Ridesharing and Roadside Fatalities During New Year’s Eve

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New Year’s Eve is one of the busiest days for ridesharing apps such as Uber and Lyft. Unfortunately, with more travelers on the road, the risk of road traffic crashes also increases.

If you find yourself in a Lyft or Uber car accident during the holidays, you’ll need to take steps to protect yourself. Haffner Law’s Uber accident attorney in Los Angeles can help you file a personal injury claim and seek compensation for your losses.

The rise of app-based ridesharing services

The popularity of ridesharing services has grown dramatically since their introduction in 2009 (Uber) and 2012 (Lyft). These apps have collectively made 11 billion trips in the U.S. Part of what makes Uber and Lyft so popular is their convenience and cost-effectiveness. Passengers typically get where they are going quicker and cheaper than they would by taxis.

Despite the advantages they offer, these ridesharing apps were found to have increased traffic congestion and the rate of fatal car crashes. According to a study done by researchers at Rice University and the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business, the arrival of app-based ride-hailing apps in a city led to a 3% increase in the total number of motor vehicle fatalities. These accidents involved not only passengers but also pedestrians. Likewise, gas consumption, time spent in traffic, miles driven, and the number of newly registered cars also skyrocketed.

The unfortunate reality is that, like all modes of transportation, neither Uber nor Lyft can ever completely guarantee passenger safety. More so during the holiday season, when packed roads and drunk driving cases become more widespread.

California road fatalities on New Year’s Eve

The period between Thanksgiving and New Year’s often sees a dramatic rise in DUI incidents as people partake in holiday celebrations. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that 210 lives were lost during the Christmas to New Year’s Day holiday period in 2019 due to alcohol-impaired driving crashes. Alcohol can slow down a driver’s reflexes and increase feelings of drowsiness, putting other motorists in their vicinity at serious risk.

In California alone, a total of 244 drivers were arrested on the evening of December 31, 2020. All of them were suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol, dangerous drugs, or similar substances.

In addition, California saw an increase in the fatality rate of traffic accidents during New Year’s Eve 2020. According to the California Highway Patrol, a total of 13 lives were lost due to a traffic accident from the evening of the 31st to the early morning of the next day.

What to do after an Uber or Lyft car accident

Uber and Lyft drivers are not invincible, and sometimes they can get into accidents, especially during busy holiday seasons. Unfortunately, those incidents can seriously harm you, whether you were the Uber passenger, driving your own car, or crossing the street.

If the accident occurred as a result of the Uber or Lyft driver’s negligence, Haffner Law can help you pursue full compensation for your losses. Contact our Uber accident attorneys immediately and get the aggressive representation you need.

 

California Prop 22: What it Means for Ride-Sharing Drivers

ca prop 22 uber lyft

Uber and Lyft are two of the largest app-based ride-sharing operators in the country, responsible for 68% and 32% of U.S. rideshare spending, respectively.

Like other firms in the gig economy, Uber and Lyft use a profit model in which drivers are recognized as independent contractors instead of full-time employees. This exempts these companies from covering their drivers’ health insurance, taxes, personal injury protections, overtime, and minimum wages. Since they’re treated as self-employed contractors, drivers don’t have the legal rights to unionize or negotiate contracts.

The fight against AB5

In August 2020, Uber and Lyft won a battle against lawmakers in California over how their employees are categorized and compensated. The lawsuit alleges that both ride-sharing operators violated the state’s new labor law, Assembly Bill 5 (AB5), by misclassifying their workers as contractors instead of full-time employees.

Assembly Bill 5 (AB5) aimed to transform how companies like Uber and Lyft do business and treat their workers. By performing the ABC test, a worker will be classified as an employee or independent contractor in California.

For them to be considered independent, workers must:

  • “Be free from the control and direction of the hiring entity,”
  • Perform work “outside the usual course of the employer’s business,”
  • “Be customarily engaged in an independently established occupation, business, or trade of the same nature as that involved in the work performed.”

The lawsuit came to a halt when both Lyft and Uber reached an agreement with the state to continue service.

What is Proposition 22?

However, in November 2020, 58% of California voters approved Proposition 22, a measure that exempted ride-hailing businesses from treating their drivers as employees under state law.

While Prop 22 mandates that ride-sharing drivers are now entitled to minimum hourly wages, they are still excluded from receiving other benefits such as paid sick leave and health insurance. As independent contractors, these drivers are also left unprotected from personal injury claims, workplace harassment, wage theft, and discrimination.

What’s next for ride-sharing drivers?

Following the passing of Prop 22, union labor groups and app-based drivers in California challenged its legality in state court. The drivers claim that Prop 22 violates the state’s constitution by removing workers’ rights to organize and receive full protection that comes with employment.

In August 2021, Alameda County Superior Court Judge Frank Roesch ruled Proposition 22 as unenforceable and unconstitutional. According to Roesch, Prop 22 infringes on workers’ compensation and hampers the Legislature’s power when it comes to collective bargaining.

Protect App-Based Drivers and Services, the group representing Lyft, Uber, Instacart, DoorDash, and other organizations supporting Proposition 22, reportedly plans to appeal the ruling.

Once an appeal is filed, gig companies may ask for a stay of Roesch’s ruling. Prop 22 will remain valid throughout the appeals process, which can last for more than a year. This means rideshare drivers and delivery service providers will continue to be denied their basic workers’ rights and protections until the next ruling.

Experienced attorneys on your side

Whether you’re fighting against improper wages or personal injury claims and you’re unsure of how to proceed, don’t hesitate to get in touch with Haffner Law.

Our attorneys have successfully handled countless personal injury claims and class action lawsuits against large corporations. Schedule a consultation now and get legal support every step of the way.

You Must Confirm an Accident with an On-Duty Uber Driver

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Earlier in April, the First District Court of Appeal in California ruled that a rideshare driver who caused a road accident with two other vehicles is solely liable for the incident. The rideshare company the driver had worked for is not liable for damages because the driver was off-duty and off the platform. He was, in fact, driving home from another job.

This ruling by the CA appellate court tells us two things about rideshare car accidents:

  1. A rideshare company cannot be held liable if its driver is “off the platform” when the accident occurs.
  2. It is crucial for plaintiffs to prove that the rideshare driver is “on duty” if they wish to claim personal injury and property damage compensation from the rideshare company.

It is in your best interest to know what to do in case you or someone you love gets into an accident with an Uber driver. Uber provides liability insurance to its drivers: if their driver’s insurance denies your claims or is insufficient to pay the compensation you deserve, you can hold Uber financially responsible for the accident.

What to Do Immediately After an Uber Accident

Your actions immediately after a car accident matters. It could mean the difference between winning a claim and getting denied by the liable party’s insurance provider.

In the case of an Uber accident, you must do the following immediately after:

1. Call 911 and ask for paramedics. Stress that there is a medical emergency if someone sustains a serious injury and needs urgent medical attention.

2. Notify the nearest police station. Since you could be going up against an influential rideshare company, you’ll want to have the accident investigated as soon as possible. Get the contact information of the responding officers and indicate your intent to ask for a police report soon.

3. Gather necessary information and evidence from the accident site. If your injuries are minor and as soon as you’re able to, talk to the people involved or the police and secure the following:

  • The Uber driver’s complete name and contact information.
  • The insurance carrier and policy details of the Uber driver and other involved motorists, if any.
  • Contact information from eyewitnesses.
  • Pictures and videos of the accident scene.
  • Pictures and videos of your visible injuries.

4. Gather proof that the driver was on-duty when the accident happened. After getting the basic information, you should find out if the Uber driver was on duty. Here’s how

  • Take note if passengers exited the vehicle and hailed another cab (an obvious sign that they are rideshare passengers and not personally associated with the driver).
  • Check if there are Uber Eats delivery coolers inside the car.
  • With the assistance of a responding police officer, you can also check the driver’s phone and confirm the following:
  • If the Uber app was turned on
  • If the driver was transporting passengers
  • If the driver a booking and was en-route to the customer

Make sure that these details are included in the police report. You may also take screenshots of the app for your evidence.

5. Contact an Uber Accident Attorney as soon as possible. Rideshare accident lawyers will know what else to do to prove that a negligent Uber driver was in the course and scope of his duties for the rideshare company when the accident happened.

Whether you’re the driver or the passenger, you deserve to be compensated for any pain, suffering, and financial burden you experience because of another motorist’s negligence. Know what you need to do when you get into an accident with an Uber driver; more importantly, get in touch with an experienced Uber accident driver as soon as you can.

Haffner Lawyers won’t let your efforts and diligence in getting information to prove an Uber driver’s negligence go to waste. We always aim for the highest settlement possible for personal injury, property damage, and other claims against liable rideshare drivers.

Call us anytime you need an Uber accident attorney in Los Angeles. You can reach us at 213-514-5681 or request a consultation here on our website.

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The Common Injuries Passengers Could Sustain in an Uber Accident

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Uber has undoubtedly changed the public transportation landscape of the country when it debuted its ridesharing app in 2010. The company registered a whopping 2.3 billion rides in the US from 2017 to 2018.

The popularity of Uber is unsurprising. The convenience of the Uber app to bring a car to your preferred location is a more desirable alternative to other forms of transport, such as limousines and taxis.

Despite being an incredibly convenient way to get from point A to point B, Uber vehicles aren’t impervious to road accidents and the harm they cause. Both passenger and driver could sustain injuries in the event of a crash or collision.

Here are related injuries associated with a rideshare accident:

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

If you hit your head on a window or any solid surface during a crash, you could sustain a traumatic brain injury, a type of injury that could lead to the tearing, bleeding, and bruising of the brain.

The consequences of a TBI vary greatly depending on the extent of the damage. Severe brain injuries, for instance, could result in paralysis, cognitive impairment, and other lifelong health problems. Passengers who sustain a TBI should consult an experienced brain injury lawyer if they believe that an erring party caused the accident.

Spinal Cord Injury

This type of injury may involve damage to the spinal cord, an important body part that connects the rest of the body and the brain. Less serious injuries may cause a partial loss of sensation or movement.

Severe injuries, on the other hand, could lead to paraplegia, quadriplegia, and other types of body paralysis. Treatment for spinal injury typically involves ongoing physical therapy, prolonged recovery periods, complex surgeries, and long-term medical care.

Loss of Body Parts

A violent Uber accident could sever fingers, limbs, and other body parts. Treatment for this medical problem may necessitate amputation.

Losing a part of the body can drastically alter a person’s quality of life. Lost toes and fingers, for instance, may prevent the person from comfortably performing everyday physical activities, such as running and grabbing objects.

Bone and Joint Damage

The destructive force of a vehicular crash could crush or break bones in any part of the body. Also, joints, such as ankles, shoulders, and knees are highly vulnerable to injuries in an intense crash. The damage to muscles, ligaments, and soft tissue could result in extreme pain and incapacitation.

Whiplash

The symptoms of this type of injury may not become apparent until several days or weeks after the car accident. Although minor injuries are treatable with medication and sufficient rest, severe whiplash could fracture the vertebrae, damage the spinal discs, and rupture ligaments.

If you’ve suffered an injury caused by a negligent Uber driver, entrust your case to Haffner Law.

We Fight for You

Our attorneys in Los Angeles have the experience and wisdom to recover just compensation for your injuries. A few of the steps we’ll take include assisting you with gathering medical documents, negotiating with your insurance providers while you recover in the hospital, investigate the case to figure out the at-fault party, and take care of all the necessary personal injury paperwork.

Schedule a free consultation today by calling our firm at 213-514-5681.

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Rideshare Car Accident: Who Pays for the Damages and When to File a Lawsuit

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When you get into a rideshare car accident in a comparative fault city like Los Angeles, California, liability for the damages depends on the at-fault driver or drivers, even if this driver happens to be the one working for a rideshare company like Uber or Lyft.

In cases where the at-fault driver’s insurance coverage falls short, the rideshare company’s insurance may compensate for it.

How much you will receive in damages, however, is another question. The adjuster of the at-fault driver’s insurance company will investigate matters, and he’ll most likely offer an amount that is more favorable to the insurance company than you.

If you want the best settlement you can get, know how to assert your right to the amount you deserve. In this case, getting the help of a rideshare car accident attorney is a good move.

A rideshare car accident lawyer is experienced in negotiating with insurance companies and can help you determine damages. He or she will also help your assessment of the following:

  • How much should the damage claims be?
  • Who’s at fault, by what percentage, and who should pay how much?
  • Should you file a personal injury lawsuit or not?

Let’s look at them one by one.

How much should you claim as damages?

In a car accident, there are what we call economic and non-economic damages.  Economic damages are easier to compute and straightforward.  It includes:

  • Past and future medical expenses
  • Damaged property repair and replacement
  • Lost wages and loss of earning capacity
  • Burial expenses

It’s the non-economic damages that are more difficult to assign a monetary value to:

  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Physical injury
  • Disability
  • Emotional distress
  • Other losses or inconveniences

 Who should pay how much?

As mentioned earlier, damages fall on the driver who is at fault, since he is considered an individual contractor. He is not the rideshare company’s employee, and therefore, is responsible for his insurance. If his insurance cannot cover the damages, the rideshare company’s insurance policy will cover the remaining cost.

In some car accidents, multiple parties may be at fault. In California’s pure comparative negligence system, each of these parties is held financially responsible, to the degree of their fault.  Based on investigations, if your driver is 25 percent at-fault and the other driver is 75 percent at-fault, then the damages will be divided accordingly.

What if the at-fault party’s insurance company refuses to pay?

When an insurance policy does include occupational accidents or a rideshare insurance extension, your at-fault driver’s insurance company may refuse to pay for the damages. It may also have insufficient coverage. When one of these two happens, you can file claims from the rideshare company’s insurer.

Should you file for a personal injury lawsuit?

A personal injury lawsuit is tedious and stressful. And it puts you in a win-all or lose-all situation. If you lose the case, you don’t receive anything, not even the pre-litigation settlement offer by the insurance companies.

However, where outright negligence has resulted in extensive damages like permanent disability or loss of a loved one, filing for a personal injury lawsuit may be the only way you can get the compensation you deserve.

When you’re in this situation, you may want to consult an attorney who is experienced in a car accident or rideshare injury to know your chances of winning the case.  At Haffner Law, we have experienced Uber or Lyft accident attorneys who can help you determine the best course to take after a car crash in a ridesharing trip. We will thoroughly investigate your accident and negotiate for the compensation you deserve, whether through an amicable settlement or a lawsuit.

Contact us at 1-844-HAFFNER (423-3637) to schedule a consultation today.

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