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Uber and Lyft Pedestrian Accidents (Podcast)

Pedestrian accidents are scary, and knowing what to do next can be confusing. If you were hit by an Uber or Lyft driver, listen to Robert Mazow and Kevin McCullough, attorneys with Mazow McCullough, to learn what to do next. Listen or read more to find out the steps to take after an Uber or Lyft pedestrian accident.

John Maher: Hi, I’m John Maher and I’m here today with Robert Mazow and Kevin McCullough of the law firm of Mazow McCullough, a personal injury law firm with offices in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Today, we’re talking about Uber and Lyft pedestrian accidents. Welcome, Robert and Kevin.

Robert Mazow: Thanks, John.

Kevin McCullough: Thank you, John.

John: So, have you guys seen an increase in pedestrian accidents involving ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft?

Kevin: Unfortunately we have, John, and we think the reasoning behind that is these drivers with the Uber and Lyft vehicles are looking at their phone, as far as making sure they have correct contact information or billing information for the person that they’re picking up. There’s then more interaction in the vehicle when they’re going to their destination, as well as the driver trying to get their next fare or their next customer. Looking at their phone, whether it’s looking at directions for where their next destination is or picking up the next customer, they’re just not paying attention to the roadway. So, we are seeing a lot more of these incidents on the streets here in Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

Distracted Drivers Causing Accidents

John: So, just like a lot of pedestrian accidents, distracted driving is a big issue.

Kevin: Yeah. With all pedestrian accidents, the driver, and just not paying attention to the roadway, is an issue. Certainly with the level of increase with Uber an Lyft vehicles on the roadway, the collisions and the incidents are going up as well.

Robert: I think that to add to that, where truck drivers have the requirement that they can only be on the road for a certain amount of hours a day to make sure that they stay focused, I don’t think we have the same requirements with Uber and Lyft. I think a person who is an Uber driver, Lyft driver can get up in the middle of the night, nobody’s checking them, they can start doing their fares, and all of the sudden they’re out driving at 2:00 in the morning — who knows what they had done that night — and causes a crash. I don’t think there’s any regulations on this kind of activity. I also think that’s what Kevin is saying, they’re so focused on what’s going on on their phones. I mean, there’s so many rules and regulations about people not looking at their phones while they’re on the road, these companies are requiring it because the drivers need to know where they’re going.

John: It’s part of the service, that it’s an app.

Robert: It’s part of the service, but the service that provides what’s supposed to be safe transportation is also providing a potential distraction to the drivers that are using it.

What to do if You’re Hit by an Uber or Lyft Driver

John: Okay. So what happens if you had been hit by a car, you’re a pedestrian, maybe you’re crossing the street and you’re hit by a car, and it turns out that that car is an Uber or Lyft vehicle?

Robert: Well, we happen to have several cases like that, so I can tell you. First of all, the pedestrian hopefully is in a position where they can see and communicate with whoever struck them. They can make sure that the police are called so that witnesses can be gathered, so that information from the scene can be obtained, so that statements can be given and so that the proper medical attention can be taken care of. We all have our phones with us, all of our phones have cameras on it, so at the very least if you are in a position where you’ve been struck and you can do it, take a picture of the vehicle that hit you. Take a picture of the person’s driver’s license, or ask a witness. Say, “Please, would you mind taking a picture or getting some information from this driver before they leave the scene?” to make sure that that information is gathered.

Kevin: Also being aware of your surroundings. There are so many security cameras and just cameras in general out there, whether it’s a commercial property or residential property. For homeowners, for their own safety you’re seeing a lot more surveillance out there. So to be aware of your surroundings and to then retain a firm that is willing to go to the scene of an incident to do what’s called a “locust” to see if there’s anything around as far as cameras or any video footage of the actual incident. I mean, those are things that we do routinely here at the Law Office of Mazow McCullough that a lot of other law firms just don’t do that, to be mindful of that.

So, you want to make sure you’re safe, you want to make sure you get the medical treatment that you need, you want to gather information. But oftentimes as a pedestrian who’s hurt laying in the street or the side of the roadway, it’s difficult to do all of that.

John: Right, and especially if you’ve been injured, maybe you’re even in the hospital. You can’t go out and start canvassing the area and finding witnesses, or like you said finding cameras from local stores that might be nearby and things like that.

Kevin: Exactly. You want to hire and rely upon a good attorney and a good law firm that will do that for you if necessary, and that’s part of what we do here when it’s required.

What not to do After Being Hit by an Uber or Lyft

John: So, you mentioned some of the things that you should do like calling the police, taking photos, getting witnesses, finding those cameras in the area. Are there some things that you should not do after you’ve been struck by a ride-sharing vehicle?

Robert: Well, if you’re not in a position to do that — to move, to speak, to gather information — then don’t. There will be ways, if you’re not capable of gathering that information, there will be ways hopefully to do that. I mean Uber, Lyft — they know where every driver is at any given time I’m sure across the world. So with the technology, it’s likely that if the driver leaves the scene without letting himself or herself be known, it’s likely that that person can be found. I wouldn’t, if I were in the unfortunate situation of being struck by an Uber, Lyft I wouldn’t let the driver know, “Everything’s fine, go away. I don’t need your information,” because the next day you might be feeling differently. So, you want to make sure, again as Kevin said, get that information, don’t let that driver leave without at least gathering his or her name, license plate number, vehicle plate information, something that can provide the information for you when you need it.

John: Could you be in the situation where maybe the next day you get a phone call from Uber and Lyft asking you to tell them what happened? Or perhaps an insurance company asking you the same thing, and should you talk to those people?

Robert: You raise a good point, and this actually happened in one of our cases. Uber reached out to our client before they were a client, had heard that they were struck as a pedestrian, and offered them $500 to make the whole thing go away. The client asked, thankfully, the question, “Well, is this covering my medical bills? Is this covering everything?” and they said, “No, this will cover everything.” This was about two or three days after this person had their foot run over, their foot was broken, they were going to need surgery. Had she not had the wherewithal to ask questions she might have taken that $500 and that would have been the end of her case. So, if you are hurt and Uber or Lyft or an insurance company reaches out to you, you have no obligation to speak with them. You should contact an attorney to make sure that all of your questions are answered and that you’re not letting a case go that you shouldn’t.

John: Okay. Any final thoughts on pedestrian accidents involving ride-sharing vehicles?

Kevin: Yeah, just to talk about one of the questions you asked earlier John, some things what not to do. I think just be mindful of your surroundings. Don’t put yourself in a difficult situation. If you’ve been struck by an Uber or Lyft vehicle you’re probably hurting, you’re probably in pain at a minimum, maybe more severe injuries, maybe internal injuries. You do not need to confront the driver. You do not need to confront any of the parties involved. Be safe. Do what you need to do to gather information and get the medical treatment that you need.

John: All right, that’s really great advice. Robert and Kevin, thanks again for speaking with me today.

Kevin: Thank you, John.

Robert: Thank you, John.

John: And for more information on personal injury cases visit the firm’s website at helpinginjured.com or call 855-693-9084.

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