Ride sharing services like Uber and Lyft are very popular in the fast-growing Dallas-Fort Worth area. But as more people are relying on them to get around, often when they have been out drinking, more of them are getting hurt in Uber and Lyft accidents when bad drivers cause crashes. Or they may be in the back seat when the vehicle is crashed into by another person who may not have any liability insurance or not enough coverage.
For example, early on Sunday morning a Lyft driver hit an Arlington bicycle officer near AT&T Stadium. The officer was on a marked bike with lights on a well lit street but the Lyft driver hit-and-ran.
And earlier this year, a woman received a multi-million dollar verdict in Dallas due to a defective seat belt design, but her permanent-paralysis-causing crash happened when her Uber driver ran a red light.
Your Uber and Lyft accident can cause you extensive damages
Just like with other auto accident injuries, the injuries you suffer due to a negligent Uber or Lyft driver have the potential to be very serious and even permanent. They can lead to surgeries that are caused by
- Spinal cord damage,
- Traumatic brain injuries,
- Neck and back injuries, and
- Broken bones
It was a lot of fun to be at the school I adopted 15 years ago, Rufino Mendoza Elementary, the first thing this morning. I had just found about the national Bike to School Day that was only two weeks away, was surprised that no school in Tarrant County had ever participated in this event, and asked the principal if I could plan it. She and her staff enthusiastically supported the idea and I went to work.
I found out about Bikes for Tykes, which graciously donated 23. The kids are excited they get their very own bicycles.
I also learned that the Tarrant County Medical Society Auxiliary gave away helmets and its gift of those red helmets you see is certainly appreciated. Fort Worth requires anyone under 18 to wear one (although Texas doesn’t) so I was about to buy these.
My client was driving his car on Interstate 35 in Fort Worth when traffic suddenly came to a stop and an 18-wheeler next to him was not able to stop in time. The truck crashed into a motorcyclist and tragically killed her. It then sideswiped our client’s car and rammed into four other vehicles, seriously injuring several drivers. The damage to our client’s car was relatively minor and he drove home.
We conducted an immediate investigation and obtained all necessary evidence. Our client had torn a ligament in his left shoulder and he had to undergo two arthroscopic procedures to repair it. Our client did not have health insurance and we arranged the medical treatment he needed and assisted him financially. We filed a lawsuit and settled his case at a mediation.
The biggest problem with the case was that the trucking company was severely under-insured, as many are. Personal injury lawyers often learn later that there is only the minimum required amount of $750,000 to cover everyone who is injured or who loses his or her life. This amount has not increased in the almost 40 years since it was first instituted. Clearly, that is not fair to the people and the families of victims who are hurt in these multiple vehicle collisions. The truck company’s insurance company chose to quickly pay the wrongful death claim so there were insufficient proceeds for the other claimants. This is another reason it is important for injured victims to act quickly to preserve their rights. Continue reading
In an unanimous decision in Garcia v. City of Willis #17-0713, the high court dismissed a lawsuit Friday that would have eliminated the widely despised red light cameras in Texas. The plaintiff had filed a class action lawsuit to declare they were unconstitutional and sought to obtain a refund of the millions of dollars of fines Texas motorists have paid.
On procedural grounds, the Supreme Court found the plaintiff lacked standing, chose to pay his fine and avoid the required administrative hearing, and governmental immunity barred the reimbursement claim.
The decision follows other attempts to outlaw the cameras. For example, in February the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago called a similar argument “a dud” and noted that the advantages of the cameras outweighed other concerns.
Texas law regulating rear-end crashes
Today our Supreme Court issued a controversial decision that keeps red light cameras in place. However our state legislators continue to consider outlawing them. Sometimes rear-end collision are caused at intersections with those much hated cameras. But usually they happen when the following driver is not paying attention — probably because he or she is driving while distracted by their cell phone. In rear-end crashes, the law has a particular way of determining who was at fault and liable for the damages other people suffer. Anyone who tells you that the rear driver is always at fault or that a lead driver who brakes suddenly cannot ever recover for their injuries is wrong. To make sure you don’t get caught in these or other potential traps, you need the services of a good Fort Worth accident lawyer.
In Texas, every driver has a legal obligation to engage in ordinary care while behind the wheel. But to complicate this scenario, Texas law also observes what is known as the comparative negligence rule for determining each party’s culpability. What this means is that if the jury (or insurance company adjuster) decides that the other driver was more than 50% responsible for the car accident that injured you, then you can recover your damages. However that amount will be reduced by the percentage amount that the jury (or company) decides reflects your level of blame. That makes sense: a person should not be able to cause a crash and collect money. So a case can be allocated 100% to 0%, the other way around, or somewhere in between.
I see this all the time. This photo is from a routine case I recently settled where my clients were parked in front of a school waiting to pick up their children in Fort Worth when the SUV rear-ended them. That driver was (you guessed it) on her cell phone. In a school zone where cell phone use is prohibited.
On the other hand, if the lead car stops very abruptly because he mistakenly thought the light had turned or was turning yellow — perhaps due to a fear of getting a ticket a one of those red-light camera intersections — and you crash into him from the rear, then you may have a winning argument that the driver in front of you was liable. Unless you were also trying to run the light! I see that a lot too.
Deciding factors include proof of the following:
- Following distance;
- Rear driver’s attentiveness/distraction;
- Road conditions;
- Other vehicles;
- Aggressive driving/road rage; and
- Alcohol/drug use. Continue reading
This is infuriating. How does this keep on happening? And how can we stop the never-ending pattern of this never-ending carnage on our highways?
As I got in some exercise around Dallas early Sunday morning with my son-in-law and a group of other cyclists, I saw people cruising around on those controversial electric scooters. Admittedly, riding a bicycle anywhere, especially in a large city, is dangerous. And a lot of people have been using Uber and Lime Bike for instant transportation without any problem for years. So why not allow someone to click an app and scoot over to the next bar — what could go wrong with that? Plenty, starting with a serious injury rate. No wonder Fort Worth has banned them. But other Texas cities are considering allowing or increasing their use. That’s not a good idea until our state laws are enhanced.
Current regulation of electric scooters in Dallas
You may not know what is legal when you hop on one in Dallas. The Texas Transportation Code, Section 551.351, has limited prohibitions. So Dallas enacted a new ordinance to pick up the slack when it allowed their use in July. Just in Dallas, they cannot be rented by someone 17 or less, at night, on streets if the speed limit is 36 mph or more, on sidewalks downtown or in Deep Ellum, and to the center or left of the traffic lane unless a left-hand turn is being made.
But after Dallas’s long-time state senator Royce West saw two people riding an electric scooter almost crash in Austin, he decided to sponsor a new law that would increase their safety across Texas. Senator West’s bill, which has been endorsed in his committee and which no member of the public testified against, would amend our lax state law and prevent them from being ridden
— By more than one person;
— On any sidewalk;
— At night;
— Faster than 15 mph;
— On streets with speed limits higher than 35 mph;– By someone who is 17 or younger;
–and parked where they are a safety hazard.
I just blogged about motorcycle riders and their often horrendous injury rate so this post is a series in advocating for the safety of riders and not just drivers of cars and trucks.
The problem with electric scooters
Electric scooters are dangerous. In Dallas, at least one person has already died and 88 had to be admitted to the emergency room, 35 with brain injuries, just at the Baylor Scott and White hospital nearest Deep Ellum and only in the second six months of last year. Eight people were admitted to the intensive care unit.
I blogged about how dangerous these are and worry about any new way people can get injured as they move around the Dallas-Fort Worth area. With 7,500 of them available in Dallas, they appear to be accidents waiting to happen.