Articles Posted in Car Accidents

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Let’s face it, most Uber and Lyft drivers are not out there driving for the life experience. They are not hobbyists. They are driving to make money. Some drivers do it part time while others try to make a full time living from driving for Uber or Lyft. Our Miami Uber accident lawyers hear the stories from our clients who drive and were injured in a car accident. One thing is absolutely clear, driving for Uber or Lyft is not an easy way to make a living.

Let’s consider the economics of driving for Uber and Lyft. The first thing to know is that these companies take money off the top of every ride in terms of fees and percentages of the total ride. Lyft provides the option of giving a tip while Uber does not. In general, drivers can expect to lose 20-25% of every ride fee to the company. Many drivers will only look at their weekly take home and subtract the amount of gas money they spent to figure out if they had a good week. But if we dig a little deeper, that profit margin shrinks even further.

A proper analysis of an Uber driver’s profitability should include the cost of wear and tear on the vehicle; depreciation of the vehicle’s value; and the cost of insurance. The issue of insurance is even more complex than it might initially appear.

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According to a recent study, Uber drivers do in fact discriminate against black and female passengers. Researchers from the University of Washington, Stanford and MIT conducted a two-year study of Flywheel, Lyft, and Uber passengers in Seattle and Boston. The study reviewed almost 1500 rides in both cities.

The researchers found that black riders using UberX ended up waiting anywhere between 29 and 35% longer than others similarly situated white passengers. The study also found that females were regularly taken on rides that were longer than necessary and ended up being frequently overcharged. The study also discovered that people requesting rides with “African-American sounding” names were canceled disproportionately by drivers when compared to riders requesting with” white sounding” names.

As background, Uber drivers have some control over what rights to accept and what areas to drive in. The drivers can cancel any ride request. An Uber driver can effectively take themselves out of any area by simply logging off the Uber app. For example, if an Uber driver picks up a ride on South Beach and takes that passenger to Miami Gardens and the Uber driver does not want to accept any rides from Miami Gardens then he/she can simply turn off the Uber app. Then they drive to an area and when they want to accept new rides they turn the Uber app back on.

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Miami Car accident lawyers deal with people who were injured by aggressive driving or even road rage every day. Road rage is the more extreme form of aggressive driving such as people who get out of their car to confront or assault other drivers. It also includes drivers who intentionally run into other cars or people. Aggressive driving can take many forms and often plays a role in numerous Miami car accident injury cases. In our analysis, it’s getting worse every day. Now there is a study on aggressive driving that backs up our opinion.

According to a recent study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, almost 80% of drivers in the past year had expressed road rage, aggression or extreme anger on at least once occasion. The information was collected in a national survey of 2,705 drivers who were at least 16 years old and had driven in the past thirty days. In 2014, it is estimated that there were over 213 million licensed drivers in the U.S. according to the Federal Highway Administration.

This AAA study suggests that about 8 million drivers in the United States had engaged in significant road rage including getting out of their vehicle to confront other drivers or intentionally ramming other cars. The perception of almost two thirds of drivers believe that aggressive and angry driving has increased over the past three years. Ninety percent of us believe that road rage and aggressive driving is a serious and significant threat to our personal safety.

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Uber launched its new app called UberEATS in South Florida today. It opens the market for Uber drivers to deliver food from over 100 participating restaurants in the eastern corridor of South Florida from Brickell to Hollywood. Participating eating establishments include  The Salty Donut,  SoCalTaco, Salsa Fiesta, The Rice House of Kabob, Morgan’s Restaurant DIRT, Jar + Fork, Ms. Cheezious, Sushi Maki, the Daily Creative, Sliders, Roasters N Toasters  and Wynwood Kitchen & Bar. Miami is the 19th city in the United States to launch UberEATS.

Miami Uber accident injury lawyers know that this means more Uber drivers on the road in Miami and Broward County. As miles and hours increase, so does the possibility of car accidents. The question is whether Uber will provide insurance coverage for its drivers and if so, when will that coverage apply. Presently, Uber is supposed to provide its drivers and passengers with insurance coverage of 1 million dollars. This insurance coverage is supposed to apply when the driver is engaged in the pick-up and delivery of passengers. But many questions remain for Uber car accident injury lawyers.

We expect there to be issues that will be litigated in the courts over the coming years. These questions will involve exclusions, coverage and limitations of liability. It is generally expected that Uber’s insurance coverage will apply when the driver accepts a ride request through the delivery of that passenger. But will there be coverage when the Uber driver has his app on and is available to accept rides but has no customers at that moment. What happens when a driver refuses a ride request and is involved in an accident? Will Uber’s 1 million dollar insurance cover that Uber driver?

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Miami police arrested an Uber driver in Coconut Grove for selling narcotics based on a tip. The law enforcement officers were engaged in an anti-gun violence operation. They received a tip and arrested the Uber driver at a convenience store on Grand Avenue. The driver was also in possession of a gun.

One question Miami personal injury lawyers face is whether Uber drivers and riders are legally allowed to carry a handgun when using the Uber app. The official Uber policy states: “Uber Firearms Prohibition Policy – Our goal is to ensure that everyone has a safe and reliable ride. That’s why Uber prohibits riders and drivers from carrying firearms of any kind in a vehicle while using our app. Anyone who violates this policy may lose access to Uber.”

Since Uber, Lyft and other ride-sharing transportation networks are privately held companies, they can uphold their Firearms Prohibition Policies. But in reality such prohibitions are unenforced until after something tragic or horrific happens.

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rear_end_collisionIf you are driving a car and you rear end another vehicle, is it automatically your fault? The short answer is no. There are certain facts that may help you prove that the rear end car accident is not your fault.

Our Miami car accident lawyers meet with personal injury clients who were involved in rear end collisions. The question is always the same – who is at fault? So what does the law say?

When one vehicle rear ends another vehicle, the rear ending vehicle is presumed to be at fault. But that presumption is rebuttable. What does that mean? It means that even if your vehicle rear ends another vehicle, it may not be your fault.

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img-box-02dCan I get the other side to pay my attorney’s fees in my Miami car accident case?  The answer is sometimes, yes.

The Miami car accident attorneys at Wolfson Law Firm work with the rules surrounding proposals for settlement regularly. A proposal for settlement is basically an offer to settle and either side can file one. This is the process and law that may help you get the other side to pay your attorney’s fees.  Under Florida Statute 768.69 which is Florida’s Offer of Judgment and Demand for Judgment statute, during litigation a Miami car accident lawyer can send a proposal for settlement to the other side. If you go to trial and get 25% more than what you asked for in the proposal, then you can get the other side to pay for your attorney’s fees.  That means that you may not have to pay the contingency fee at all.

Now, this law can be used against you too.  This means that, if the other side sends a proposal to you and your end verdict at trial is 25% less than what was offered to you, then you will need to pay their attorney’s fees and costs. As far as costs, Florida law does provide for the prevailing party to recover costs from the losing side even without a proposal being issued.

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courtroom-300x225-300x225According to the Florida Bar, the Daubert Standard has a large impact on the admissibility of expert witness testimony. Relatively recent changes to Florida’s laws impact how victims seeking damages and recoveries can use expert witness testimony to support their cases. Many personal injury cases employ the testimony of expert witnesses, such as doctors, to explain to judges and juries the nature of a victim’s injuries and to show damages. Expert witnesses can explain to a judge or a jury expected recovery times, expectations regarding long term care, and can help personal injury lawyers justify the amount of money they are seeking for compensation on behalf of their clients. The defense is likewise permitted to hire expert witnesses to support its own claims.

Yet, the revised standards for expert witnesses may change the way auto accident lawyers go about choosing their witnesses. Florida courts use the Daubert Standard. According to Cornell University Law School, the Daubert Standard is an assessment made by a judge to determine whether an expert’s testimony is based upon scientific reasoning and valid scientific study. The judge will often ask several questions about how an expert witness went about presenting evidence. First, the expert witness’s technique must be testable and must have been tested. Secondly, the judge will consider whether any evidence or expert testimony has been subject to peer review. Next, the judge will ask about possible margins of error, and whether controls were used in any studies. Finally, the judge will consider whether the methodology or results are accepted in the scientific community.

These standards significantly raise the bar for expert testimony presented in a case and they also limit who can present expert testimony. Expert opinion, on its own, is no longer allowed. Previously, courts used the Frye test, which required that statements being made in court meet the standards of general acceptability in the field to which the person belongs. The Daubert Standard can have immense implications for certain personal injury lawsuits. For example, in a case where a worker is claiming that workplace stress led to a miscarriage, the victim suing will have to present relevant studies to the court to show how stress on the job, or how stress in general, can result in a miscarriage. If the victim wants to use an expert witness, the victim will have to find an expert witness who has performed studies on stress and miscarriage or who has worked on the studies, to testify in court.

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If you are in a car crash in Miami, an immediate concern is whether the other driver has any insurance at all. If they do, then the question becomes just how much insurance is there. The amount of the policy limits may well determine whether your claim gets settled.

Insurance policy limits are usually offered in single and aggregate limits. There is a single amount that any one person can claim. Then there is a total amount that the insurance company will pay for any one accident no matter how many claims are made. For example, policy limits could be listed as 10/20. This means that the insurance company could pay up to $10,000 for one person’s claim. If the car crash involved five people, then the insurance company would pay no more than $20,000 for any claim made. If all five people were injured, no one would get more than $10,000 and the insurance company would pay no more than $20,000 total for the car crash claims.

In cases where there is a potential of multiple claims and small or low policy limits, an insurance company should hold a “global” settlement conference. All individuals with possible claims should be invited. The conference should be held as quickly as possible. Typically, an insurance company attorney will conduct the meeting and tell everyone that they are there to resolve all or as many claims as possible. The claimants and their personal injury attorneys are then encouraged to reach an agreement as to how to divide the limited amounts of insurance. Insurance representatives usually attend these “global” settlement conferences with a checkbook and releases for the claims that can be settled. Lastly the insured person or persons are also invited to attend but they rarely appear.

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Experts report that wrong-way crashes are becoming more frequent on Miami, Florida highways. With traffic gridlock increasing, with the city becoming more urbanized, city officials are having trouble maintaining roads and fixing roads to prevent wrong-way accidents. Among the many causes of wrong-way accidents, poor signage and roadways that fail to properly direct traffic are noted. The New Times reported on a study performed by the Florida Department of Transportation that found that among the wrong-way accidents that took place in Florida, 21 percent were in Miami-Dade.
Worse, the alarming frequency of these accidents, puts more drivers at risk of death and injury. According to one study, wrong way accidents are 100 times more likely to be fatal. recently reported about a wrong-way driver who crossed a median, leading to five deaths. The accident also left two people seriously injured.

In many cases, wrong-way accidents occur due to another driver’s error. Yet, is there anything Miami, Florida drivers can do to prevent the deadly and serious effects of these devastating accidents? Our Miami car accident lawyer offers four things you can do, if you face a wrong-way accident.

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