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San Francisco Personal Injury Law Blog

With ridesharing services, are you sharing liability, too? p3

We are continuing our discussion of transportation network company regulations in California. The state was the first to adopt regulations specifically for these ridesharing operations, and, it seems, those regulations are a work in progress.

The tricky issue is liability. The drivers use their own cars, and, initially, TNCs had not been buying commercial liability insurance to cover any accidents involving drivers carrying TNC customers. As we said in our Dec. 15 post, the driver's insurance wouldn't cover the accident either (no coverage for commercial enterprise). The state regulations required TNCs to purchase insurance.

With ridesharing services, are you sharing liability, too? p2

Earlier this month we started to talk about ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft and California's efforts to regulate them. (Read the post here.) Cab companies objected loudly to the state's seemingly casual treatment of the industry's new lower-cost competitor. One reason transportation network companies could charge their customers less is that they were not required to carry commercial liability insurance on the drivers in the network. Further, TNCs were not required, as cab companies are, to carry workers' compensation insurance, either.

The result was the lower fare, but passengers could have paid a very high price if their TNC driver were in an accident. Without a commercial policy behind them, the TNC drivers would have to turn to their own insurance. However, personal auto insurance does not cover commercial activities. If the driver were at fault, the insurance situation would be even more convoluted.

Identifying Signs of Physical Elder Abuse

More than two out of every five Americans will need long term care at some point during their lifetime. Long term care typically encompasses assistance with daily living activities such as: bathing, feeding, dressing and eating. When people require long term care, they are in their most vulnerable state of their lifetime. This precise reason highlights why long-term care patients can succumb to extensive elder abuse.

Elder Abuse: US DOJ Releases the Elder Justice Roadmap

Watching your relatives age is already a difficult experience. This difficult experience can turn into a nightmare when a caregiver takes advantage of someone you love.

Elder abuse includes physical and mental abuse, neglect, and financial exploitation. Elder abuse is a growing problem in this country. According to the Department of Justice, every year, five million Americans are the victims of elder abuse. As the baby boomers age, the problem is only likely to get worse.

With ridesharing services, are you sharing liability, too?

There are just 22 more shopping days until Christmas. It's hard to believe, but Black Friday and Cyber Monday are over, and we have now officially entered the Winter Holiday Season. For many of us, the next few weeks will be hectic, and between finding just the right gifts and office parties and holiday gatherings with friends, most of us will hit the roads more often and in more of a hurry -- or less of a sober state -- than usual.

It goes without saying that none of us will drink and drive. We will take advantage of public transit, we will catch a cab, or we will designate a driver. There are plenty of transportation options in San Francisco, including ridesharing -- especially since California formally recognized the service (by regulating it) in September 2013.

Texting isn’t the only danger distracting drivers

Last week, we discussed how texting while driving continues to be a problem on California roads despite the state’s strict laws against it. We discussed that texting is just one of the many distractions that cause drivers to get into car accidents when their eyes and attention is focused on something other than the road.

A recent article from USA TODAY shed even more light on the topic in discussing a recent survey that was administered by State Farm insurance. State Farm has surveyed drivers each year since 2009 on questions regarding their distracted driving habits and opinions. 

Study supports theory that bike helmets reduce risk of head injury

A few weeks ago, we were talking about the high rate of fatal bicycle accidents in California (see California tops all other states in cyclist fatalities, posted Oct. 30). That study, from the Governors Highway Safety Association, found that adult males -- that is, adult males in California and Florida -- accounted for more fatalities than any other demographic group. The study period covered 2010 to 2012.

Not every bike accident, of course, results in the death of the cyclist. There is also a good chance that the rider will suffer a head injury. Research and anecdotal evidence have shown that a head injury, particularly a traumatic brain injury, can result in permanent physical and cognitive disabilities. Recovery can be a long and arduous process.

Watch the passing headlights … you're getting sleepy, sleepy …

Thanksgiving is just a little more than a week away. This is the time of year that people drive to a family member's house, eat a large meal, socialize and drive home. Even if you don't spend the day playing touch football or hours-long games of Risk and even if you just loll on the couch and watch the Puppy Bowl, Thanksgiving can be exhausting.

It could be the turkey. It could be an overdose of family. Either way, going home at the end of the day can be tricky. People are tired, and that is no condition to be in if they are getting behind the wheel of a car. As the California Highway Patrol reminds us, driving while drowsy can be just as dangerous as driving drunk.

In spite of state laws, texting while driving is still a problem

A recent op-ed in the Huffington Post asked what is now an age-old question: How many times have you texted while driving in the last month? That includes the times you even looked at your messages while at a stop light or stuck in traffic on the Bay Bridge. Really, how many times? We're not here to judge.

Even if you honestly answer "none," there is a follow-up question: How many times in the past month have you been distracted while driving? Texting is just one type of distracted driving, and researchers estimate that nine people die and 1,150 people are injured in distracted driving accidents every day.

California tops all other states in cyclist fatalities

California had more bicycle accident fatalities than any other state from 2010 to 2012. Worse, perhaps, is the fact that the number of deaths rose by 23 percent during that period, while national totals increased just 16 percent. California also outpaces the nation when it comes to how many traffic deaths involve bikers: Nationwide, 2 percent of all traffic deaths are cyclists, but in California it was 4 percent.

A couple of things contribute to our poor record, according to a report published recently by the Governors Highway Safety Association. California is home to a lot of people, and the state boasts several densely populated urban areas. We have a lot of bike commuters, but heavy traffic on city streets makes sharing the road all the more challenging for both bicycles and motor vehicles.

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