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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.

What Should You Do After an Uber Accident?

Wednesday, June 05, 2019

Uber drivers, in many cases, have little more experience behind the wheel than the average driver. They do not receive professional driver training or a change in their license; instead, they are private drivers who choose to use their vehicles to transport others. While Uber drivers will do their best to avoid accidents, sometimes, accidents still happen--and if they do, you need to know how to handle it. 

Step One: Call 911

If you suffered injuries in an Uber accident or see that there is significant property damage, call 911. This single call will summon both police and medical assistance to the scene. If you have serious injuries due to the accident, go to the hospital and allow a doctor to evaluate you. Medical attention should always be your first priority since failure to take care of your injuries could make those injuries worse or cause future problems. 

Step Two: Collect Insurance Information

If you are able to move around the scene of the accident or can communicate with the driver responsible for the accident, collect insurance information from both drivers. One quick tip: snap a photo of the drivers' licenses and insurance cards with your phone. Then, you'll have easy access to that information later. Uber typically provides insurance for its drivers if they cause an accident while a passenger is in the car; however, Uber drivers may also carry additional private insurance to help with their costs if they're in an accident while not actively transporting a passenger or while they're participating in another activity. Make sure you have all the relevant insurance information. If you're not able to collect it, you may be able to contact the police for a copy of their report after the accident, since it will contain vital contact information for everyone in the car. 

Step Three: Prepare Your Statement

As a key witness in the accident, you may need to issue a statement to the police or to the insurance companies. Do your best to prepare your statement as soon after the accident as possible. The longer you wait, the more foggy details may become in your mind. Did the Uber driver really pull out too soon? Did the other driver run a red light? As you wait, especially as you listen to others' accounts about the accident, you may struggle to put together what really happened as you saw it. 

When you prepare your statement, don't be afraid to be honest. If you were looking at your phone at the time of the accident and didn't see anything, let the police and your driver know. While this may prevent you from giving credible evidence, it's also the truth--and you don't want to issue misinformation. 

Step Four: Keep All Information About the Accident

Because you weren't driving, you won't be expected to pay for the aftermath of the accident regardless of what happens next. You will, however, have medical bills and other expenses related to your accident. Start a file with all of this information, from the bills for your emergency room visit to ongoing physical therapy. Add in any time missed at work due to your injuries as well as other expenses associated with the accident. The responsible party's insurance company will typically pay for most or all of those bills, especially if you suffered serious injury in the accident. 

Do you need a lawyer after an Uber accident? Are you having trouble getting the responsible party to pay for your medical bills or wrestling with the insurance company to get the help you deserve? Contact us today to learn how we can help with the legal process. 

How to Be Safer When Using an Uber

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Uber is supposed to be the safer option: better, for example, than attempting to drive drunk in an unfamiliar city. Unfortunately, many people are skeptical about Uber rides--and with good reason. Fake drivers are out there--and they know how to convince you that they are, in fact, your Uber driver and that they're there to pick you up. Try some of these strategies to stay safer. 

1. Make Sure You Have the Right Driver

Before you get into the Uber, double check to make sure that you have the driver that the app says is coming to get you. The app provides a lot of information about your driver's vehicle, including the make, model, and license plate number of their car. The driver won't be offended if you walk around the car or check them out before you get in. You're just keeping yourself and everyone in your party safer!

2. Buckle Up

Any time you get into a moving vehicle, you need to be buckled in. Uber vehicles are no different from other passenger vehicles: they provide no extra protection against an accident, nor does the driver receive extra training about avoiding accidents or keeping their passengers safe. Buckle up as soon as you get in the car. 

3. Pay Attention

You've paid the Uber driver to get you safely to your destination. To many passengers, this means you can simply turn your attention to your phone or your friends. After all, your driver has GPS and knows the area. They don't need your input to get there. 

Paying attention, however, can let you know if any red flags are being raised. Is the driver taking the wrong route or headed toward a place you don't recognize? Is the ride taking far longer than it should have? Is the driver displaying signs of erratic behavior? By paying attention, you can increase the odds that you'll notice a problem before it leads to serious danger. 

4. Know When to End the Ride

If you call for an Uber, you always have the right to cancel or end the ride--even in the middle of it. You can end your ride early for any reason. If you feel unsafe, the driver is behaving erratically, or your gut is telling you to get out of the car, trust your instincts. This is particularly true if you notice your driver speeding, driving distracted, or ignoring traffic laws. If you end the ride, you can request another driver to take you the rest of the way to your destination or use an alternate form of transportation to get there. It may take a little longer, but if you feel unsafe, it's not worth taking the risk.

5. Leave Reviews

Did you get in an Uber with a driver who did not behave safely behind the wheel? Did they drive distracted, appear to be drunk, ignore traffic laws, or do something that made you uncomfortable? Leave a review! Not only does Uber seriously consider these reviews and check over them on a regular basis--in some cases, leading to the removal of drivers from their pool--your review can also help other riders decide when to avoid a driver who could cause a danger to them. While those reviews can't always prevent accidents or ensure safety, they can help prevent someone else from having a bad experience. 

Did you suffer injuries from an Uber driver, in spite of your best efforts to be safe? Do you need legal help to get the compensation you deserve after an accident? Contact us today to learn how we can 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.