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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How is Accident Liability Proven Against Rideshare Companies?

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The convenience of ride-hailing apps such as Uber and Lyft has attracted an incredible number of users these past few years. But a study from the University of Chicago and Rice University revealed there has been a 2 to 3 percent rise in the number of fatal auto accidents at the same time that ride-sharing services gained traction.

The uptick in vehicle fatalities is a concern enough, but what exacerbates the problem is the transportation network companies’ (TNC) protocol when it comes to accidents involving their drivers.

In an Uber or a Lyft accident, the TNC doesn’t automatically become liable for the negligence of their drivers. The process of proving liability is more complex than a regular auto crash, which places an importance on lawyers knowledgeable specifically in Uber and Lyft accidents..

An Uber or a Lyft lawyer can help you prove liability in an accident in two ways.

   1. Countercheck with the TNC’s car requirements

Each state has varying regulations for TNCs and their drivers. These include car specs, driver requirements, and insurance coverage. In California, general car requirements include:

  • The TNC’s decal must be on the vehicle’s window whenever the driver is using the app
  • The car must be registered in and have a license plate from the state
  • The car must be insured by an auto insurance policy issued in the state
  • The car can’t be classified as a salvage or rebuilt
  • The car must not have aftermarket parts
  • The car must pass an annual inspection and keep the inspection form inside at all times
  • The car must have four doors and four to six passenger seats

An accident lawyer in Los Angeles or any other California city can countercheck these regulations to see if the driver committed any violations. Although you can’t sue the driver or the TNC on these grounds alone, your lawyer can use these violations to strengthen your personal injury claim in the case of an accident.

   2. Determine Whose Insurance Policy Applies

Normally, you can make a personal injury claim under the driver at-fault’s insurance policy to cover your medical and hospital expenses. But in a ride-sharing accident, two insurance providers are involved. The question of who will compensate for your damages depends on which “period” the accident happened.

Period 0: When the driver accidentally hits someone but doesn’t have the ride-sharing app on, his or her policy will apply. The TNC immediately assumes that the driver is off-duty in this case, so they can’t cover the damages.

Period 1: When the driver has the app on but hasn’t found a passenger yet, his or her personal rideshare insurance policy applies. If the driver doesn’t have this coverage, the TNC’s policy will kick in. California requires TNCs to provide at least $200,000 of excess liability insurance coverage.

Periods 2 and 3: When the driver is carrying a passenger when the accident happens, the TNC’s $1 million liability insurance policy applies. This will cover both the driver and the passenger.

An Uber or Lyft accident lawyer will identify at which period the accident occurred and collect the rest of the details of the accident. This will determine whom the personal injury claim should be directed to. Your lawyer will then help you gather evidence from the incident to strengthen your case.

Determining liability in accidents involving ride-hailing vehicles can get complex. This is why you’ll need the experience of a capable attorney who has handled similar cases.

Have a Capable Lawyer on Your Side

Our experienced Uber or Lyft accident attorneys at Haffner Lawyers can help you navigate the process and get you the compensation you deserve. We know how to investigate your accident, determine who’s at fault, and prove it in the court of law.

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

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Rideshare Driver Fatigue and How it Affects Their Driving

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One of America’s most popular ridesharing services, Uber, filed to go public last month. Now, its drivers geared up to protest for better treatment and payment just before the company goes on its Wall Street entrance. These demonstrations will be held in various cities in California, such as San Diego and Los Angeles, where drivers plan on holding off work for one day.

At the moment, Uber and Lyft drivers are contractual workers, so they don’t get benefits like paid leaves and overtime pay like regular employees do. This is still the case, despite a court ruling that rideshare drivers are employees and not independent contractors.

Meeting Demands

Rideshare services are also in high demand, as Americans who use ridesharing services in 2018 have doubled compared to 2015, according to recent numbers from the Pew Research Center. Over 36% of adults in the U.S. say they’ve used a ridesharing service.

The lack of benefits, along with low wages and high customer demand push both part-time and full-time drivers to burn the midnight oil to make ends meet. A recent statement from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM), however, sees this as a major risk for both drivers and their passengers.

Risks of Rideshare Driver Fatigue

The AASM published a recent position paper on the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine called “The Risk of Fatigue and Sleepiness in the Ridesharing Industry: An American Academy of Sleep Position Statement.” The organization stated that drivers face two crucial safety issues: drowsy driving and undisclosed medical problems. The authors said that many drivers in the industry have a full-time job and only do ridesharing for extra income. As such, they often drive for extended periods and not get enough sleep. This situation, according to the AASM, increases the risk of drowsy driving accidents.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s latest statistics showed that over 795 lives were taken because of drowsy driving in 2017. There are close to 8 million registered drivers on the road in Los Angeles County, which correlates to high rate of auto related accidents. In case another tragedy does occur, we have on staff Uber Accident lawyers to help handle your case.

The second point that the organization made is about the status of the drivers as independent contractors. According to the authors, drivers are not given medical screenings. As such, undisclosed medical issues may impede their ability to drive safely. The AASM pointed out that problems like obstructive sleep apnea, which has excessive sleepiness during daytime as one of its primary symptoms, put drivers, passengers, and pedestrians at risk of severe accidents.

The AASM is not convinced that the six-hour rest period after 12 to 14-hour driving shifts that ridesharing companies require is enough to keep drivers safe on the wheel. The organization believes that drivers are already extending their work hours once they start their daily rideshare trips. It recommends that government agencies crack down on regulations that limit work hours and enforce medical screenings for rideshare drivers.

What to Do When You Get Into an Uber Accident

You’re entrusting your life to your driver when you ride an Uber. If you find yourself injured because of an accident involving a rideshare vehicle, you should sue for damages immediately. Haffner Lawyers helps you get the compensation you deserve from injuries caused by Uber accidents. We believe that no company or person should be exempt from being held accountable for the damages or injuries they cause due to negligence.

Call 844-HAFFNER or 213-514-5681 today to get the compensation you deserve.

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