uber accident

Liability for Ridesharing Accidents: What You Need to Know

Ridesharing may be one of the greatest conveniences of modern-day living. Instead of searching for taxi numbers, finding out if they have availability, and hoping that your fare isn’t too high, you can pull out your phone to get an immediate price and pickup time. With new technology, however, comes new questions and problems.

One of the biggest issues that faced ridesharing in its early days was the question of car accidents. While ridesharing drivers do have to submit to a background check, accidents happen and even the safest driver could find themselves in the middle of a crash. New corporate policies and laws have addressed these issues to make consumers safer.

If you or someone you love has been hurt in a ridesharing crash, we’re here to help. Call Burns, Cunningham & Mackey at 251-260-3815.

Parties That May Be Liable

Before you can start figuring out who is actually liable for the accident you’ve suffered, you should know the variety of parties that may be involved in your claim. Possible liable parties include:

  • The driver of the vehicle you were in
  • The other driver involved in the crash
  • The vehicle manufacturer
  • Manufacturer of one of the vehicle’s components
  • Repair shop
  • The government, if the crash was caused by poor signage or poorly maintained roads
  • Uber/Lyft, if they failed to identify a driver’s risk through information that their background check system should have found

How to Figure Out Who Is Liable

The process of determining liability is long, frustrating, and filled with dead ends. That’s one of the reasons you need an attorney. If you are healing from a traffic accident, you do not need the stress of investigating your own crash. Furthermore, it’s likely that you do not know which evidence is useful in figuring out liability.

To figure out who caused a crash and is therefore responsible for paying for damages, investigators and attorneys use a variety of evidence:

  • Photographs and video footage
  • Witness testimony
  • Damage at the scene of the accident
  • Police reports
  • Medical reports
  • Marks on the road or on nearby property
  • Investigating any claims that a vehicle malfunctioned

By analyzing all of this and other available evidence, your attorney will figure out who caused the crash and who they should go after for compensation.

Seeking Compensation

If you were the victim of a ridesharing accident, you may be entitled to compensation. Depending on the severity and circumstances of the crash, you could get compensation for:

  • Medical bills
  • Lost income
  • Lost future wages if your ability to work is affected
  • Property damage
  • Pain and suffering
  • Mental anguish

Who actually pays for this depends a lot on who is liable. If the driver of the other vehicle is liable, their insurance company will be involved in negotiations with your attorney. From there, they will work on finding a settlement amount that is fair to you. If the driver of the vehicle you were in caused the crash, their insurance company will first pay for any losses.

If their personal insurance policy is maxed out by your claim, additional damages then go through Uber/Lyft. When a ridesharing driver is transporting a client, the company’s insurance policy covers $1 million in liability and $1 million in uninsured/underinsured motorist expenses. Between all of the policies, there is likely room for your expenses to be paid in full.

Why You Need an Attorney

Just because the insurance policies can pay for your losses doesn’t mean they automatically will. Insurance companies do their best to limit their own losses by fighting aggressively for a low settlement. This is another reason you need an attorney.

Your attorney will be able to fully investigate your accident and injuries, collect evidence, and present a compelling case to the other side’s insurance provider. Accepting too low of an offer can leave you in debt once the medical bills come in, so it’s crucial to work with an attorney who can get you the full and fair settlement you deserve.

Find Out How Burns, Cunningham & Mackey Can Help

Are you dealing with the aftermath of a ridesharing accident in Alabama? Get the support you need at Burns, Cunningham & Mackey. Call us at 251-260-3815 or contact us online to get started.

multi-car accident

Who Is At Fault for a Multi-Car Accident?

Determining fault in any auto accident can be challenging. But when you have an accident that involves three or more cars, the situation becomes even more complex. In many cases, multiple parties share some liability, making it difficult to determine who should pay damages and how much should be paid out.

This is why you shouldn’t try to tackle these issues yourself when you are injured in a car accident. Let us help. Call Burns, Cunningham & Mackey at 251-260-3815 now to discuss your legal options.

Witness Retellings of the Accident

When looking at liability, police officers, investigators, and attorneys representing all involved parties may look at witness retellings. Each driver will have their own story of how the accident occurred, and hopefully, there will be other witnesses to stop to provide their insight. Though it’s unlikely that any one driver’s retelling is completely accurate, investigators can often piece together a true series of events by combining different stories.

Looking at the Location of Damage

Identifying where each car was damaged during the crash is another excellent way to figure out who caused a multi-car crash. Consider, for example, a driver sitting at a red light. A car comes up behind them driving far above the speed limit and rear ends them, and due to their speed, the first driver’s car is pushed into the intersection. A car coming from the right sees them, tries to stop, but still dings them on the right side.

The driver who rear ended the stopped car may point the finger at the driver who had the right of way, saying that they should have stopped and should have been paying attention. However, looking at the stopped car, it is clear that the vast majority of the damage is on the rear. The car that rear ended them is totaled. The car that hit them on the side has minor damage. Based on this, investigators can see that the rear ending driver holds most of the liability for the accident.

When No One Wants to Take Responsibility

Be prepared for a fight when you are dealing with a multi-car accident. More parties doesn’t necessarily mean a greater pool of money for victims. It simply means that everyone involved has more people to blame. No insurance company wants to pay more than they have to, so if they have the opportunity to blame another party, they will jump on it.

That’s why you need an attorney. None of the insurance companies involved have your best interests in mind. They simply want to get out of the situation while paying as little as possible. Your attorney is the only one who puts your needs first and sorts out the evidence to figure out who should be held responsible for your expenses. After a crash, you’ll have medical bills, lost income, and property damage to pay for. Without an attorney, you will have a hard time getting the compensation you need to meet those obligations.

Figuring Out Liability

When your attorney starts working on your case, they will look at who had an obligation to you and who failed to meet that obligation. Drivers have an obligation to drive in a careful, reasonable way that takes others into account. In the example above, the driver behind the stopped car had an obligation to the other driver and everyone else on the road. They violated that obligation when they did not stop in time. As a result, they may be liable both for damages to the stopped car’s driver, but also the person who hit the stopped car on the side.

What about the car who struck the stopped car on the side? That is a more nuanced question. Yes, they too have an obligation to take reasonable steps to avoid accidents and stay safe. If they were not distracted while driving, were moving at a legal speed, and immediately tried to stop when they saw the car enter the intersection, they may have fulfilled their obligation and have no liability. If they did not stop because they expected the car to move out of the way or tried to stop too late because of a distraction, they may have some liability. In multi-car accidents, it often comes down to the specific details.

Contact Burns, Cunningham & Mackey Today

Have you been hurt in a multi-car accident? If so, you need an experienced attorney who can figure out who is liable for your losses. Call Burns, Cunningham & Mackey at 251-260-3815 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation and case assessment.

teen driving safety

Keeping Your Teen Safe Behind the Wheel

For parents, few days are as nerve-racking as the day that their teen begins driving. There are many good reasons for this. Teenagers don’t yet have fully developed brains, particularly in the prefrontal cortex, which controls decision making, appropriate social behavior, and complex cognitive behavior.

Luckily, there are steps you can take that leave you with more choices than “give your teen the keys and hope for the best” and “never let them drive.” Use these tips to keep your teen safe. If you do find yourself in a crash, turn to the team at Burns, Cunningham & Mackey for the help you need. Call us at 251-260-3815 to get started.

Be a Good Example

One of the best ways to encourage safe driving is to be a good example. If you tell your child to avoid distractions every time they are behind the wheel but text constantly while driving, what do you think they’ll actually choose to do when they are driving? If you tell them to leave plenty of space between cars and stay calm but ride someone’s bumper to keep someone from sneaking in and honk when they cut in anyway, what do you think they’ll do?

If you want your safe driving message to actually stick, you need to live it.

Create a Culture of Communication

If kids are in unsafe situations, it’s important that they feel comfortable asking you for help. Imagine, for example, your teenager ending up at a high school party. Under enormous peer pressure, they have two drinks and have to drive home. Would you rather have them try the drive, fearing your rage if they get caught, or reach out to you and ask for help? Mistakes do happen, and your teen should know that they can reach out to you for help before they unintentionally make the situation worse.

Set Clear Limits for Passengers

Passengers are one of the greatest sources of distraction for drivers, and especially for teens. Set firm limits beforehand and explain to your teen why they cannot have a car full of friends. This is where encouraging communication can be helpful. If your teen’s first instinct is to find a way to skirt the rules and not get caught, you’ll have a hard time enforcing this. If you have a relationship where they respect your rules even if they don’t like them, this will go much more smoothly.

Forbid Distractions and Find Ways to Enforce This Rule

Cell phones are extremely dangerous for teen drivers. As teenagers become more accustomed to driving, they may feel like it’s safe to text or check social media while they drive. Be a good example in this area. When you drive, make a habit of putting your phone in the lockbox or otherwise out of reach. If it makes you feel safer, look into apps and phone settings that prevent the phone from working while the car is in motion.

Consider a Speed Tracker

Speeding is, unfortunately, part of the teenage driving experience. However, speeding comes with serious consequences. Not only does your teen risk tickets, fines, and increases in car insurance, they could cause a serious accident. Some car insurance companies have widgets that you put in the car to track speeding, sudden stops, and other unsafe driving behavior. This allows you to keep track of your teenaged driver’s behavior.

Often, simply knowing that their parent is watching is enough to encourage teens to make safer choices. However, note that this type of device can also cause your car insurance to go up if your teen regularly engages in dangerous driving behaviors, so be ready to enforce consequences if that happens.

Reach Out to Burns, Cunningham & Mackey Today

No matter how careful you and your teen are, accidents do happen. When they do, you deserve legal representation that has your best interests in mind. We can help. At Burns, Cunningham & Mackey, we help accident victims get the compensation they deserve. Whether we can secure a fair settlement out of court or we have to fight for you in the courtroom, we’re ready. Schedule a consultation now by calling us at 251-260-3815 or reaching out to us online.

left turn accident

Who Is At Fault for a Left Turn Accident?

Left turns are a major cause of car accidents. In a study looking at accidents occurring at intersections, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that over 22% of crashes happen because of a left turn. If you have been hurt in a left turn crash, you may wonder who’s responsible. Speaking with an Alabama car accident attorney can help you understand your case and decide whether or not to take legal action.

Failure to Yield

Most left turn accidents occur because of a failure to yield. At a standard intersection, the person driving straight through an intersection has the right of way over a person driving the opposite direction and turning left. The driver turning left is expected to stop, wait for the intersection to clear, and proceed with their left turn.

However, everyone knows drivers that do not quite follow the rules of the road. Perhaps someone thinks they can make it through if they hit the gas, or they know that the other driver is likely to slow down and let them through to avoid an accident. Whatever the reason, many people turn left when it is unsafe to do so.

When this causes an accident, the driver turning left is typically found to be at fault. This means that they could be held financially responsible for damages.

When the Driver Turning Left May Not Be Liable

While the left turn driver is liable in the vast majority of left turn accidents, this is not a hard-and-fast rule. There are circumstances in which the other driver could be the responsible party. Examples include:

  • If the driver heading straight is speeding and strikes the left turn driver
  • When the driver heading straight runs a red light and causes the accident
  • The person driving straight is under the influence of drugs or alcohol and drives unsafely as a result
  • The driver going straight is distracted and does not take preventative measures to avoid the crash

Avoiding Left Turn Accidents

A few key tips can help drivers avoid left turn accidents. Avoid accidents and potential financial consequences with these guidelines:

  • Check left, right, and straight before making a left turn. If you are unsure about whether or not you can clear the intersection before someone driving straight reaches it, wait until they pass.
  • Drive defensively. Even if you are in the right and another driver causes the accident, it is always better to avoid a crash than to be stuck working out compensation afterwards.
  • Do not attempt to make a left turn unless you can see that traffic is clear. This might mean waiting until SUVs, vans, and other large vehicles in the opposing left turn lane are out of the way.

What to Do If You Are Injured in a Left Turn Accident

Unfortunately, no matter how careful you are while on the road, there will always be reckless drivers putting others at risk. If you get hurt in a left turn accident and you believe the other party is at fault, it is important to discuss your options with an attorney as soon as possible.

Alabama law follows the contributory negligence legal doctrine. If the victim of an accident is found to be even 1% at fault for the accident, they cannot recover damages through the civil court system. Insurance companies use this to their benefit while negotiating settlements. If you try to negotiate with them on your own, you risk losing any chance at compensation. An attorney can work with you to collect evidence, build your case, and hold the other driver accountable for their actions.

When you meet with your Alabama left turn accident attorney, supply all the evidence you have. This includes police reports, medical reports and bills, photos of the accident, and witness statements. To have any chance at a fair settlement, you need to prove that the other drive was indisputably negligent in their actions.

Explore Your Legal Options Now You should reach out to a personal injury attorney in Alabama as soon as possible. We know it is difficult while you are healing from a crash and trying to juggle other obligations, but your attorney can take care of the legal and financial side of your accident while you focus on recovering. Reach out to Burns, Cunningham & Mackey, P.C. now to figure out what your next step should be. Message us online or call us at 251-432-0612.