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How is Liability Determined for a Golf Ball Injuries?

Thursday, November 07, 2019

Golf ball injuries can be severe. Golf balls are small, heavy, and falling from great heights can increase the potential severity of any injuries caused. This increases the risk of serious head injury and even damage to critical brain functions. Bodily impact can also leave welts and even break bones with the added velocity of the ball falling from a great height.

If you or someone you know has been injured by a golf ball or suffered a sport-related golfing accident, the question of liability is a complex one. There is a fine line between the natural assumption of risk and factors that extend beyond the sport. Today, we'll help you discover whether your case can be taken to civil court.

 

Natural Risk of the Sport

Golf liability falls under the laws that define sport participation. When participants play in a shared sport, they legally accept the assumed risks of the activity. Golf players cannot sue one another for things that happen in the natural course of the game.

Assuming the natural risk of the sport includes the occasional stray golf ball.

 

Reckless Straying from Game Activity

Golfers play in a very careful and specific way. Each may have a different favorite club or type of swing, but the rules are the same. Activities outside those defined by the game that results in injury can be deemed reckless straying from the game. Therefore, these activities fall outside the assumed risk of the sport.

- Horseplay and Roughhousing

Horseplay and roughhousing are never part of the intended conduct of golf. Any injury that is the result of roughhousing or horseplay is subject to personal liability laws.

- Thrown Golf Balls and Equipment

If you are hit by a thrown golf ball, or any other thrown equipment, then the person who has thrown these objects is liable for causing harm outside the normal sporting risks.

- Swinging Golf Clubs

Golf club injuries may be considered liable even if they occur during normal play. 

 

Aggressive Defiance of Safety Protocols

The next type of liable golf ball injury is when someone is playing the game, but are doing so in defiance of safety protocols. Liability can be assumed if the person who tees off did not check the 'zone of danger' first, did not announce their swing, or was probably aiming for people rather than the open fairway.

- Hitting Balls Toward a Person or Crowd

If a player hits (or throws) a golf ball deliberately in a direction that could cause harm, even if their goal was not to cause harm, they are liable for injuries that result from that action.

- Driving While Golfers are on the Fairway

A golfer who tees off before the fairway is clear or who fails to shout is thus liable for any injuries they cause by defying safety protocols.

 

Injuries Caused by Golf Course Design

When someone is injured by a golf ball, the golf course itself must also be examined for liability. Flaws in the course design can make it more difficult or even impossible for players to know when they are putting one another at risk, or are themselves at risk from an unseen player.

- Spectator Safety Areas

In most cases, the golf course is liable for ensuring that spectators at an event are aware of where they can safely stand or sit to watch. Spectators who leave the designated safe areas, however, may waive the venue's liability.

- Holes Too Close Together

If the course holes are too close together, errant balls hit for long flight are much more likely to accidentally hit someone golfing at a different hole. There is always some risk from hole to hole, but there are also regulations to ensure safety.

- Obscuring Terrain Hiding Players on Fairway

The landscaping design of each hole also matters for course safety. A course that creates dangerous obscured sections of the fairway may be liable for injuries that result from this literal oversight.

 

Injuries Outside the Golf Course

Finally, there are golf ball injuries that occur outside of a golf course. People walking alongside golf courses often are not aware that there is golf nearby and/or have not taken on the natural assumption of risk for being near the sport. The legal owner of the path itself will often determine whether or not the golf course can be held liable. Players who intentionally hit balls over the edge are almost assuredly liable for defying the rules of the game.

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If you or someone you know has recently suffered a golf ball or golfing related injury, you can seek justice. Many golfing injuries are caused by misconduct, reckless negligence, or poor course design. Contact us today to discuss the details of your case and find out if those responsible for your injury can be held liable for their conduct.


10 Steps to Handle an Out-of-State Uber or Lyft Accident - Pt 2

Thursday, October 03, 2019

Welcome back to the second half of this two-part article on Uber and Lyft accident aftermath. Last time, we covered what to do in the vehicle right after the accident. Along with taking care of medical needs and contacting the police to help clean up. Join us again today as we pick up where we left off. 

The Usual Accident Aftermath - Cont.


Collect Evidence & Witnesses

If you can, gather contact information from anyone who witnessed the accident. When combined with GPS and cellphone data, often witnesses are the best way to clarify exactly what happened on the road for legal and insurance purposes later on. Having contact with your witnesses allows you to get in touch later and take advantage of their third-party knowledge of the scene.

Get Safely to Your Hotel

Once the accident is cleaned up, please get yourself safely to your hotel. Don't let shakiness or stress after the accident put you in greater danger. Call another ride or take public transport to get somewhere you can shower and sleep off the incident. This way, you can plan your next steps from the comfort and safety of a hotel room.

Criminal or Civil Court Cases

The most difficult part of an out-of-state accident is dealing with court dates. If there is a criminal case brought up by the DA of the accident state, you may be called upon as a witness to speak for or against the charged driver. And if you choose to raise a civil case, you will likely need to file it in the county where the accident happened, not in your local court.

Court Occurs in the State of the Accident

It's important to understand that where the accident happens influences which court presides over cases. Both civil and criminal cases will be presided over by a local judge, and the local traffic laws will be what determines the outcome.

Research the Relevant Laws of the Accident State

To this end, you'll want to be aware of any relevant laws that are different from Minnesota standards. The statute of limitations for a personal injury case, for example, or different statutes for safe driving laws. Do a little personal research and confer with an experienced lawyer to find out what you need to know about a court in another state.

Work With an Experienced Lawyer

Speaking of legal counsel; you may need some. Now is the time to get in touch with an experienced rideshare accident lawyer who can help you handle the aftermath of out-of-state Uber or Lyft accident. Speak about the details of your case and then discuss your options for insurance claims and civil suits.

Be Prepared for Out-of-State Court Dates

Finally, be prepared to do a little extra traveling. Working with your lawyer and the court, you may be able to get a few remote participation accommodations. But eventually, there's a good chance you'll need to be personally present in the courtroom despite the fact that you live out of state. Be prepared for this. Know where the presiding courthouse is, find an affordable hotel nearby, and work with the court to lock down a workable set of dates for you to be available. Your lawyer can help you hammer out a plan that doesn't take you away from work for too long.

 

Dealing with Uber or Lyft

Other than legal proceedings, you may also need to deal with the rideshare company involved. Whether you were working with Uber, Lyft, or a local contemporary, it's important to keep on top of the situation because theirs is the insurance that may need to pay for your injuries. And like all insurance, claims can be denied for. Be prepared to work with a lawyer to define and defend your claim on Uber or Lyft's million-dollar-policy for incidents such as yours.

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If you or someone you know has recently been in an Uber or Lyft accident, especially if it was out of state, you will need legal assistance to navigate the future ahead. Always make sure that your injuries and the medical needs of others are taken care of first. Then consider the legal, logistical, and financial impacts of the situation. For more personalized advice on your unique situation, please contact our office today. Our legal staff is ready to help.


Emergency doctor putting a cervical collar to a patient in the ambulance Emergency doctor putting a cervical collar to a patient in the ambulance

How to Handle an Out-of-State Uber or Lyft Accident - Pt 1

Friday, September 20, 2019

Taking an Uber or Lyft ride should be easy, but Car accidents are devastating no matter what state they occur in. But an accident in your own state close to home is much easier to deal with than one that occurs outside the laws and customs you're used to. Especially if you're in an unfamiliar Uber or Lift at the time of the accident.

Experiencing an accident out of state, you'll need to tread carefully both to navigate the accident aftermath and to deal with legal concerns of getting involved in the inevitable insurance battle ahead. Not to mention, of course, making sure you get full treatment for any injuries you may have suffered. If you've been involved in an Uber or Lyft accident, be sure to take care of yourself and seek help when necessary.

A Passenger in the Aftermath

As an Uber or Lyft passenger outside your home state, it can feel like your options are severely limited, but they aren't. If you are uninjured and able, it's best to take charge of your situation and handle the aftermath as sanely and effectively as possible. Or at least make sure that someone else is on that job already.

Stay At the Scene

Do not let your Uber driver leave the scene and do not call another ride until you have spoken to the police. It is necessary to stay at the scene and make a report in every state. You also need to remain in control of the situation.

Unlike a car accident without rideshare, it's important to take a few extra steps or precautions during the aftermath. 

End the Ride

Do not let your "meter run" during the aftermath of an accident. Instead of trying to cancel the ride, simply 'end' it through the app. Mark it as complete. Most likely, you will get a refund from Uber or Lyft after you report the incident. 

 

Report the Incident

In the app, leave a comment about your ride mentioning the crash. Then, through the 'Help' section, go through the correct channels to report the accident to the corporate office. You may have time to do this while you wait for the cops and paramedics to arrive.

Uber and Lyft Insurance

The Million-Dollar-Policy is not a myth. Both Uber and Lyft have insurance policies that will cover your injuries and other collateral damage if you are involved in a rideshare accident. But, like all insurance claims, you may need assistance getting the settlement you need.

 

The Usual Accident Aftermath

After two cars collide in the US, the is almost always the same. The police must be notified, injuries must be treated, and the scene must be cleaned up so that normal traffic flow can resume. This doesn't change when one car is an Uber or Lyft vehicle on the job. You are a key witness to the accident and may also need immediate medical assistance. Many people don't realize how badly they are hurt right after a car accident, and the police will want to speak to you about the events immediately leading up to the accident.

Call the Police

First, whoever is most capable should call the police. Even if you're late for something. Even if your Uber driver wants to leave the scene to finish  Give no spin or detailed story to how the accident happened, that's up for the police and insurance companies to determine on their own. Instead, focus on the severity of the crash, whether anyone is hurt, and whether traffic is being blocked. The police will arrive shortly on the scene to provide assistance.

Once the police arrive, you can ask them about any legal details you need to be concerned about as an out-of-state Minnesotan. The police should be able to give you a few out-of-state pointers.

Address Medical Needs

Next, make sure that everyone who was in the Uber or Lyft accident is looked at by a doctor. Take care of your own injuries and those of your companions and driver first. Then, if you can, investigate to see of others near the crash need help. Get yourself checked out even if you feel completely fine and uninjured. Often, car accident internal injuries may not show symptoms until a few hours or days later. Including whiplash, which is a real condition that occurs when a person's velocity changes suddenly as in a car accident.

 

Take Away

Being in an Uber or Lyft accident can be scary, especially if you're out of state. Remember to take care of yourself and your companions as your first priority. Then the police, and finally Uber or Lyft. Join us next time for the second half of this article and further aftermath tips. Contact us today for a consultation on your Uber or Lyft accident.


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.

What Happens When an Off-Duty Lyft Driver Causes an Accident?

Thursday, August 15, 2019

When Lyft drivers cause accidents while actively transporting a passenger, you know how it works: you contact the insurance provided by Lyft while they are on the clock. That insurance then pays the fees associated with your accident: damage to your vehicle as well as your medical bills, lost time at work, and other expenses associated with the accident.

What if the Lyft driver doesn't have a passenger at the time of the accident? Does Lyft insurance still cover them?

Rideshare Driver Insurance: The Basics

Rideshare drivers, like other drivers, carry basic car insurance that covers them any time they're in the car. Most rideshare drivers don't just use their vehicles for rideshare driving. They also use them for personal uses: running their own errands, getting to and from work or school, or simply puttering around town. 

When they drive completely off the clock--that is, they are not working for Lyft in any capacity--drivers use their personal car insurance to cover them in the event of an accident. Personal liability insurance will pay for the damage to your vehicle, up to the limits of their policy, as well as offering some coverage to help with your medical expenses or to cover your missed time at work because of an accident. Comprehensive insurance or collision insurance will provide coverage for their vehicle along with yours. 

When a driver is working for Lyft directly--that is, they have a passenger in the car--they are covered by Lyft's comprehensive insurance policy. This policy offers coverage regardless of who is at fault for the accident and will help cover injuries to any Lyft passengers, your injuries, and damages to your vehicle. 

If the Lyft driver is running their app but has not accepted a passenger, they are still covered by Lyft insurance. The contingent collision policy, according to Lyft, provides coverage "when the app is in driver mode before you've received a ride request in the event your personal insurance does not respond." In this case, the driver still has coverage (even if they don't have personal insurance), and you have options for ensuring that the accident is paid for. 

How Should You Proceed After an Accident with a Lyft Driver?

After an accident with a Lyft driver, regardless of whether they had a passenger at the time of the accident, start by collecting the same information you would collect from any other driver: license information, contact information, and insurance information. The Lyft driver may not carry a little card in their wallet that lets you know what coverage they have on their Lyft insurance policy; instead, they may need to give you a screenshot from the app with their policy number, driver number, and other relevant information. Store this information on your phone or in another location where you won't lose it since it will help you obtain coverage. 

If you suffered only minor injuries in the collision, contact your insurance company. Provide them with access to that information. You may need to make a statement about the accident, which you should write down as soon as possible before those events become scattered in your mind. 

If you suffered serious injuries, on the other hand, you may need a lawyer who specializes in Lyft accidents to help navigate the claims process. A lawyer can often increase the compensation you're able to receive from the accident and make it easier for you to collect evidence or prove the extent of your injuries. 

Did you suffer injuries in a crash with a Lyft driver, either on or off the clock? Contact us today to learn more about 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.