Being a High-Risk Driver is Not the End of The World

One of the most stressful moments after a car accident is dealing with your insurance company.

If you’ve been in multiple car accidents, then dealing with insurance becomes even more stressful. Insurance companies usually categorize people who have been in multiple accidents as “high-risk drivers.” This means the insurance company believes you’re more likely to get into accidents than other drivers.

Being categorized as high-risk can make life difficult. Insurance premiums are often higher and many companies will not take you seriously if you have multiple accidents on your driving record.

Being a high-risk driver does not have to be a major stressor in your life. Here are some ways you can deal with insurance companies if you have been placed in this category.

Have Everything Documented

If you can prove that past accidents were not your fault, you may be able to lower your insurance rates.

When you present your case, make sure you have everything regarding your previous accidents documented. You can present documents such as the accident report, witness accounts, or reports and paperwork from the auto repair shop.

If you think it will help you out in proving to the insurance company that the accident was not your fault, then present it. Every little detail and document matters.

Shop Around for New Insurance Plans

If you feel that you are not getting the best service and coverage from your current insurance company because you are a high-risk driver, you may want to shop around for a new insurance provider.

There are insurance providers that specialize in providing insurance to high-risk drivers. Some companies will let you customize your payment plan and can be very flexible overall in regard to your situation.

An ideal insurance plan for you is out there; just keep searching.

You Don’t Have to Be High Risk Forever

You can get yourself removed from the high-risk list. A lot of car insurance companies will suggest ways for you to clean up your driving record.

If you take the initiative to attend classes on defensive driving and traffic safety, insurance companies will take that into consideration when determining changes and pricing related to your plan.

Showing the insurance company that you are taking active measures in cleaning up your record is a great way to get affordable car insurance and will help get you off the high-risk list 

 When All Else Fails, Hire a Lawyer

If the tactics listed above don’t work, then seek out legal help. A lawyer will be able to look over your case with a fresh set of eyes. They will be able to give you advice on what to do next. They will also be able to use their resources to conduct research on what plan of action to come up with regarding your case.

Chances are, your case is similar to others. A car accident lawyer can see how those cases were handled and will be able to adapt the course of action that was taken before and apply it to your case.

Being categorized as a high-risk driver does not have to be something to stress over. There are ways that you can get over this hurdle. Following the advice listed here is a good way to start your journey. You don’t have to be high risk forever and there are ways to make your situation easier.

If you are currently categorized as a high-risk driver and in need of guidance, contact Dennis and King. Let us help you out!

What to Research Before Meeting Your Lawyer

Chattanooga traffic can be a nightmare. Lanes stalled for miles on end, red lights that never seem to turn green, and worst of all, being in a car crash.

Car wrecks in Chattanooga are all too common, particularly during the morning and evening commute. There are times when the crash can be handled by the insurance companies with little to no stress. Sometimes you may need a car accident lawyer depending on how severe the crash is and who is involved.

Meeting with a lawyer for the first time can be stressful but it doesn’t have to be. Here are some suggestions as to what to research and what evidence to gather before meeting with your lawyer. Following these tips will ensure that you have a successful first meeting and will help you gain more confidence as you embark on this legal journey.

Gather Facts About Your Case

Try to gather and present every single fact about the case that you can. Document the time and place, put together a list who was involved, describe what the weather was like, etc. Make sure you also specify what type of accident you were involved in.

Every detail you gather and present can be a detail that helps you achieve the results that you are looking for. Even if the detail seems mundane, document it and present it to the lawyer. Researching and gathering every little detail before meeting with your lawyer will help your lawyer create a narrative about your case that can help you achieve your objective. 

Have the Right Documents and Evidence Ready

Be sure to gather and research all necessary documents ahead of time. This includes gathering your insurance papers, photos of the accident, the crash report, as well as any documents you received from the towing company or mechanic.

Having all of your documentation gathered will help your lawyer build your case in your favor. 

Check to See if There is Conflict of Interest

Once again, when you meet with your attorney, make sure that you have a list of people involved with the case. This list can include people who were in the accident, witnesses, or even the people who towed your car.

Everyone you met on the day of the accident or dealt with after the accident should be on this list. Bring the list and ask the lawyer if they represent anyone on it. If they represent one or more of the names on the list, this could impede their ability to represent you ethically.

If the lawyer is representing someone else involved in your case, then chances are they will not be able to help you get the justice that you are seeking.

Come Up with a Clear Objective  

What is your reason for seeking legal services? What do you want to get out of this case? Presenting a clear objective during the first meeting will be of great help to the lawyer because they can then map out a course of action to help you get the result that you are looking for.

Prepare a List of Questions

Before meeting with a lawyer for the first time, it is expected that you will have a lot of questions. Before the meeting, sit down and come up with a list of the questions that have been swirling around in your mind. Some car crash related questions can include:

  • Have you worked on a case like this before?
  • What will happen if I am at fault?
  • What questions should I ask my insurance company?
  • What are the chances that I will achieve my objective?

Coming prepared with proper questions about your case will give off a good impression to the lawyer. It shows that you are taking this case seriously and that you take the lawyer seriously as well. It will also help put you more at ease once you and the lawyer start having a conversation based on the questions.

Meeting your lawyer for the first time after being involved in a car crash in Chattanooga does not have to be a fear-inducing experience. Contact Dennis and King if you need a lawyer. Let us fight for the justice you deserve.

What Chattanooga’s Information Redaction Means for You

Chattanooga voted in favor of redacting personal information when releasing accident reports after a federal lawsuit challenged the effectiveness of an ethics rule that requires attorneys to wait at least 30 days before contacting people who were involved in serious car crashes.

Many believed that the original law was not serving its purpose because attorneys were contacting victims of accidents in as little as five days following a car wreck in Chattanooga.

Personal information such as driver’s license numbers, names, and addresses will only be given to people in the accidents, their lawyers, and their insurance companies.

Anyone requesting information has to prove they are entitled to it. People wanting information for wrongful purposes, such as solicitation, could face misdemeanor charges. Violators could spend a maximum of 11 months and 29 days behind bars.

The lawsuit was filed in September after a woman, who was in a car crash, received a call from a medical company offering to refer her to an out-of-town attorney just a few days after her car accident.

Many people are still confused about what this new law means for them and the benefit they will receive from this new protection.

If you have recently been involved in a car crash in Chattanooga, this new law means that your personal information is safe from anyone looking to profit from your accident. It’s common practice that out-of-town law firms will try to represent you after an accident. Often times, these law firms will get your information from public crash reports or from hospitals.

Victims of the Woodmore bus crash  in Chattanooga last year were hounded by unethical out-of-town lawyers (and some fake lawyers) who kept trying to get the victims to file a wrongful death suit.

Many out-of-town attorneys try to contact victims because it means that they can charge higher rates, citing travel expenses or any other extra time that is spent researching the laws of the area the client lives in. Not only does this become more expensive for you, but the attorney may not even be effective when they represent you because they are unaware of how different the local laws might be.

There have also been cases where fake attorneys have tried to cash in on victim’s grief. A mother whose child was killed in the Woodmore school bus crash was told by a local funeral home that she would be referred to an attorney through the funeral home. The mother was forced to sit down with the fake lawyer in the funeral home and sign a fake legal agreement. This trickery was possible because the personal information of the victim was readily available to the public in the form of crash reports.

The redaction of personal information in car crash reports will protect you. You won’t have to worry about unsolicited offers from out-of-town attorneys or from opportunistic professionals looking to capitalize on your stressful situation. It is your right to be protected from unethical business practices that try to pry on you in your time of need.

If you have any questions about Chattanooga’s new redaction laws or questions regarding what to do after a serious car accident, contact Dennis & King today for a free consultation.

Maximizing Your Compensation

Many of our clients want to know how they can maximize their compensation. It’s a simple question to answer but it can be tricky to put it into practice. This article will explain some tips on how you can make sure you’re getting the amount you deserve from your injury case.

Hire a Lawyer 

First and foremost, you’ll need an injury lawyer to help you with your case. While many people worry about the costs of a lawyer, the truth is that many insurance companies don’t pay out what you’re really owed unless you have legal backup.

The extra money that you get from having a legal advocate on your side can more than make up for the money you’ll have to pay for the service. In addition, most accident lawyers work on a contingent-fee basis. This means that you only pay if they win your case.

Follow the Rules

 Next, you need to ensure that you are following the law. Anything that you do that breaks any laws will jeopardize your claim. For instance, failing to trade information with the other driver after an accident could be used against you. You might also have a limited amount of time to file a lawsuit. A lawyer can help you avoid these problems.

A trickier area is following the rules of your insurance company. Complying with your policy’s rules is usually a good thing, but many insurance companies will use tricks to try and get you to settle before a lawyer can look at your case more thoroughly. Your lawyer can interact with your insurance company on your behalf and give you instructions and advice so you can get the amount of money you truly deserve.

Document

Lawsuits all come down to evidence, which is why documentation is crucial for maximizing your compensation. The more information you can give to your lawyer, the better your case will be. Here are some things you can do:

At the scene:

  • Take photos of all damage on both vehicles and the general scene. Your smartphone camera will suffice.
  • Note the number of people in the other vehicle, as well as the vehicle tag number.
  • Get the name, contact information, and insurance information of the other driver as required by law.
  • Take photos of your injuries, if possible.
  • File a police report. Be honest about your current condition.
  • If your injuries are severe and you can’t get this information until after you’re in the hospital, contact the police to get a copy of their report.

Injury journal:

  • As soon as you are able, start keeping a journal of your injury progress. Note down the day and time of your entries and record things like what you did for your case (e.g., call a lawyer), any doctor visits and insurance company interactions, etc.
  • Also record your subjective feelings of pain and mental distress. Are things getting better or worse?
  • Also record your physical and mental struggles at work and home. If you wish to prove a pain and suffering claim, this information is invaluable.

Paperwork:

  • Any receipts, bills, or other financial-related information from repair shops and medical professionals.
  • Any communications at all from your insurance company.
  • Anything from your employer about accommodations they have to make for you to continue work.
  • Medical records.
  • Anything else your lawyer recommends you retain as possible evidence for your case.

Collecting all this information may seem like an extra burden on top of the pain you’re feeling, but this documentation is the way to prove that your injuries are as bad as you say they are. The more evidence the court has, the greater the chances for higher compensation.

If you have more questions regarding what to do after an accident, contact Dennis & King today for a free consultation.

Staying Safe in Winter Weather

Every year, Chattanooga gets an average of 2”-4” of snow. That may not sound like a lot, but consider the treacherous mountain passes coming down into the city. That snow could turn into ice.

In 2016, there were around 70 crashes in the same day due to icy conditions according to the Times Free Press. Winter will be coming sooner than you think. This is a good time to start thinking about winterizing your vehicle and remembering the following safety tips to stay safe on the roads in winter weather.

Maintain Your Vehicle

The first thing to do is to keep your vehicle maintained, especially your brakes and tires. Bald tires will make your car harder to stop in wet or icy conditions. Bad brakes make it hard to stop quickly. Both of these can cause an accident that could easily be fatal. If you’ve been neglecting this all summer because of the dry and clear conditions, now is the time to get those repairs done.

Check your windshield wipers and replace them if they are getting worn out. In snowy or rainy conditions, your wipers help you see clearly in front of you. You might also want to put no-freeze fluid in your windshield washer reservoir to help melt snow and ice buildup.

Finally, don’t go out on the road if your windows aren’t clear of snow and ice. Keep an ice scraper in the front of your vehicle.

Practice Cold Weather Driving

Southerners get a lot of hassle from our northern neighbors for their inexperience driving in severe winter weather, but we get enough snow and ice here that knowing how to handle these situations is important.

If you feel your car start to skid, turn your wheel in the direction of the skid. This will force the vehicle’s front tires to drag against the direction you’re going and bring you out of it.

Know what kind of brakes you have. Anti-lock brakes are standard on most vehicles these days. With this kind of braking system, it’s okay to stomp on the brakes to come to a stop. But in older vehicles or ones with a broken ABS sensor, the brakes must be pumped to avoid a lock-out. This is a very dangerous situation where the brakes are applied but won’t slow the car down.

Stopping distances are much further on ice and snow, especially in the passes where the road grade makes stopping distances longer. Don’t be afraid to put a lot of distance between yourself and the car in front of you in dangerous conditions.

Winter weather also means that you should double down on your usual safety procedures. Never drink and drive. Keep a sharp eye out for pedestrians, especially in snowy conditions. And if you plan to go on a long car trip, stop every three hours for a break.

Dennis & King encourages you to practice safe driving during the upcoming winter season. It is one of the most dangerous times of year to be out on the roads. Follow these safety tips and you’ll go a long way to preventing a crash.

 

 

Is Motorcycle Lane Splitting Safe?

Have you ever driven down a road and had a motorcycle come up between the lanes? It’s common in California and in several other countries, but it’s not so common here. It looks really dangerous to a driver, but motorcyclists say that this practice, called lane splitting, can actually save lives.

An article from Clarksville Online talks about the practice. Basically, if the traffic is slowed or stopped, it’s very dangerous for motorcyclists. People get quite distracted during traffic jams and put riders at risk. Also, it is hard to start and stop quickly on a motorcycle.

In fact, around 60% of the motorcycle crashes in the country happen in moderate to heavy traffic. This is from the Hurt Report, a comprehensive motorcycle crash study report that is still the best of its kind despite its age. But if riders are able to split lanes, so the theory goes, then they can get out of the way of dangerous slow-moving traffic and clear up spaces for others on the road.

There are other advantages as well, according to proponents. Riders going between lanes are much easier to see in side mirrors rather than moving in and out of a blind spot. Motorcyclists will also be less fatigued from starting and stopping all the time. Also, they will be at less risk for exhaust exposure and heat-related conditions that can injure a biker caught in a traffic jam with no AC. Finally, the chances of a rear-end collision are greatly reduced. Even at low speeds, a collision with a motorcyclist can cause life-long injury or death.

However, as of this writing, lane splitting is only explicitly legal in one state, California. A few others states have pending legislation on it. Tennessee had a bill in 2015 to allow the practice but it died in the legislature. Studies done in California have suggested that motorcyclists who do practice lane splitting, also known as lane sharing or filtering, are at a much lower risk of trauma.

But if it were to happen, American drivers would have to go through an adjustment period. What may be normal practice in other countries (and California) could be a shock to a driver who doesn’t expect to have motorcycles passing them to the left and right between vehicles. Also, not all motorcyclists approve of the practice because it can seem rather dangerous. And there is the chance of some motorcyclists taking unnecessary risks or showing off between the lanes.

Right now, if you are a motorcyclist and got into an accident and you were lane splitting, it would be difficult to achieve a favorable outcome. Lane splitting is prohibited by Tennessee law. If you believe that this is a safe practice, you will need to continue the fight to get the law changed. Until then, please take care when you’re out riding by following these safety tips:

  • Always wear full protective gear, including leathers and a helmet, to minimize the risk of injury
  • Hydrate yourself well before you get onto the road, and take into account the heat. Carry extra water if necessary.
  • Familiarize yourself with the signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Pull over if you feel them coming on and seek help.
  • Take care in traffic jams to avoid rear-end collisions. If you feel sick from exhaust fumes, try to leave the traffic jam at the earliest opportunity and seek fresh air.

Stay safe while riding, and don’t lane split until it’s legal!

 

Factors That Affect Compensation for Your Injury Case

If you want to shorten the amount of time you spend on a personal injury claim it is best to hire an attorney to work through all the details for you so you can be sure the claim is settled fairly. Contacting your auto insurance company immediately after you are in an accident without the advice from an attorney can affect your compensation.

Some important factors that your insurance adjuster will review include:

  • The information from the police report.
    Tip: 
    Make sure you make a police report immediately after the accident occurs.
  • If and how long it took for you to seek medical attention.
    Tip: Visit the emergency room or your physician as soon as possible after an accident if you are injured.
  • All pre-existing injuries that you listed as being a result of the accident.
    Tip: 
    Be sure to have your physician take new x-rays of the injuries you’ve listed as a result of the accident so these can be compared to the pre-existing injuries.
  • Any DUI/DWI charges or citations related to the accident.
  • Statements that you make to other drivers or passengers after the accident.
    Tip: 
    Avoid making promises or statements of blame and keep any comment you make factual about what happened during the accident.
  • All witness testimonials.
  • Photographs that were taken during the scene of the accident.
  • Valid copies of paychecks and other documents that validate any wages you lost due to the accident.
  • Details regarding the limitations of your insurance policy.

The Importance Of Collecting Evidence

Solid evidence of the accident makes your case for a personal injury claim stronger. You want to prepare as much documentation as possible when preparing to submit a claim to the car insurance company. You can gather evidence in the days after a car accident.

Some helpful tips that are sure to help you prepare enough evidence to support your personal injury claims.

  • Witness statements and contact information. If there were any witnesses, be sure to collect any information witnessed at the time of the accident. If you can contact them as soon as possible and get them to write down what they observed down on paper that would work in your favor as well.
  • Record your injuries by taking photos, getting medical attention, and collecting all medical evidence of your injuries.
  • Take notes of the accident as soon as you are physically able to, preferably right after the accident.
  • At the scene of the accident,  make sure to take pictures of damages, tire markings on the pavement, and anything else that would be useful to use as evidence of your claim. You may notice something, such as a faded or missing traffic sign that led you to make a driving mistake, or if you were injured, make sure to take pictures of where you were injured, if possible.
  • Keep physical evidence if it contributed to the accident. Examples include torn pieces of clothing, rocks or debris that made you swerve out of the way, etc.

How Injury Attorneys Help With Insurance Adjusters Assigned To Your Claim

It is not uncommon for people to be unsure of what to do after a car accident.  Insurance companies are often the first contact you call after you are in an accident.

Although the insurance company’s job is paying for your damages, they also try to save money on insurance claim payouts.

Dealing with the insurance companyon your own can be a tricky situation, especially if you’re at fault for the accident.  In most cases, whether the accident is your fault or not, it is a good idea to have an injury attorney to speak to the insurance agents assigned to your claim.  

When hiring a Chattanooga injury attorney, all aspects of your insurance claim are handled by the attorney.  Hiring an attorney protects you from any potential problems and being taken advantage of.

In contrast to hiring an attorney, insurance agents try to get you to make a decision right away.  This is unfortunately how injured victims are manipulated into agreeing on a lower settlement. In the end, victims of a car accident end up settling your claim for far less money than what you should be compensated for.

The Insurance Company Is Not Obligated To Be Fair Or Fast-acting

The other driver’s insurance company only has an obligation to their insurer.  They have no responsibility to treat you well or address your needs.  Instead, they may even ignore you completely.

Unfortunately, there is virtually nothing stopping an insurance company from doing this. They may offer you a settlement far lower than what your case is worth, delay payments, and even deny your claim.  It can be difficult to stick up for yourself in these situations.

Insurance Agents Will Almost Always Low-Ball Your Compensation

It’s important to remember that insurance adjusting agents see cases like yours every day.  Insurance agents can generally estimate the worth of a claim by reading the facts.  They also know how to negotiate with victims who are not represented by an attorney.

Unfortunately, the insurance agent’s experience in working on so many claims enables them to get victims to agree to as little as possible for compensation for their claim.

This sometimes means that insurance adjusters will take advantage of victims if they can get away with it while paying less on a claim.   Having an experienced personal injury attorney on your side can prevent you from having to deal with insurance agents altogether.   Get the compensation you deserve for personal injuries and vehicle damages.

You do not have to use the body shop that the insurance company recommends.

Some insurance companies will tell you that you must use a particular body shop to receive compensation for your property damage.  In most situations, this simply isn’t the case.

In fact, you may want to avoid the shop the insurance company recommends because they may undervalue your vehicle or provide decreased estimates on how much it will cost to get things fixed.  If you have a body shop that you like better, it may be a good idea to use them instead.

You likely do not want the first settlement offer.

In most situations, the first settlement offer is an opening point.  It gets the bargaining process going.  However, some victims will take the first offer, so the insurance company may try to low ball you first, just to see if it works.  Unfortunately, some victims see mounting medical bills, vehicle repair bills, and time away from work, so they are eager to accept anything the insurance company will give them.

Getting an experienced accident lawyer can help you determine what your case is really worth.  Your attorney will also help you get the most out of your car accident. After all, you were injured, and you deserve to be compensated for your losses.

How To Get The Most Out Of Your Insurance After An Accident

It is often painful to financial health to be in a major car accident when personal injury claims are not properly processed, leaving victims of car accidents in a pit of debt.  One of the first steps to take when you incur injuries is to have a quality legal team of attorneys who can guide you through the recovery process.

Dennis & King Law is one of Chattanooga’s most well known firms that specialize in personal injury claims for automobile accidents and trucking accidents.

Sometimes accidents are not our fault. Sometimes they partly are. Having car accident lawyers to help work through the mess that often follows an accident can remove some of the burdens that you might be feeling. Dennis & King specialize in helping clients after they experience a major accident on the roadway. There are different types of accident cases that might happen.

Car Insurance Coverage Types For Injury Claims

Before seeking compensation for your car accident claim, you should understand which types of coverage will apply to your personal injuries.

The different types of insurance claims you may be covered under include:

  • Bodily Injury Liability Coverage: Bodily injury liability coverage is provided is applied when the other driver is at fault for the car accident. In cases like these, your own liability policy will NOT cover your personal injuries.
  • Personal Injury Protection (PIP): PIP is most commonly called “no-fault insurance”, which differs from liability, where PIP insurance pays for your medical costs up to the policy’s limits (regardless if you are at fault or not).
  • Medical payments coverage (MPC): MPC pays for medical expenses (medical bills only) regardless of who is at fault. MPC is similar to PIP with the exception that it does not cover funeral expenses, lost income, or loss of services.
  • Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage: This type of insurance is applied to bodily injury claims when you’ve been either the victim of a hit and run accident, or hit by a driver who possesses either no insurance or all or limitations for paying personal injury compensation that does not cover the personal injury expenses you’ve incurred.

Dennis & King Law will speak with you over what you are entitled to receive during the trial.  If the accident was not your fault, having the facts of the case clearly noted will put you at an advantage when determining your case in court.  Dennis & King have an info page on their website that refers to steps that you can take to keep your body healthy after an accident.

Protecting Your Finances After A Car Accident

Saving some money on the side in an emergency fund can help when these things occur.  The insurance company can often get you some reimbursement payment for car damage. Having the information about the accident very clear is good for the insurance call as well.

Dennis & King look forward to serving you and your family.  Our goal is that you will walk away from this accident much better and in a healthier condition.  A vehicle accident is a tragedy that no one likes to see happen.  Lawyers like Dennis & King are in business to make sure that your needs are not ignored.

Ready to get your personal injury claim handled by the best attorneys in Chattanooga?  Contact Dennis & King Law today by filling out the form here or calling (423) 892-5533!

How Much Compensation Are You Entitled To After A Trucking Accident?

When you are injured in a semi-truck accident (trucking accident), you are often entitled to receive compensation for more than just the repairs to your truck. Compensation could also include lost wages, medical bills, and other related expenses from the auto insurance company or from the other driver’s car insurance company. So how do you know how much you are entitled to receive in a trucking accident claim?

The following information can help you get the most out of your truck accident claim.

DETERMINING FAULT

In some situations, like a rear-end collision where you hit the vehicle in front of you, the other driver will almost always be considered at no fault. However, other types of trucking accidents are not so clear and with the tables turned you may be the driver who is not at fault for the damages.

The best way to assist the process of your auto insurance company in determining who is at fault is to give information to your claims adjuster. This information includes a thorough explanation of what happened. If you don’t believe you are at fault, presenting a reasonable argument with details regarding why you are not at fault that includes supportive details can ensure your claim works in your favor.

CAN YOU PROVE CONTRIBUTORY NEGLIGENCE?

Negligence involves any careless behavior that contributes to an accident. A few states allow contributory negligence evidence when determining whether someone is entitled to compensation for an injury caused by a truck accident. When contributory negligence is concerned, if the other driver can prove that you are partially at fault for the accident you will not be compensated for payment of your personal injury claim.

HOW WILL COMPARATIVE NEGLIGENCE AFFECT MY CLAIM?

Comparative negligence is used by most states and is used when determining how victims of truck accidents should be compensated. When comparative negligence is applied to a claim where you are partially at fault, your compensation may be reduced. Depending on your state, there are two types of comparative negligence that will be used to determine how much compensation you will qualify for. These two types are as follows:

Modified comparative fault: Compensation is given in proportion to the amount of the accident that was not your fault, with the stipulation that you are only at fault for LESS THAN 50%-51% of the truck accident.

Pure comparative negligence: Compensation is given in proportion to the total amount of the accident that was not your fault. If injuries equal to $80,000 and you were considered 50% at fault for the accident, your damages will be reduced by 50 percent, allowing you to be compensated for $40,000.

Want to know more about how much you are entitled to in a trucking accident? Call Dennis and King Law today to get all the support and answers you need for your personal injury claim or fill out our contact form here!

Whose Insurance Covers Accidents With Uber, Lyft Drivers?

Real-time ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft found a marketplace for themselves in Chattanooga ever since riders are using these services as alternative methods of transportation.  Compared to the traditional taxi services, there are a few minor differences in how Uber and Lyft operate and handle requests from riders.

The steps for using Uber and Lyft services are fairly easy and are as follows:

  • A rider uses an application on their smartphone to request a ride from Uber or Lyft.
  • The nearest driver will receive the request and drive to the address where the rider is waiting to be picked up.
  • The Uber or Lyft driver transports the rider to their destination.

All billing is handled through the company’s app and the average charge is about 20 to 30 percent less than taxi services.  While this may seem like an ideal way for riders to save both time and money, there are some potential problems with these rideshare operations in the event that the driver is involved in an accident.

Both Uber and Lyft have liability insurance coverage for their drivers, but this insurance is not always reliable when accidents occur. For rideshare drivers and their passengers to be covered under the company’s liability policy the driver must be:

  • Be “signed in” to the company’s web application and available to accept ride requests.
  • Have accepted a ride request and be en route to the location where the passenger is waiting for pickup.
  • Be en route from the pickup location to the passenger’s destination.

At any other time, the company’s liability insurance will not be enforced and the driver’s personal auto insurance will be held responsible for covering any damages that are the result of the car accident. While this may sound straightforward, this is a problem that both the rideshare driver and his or her passenger should keep in mind.

All personal auto insurance policies are not responsible for any damages that occur if the vehicle is being used for “commercial purposes,” such as a rideshare service.  If an accident occurs and the driver was working as a rideshare driver, the policy will refuse to cover any damage claims.  Thus, the driver will be personally liable in the event of an accident.

Due to this potential lack of coverage, anyone involved in an accident with a rideshare driver should contact a car accident lawyer as soon as possible after an accident to discuss their options to recover damages.

Snapchat Auto Accident Cases Take a Surprising Turn

We know we’re not supposed to be using our smartphones when driving, but can you blame the smartphone and the content provider when using their app causes an accident?

Recently, a Tennessee court official answered that in a surprising way.

Snapchat is a popular smartphone app that lets users share photos and videos. One of its more controversial features is a “speed filter,” which allows you to show how fast you were traveling when the picture was taken.

In September 2015, Christal McGee was allegedly trying to reach a speed of 100 miles per hour to post a picture when she collided with a car driven by Wentworth Maynard. The force of the impact drove Maynard’s car across four lanes of the highway and into an embankment. Maynard sustained permanent brain damage and cannot walk as a result of the accident. MdGee, who sustained only superficial injuries, was undeterred, Snapchatting “lucky to be alive” from her stretcher after the car accident.

That may sound like an open-and-shut case against McGee, but the court balked at finding Snapchat liable. Judge Josh Thacker dismissed Snapchat from the case, citing the 1996 Communications Decency Act which states, “No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.” Judge Thacker interpreted this to mean that Snapchat should not be held liable for what its user, McGee, published.

This would make more sense if McGee was looking at her own already-published content, or that of another user, at the time of the accident, but she was not. She was distracted by Snapchat’s app and Snapchat’s proprietary speed filter, not uploaded content. The Maynard’s attorney stated that they were considering an appeal.

Snapchat is not the only app creating problems. We are already seeing stories about the Pokemon Go app, which allows users to chase virtual creatures in the real world using their smartphone. While the app is not supposed to work while driving, it will operate at a low speed and has already been blamed for many collisions.

If you are involved in an auto accident with a distracted driver, it’s important to select a tech-savvy attorney to represent you. Tricia Dennis and Russell King are committed to thoroughly investigating these types of accidents and excited about being part of the process of developing new law that protects the victims of distracted drivers. Please give us a call to discuss how we can help.