What Should I Do If I Was Hurt While Riding With Uber?

Ride-sharing companies like Uber and Lyft have changed transportation all across the United States. In a Bloomberg report earlier this year, it was noted that ride-sharing companies account for 71% of ground business travel countrywide, with taxis holding on to only 6% of the market share. The convenience of ordering a ride with a tap of the finger is impressive, but rideshare drivers aren’t professionally trained and Uber has been known to perform less than thorough background checks. And if you’ve been injured by an Uber or Lyft driver, the path to compensation is a little different than your traditional fender bender.

How Ridesharing Works

Uber began right here in San Francisco in 2009. In less than a decade, they redefined the transportation industry and now have services almost everywhere in the country (and the world for that matter). Competitors like Lyft and Fare have popped up since, but Uber still has a stranglehold on the ridesharing sector.

Uber claims their drivers are not employees but independent contractors. Federal courts agree with Uber, but a recent case in California could bring change to the relationship. For now, the independent contractor relationship remains, which means Uber drivers are free to work when they want and are under no obligation to complete any rides.

Uber and Insurance

Many Uber drivers are motoring around underinsured. In fact, if you have a personal auto insurance policy and your company finds out you are driving with Uber or Lyft, they might drop you in a heartbeat. And if that happens, good luck finding a reasonably priced policy elsewhere. Some companies are offering rideshare specific policies, but most require a commercial insurance policy to drive with Uber or Lyft and those can be very expensive.

California insurance laws have been a bit of contention for rideshare companies. The ride is split into three parts – Phase 1 occurs when the driver does not have the app on, Phase 2 is when the driver is actively accepting trips but doesn’t have a passenger in the vehicle, and Phase 3 occurs after the passenger has been picked up. Uber’s insurance policy covers Phase 3, but Phase 2 leaves the driver vulnerable as neither their personal policy or Uber policy over this time period. But California has determined that Uber’s insurance company MUST provide protection during Phase 2.

What Should I Do If I Was In An Accident Involving An Uber Driver?

First of all, follow the same procedures you would in a normal car accident. Take down names and information of all parties and witnesses and take pictures of the scene. If you’re hurt badly, call 911 right away. The tricky part occurs when figuring out whose insurance company will be paying the damages.

If your accident was due to the fault of the Uber driver, getting Uber to pay up is a challenge. A police report is critical in these situations; you’ll need to determine which phase the driver was in. If they were in Phase 2 or 3, you’ll be dealing with James River, Uber’s auto insurance company. Otherwise, you’ll be able dealing with the driver’s personal insurance company, who may or may not know their customer is driving for a rideshare company.

Contact the attorneys at Rush Injury Law right away if you’ve been hurt in an accident. We’ll help navigate the tricky world of rideshare insurance and get the compensation you deserve.

What Is Medical Malpractice?

The motto of all healthcare professional is “do no harm”, but despite this, medical errors still occur. According to the Medical Malpractice Center, there are up to 19,000 medical malpractice claims in the United States every year. Malpractice can come in many different forms, from surgical mistakes to misdiagnoses, even for improper medication prescriptions. Over $38 billion in damages was paid out to malpractice victims between 1986 and 2010 and all doctors are taught to prepare for at least one malpractice suit in their lifetime.

Despite nearly 200,000 deaths per year in the United States (making it the third largest killer), only 20% of medical malpractice suits result in compensation for the victim. For a medical malpractice suit to materialize, a few factors must exist:

-A medical professional failed to provide an adequate level of care or didn’t adhere to the standards of a doctor or surgeon (note: this includes dentists as well). Medical providers are sworn by their professional duty to patients. Any time a patient schedules an appointment with a doctor, they enter this professional relationship.

-The patient must have sustained an injury caused by the negligence of the medical professional. If you think a doctor did something negligent but you weren’t harmed by it, you won’t have much of a case.

-The injury had serious consequences, such as pain, suffering, disability, and loss of income. If you receive plastic surgery and simply aren’t happy with the results, you again will not have much of a case.

Some examples of medical malpractice include an improper diagnosis, unneeded surgery, failure to order the correct testing procedures, inability to recognize symptoms, or not taking the patient’s history into account.

Note that the important thing here is negligence – medical professionals owe a duty to their patients and violating that duty could result in malpractice. In California, you have 30 days to report the injury after it occurs, or two years following the medical procedure.

Preparing Your Case

Medical records are critical in medical malpractice cases. You and your attorney will need to prove the medical professional acted negligently in causing your injury. Detailed medical records are key in determining the compensation you’re entitled to.

In California, non-economic damages are capped at $250,000. Non-economic damages (or general damages) refer to things like anxiety, depression, and loss of life enjoyment that are hard to determine monetarily. There’s no cap on the amount you are able to recoup for medical procedures, tests, and doctors visits made in attempt to heal the malpractice injury. There’s also no cap on the amount of damages for lost wages a victim can receive.

Doctors and hospital are supposed to be healers and caregivers, but medical professionals are human beings who are just as susceptible to mistakes as the rest of us. However, these mistakes can lead to personal injury or even wrongful death. If you or a family member have been injured or killed due to medical negligence, contact Rush Injury Law today and find out what your options are.

Pain and Suffering in Personal Injury Cases

Injuries are an unfortunate result of many accidents. Broken bones, lacerations, and internal damage can happen during nasty falls or serious car accidents. If these injuries are someone else’s fault, you’ll be entitled to compensation for your pain and suffering. The words ‘pain and suffering’ are thrown around a lot in these situations, but the phrase actually has a specific legal use. The law protects you not only from physical injuries, but also the mental discomfort and anxiety that comes from the aftermath.

Physical pain and suffering is a fairly straightforward concept. When you’re injured in an accident, you might break an arm, sprain an ankle, or suffer a concussion. These are physical ailments that sometimes require serious treatment to mend, or as in medical malpractice suits, additional corrective treatment. Sometimes these dysfunctions don’t manifest until later in life, like sight impairment, memory loss, or muscle weakness.

But there’s another kind of malady affecting the victims of accidents. Along with the physical pain often comes anxiety, depression, and decrease in happiness. Injured parties often need to miss work time and social functions, further deepening their anguish. Mental distress is more difficult to measure than physical pain and cases can become nebulous. Pain and suffering falls under the category of non-economic damages, meaning monetary value can be hard to gauge.

Pain and Suffering in California

The state of California has one distinct difference from most states regarding damage awards like these. Pure comparative fault, also known as comparative negligence, is used to determine these cases in the Golden State, meaning that parties will be assigned fault contingent on their responsibility in the incident. If the court rules you’re responsible for 95% of a car accident, you still may receive some compensation from the other driver. Pain and suffering claims have a two-year statute of limitations in California, but claims relating to medical malpractice have three years (or one year after discovering the injury, whichever is first).

Note that California has some restrictions on pain and suffering claims. If you’re convicted of a DUI in a car accident, you won’t be entitled to damages. Same goes for those driving uninsured (or underinsured) vehicles.  The lesson as always – don’t drink and drive. Additionally, there are $250,000 caps on medical malpractice awards and no damages will be awarded for workers compensation claims.

Consider Hiring A Lawyer to Recover Damages

Building a case for pain and suffering damages can take time. You’ll need to build evidence of fault and document injuries to maximize your settlement. This means acquiring photos of accident scenes, medical transcriptions, and testimony from witnesses. Building a case with limited evidence can be difficult, especially when determining damages for mental discomfort.

Hiring a personal injury lawyer is always your best bet for getting proper compensation for your pain and suffering. At Rush Injury Law, your voice will be heard and we’ll fight hard to get what you deserve for your hardships. If you’ve injured in the San Francisco Bay area due to someone else’s negligence, contact our attorneys today.

Injuries In Public Places: Who Bears Responsibility?

Property owners generally understand that they’re responsible for maintaining their own residence. It’s on the homeowner to make sure walkways are cleared of debris and trees are kept out of neighbor’s yards. If someone gets hurt on your property because of your negligence, get ready to hand over a large check.

For example, say you have a kid who just loves setting up Halloween decorations. To illuminate these horrifying displays, your creative child uses spotlights with extension cords. But the cords are left dangling over the porch and one day, the postman trips over them and breaks his elbow. In this situation, you better call your lawyer and your homeowner’s insurance company.

But what happens if someone trips on the floor of the post office? Or a courthouse? Or even the visitors center of a state park? When the accident happens on government property, where to turn becomes a bit more confusing. Finding the responsible party can be time-consuming and often requires the assistance of a well-trained lawyer.

Differences Between Public and Private Property Injuries

Believe it or not, it’s more difficult to get compensation for injuries from the government than private companies or individuals. (Nevermind, maybe you do believe this). The rules and regulations for filing a lawsuit against local, state, or federal governments are far more strict than other cases. For a victim to receive compensation from the government, they must prove two things – that a government employee was negligent and that negligence directly caused the injury.

Proving negligence in a public property slip and fall is similar to private cases, but there are often limits on damage rewards. There’s also a very short window in which you can report your injury to the government and expect to win a claim. If you wait too long to file a report, you might lose your ability to win compensation.

Know Who To Contact And When

If you’re injured on public property, do all the same mental accounting techniques you would in any other accident. Take pictures of the property and note what caused you harm. If you slipped on an icy sidewalk and didn’t take a picture, there’s little that can be done to prove the sidewalk was actually ice-covered at that time.  After you’ve gathered all the necessary information, you’ll need to file a report with the proper government body. But how do you know who’s responsible? Are you suing the federal or state government? Is the government responsible, or is the outside contractor hired to do the job responsible?

In most cases, you’ll want to contact both the local municipality and a personal injury lawyer. Tracking down the responsible government unit might take some time, but you need to file a report with the proper administrative office or your claim will be denied. Remember, the government will make you run through lots of red tape. If you’re getting the runaround from state officials, contact Rush Injury Law and let us work to get you proper compensation.

Car, Truck, and Motorcycle Accidents

The perils we face when behind the wheel are well-known to drivers of all vehicle types. Whether you’re in a sports car, pickup truck, or motorcycle, the rules of the road (and common sense) must be followed to avoid accidents. Operating a vehicle is dangerous. Despite efforts to improve safety in cars and regulations to keep drivers more attentive, motor vehicle accidents are on the rise. The number of automobile fatalities has risen every year since 2014. Fatalities per 100,000 settled to its lowest ever in 2014 at 10.28, but reached 11.59 in 2016. In addition, three million people are hurt in motor vehicle accidents every year, with over 90 deaths per day. Accident injury cases may vary depending on the vehicle involved, so it’s important to know the facts about different types of automobiles.

Car Accidents

Accidents in normal, boring sedans are by far the most common types of accidents. Fortunately, they often also involve the least amount of pain, suffering, and property damage. Still, a car accident shouldn’t be taken lightly. Be sure to get a police report on any accidents and photograph any damages or injuries. Take a trip to the doctor just in case too, you might have injuries that aren’t visible or painful yet.

Truck Accidents

Trucks are bigger and heavier than cars or motorcycles, which is great for hauling construction materials or other massive industrial projects. There’s a downside to the size of trucks however as their size usually means more catastrophic damage or injury to people hit by them. Commercial trucks are even larger, like big-rigs or trash trucks. While they have industrial utility, they also take longer to slow down, have larger blind spots, and generally don’t perform as well as cars. Be wary when driving near large trucks; always stay out of their blind spots and give them a wide berth.

Motorcycle Accidents

Driving a motorcycle is a unique experience you just can’t get if you’re driving a car or truck. There’s a feeling of freedom and excitement that comes from the wind blowing past you and the landscape visible on all sides. Unfortunately, while motorcycle drivers have a clear, unobstructed view of the road, motorcycles are sometimes hard to see for drivers in cars or trucks. Motorcycles are simply more dangerous than other vehicles – the death rate is higher and the coordination and skill required to operate one proficiently is much more taxing than a car. In addition, some riders are resistant to helmet laws, which makes them 11 times more likely to die in an accident. Wear your helmet! Failure to wear a helmet not only increases the chance of death, but it might limit the amount of compensation you can receive in an accident case.

No matter what type of vehicle was involved in your accident, contact Rush Injury Law for a consultation. Accident victims are often entitled to compensation and you don’t want to miss out on a windfall to pay bills and expenses.