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What To Do When You've Been Pulled Over With Expired Registration

Friday, July 03, 2020

Keeping your vehicle registration up to date must be done every year, but for obvious reasons, cannot be fully automated. This means that car owners are responsible for getting their vehicles inspected and re-registered every year, and attaching the tags when they come in the mail. But if you forgot this year or something happened to your vehicle tags, you could find yourself getting pulled over for expired registration.

The usual result is a warning, a fine, and the possibility that your car may be towed or impounded. The penalties you face will depend on how out-of-date your registration is or how unsafe your vehicle appears to be. The good news is that there are several things you can do to avoid the penalties of an expired registration ticket or reduce them.  

Expired Registration Penalties

If an officer pulls you over for expired registration tags, the most likely results are a simple warning and a ticket.  

Warnings and Tickets

Police officers see slightly out-of-date tags all the time. If the violation is very minor and your tags are only recently expired, you may get away just with a verbal warning. However, the police officer is within their right to write you a ticket for the expired tags as well. The severity of this ticket will usually depend on how long out of date your tags really are.

Fines for Expired Tags

The fines for driving a vehicle with expired registration range between $100 and $200 including surcharges. The longer your vehicle has been unregistered, the larger your fine is likely to be. 

 

Impound or Tow

If your vehicle appears to be incapable of passing inspection, or if you do not correct your registration quickly, your vehicle may be impounded or towed rather than allowing you to keep driving it. 

Court Hearing

You may be required to show up for a day in court, even if you take care of the registration. This is not optional and you will need to attend. Your day in court can be an opportunity to turn the ticket around.

Jail Time

It is possible for drivers with expired registrations to spend up to 15 days in jail.

 

What to Do if You're Pulled Over with Expired Registration Tags

If you are pulled over with expired registration tags, don't panic. You may be able to skate clean from the situation and, if not, you can almost definitely mitigate the costs by acting responsibly. Use the following techniques to reduce the penalties a vehicle registration ticket.

Prove Your Registration is Current

If your registration really is current, but you don't have the tags on our car, you can prove it! The ticket won't stick if your car really is registered. Even if you were driving with expired tags, the law is specifically about unregistered vehicles. As long as your vehicle is registered, you won't have to pay the ticket.

  • Show Online Registration During Police Stop

If you've got a phone and data signal, you can show a police officer your current registration through your online DOL account or an email receipt. The officer doesn't have to accept this as proof, but many are tech-savvy and know digital proof when they see it. This is a good way to avoid even having the ticket written in the first place.

  • Provide Proof of Correction Later

If you can't prove your current registration in the moment, you can submit a Proof of Correction form which will cause the courts to look up your current registration and dismiss the ticket. You may still have to appear in court if summoned.

 

Register Your Vehicle Immediately

Assuming your registration is genuinely expired, you'll need to remedy this immediately. Doing so shows the court that you are a responsible driver (and that your vehicle passes inspection) and your fine can be significantly reduced. There are two ways to get your vehicle registered depending on your circumstances, budget, and the car's condition.

  • Renew Registration

The most common option is to simply renew the vehicle's Minnesota registration. This may or may not involve an inspection. If you recently moved into the state, you have 30 days to get your vehicle inspected and registered.

  • Non-Operational Registration

If your vehicle will be parked for most of the year and/or is below inspection standards, you can get a non-operational registration instead. These are very common in large cities, as many people own vehicles but don't drive them while living in the city. It is also a very affordable option.

 

Get the Tags On Your Car

Being registered isn't enough to solve all your problems. You will also need to get new tags on your car or every third police officer will be stopping you about that registration.

  • Expedite Shipping

Whether you just renewed your registration or got one for the first time, expedite shipping if you need to drive. Alternately, keep your expired vehicle in the garage until the tags arrive via standard shipping.

  • Replace Lost or Stolen Tags

If you had current tags that have been lost or stolen, get them replaced immediately. There will be a small replacement fee that is ultimately worth not being hassled about your registration.

 

Appear in Court if Required

If you have been given a court date, you should make plans to appear. A set court date is mandatory and you can be charged with a misdemeanor for failing to appear. Even if you do everything else right.

Your court date is also a chance to dispute the ticket or prove that you have taken corrective steps to renew your registration. This can lead to a reduction in fines and other consequences if argued well.

  • Pay the Fine and Move On

If your court date is optional and money is no object, you can often choose to simply pay the fine just to leave the issue behind you. But be absolutely certain the court date is optional before taking this route. If you are required to show up in court, you might as well work to reduce your fine and other penalties.

  • Hire a Lawyer and Go to Court

Should you find yourself attending court, it's best to have a lawyer who knows how to handle the Minnesota traffic court. Hire a lawyer to make sure all your paperwork and proof is in order and to speak on your behalf for the best possible result.

 

Contact us for more legal advice!

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. 

The Uber Safety Report - What Isn't In It

Thursday, March 05, 2020

In March of 2018, a woman was killed when a self-driving Uber vehicle ran over her as she was crossing the street one night in Tempe, Arizona. Uber had foreseen the dangers of self-driving vehicles, and installed a "safety driver" in case of sudden emergencies; but on this night, the safety driver was busy streaming a show on her cellphone.

Because of this, and many other incidents involving Uber drivers—including thefts, alleged assaults, and overlong treks around cities—Uber launched a program called "RideCheck" in 2018. RideCheck is a GPS based program, which is intended to provide real-time tracking of Uber vehicles.

Did It Work?

At the end of 2019, Uber released the first of its US Safety Reports, summarizing the data gathered by its RideCheck program, detailing the number of deaths, accidents, assaults, robberies, and "non-consensual sexual contacts" that took place in Uber vehicles over the past two years. However, since this is the first such report, it is difficult to assess whether or not Uber has successfully reduced the number of such incidents in their vehicles since the inception of the program.

Some Concerns

Besides the mere accidents, where a Uber driver hit something (another vehicle, a fixed object) and injured a passenger, other disturbing findings include:

  • Substandard driving. Complaints about hard braking, swerving, abrupt lane changes.
  • Physical assault. This included yelling, assault, battery, and refusing to take the fare to the destination.
  • Sexual assault. Uber considered a sexual assault to include either an assault that happened during an Uber ride; or between two parties who met one another during an Uber ride. The assault itself could consist of everything from non-consensual kissing to rape.

What Isn't There

Uber's report did not include statistics on theft, robbery, non-fatal accidents; substance abuse or DUI among the drivers; mechanical failure or damage to the drivers' cars; reports of fraud; and other complaints that may be getting lost in the background of Uber use.

Uber is not, of course, a taxi company, but a transportation app. Their position had initially been that they provide a way to bring together people who want to drive and people who need a ride, and after that, the parties are on their own as to what happens next.  However, court cases in 2017 and 2018 made it clear that Uber drivers are employees, and Uber can be held liable for failing to screen out known felons and sex offenders, and for failing to terminate individuals who have displayed certain acts on the job—like watching live stream videos instead of watching the road.

So What Do I Do?

If you use Uber or Lyft and become the victim of a crime—any crime—or are involved in an accident, the first thing to do is contact the authorities. If you are injured, and the driver has not called 911, you should go at once to the emergency room. This will ensure that the insurance companies will pay for your treatment. If you have been the victim of any sort of crime, or even if you aren't really sure, call the police. Make sure a written report with the date and time of the incident exists.

Then call an attorney. Because of Uber's lackadaisical attitude until recently, the number of awful acts committed by their drivers is sadly high—and the number of attorneys handling them is not great. However, be sure you are in the correct jurisdiction. If you are in Los Angeles, or if the event took place in L.A., you will need an L.A. Uber accident attorney. Just because you're reading this in Des Moines doesn't mean you won't need the services of Freeman & Freeman if the Uber accident happened on your way out of LAX.


What Happens if My Uber or Lyft Driver is Uninsured?

Thursday, February 06, 2020

In a recent Fox news story out of St. Petersburg, Florida, a passenger was injured during a Lyft ride -- and says that the Lyft driver was uninsured at the time of the accident. Cameron Decker, the Lyft passenger, is now looking to Lyft for answers after he discovered post-accident that his driver did not have up-to-date insurance. Decker suffered a severe neck injury, with multiple herniated discs and disc bulges in his neck and lower back, which has prevented him from returning to his usual day job as a trained saxophonist. What's more, Decker says his medical bills have been piling up, and he isn't sure when -- or if -- Lyft will take responsibility for this unfortunate accident. 

 

Who is Responsible After A Rideshare Accident?

 

Stories like this have been flooding news outlets lately, with injured passengers taking issue with the way that big rideshare companies, such as Lyft and Uber, are handling accident claims and incidents where the driver was uninsured. Riders in big cities like New York, San Francisco, Chicago, and Los Angeles often rely on rideshare companies to get to and from work, important appointments, and fun nights out on the town. Nobody expects to be left in a position like Cameron Decker was, earlier this year, stranded at the scene of an accident by his Lyft driver. 

"Decker's attorney says the driver had the correct policy when he started driving for the company, but at some point stopped paying the premiums and kept driving for the ride-sharing service." "How does this even happen?" Decker wanted to know, "Does Lyft not check in on their drivers monthly to make sure they are carrying the proper insurance?!"

Fox 13 reached out to Lyft to ask how often they check to see if drivers are continuing to carry the required coverage. 

According to Lyft, they fired the driver responsible, who also refused to exchange information with Decker before leaving him at the scene. They also said they were "working on getting an answer" to the question of checking insurance, but "wanted to reiterate all Lyft drivers are required to demonstrate proof of insurance when they are first hired." 

This answer does not seem to properly address Cameron Decker's situation, a situation that many other rideshare users find themselves in when they discover, after an accident, that their driver was not properly insured. This leads many Uber or Lyft passengers to take matters into their own hands by hiring a personal accident attorney. 

 

What Should I Do if My Lyft or Uber Driver is Uninsured?  

 

Uber and Lyft instruct their drivers to call 911 and ensure their passengers receive any necessary medical attention in the case of an accident. If your Uber or Lyft driver doesn't follow this protocol, make sure that you take these steps to make sure everybody involved is okay. 

After these essential steps, Uber and Lyft do not make it clear what happens in the case of an accident. Their websites enable riders to reach out to the company if an accident occurs, but the companies are not transparent about what happens after that. It is highly recommended to bring your case to an attorney in the case of a rideshare accident because you're up against big businesses that must protect their drivers and reputation. 

In any case, you should demand the following information from anyone involved in the accident: 

  • Name, address, and phone number
  • Role in the accident (driver, passenger, rideshare passenger, etc.) 
  • Personal insurance information 
  • Lyft/Uber's insurance information 
  • Vehicle information (make, model, registration number, and license plate number) 

In addition, you should attempt to get the accounts of any witnesses as well as their information for follow-up. You should also take detailed pictures of the scene of the crash, including any damage to vehicles, properties, or persons. 

Because you may ultimately be dealing with multiple insurance agencies (your own, the other driver's, and Lyft or Uber's), it is extremely beneficial to get as much information as you can on the front-end. All of this information will prove useful to your attorney when making your case as strong and sound as possible. 

If you or a loved one is injured in a rideshare accident in the Los Angeles area, reach out to our offices today. We are experienced in dealing with complicated rideshare cases, so we'll know what to do to get your bills paid and to put your mind at ease.



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