companies are strongly incentivized to demonstrate that their insured was not at fault.

To make sure you can establish a strong case against the other party, be sure to secure a police report, document the scene of the accident, and secure contact information for any witnesses.

Seeking Recovery

Rideshare drivers face a complicated web or responsibility when determining how to recover for their injuries after an accident. While the driver might feel that they are employed by Uber or Lyft, they will considered an independent contractor.

Independent Contractors

Whether an individual is an employee or an independent contractor is a determination made by analyzing the relationship between the individual and the company for which they are providing services. The following factors indicate that an individual is an independent contractor rather than an employee:

  • They control the work that is performed and how it is done;
  • They manage the business components of their job;
  • They do not receive any employee benefits; and
  • There is no formal employee contract

The National Labor Relations Board has advised that rideshare drivers are independent contractors. This finding excludes Uber and Lyft drivers from pursuing a workers' compensation claim. This finding, however, could be up for debate in California where recent legislation looks to limit the use of independent contractors in the state's gig economy.

Because an independent contractor cannot recover under workers' compensation, they will need to depend on insurance providers to compensate them for their injuries.

Navigating Insurance Policies

There are several insurance policies that might come into play after a rideshare accident:

  • The driver's personal policy;
  • The rideshare company's insurance policy; and
  • The policy of the other driver

Your first step should be to review the rideshare company's protocol when an accident occurs. Both Uber and Lyft require drivers to submit a report to access the company's insurance policies. The Uber crash report is here, and the Lyft crash report is here. If it is unclear whether you were operating in the course of your duties at the time of the accident, this will serve to complicate recovery even further and may require you to involve your personal insurance company.

If you are a rideshare driver who has been involved in an accident, you may be overwhelmed with the stress of managing injuries while considering the financial impacts. Navigating the complexities of determining fault and contacting insurance companies is an unnecessary additional stress.  Contact our firm today to understand the strength of your case and your options for recovery.

Brain-Injured Rideshare Passengers Battle Uber for Justice

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Passengers expect their Uber and Lyft trips to be safe and problem-free. Of course, the reality is rideshare drivers have accidents too. It is difficult to determine how often passengers are injured while using a ride-hailing service. Although Uber recently released a safety report, the company did not include data on their accidents that resulted in non-fatal injuries. Yet, ride-hailing services have this data. They just don't make it public.

Each year transportation network companies, which is what the state of California calls ride-hailing services, must provide accident data to the state via the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). The ride-hailing companies have asked the state to keep this safety data confidential. Thus far, the CPUC has honored their requests. A California politician is trying to get this critical information released to the public.

In the meantime, it's clear that rideshare passengers are being injured in collisions all over the country. The following cases show rideshare passengers have sustained serious brain injuries during their trips. These cases also demonstrate an injured rideshare passenger needs a strong Rideshare accident attorney to hold the responsible parties accountable. 

Uber Denies Hurt Passenger Has Right to Sue

Jillian Kemenosh is entangled in litigation with Uber. The basic facts of the case do not appear to be in question. In 2018, Kemenosh was using the service to get home. The Uber driver ran a red light and crashed into a vehicle. The accident left Kemenosh with a traumatic brain injury and a shattered spine.

When she sued Uber, the company claimed she had no right to sue. The company's argument is Kemenosh agreed to the company's terms of service, which requires her to settle legal disputes through binding arbitration instead of a jury trial.

Kemenosh countered that reading or agreeing to the terms of service was not required when she downloaded the app in 2013. A judge recently agreed with her according to media reports. The case is ongoing. It looks like Kemenosh may get the jury trial she desires.

Uber Rejects Responsibility for Passenger's Injuries

An Associated Press report indicates that ride-hailing service passenger Lokeshwaran Narayanasamy experienced a traumatic brain injury during an Uber ride from the airport. The driver hit a vehicle that had been abandoned on the road. In response to the 2017 lawsuit that Narayanasamy filed against Uber, the company said it wasn't responsible for his injuries because the driver is not employed by the ride-hailing service. 

In 2020, a federal judge ruled that a jury has to decide whether the driver is an employee or an independent contractor. Narayanasamy's attorney is optimistic that a jury will classify the driver as an employee, which would mean the transportation service could be held accountable for Narayanasamy's injuries.

Passenger Sues Two Ride-Hailing Companies for Accident

The injuries that Sheila Hawkins received while taking Lyft to an appointment are similar to Jillian Kemenosh's injuries. Hawkins has brain and spinal injuries stemming from the highway crash. She alleges that her driver was distracted when he ran into a tractor-trailer because he had the Lyft app and the Uber app open to receive new rideshare requests. Hawkins contends these apps should be designed so that drivers cannot access them when their vehicles are traveling at high speeds. 

Los Angeles Uber Accident Lawyer

Have you been injured in an accident while you were traveling in a rideshare car? Did an Uber driver crash into your vehicle? We've helped hundreds of people in these situations. Contact us to have an experienced personal injury attorney help you navigate the complex process of getting everything you deserve. 



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