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Ridesharing

Uber Accidents

Uber AccidentsAnnually, Uber and Lyft provide approximately 65 million rides in Massachusetts, and in Boston alone, 96,000 ridesharing trips take place every day. Uber also has a presence in Manchester, Concord, Nashua, and Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and the service is spreading into rural areas of both these states as well. While most journeys are safe and uneventful, accidents can happen. If you have been involved in an accident with an Uber driver, you may be entitled to compensation, and you need an Uber accident attorney to help you.

Types of Uber Accidents

Uber accidents fall into a few categories.  For example, you may suffer injuries if you are a passenger in an Uber that gets into an accident. Alternatively, you may be hit by an Uber driver when you are operating another vehicle, or you may be a pedestrian or a cyclist that gets hit by an Uber. In all these situations, if the Uber driver caused the accident, they may be personally liable, or Uber may be liable.

Liability in Uber Accidents

Uber launched in March 2009. The company established a presence in Massachusetts in 2011 and expanded into New Hampshire shortly after. Because Uber is relatively new compared to other types of commercial transportation, the liability with Uber accidents is not always that clear. This fact is complicated even further by the fact that Uber drivers are independent contractors — typically, in cases with commercial drivers, the company is only responsible if the driver is directly employed and not an independent contractor.

As a general rule of thumb, Uber only wants to accept liability for accidents caused by their drivers when a passenger is in the car, and in fact, the company has a million-dollar liability plan in place for accidents meeting this criterion. Uber has a more modest liability plan for accidents that occur when the driver is logged into the app but doesn’t have a passenger in the car. At Mazow | McCullough, PC, we have a devoted team who works hard to establish liability in these cases even when Uber tries to deny liability or the law is murky.

Get Help after an Uber Accident

After an Uber accident, you should seek medical treatment as soon as possible. If you decide to bring a lawsuit against the Uber driver or against the company, medical records can be essential for connecting the damage to the accident. Ideally, you should not try to negotiate with the driver, their insurer, or Uber on your own. In too many cases, these entities will offer you a lowball settlement that doesn’t cover the extent of your damages.

Instead, you should work closely with an accident attorney who can help you accurately assess your damages. At Mazow | McCullough, PC, we have represented countless clients in personal injury and auto accident cases. We painstakingly take into account all of your damages including medical bills, future medical expenses, lost wages, and impact on future earning potential, as well as pain and suffering including mental distress, wrongful death, and any other damages or expenses you have incurred or are likely to face as a result of the accident. Then, we artfully negotiate with Uber and their insurer to ensure you get the largest, fairest, most just settlement possible.

Contact Mazow | McCullough, PC for Help

Have you been in an accident with an Uber? Has an Uber driver caused injuries to you or a death to a loved one? Have you received a settlement offer from Uber or an insurance company? If you have answered yes to any of these questions, you need to consult with an attorney.

To get help, contact us at Mazow | McCullough, PC today. We can start with a no obligation case evaluation, where we talk about your accident, your rights, and compensation to which you may be entitled. Then, we can help you battle against this ridesharing giant. At Mazow | McCullough, PC, we work closely with our clients to help them receive the justice and compensation they deserve, and we look forward to working with you.

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Ridesharing

Lyft Accidents

Lyft AccidentsEvery minute in Boston, approximately 67 Lyft and Uber rides take place. When you consider the rest of Massachusetts and New Hampshire, this number climbs even higher. While most rides are straightforward and uneventful, some lead to accidents, injuries, and even death. If you have been injured in a Lyft accident or if a loved one has died in a Lyft accident, you need a Lyft accident attorney. The team at Mazow | McCullough, PC has the experience and dedication you deserve during this difficult time.

Liability after Lyft Accidents

If you are injured in a Lyft accident, several different entities may be held liable depending on the situation. When you are a passenger in a Lyft and the Lyft driver causes an accident, you may be covered under Lyft’s $1 million liability plan. Lyft also has liability insurance in place to cover accidents caused by the driver when they are logged into the app but without a paying passenger in the vehicle. This liability covers situations where a Lyft driver causes an accident with another vehicle or hits a pedestrian or cyclist.

In other cases, Lyft may try to deny liability, and the company may try to shift liability onto the driver. Often, Lyft drivers have personal insurance policies, and their insurer may try to deny claims that were caused when the driver was operating a vehicle in a business capacity. Luckily, however, both Massachusetts and New Hampshire require drivers to alert their insurers that they are driving professionally, and as a result, Lyft drivers in these states should have commercial policies that cover liability in accident. Because the law is not that clear cut, you need a quality attorney to represent you, and Mazow | McCullough, PC can help.

Sometimes, the liable entity may not be Lyft or its drivers. If a faulty vehicle part caused the accident or made the injuries worse, the manufacturer of that part may be liable for the damages. For instance, if an airbag explodes and spreads deadly metal shards into the vehicle, the airbag manufacturer may be responsible. Similarly, a mechanic who incorrectly installed brakes, a tire manufacturer that made a faulty product, or similar entities, could be liable.

Damages in Lyft Accidents

After a Lyft accident, you may suffer from a range of damages. When you bring a claim against a Lyft driver, their insurer, or Lyft, the settlement you receive is based on your damages. You may have the following damages:

  • Medical bills
  • Expenses for physical or occupational therapy
  • Alternative care costs
  • Medical equipment or devices
  • Medication
  • Help around the home that you need due to your injuries
  • Lost wages
  • Degradation to future earning potential
  • Car repairs
  • Damage to other property
  • Final medical costs for someone who died in the accident
  • Funeral costs
  • And more

Ultimately, you need a Lyft attorney who is experienced in personal injury and accident cases. They can help you accurately assess your damages so that you receive the fairest settlement possible.

Lyft Attorneys

After a Lyft accident, contact an attorney as soon as possible. Typically, the statute of limitations for auto accident cases is two years, but ideally, you should get the process started as quickly as you can. When you contact Mazow | McCullough, PC, we start with a free case evaluation. During that meeting, we talk about the accident, identify liable parties, and help you decide if you have a solid case.

If you decide to move forward with your case, our researchers will begin gathering evidence. Ultimately, our role is to establish that Lyft or its driver had a duty of care to you. Then, we prove that they breached that duty of care by acting negligently and that their negligence led to your damages. Finally, we convince the other parties involved to pay a settlement based on your damages. Generally, we complete this process through mediation or negotiations, but in some situations, we do have to take cases to court. In all cases, we ensure that your needs are handled professionally and carefully.

Get Help after a Lyft Accident

You deserve to have your rights protected. To get help after a Lyft accident, contact us today. At Mazow | McCullough, PC, we can offer you the personalized legal help you need.

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Ridesharing

Are Ridesharing Accidents More Common than Accidents with Other Commercial Vehicles

Ridesharing AccidentsUnfortunately, there isn’t a lot of data comparing commercial accidents with ridesharing accidents. However, you can get a sense of the potential safety levels by looking at other related numbers. Here is what you need to consider.  

Are Ridesharing Accidents More Common than Other Commercial Accidents?

Between 2009 and 2017, fatalities with large trucks increased by 30%, and now, over 4,000 people die from these deaths annually. Generally, 68% of the victims are occupants of other vehicles, 17% are truck occupants, and 14% are pedestrians, bicyclists, or motorcyclists. Commercial trucks are involved with 22% of multiple-vehicle accidents and about 12% of all crashes.

 

In contrast, there aren’t numbers breaking out the percentage of traffic accidents that involve ridesharing services, but the growing number of these vehicles on the road is likely to have a significant impact on accident rates. Between 2015 and 2018, the number of ridesharing drivers in many large cities quadrupled. In New York City alone, these are over 117,000 ridesharing drivers, and on average, these drivers log about 50,000 miles per year.

 

Based on these numbers, ridesharing drivers are driving about 5.85 billion miles in New York City alone. In contrast, commercial trucks drive a total of 432 billion miles per year around the entire country. Drivers are likely to encounter both of these vehicles on the road, but are they more likely to crash with a ridesharing vehicle or a commercial vehicle? Unfortunately, there aren’t comparable numbers, but there is research illustrating the potential effect ridesharing has on accident rates in cities throughout the country.

Does Ridesharing Increase Accidents?

The rise of ridesharing services has potentially created an increase in traffic accidents. According to a study from the University of Chicago and Rice University, traffic-accident-related deaths have increased by 2 to 3% since 2011 — that’s 1,100 additional traffic-related mortalities per year. Prior to ridesharing services becoming popular, traffic deaths had fallen to their lowest number since 1949.

 

However, a study from the Cato Institute, done by researchers from Western Carolina University and published in the Southern Economic Journal, indicates the opposite effect. Using data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), these researchers found that fatal accidents decline by about 1.6% after the introduction of Uber, and in particular, alcohol-related and nighttime crashes decrease in areas with ridesharing services. The researchers also noted a 0.8% decline per month, in arrests for driving under the influence (DUI) and similar declines in several other types of crime.   

 

The above numbers don’t necessarily indicate that traveling with a ridesharing service is any more or less dangerous than riding in a taxi, on a bus, or in your own car. Instead, these numbers indicate the overall impact that ridesharing services are having on cities.

How Does Ridesharing Affect Cities?

In general, ridesharing services increase congestion, and the extra traffic levels lead to more accidents. When ridesharing services launch in an area, its residents begin using public transit less frequently. At the same time, ridesharing drivers spend a lot of time prowling the roads waiting for fares. On average, these drivers spend 40 to 60% of their time without a fare, and they drive an average of 2.8 miles between fares.

How Does Ridesharing Affect Massachusetts?

Like much of the rest of the world, Massachusetts residents have quickly embraced ridesharing services. Uber launched its services in Massachusetts in 2011. In the first four years in the city, the service gave 28 million rides to 1.75 million people. Those rides added up to 115 million miles, and of course, that doesn’t take into account the miles driven between fares. On Friday and Saturday nights in Boston alone, the service manages about 70,000 journeys, and when people need a professional driver, 45% hire a ride sharing service, 32% get a taxi, and 23% use a rental car.

Has Ridesharing Increased Accident Rates?

While ridesharing services have grown in popularity, accident and fatality rates around the state have also increased. From 2015 to 2016, Massachusetts had a 20% increase in motor vehicle fatalities. In Boston, driving is even more dangerous. Boston is ranked last in a list of 200 most dangerous cities for driving in the United States. On average, Bostonians are in an accident every three years, and in general, the average is 10 years. In other words, your risk of being in an accident is 157.7% more likely if you are driving in Boston, but it isn’t clear whether you are more likely to be in an accident with a commercial vehicle or a ridesharing service.

 

Analysts linked the increase in accidents to more distracted drivers and to lower gas prices drawing more drivers onto the roads. However, the above cited research from the University of Chicago and Rice University indicates that the increase in fatalities may actually be linked to ridesharing services as well as to these other culprits.

 

Whether ridesharing has a positive or negative impact on traffic safety is still being determined. However, if you are in an accident, these stats and numbers don’t matter. Instead of getting bogged down in the numbers, you need to be focused on your own journey toward health and healing. After an accident, you may face medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and countless other damages, and that can be stressful to manage on your own.

 

You need an accident attorney who can help you fight for your rights. At Mazow | McCullough, PC, we help clients who have been affected by accidents with commercial vehicles and ridesharing services. To set up a free case evaluation, contact us today.

Who is Liable in a Ridesharing Accident?

Liable in a Ridesharing AccidentIf you’re in a car accident caused by a ridesharing driver, you may have to deal with injuries, expensive medical bills, lost time at work, pain and suffering, and other issues. This can become costly and frustrating. If the ridesharing driver caused the accident, they may be liable for your injuries. In some cases, the ridesharing company or even the vehicle manufacturer may bear liability. Here’s a closer look at who is liable in a ridesharing accident.

Personal Liability for Ridesharing Drivers

If the ridesharing driver caused the accident, they may be liable. Unfortunately, however, many ridesharing drivers are underinsured. They often just have personal car insurance, but because they are driving professionally, they need commercial insurance. As a result, if an accident happens while they are picking up fares for the ride share company, their insurer may reject the claim and cancel the policy.

Luckily, in Massachusetts, you have a bit of extra protection. A 2016 law requires all drivers to tell their insurer if they are driving for Uber, Lyft, or any other ride sharing service. As a result, drivers in this state should all have policies that cover both personal and professional driving.

Massachusetts law requires ride sharing drivers to have liability insurance that provides at least $50,000 per individual for bodily damage, $100,000 per accident for bodily damage, $30,000 for property damage, and personal injury protection. However, if your injuries are extensive, these minimums may not be adequate to cover your damages. In those situations, you need a ridesharing accident attorney who can help you figure out how to go after the driver’s personal assets or who can help you identify another liable party.

The At-Fault Driver

Typically in car accidents, the at-fault driver is responsible. If you are riding in an Uber or Lyft and another driver causes a crash with that vehicle, the other driver may be liable for your injuries, and their insurance policy may have to cover the cost of your damages. However, even in these cases, the driver of the ridesharing car may still be held responsible.

If you are driving your own vehicle and you get into an accident with a ridesharing driver, the ridesharing driver or their company is liable if they caused the accident. If you caused the accident, you are liable for your own injuries. In some cases, both drivers can be held partially responsible. This is called comparative liability, and you cannot receive a settlement unless the other driver is responsible for over half of the accident. In these situations, your settlement usually gets reduced by the portion of your liability. For instance, if the courts determine that you were liable for 20% of the accident, your settlement gets reduced by 20%.

Liability for the Ridesharing Company

On top of the requirements for drivers, Massachusetts also requires ridesharing services to have a $1 million liability policy in place. The 2016 law only specifies that this policy needs to cover accidents that occur when the driver has a paying passenger in the vehicle. However, most ride-sharing companies had this type of liability policy in place before these laws came into effect.

If the driver does not have a passenger in the car, the liability can fall on either the driver or the ridesharing company. In previous cases, ridesharing companies have tried to argue that they were not liable for accidents that occurred when the driver didn’t have a ridesharing passenger, but lawyers have successfully won settlements from ridesharing companies in cases where the driver didn’t have a passenger but was logged into the app. This typically comes into play when the driver hits another vehicle or a pedestrian in between fares.

Vehicle Manufacturers

With all automobile accidents, the manufacturer of the vehicle or its parts may be liable if faulty parts caused the accident or made the injuries worse. To give you an example, imagine someone is a passenger in an Uber. The car gets rear-ended by another driver. The injuries may have been minor, but a faulty airbag in the Uber explodes, leading to extensive injuries for the driver and the passengers.

Typically in this type of accident, the driver who caused the accident is liable. However, in this situation, the airbags made the injuries worse. As a result, the airbag manufacturer is likely to be liable for some if not all the injuries.

Because liability in ridesharing accidents isn’t always straightforward, you need to work with an attorney who understands the nuances in these cases. At Mazow | McCullough, PC, we are well versed in ridesharing liability, and we may be able to help you. Contact us today to set up a free case evaluation and to learn more about your rights when you’re involved in a ridesharing accident.

Do Regulations for Taxis Reduce Accidents?

Rules for TaxisWhen comparing taxis and ridesharing services, people tend to talk about cost, accessibility, and convenience. But, you also need to think about safety. In a lot of places, taxis are more heavily regulated than ridesharing services. Do these rules reduce accidents? Well, the answer is complicated.

 

Unfortunately, there isn’t a lot of data comparing accidents rates between taxis and ridesharing services, but here’s a closer look at some facts that help to create a clearer picture of what’s happening.

Taxis Are Safer Than Private Cars

A study in New York City indicated that taxi and livery cars — such as black cars, for-hire livery services, and limos with fewer than nine passengers — have a 33% lower crash rate than other drivers. Over every 1 million miles driven, there are 4.6 cab crashes, 3.7 livery car crashes, and 6.7 crashes with private cars.

 

In spite of this data, most people think that private cars are safer than taxis, but that perception is not completely misguided. Although taxis crash less frequently than other cars, the injuries sustained are usually more intense. Cab drivers tend to not wear their seatbelts and the partition between the front and back seats can cause fairly serious injuries when passengers fly forward and crash into it. That said, if you take 100 cab rides per year, your chance of being injured is about 0.4% over a 10-year time period.

 

These numbers were collected before ridesharing services became popular. However, it’s important to note that ridesharing vehicles don’t have partitions, which eliminates some of the injuries described above.

Taxi Drivers Have More Experience than Ridesharing Drivers

One of the reasons that professional drivers tend to get into fewer accidents than personal drivers is because they have more experience. Generally, taxi drivers also tend to have more experience than ridesharing drivers. Surveys of taxi drivers reveal that they tend to have anywhere from 5.7 to 9.2 years of experience. In contrast, over half of ridesharing drivers have no experience when they start working. The lack of experience can translate to reduced safety levels for passengers and for other vehicles around the ridesharing drivers.

Taxi Drivers Face Thorough Background Checks

Most cities require taxi cab drivers to go through extensive background checks, but they don’t have similar rules in place for people who drive for ridesharing services. This fact can also make ridesharing services potentially more dangerous than taxis.

 

In Massachusetts, a 2016 law requires ridesharing drivers to have a two-part driver background check — with one part done by the transportation company and the other by the state. After that, drivers need to be screened every six months, and they can’t appear on the National Sex Offender Registry or have a conviction in the last seven years.  

Taxi Drivers Need a Special License

In Massachusetts, taxi drivers need a special license, and their employers need a permit or license (also called a medallion) to operate legally. That helps to boost the safety levels for taxi services. As a general rule of thumb, ridesharing drivers don’t need a special license. However, they can’t have more than four minor traffic violations or more than one major traffic violation in the last three years. These laws help to increase safety across the board.

The Type of Vehicles Can Affect Safety

In the past, taxi companies in Massachusetts had to buy cars that were painted white in the factory, but now, they can buy used cars and paint them white. While there’s no data on how this has affected safety levels, it’s important to note that newer vehicles are almost always safer than older ones. However, most taxi cabs undergo routine safety checks, and they are often outfitted with additional safety features, such as security cameras, which ridesharing cars typically don’t have.

 

Uber requires drivers to have vehicles that were manufactured after 2005, and that helps to improve safety. However, in all cases, there are safety essentials that are not regulated by the law. For instance, yellow taxis are involved in 9% fewer accidents than blue taxis. Simply by getting in an Uber or Lyft that is a certain color, your safety levels can fluctuate.

Taxis Don’t Need to Be Connected to Central Dispatch

In the past, taxis had to connect to a central dispatch service, but in Boston, that rule has been relaxed to help taxi companies compete with ridesharing services. You can hail these taxis on the street or pick one up at the airport, but unfortunately, the taxi may not be tracked by a third party.

 

With ridesharing services such as Uber and Lyft, the drivers are tracked by the app. The company knows where they are at all times. Even if an unscrupulous driver turned off their phone, your phone would continue to track your whereabouts in case of an issue. These elements help to improve safety for both taxi and ridesharing services.

 

Taxi rules are designed to keep passengers safe, but in the era of ridesharing, many of these rules have been relaxed, potentially making the situation more dangerous for passengers. If you have been involved in an accident in a taxi or in a ridesharing vehicle, you may be entitled to compensation. To learn more and set up a free case evaluation, contact us today. At Mazow | McCullough, PC, we can help you fight for your legal and financial rights.

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