Articles Posted in Car Accidents

Given the prevalence of ridesharing services, i.e., Uber and Lyft, it is understandable that rideshare car accidents involving these services are on the rise. As common as motor vehicle accidents are, it stands to reason that these services would be as likely to be involved in an accident as any other vehicle. However, due the nature of their employment relationships and often three (3) or more parties being involved, ridesharing accidents present a unique set of circumstances that differentiate them from normal motor vehicle accidents and even accidents involving taxi cabs, the service they are replacing.

Where these accidents often differ with ridesharing, is that there are now multiple levels of personal involvement; the rideshare company itself, the driver – who is an independent contractor, the passenger, and any other 3rd parties involved in the accident. The competing interests and responsibilities of these multiple actors can lead to difficulty obtaining relief for an injured party.

An important fact to know is that individuals who drive for rideshare companies are not “employees,” in the legal sense. Rather, they are independent contractors. This is significant for a couple for reasons. First, from the perspective of the driver, they are not entitled to Workers’ Compensation in the event of a workplace accident. Next, you are required to carry your own insurance. As we will see, when the accident occurred in the course of the driver’s day has huge significance. For example, according to Uber’s website, they offer supplemental coverage of

As the weather turns from winter to summer (does spring even exist anymore in New England?) and as we move back to normal, we will find ourselves outside more often. Walking is a great way to get outside, clear your mind, and generally improve your well-being. Most cities and towns have clearly marked areas for pedestrians to walk, usually in the form of sidewalks and crosswalks. However, accidents do occur. So what happens when, through no fault of their own, a pedestrian is struck by a vehicle? And what are the responsibilities of each party; the pedestrian and the driver?

To answer that we should look at where the accidents typically take place. Two (2) common locations where pedestrian accidents occur are in crosswalks and parking lots. Intuitively, this makes sense as these are areas where people and cars intersect. By their nature, these are high pedestrian-traffic areas. Drivers are taught to be aware of pedestrians in these areas.

Crosswalks

More and more towns and cities are adapting their streets to be more “bicycle friendly.” Whether through the creation of curbed or painted bicycle lanes or bicycle-only roadways, local governments are encouraging citizens to use bicycles more. The hope is to help alleviate congested roads, reduce car emissions, and simply promote health.

Due to the increased amount of bicycle traffic, vehicles and bicycles are often vying for the same road space. Drivers often believe that they always have the right-of-way and that cyclists are the ones who need to move to the side. However, the fact is that drivers share the road with all vehicles, including cyclists. A cyclist is entitled to use an entire travel lane, even if there are other vehicles sharing the road. Due to differences in traveling speed, drivers often perform unsafe maneuvers in an effort to pass the slower-moving cyclist. It is not uncommon for a driver

to “clip” a cyclist when attempting to pass. Similar to pedestrian accidents, bicycle accident injuries can be very serious due to the size and weight difference between bicycles and vehicles. Further, like pedestrians, bicycles offer no protection from vehicles.

Hit-and-Run Accidents

Many of us have been involved in a car accident, whether it be a “fender-bender” or something more serious. Regardless of the severity of the accident, it is a jarring experience. Because it happens so suddenly, it takes some time to realize what actually happened. Your brain is processing not just how the accident happened, but also trying to evaluate whether you’re injured. Our mind rattles off a million questions – “Am I OK?,” “Is the other person OK?,” “How bad is this?,” “What happened?,” “Whose fault was it?” 

After those few seconds pass, the normal thing to do is to make sure everyone is OK. Then, the parties exchange contact and insurance information and call the police (even if no one is seriously injured, the police will file an accident report that is often needed by your insurance company). What few people expect is for the other vehicle to leave the scene. In Massachusetts, it is a crime to leave the scene of an accident if someone was injured or property was damaged over a certain amount. If you are the victim of one of these “hit-and-run accidents,” you may also be entitled to compensation. 

The main goal of personal injury lawsuit is to make people whole after an injury caused someone’s negligence. This compensation is usually broken down into three parts: medical expenses, lost earning capacity (lost wages), and pain & suffering. However, many people don’t realize that there’s a lot more to proving a case in front of a jury.

If you suffered harm due to the action, or failure to act, by another person, group of persons, or business, you may have a personal injury lawsuit. In law books, the technical term is commonly known as a “cause of action.” A cause of action is a set of facts under which one person sues another person, business, or organization.

A cause of action can arise in a variety of ways. First, it can occur due to either an act or even a failure to act.  This means that some cases happen because someone didn’t do what they were supposed to do. Others arise because someone did something improperly. A cause of action can also arise on account of a breach of duty, or a violation of the law. This means that there is a law or other regulation that requires someone to act a certain way, and then that person or entity doesn’t meet those requirements. Obviously, the circumstances of the facts of your case will have an impact on your cause of action.

We have all become more and more dependent on our cell phones for not only communication or entertainment, but also as an important tool for making our lives easier. Trying to get to Fenway Park from Lowell? Our phones can give us step-by-step directions, giving us the fastest route, even with traffic. We can also use our phones to reserve a parking space for when we get there. Alternatively, we can buy a train ticket on our phone and take public transportation to get there.

For all the positive our phones provide, they can also distract us from what’s going on around us. When someone is looking at their phone at the dinner table, it can be very rude. But, its unlikely that someone can get hurt. Unfortunately, that’s not necessarily true if someone is distracted by their cell phones when they’re behind the wheel.

According to the National Safety Council, cell phone use by drivers causes more than 1.6 million car crashes across the country each year. While many people associate these injuries with texting, there are many ways that people can get distracted by a cell phone. This includes everything from browsing Instagram to trying to make a phone call. However someone is using their phone, when it takes their attention from the road, it makes it more dangerous for everyone else.

After enduring an injury in a car accident that was not your fault, you need compensation for your pain and suffering. An accident may have tragic results for your daily life and cause damages that require significant recovery time. 

Potential damages may include physical pain from injuries, scars, emotional distress, financial difficulties from medical expenses and loss of income due to the accident. Many of these issues may arise after an auto accident. It is crucial to understand how to move forward to receive the compensation owed to you. 

Gaining evidence for a claim 

Nobody ever wants to become the victim of a car accident, but it happens every day in Massachusetts. Often these accidents are 100% preventable. People do not pay attention when behind the wheel, or they break simple road laws, which leads to a crash. However, you do not have to sit around and wait to become the next accident statistic.

Consumer Reports explains there are things you can do to stay safe on the road and avoid accidents, even those caused by other drivers. Here are three tips you can implement to help you avoid a collision.

  1. Do not speed

When driving, everyone’s biggest fears is getting into an accident. But what if you see the person that hit you driving away?

First, don’t chase the other driver. That only puts you at risk for being in another accident.

Instead, take a picture of the car, including the license plate. If you don’t have a camera handy, you write down the car’s license plate number. Even if you only get part of the license plate, it’s better than nothing.

There are many different parts of a car insurance policy. One of the cheapest is underinsured motorist coverage. This covers you if you’re injured and the responsible person does not have enough insurance. A common example is when a college student causes a car crash, but only carries the minimum amount of insurance. Many times, it won’t be enough to cover medical bills and lost wages.

So, whenever you decide what coverage is right for you, always make sure you have as much underinsured coverage as you can get (known as Part 12 Coverage). It is relatively inexpensive and can pay big dividends should you need it.

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