Ridesharing Services Required to Purchase Personal Injury Insurance

California Governor Signs  Insurance Bill for Ridesharing Services Into Law to Cover Passenger Personal Injury

shutterstock_1155408-2In September, California Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill into law that would require ridesharing companies like Uber, Lyft, and Sidecar to purchase insurance covering for their drivers, and to cover personal injury and wrongful death in the event of an accident while the driver has a fare.

Although Uber has argued for the past year with local and state governments across the country regarding the nature of the service, many state governments either will not allow ridesharing services to move into their area, or place tough restrictions on them. Uber has often claimed that the company is a mobile app, not a taxi service, and the application allows drivers to connect with people who need rides. However, much discussion about the nature of ridesharing services has ensued because the drivers are independent contractors of the mobile app companies, which means they are not employees. State governments believe the ridesharing companies are therefore taxi services.

This means that ridesharing services need increased insurance coverage in the event of a car accident, which can lead to personal injury or death.

Until very recently, ridesharing services relied on their drivers’ personal insurance coverage – in fact, the companies would not hire drivers that did not have automobile insurance – but those plans only cover a certain dollar amount of damages in a car accident, including medical bills due to personal injury. And, many insurance companies will not cover damages from a car accident if the driver has accepted payment for the ride, because the automobile insurance is for personal use, not business use.

Uber and Lyft have purchased better insurance for their drivers since the complaints began, but until California signed the bill, the ridesharing services’ employee drivers fell into a legal gray area, where their insurance companies could deny coverage, but they were not required to have commercial driving insurance.

California’s ridesharing insurance law requires ridesharing companies to cover their employee drivers as soon as those drivers turn their app on to find fares, so the driver is covered whether they have passengers or not. The personal injury insurance must cover at least $50,000 per person, $100,000 in the event of a wrongful death or personal injury, and $30,000 for property damage. The bill also requires an excess $200,000 of “just-in-case” coverage.

“We have agreed to a compromise that provides clarity for the ridesharing community in California,” Lyft spokeswoman Chelsea Wilson said in a statement. Uber did not immediately respond.

The bill was championed by California assembly person Susan Bonilla, who said the bill “creates a personal insurance firewall to ensure personal insurance auto policyholders will no longer subsidize the commercial activity” of ridesharing companies.

The Strom Law Firm Defends Victims of Car Accident Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Cases

If you or a loved one have been injured or killed because of an accident, whether it was caused by distracted driving or DUI, the attorneys at the Strom Law Firm can help. The sooner you hire one of our accident lawyers, the sooner we will be able to investigate your case and the stronger your case will be. We offer free, confidential consultations to discuss the facts of your case, so do not hesitate to call us. 803.252.4800

Rear-View Cameras Help Prevent Backover Accidents

backover accident

Car Accident Prevention Advocates Promote Rear-View Cameras to End Backover Accidents and Deaths

backover accidentAAA Mid-Atlantic safety officials say that recent tests conducted using rear-view cameras in some vehicles show that the added safety feature helps prevent backover accidents and deaths, especially involving children.

Recent tests conducted by AAA using rear-view cameras showed that the safety addition improved visibility behind the car, SUV, or truck an average of 46%. The researchers evaluated 17 vehicles from 11 different manufacturers, and used both factory-installed and aftermarket rear-view camera systems. They found that cars that were lower to the ground, like sedans, had 36% improved visibility behind the vehicle, while hatchbacks and SUVs had 75% improved visibility.

“Rear-view cameras are a great supplement for drivers and are especially helpful for viewing the first 10 feet behind the vehicle, which are the most hazardous in terms of back-over risk for young children,” said John B. Townsend II, AAA Mid-Atlantic’s Manager of Public and Government Affairs. “However, while these cameras dramatically improve rear visibility, they do not replace the need to check around your vehicle for obstacles before getting in to your vehicle and backing up.”

Although the study did not completely prevent backover accidents, AAA said that the safety feature would go a long way to saving lives and preventing serious personal injury from such accidents. According to one safety group, KidsAndCars.org, 61 children were killed in backover accidents across the country in 2013 alone. The predominant age of children injured or killed in backover accidents is 1 year old – between 12 and 23 months. Tragically, in 70% of those accidents, a parent or relative is behind the wheel of the car that causes the accident.

“You can’t avoid hitting something you simply cannot see. Most people don’t realize how prevalent this problem is,” Janette Fennell, founder and president of Kids and Cars, said. “Or how preventable it is.”

“Everyone would agree that the worst thing that can ever happen is to lose a child,” Janette Fennell stated. “Add to that that you were somehow responsible — that you were the driver of the vehicle. Most parents never get over it.”

Consumer Reports offers a tool to measure the blind zone – not just a blind spot – around your vehicle so you as a driver can be aware of the backover and rollover potential of your vehicle. KidsAndCars.org adds that it is important to walk around your vehicle and inspect it closely to make sure no children are in the area before driving away, especially if you are in the vicinity of a child under the age of 5.

The Strom Law Firm Can Help with Car Accident Injury and Wrongful Death Cases

Although many of the people we represent in these cases are from right here in South Carolina, our lawyers routinely take clients from throughout the Southeastern U.S. and, in certain types of product liability or pharmaceutical cases, from across the country as well. If you or a loved one has been injured or killed through no fault of your own, whether from a defective product or in a car accident, you may have a wrongful death case. Contact the South Carolina wrongful death attorneys at the Strom Law Firm, LLC today for a free, no-cost consultation today. 803.252.4800

SC Paid $5 Million for Car Accidents Caused by Bad Roads

car accidents

South Carolina Spent $5 Million on Car Accidents and Personal Injury Claims Caused by Bad Roads

car accidentsLast year, a statewide survey showed that South Carolina has some of the least up-kept roads in the nation, which can result in accidents leading to South Carolina car accident and personal injury claims. Now, information obtained about the extent of the damage caused by the state’s poor road maintenance shows that South Carolina paid at least $5 million to motorists last year due to bad roads.

Records from South Carolina’s Insurance Reserve Fund showed that the state paid $5.1 million in personal injury, wrongful death, and car accident claims, along with another $2.3 million in legal fees. That was just 2014 – the preceding three years saw the state pay out $18.7 million in personal injury and car accident claims to motorists.

According to a report released on January 15th by TRIP, a Washington, DC-based national transportation organization, 46% of South Carolina’s roads are in such poor condition that they can cause vehicular damage, car accidents, traffic congestion, and personal injury or wrongful death. Deficient roads cost drivers in the state at least $1,250 per year in the form of car repairs, lost time, and fuel delays. The bad roads in the state cost motorists an estimated $3 billion every year – a financial investment that, if paid in taxes instead of personal injury or car accident costs, could go a long way to fixing the problem.

“The South Carolina Department of Transportation manages the 41,000 miles of state funded roads with the third lowest motor fuel user fee in the nation.  With an estimated additional $1.5 billion needed per year for the next 25 years to “get to good”, they are currently having to do the best they can with what they have,” said Eric Dickey, vice president of Davis & Floyd, Inc. and chairman of the South Carolina Alliance to Fix Our Roads (SCFOR).

“To me it’s a large chunk of money. Would we rather continue to pay out funds like this and put people in danger rather than come up with a viable solution to fix our roads and bridges?” said Rep. Chandra Dillard, a Greenville Democrat who sits on a House committee studying the state’s infrastructure needs.

Sen. Ray Cleary, a Georgetown County Republican who has spearheaded road-funding efforts in the Senate, said he was unaware that people could sue the state due to road quality-related personal injury and car accidents. “In the last five years, we’ve raised the cost of fixing the roads in South Carolina by $14 billion,” he said. “If that’s not a waste of taxpayer money, then what is? Why aren’t people like the Tea Party demanding these roads be fixed?”

“These conditions are only going to get worse if greater funding is not made available at the local, state and federal levels,” said Will Wilkins, TRIP’s executive director. “Congress can help by approving a long-term federal surface transportation program that provides adequate funding levels, based on a reliable funding source. If not, South Carolina is going to see its future federal funding threatened, resulting in fewer road and bridge repair projects, loss of jobs, and a burden on the state’s economy.”

The Strom Law Firm Can Help with South Carolina Car Accidents and Personal Injury Caused By Bad Roads

Our car accident lawyers are prepared to fight for compensation in the courtroom, and will defend your right to compensation for your past and future medical bills; lost wages and future earnings; your pain and suffering; and, in the event of a fatal car accident, even wrongful death. Contact the South Carolina accident attorneys at the Strom Law Firm, L.L.C. today for a free consultation to discuss the facts of your case and how we can help. 803.252.4800

4 Passengers File Personal Injury Lawsuits Against Megabus

Megabus

After Megabus Accident, 4 Passengers File Personal Injury Lawsuits

MegabusOn Tuesday morning, October 14th, a Megabus bound for Chicago suffered a severe crash that left at least 26 of the 56 passengers injured, with 6 of those injuries considered serious. A total of 18 people had to be taken to area hospitals after the crash.

Investigators blamed the Megabus accident on driver inattention, and more recently have pinpointed the cause of distraction to be malfunctioning windshield wipers.

On Wednesday, October 15th, four of the passengers on the Chicago-bound Megabus filed a personal injury lawsuit against the company. The passengers filing against Megabus suffered numerous different injuries, including a separated shoulder, lost teeth, and facial cuts requiring stitches.

“The passengers reported hearing the bus driver complain that the windshield wipers were not working, and it was difficult to see the road in the rain,” a prosecutor said in the statement on behalf of the personal injury plaintiffs. “We suspect a malfunction in the windshield wipers prevented the bus driver from adequately seeing the road and contributed to the crash.”

“It’s a very traumatic event for them to wake up from a sleep having the bus turn over, you’re face-down in broken glass and you have bodies flying down on top of you, causing physical injury.”

The plaintiffs claim in their personal injury lawsuit that the driver announced to passengers on the Megabus that the windshield wipers were not working. That distraction, along with driving too fast, and improper driver training, led the passengers to file their personal injury lawsuit against the company.

Investigators with Indiana State Police, who were at the scene of the Megabus accident, said that there did not appear to be any mechanical problems with the bus itself that would have caused the accident.

This is not the first bus accident issue that Megabus has faced. The service has quickly spread across the US and remains popular because of its low cost. However, the company has had several high-profile accidents in the past few years.

In August 2012, for example, a Megabus on route to Chicago blew out a tire which led to dozens of injuries and one death. Although the driver was credited for not reacting in a way that would have caused further severe injuries, the bus itself suffered from lack of maintenance. One week later, however, another Megabus in downtown Chicago struck and killed an elderly woman. The day after that, a Megabus headed to Charlotte, NC caught fire.

“All Megabus.com companies have had a DOT audit within the past 6 months and all have been given the highest rating achievable by the DOT, which is satisfactory,” spokesman Sean Hughes said in a statement. “The trip had two drivers, which is a normal Megabus safety procedure and above the federal requirement for overnight trips. The drivers signed on at 10 pm the night before, and were on duty for a total of 6 and a half hours when the incident occurred.”

Although the company has not suffered an accident this serious in at least two years, Megabus drivers have been cited for 7 traffic violations, and 6 violations of hours of service on the road – meaning the drivers could be tired or poorly trained, which would lead to terrible accidents, personal injury, and death for passengers and drivers alike.

The Strom Law Firm Represents Those Suffering Personal Injury from Road Accidents

If you have suffered a serious personal injury or the wrongful death of a loved one due to another person’s negligence, including in a car accident or DUI case, contact our South Carolina Accident Lawyers for a free consultation to discuss the facts. 803.252.4800

New Hands-Free Technology Leads to Distracted Driving

hands-free technology

In-Car, Hands-Free Technology Can Cause Distracted Driving

hands-free technologyTwo new studies show that hands-free technology, as well as built-in technology in many modern cars, can cause distracted driving.

A study conducted by AAA and the University of Utah, which looked at hands-free and voice-activated controls, found that even those devices can cause distracted driving, which increases the risk of a car accident. Many distracted driving laws allow drivers to use blue tooth headsets or speaker phones to make phone calls, and many vehicles have systems that can link to your phone so you can use an in-car program to make phone calls to friends or restaurants.

A companion study also investigated voice-activated smart phone features, particularly Apple’s popular Siri, and found that those programs can also lead to distracted driving issues. In fact, two participants in the study caused virtual crashes while dealing with Siri in a driving simulator.

“Common voice tasks are generally more demanding than natural conversations, listening to the radio, or listening to a book on tape,” the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety researchers wrote.

“We already know that drivers can miss stop signs, pedestrians and other cars while using voice technologies,” said Bob Darbelnet, chief executive of AAA. “We now understand that current shortcomings in these products, intended as safety features, may unintentionally cause greater levels of cognitive distraction.”

“In the situations where you have a system that’s very difficult to use, is extremely frustrating to use, then, yes, you’ll be paying attention to that and not paying attention to traffic lights and pedestrians and other cars,” David Strayer of the University of Utah explained. In his study, a driver requested the name of a restaurant on Siri, but because voice-prompt technology is new and flawed, Siri’s response was, “Sorry, I didn’t get that. Please select a restaurant.” The driver, in her frustration, missed a prompt that measured her attention to the road.

Both studies measured “cognitive distraction,” or the mental workload caused by dealing with multitasking. Many previous distracted driving studies examined visual distraction, such as texting and driving or GPS navigation, in which the driver took his or her eyes off the road.

“The primary task should be driving. Things that take your attention away make you a poor driver,” Strayer said. “Even though your car may be configured to support social media, texting and phone calls, it doesn’t mean it is safe to do so.”

Although Toyota scored one of the best vehicles to prevent cognitive distraction while driving, a spokesman said that neither study conclusively showed a link between distracted driving and hands-free or voice-activated systems.

“The results actually tell us very little about the relative benefits of in-vehicle versus hand-held systems; or about the relationship between cognitive load and crash risks,” said Mike Michels on behalf of Toyota.

The Strom Law Firm Helps Those Injured by Distracted Drivers

If you have been injured by a distracted driver, the South Carolina distracted driving accident attorneys at the Strom Law Firm, L.L.C. will fight for fair compensation for your injuries. Our South Carolina car accident lawyers are prepared to fight for compensation in the courtroom and will defend your right to compensation for your past and future medical bills, lost wages and future earnings, your pain and suffering, and, in the event of a fatal car accident, even wrongful death. Our attorneys offer free, confidential consultations to discuss the facts of your personal injury case for distracted driving, so contact us today. 803.252.4800.

SC Auto Accident Victim: Now What?

SC Auto Accident Victim

South Carolina Car Accident Attorneys Fighting For Justice for Injured Victims

SC Auto Accident VictimWhether you are t-boned coming back from a USC basketball game, injured in a hit and run on I-26, or involved in a rush-hour fender bender on your way into downtown, Columbia, SC, car accidents occur every day.  Knowing what to do immediately after a Columbia, SC car accident can ensure that your rights are protected.

As an SC auto accident victim, there’s a flurry of activity immediately following an accident.  Having a checklist in mind can help ensure that you do not overlook anything.  With this in mind, our SC Car accident attorneys offer you the following 5 tips to maximize the likelihood of recovery:

1.  Report the Accident:

If there are injuries, call 911 immediately.

2.  Seek Medical Attention Immediately:

If you or anyone else is injured and sustained accident-related injuries, you should seek medical attention immediately. Do not move a victim if they have a spinal cord injury unless leaving them creates a danger. Make sure that when you meet with the doctor you report all of your symptoms and problems

3.  Document the Scene:

Take pictures of the damage at the scene: If you are safely able, make notes and take pictures of all of the important details of the scene. If anything is damaged in your car such as a computer, cell phone, etc, make sure you document the damage.

4. Get the Other Driver’s Information:

Secure contact information, including name, address, phone number and car insurance coverage for the other driver.  Identify and secure contact information for any witnesses; note the make, model, color of the other car or cars involved.

5.  Be Careful What you Say.

Do not volunteer any information regarding who is at fault.

Saying that you are sorry or admitting that you were distracted may be used against you later as an admission of fault.

6.  Don’t Talk to the Insurance Adjuster:

While you may be required to issue a statement at some point during the claims process, don’t talk to the adjuster until you have had the opportunity to speak with one of our Columbia, SC attorneys.

Our Columbia, South Carolina car accident attorneys are here to help navigate you through the claims process.

7. Follow Your Doctor’s Advice:

While the demands of everyday life will continue after a car accident, make sure that you follow any medical restrictions and your doctor’s recommended course of treatment.

8. Call a Columbia, South Carolina car accident attorney.

Take advantage of a free consultation. Centrally located in Columbia, South Carolina, our car accident lawyers are here to help.  We fight for fair compensation for SC auto accident victims. Let us deal with the insurance company while you focus on getting better.

Tracy Morgan Fighting Traumatic Brain Injury After Car Accident

traumatic brain injury

Tracy Morgan May Not Be The Same Due to Traumatic Brain Injury Following Car Accident

traumatic brain injuryAttorney for comedian Tracy Morgan says his client is struggling to recover from a traumatic brain injury after his car accident involving a tractor trailer over the summer, and he may never be the same again.

Five months after the car accident with a tractor trailer working for Walmart, star of hit comedy series “30 Rock” may not have suffered just a broken nose, leg, and ribs, but also a traumatic brain injury.

The tractor trailer accident also killed one of Morgan’s friends and fellow comedian James McNair, who performed under the name Jimmy Mack.

“Mr. Morgan is a fighter,” Benedict Morelli, Morgan’s attorney, said in an interview. “He’s fighting to get better. And if there’s a chance for him to be back to the Tracy Morgan he once was, he’s going to try to do that. But we just don’t know because of the severity of the injuries that he sustained and the fact that he had such a severe brain injury.”

About 1 AM on Saturday, June 7th, Tracy Morgan’s limo van was hit by Roper’s truck on the New Jersey Turnpike. The collision killed one of Morgan’s fellow comedian passengers, James McNair, who performed under the name Jimmy Mack. Reportedly, 35-year-old truck driver Kevin Roper had been awake for 24 consecutive hours before causing the tractor trailer accident.

After Tracy Morgan filed a personal injury lawsuit against Walmart for negligence on the part of their employee, the company stated in September that the lawsuit was unfounded.

“Upon information and belief, plaintiffs’ injuries, if any, were caused, in whole or in part, by plaintiffs’ failure to properly wear an appropriate available seat belt restraint device,” Walmart’s court papers said.

On Tuesday, November 18th, Morelli and attorneys for Walmart met for a scheduling conference. Morelli stated the extent of Morgan’s injuries, including signs of what could be a traumatic brain injury, which could mean the comedian would never fully recover, continue his popular career, and would need a lifetime of medical attention.

“When you have a traumatic brain injury, it takes a very long time to find out how you’re going to do and how much you’re going to recover,” Morelli said. “So that’s where he is. He’s still fighting and trying to live his life at the same time and trying to get better, and he’s just not better. We’re hoping and praying to get him back to where he was.”

The Strom Law Firm Can Help Traumatic Brain Injury Victims

Traumatic brain injuries occur when the head suddenly and violently hits an object, or when an object pierces the skull and enters brain tissue.

Traumatic brain injury may be the result of a:

For many victims, a traumatic brain injury is not immediately noticeable. A great amount of force does not need to be applied to sustain a head injury.

If you or a loved one have suffered a traumatic brain injury as the result of an accident, defective product, or negligence, the Strom Law Firm can help. We understand the emotional and financial impact of serious personal injuries. Our firm offers free consultations to discuss the facts of your case, so do not hesitate to contact us. 803.252.4800.

FDA Issues Warning that OTC Meds Can Lead to Impaired Driving

impaired driving

FDA Warns Consumers that Over-the-Counter Medications Can Lead to Impaired Driving

impaired drivingA recent warning from the Food and Drug Administration suggests that over-the-counter medications can make consumers too drowsy to drive safely, which can lead to impaired driving charges and accidents.

Many over-the-counter medications already offer warnings about drowsiness, including a statement that the user should not operate heavy machinery while taking the medication. However, the FDA’s statement comes because too many people choose to operate a vehicle while taking low-dose OTC medications that can lead to drowsiness and cause impaired driving accidents.

“You can feel the effects some OTC [over-the-counter] medicines can have on your driving for a short time after you take them, or their effects can last for several hours,” Dr. Ali Mohamadi, a medical officer at FDA, said in a statement. “In some cases, a medicine can cause significant ‘hangover-like’ effects and affect your driving even the next day.”

“If you have not had enough sleep, taking medicine with a side effect that causes drowsiness can add to the sleepiness and fatigue you may already feel,” he added. “Being drowsy behind the wheel is dangerous; it can impair your driving skills.”

The FDA advises that anyone who takes OTC medications should carefully read the warnings and labels to make sure they do not cause an impaired driving accident, or face DUI charges for their impaired driving. Statements that can indicate impairment include “you may get drowsy,” “marked drowsiness will occur,” “Be careful when driving a motor vehicle or operating machinery” or “Do not drive a motor vehicle or operate machinery when using this product.”

The FDA also listed common OTC medications that can cause drowsiness and impaired driving. Antihistamines, antidiarrheals, and anti-emetics can all cause the user to feel sleepy or groggy, and if that person gets behind the wheel of a car, it can lead to a serious car accident or DUI charges.

Impaired Driving Accident and Wrongful Death Litigation in South Carolina

car accident can transform a routine drive into a life-changing catastrophe. Every year, thousands of drivers end up in a South Carolina car wreck, and on average about 800 of them will lose their lives.

Typical causes of car accidents include driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol (referred to as driving under the influence, or DUI), automobile defect, failed maintenance, failing to be careful, speeding, running stops signs or stop lights, failing to yield the right of way, not paying attention because of using cell phone or PDA, adjusting radio or DVD player, or eating while driving.

If a loved one dies as a result of the negligence, recklessness, DUI, or intentional conduct of another, you may be entitled to bring a claim for wrongful death. A wrongful death lawsuit asserts a claim against a person who can be held legally responsible for a death.  Surviving family members may be entitled to damages; money that can help with the expenses caused by the loss of their loved one.

Impaired driving, whether it is from alcohol, illegal drugs, or even over-the-counter medications, is a serious road hazard that can lead to a car accident.

The Strom Law Firm Can Help with DUI or Impaired Driving Car Accidents

Although many of the people we represent in these cases are from right here in South Carolina, our lawyers routinely take clients from throughout the Southeastern U.S. and, in certain types of product liability or pharmaceutical cases, from across the country as well. If you or a loved one has been injured or killed through no fault of your own, whether from a defective product or in an impaired driver car accident, you may have a personal injury or wrongful death case. Contact the South Carolina personal injury accident attorneys at the Strom Law Firm, LLC today for a free, no-cost consultation today. 803.252.4800

Jennifer Lopez Victim in DUI Car Accident

Jennifer Lopez and Friend Leah Remini Hit by Drunk Driver, Took Selfie After DUI Car Accident

dui car accidentOver the weekend, pop culture icon Jennifer Lopez and friend Leah Remini were enjoying a trip through Malibu in Lopez’s new car when the pair were hit by a drunk driver. They were fine after the DUI car accident, but Lopez had some choice words for her fans through Twitter.

“Sitting at a light,” she captioned the selfie she took, “Riding high right before some drunk fool rear ended us in my new whip!!! Thank god everyone ok!!! #GRATEFUL #THANKYOUGOD #DontdrinkandDrive!!!! #cursedthatfoolout #theBronxcameout #dontmesswithmycoconuts #mamabear #leahstayedcalm #thatwasweird”

The pair took a selfie after the DUI car accident to show that they were all right, if displeased.

The two pop stars were in the car with two children when the drunk driver in a pick-up truck struck the rear of their vehicle at a red light, then drove away. Leaving the scene of a DUI car accident is also a serious crime.

Lopez told reporters and police that the drivers both got out of their vehicles to exchange insurance information, when the truck driver suddenly got back in his car and drove away. Deputies found him quickly, and arrested him on DUI charges. His name has not been released to the public.

Fortunately, no one was injured in the DUI car accident.

DUI Car Accident and Wrongful Death Litigation in South Carolina

A car accident can transform a routine drive into a life-changing catastrophe. Every year, thousands of drivers end up in a South Carolina car wreck, and on average about 800 of them will lose their lives.

Typical causes of car accidents include driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol (referred to as driving under the influence, or DUI), automobile defect, failed maintenance, failing to be careful, speeding, running stops signs or stop lights, failing to yield the right of way, not paying attention because of using cell phone or PDA, adjusting radio or DVD player, or eating while driving.

If a loved one dies as a result of the negligence, recklessness, DUI, or intentional conduct of another, you may be entitled to bring a claim for wrongful death. A wrongful death lawsuit asserts a claim against a person who can be held legally responsible for a death.  Surviving family members may be entitled to damages; money that can help with the expenses caused by the loss of their loved one.

Common wrongful death claims arise as a result of a:

  • tractor trailer accident,
  • automobile accident, including DUI accidents,
  • burn injury,
  • brain injury,
  • motorcycle accident,
  • construction site accident,
  • defective product,
  • toys or childrens’ product,
  • medical malpractice claim,
  • nursing home neglect and abuse, or an
  • injury sustained while working on the job.

The Strom Law Firm Can Help with DUI Car Accident Injury and Wrongful Death Cases

Although many of the people we represent in these cases are from right here in South Carolina, our lawyers routinely take clients from throughout the Southeastern U.S. and, in certain types of product liability or pharmaceutical cases, from across the country as well. If you or a loved one has been injured or killed through no fault of your own, whether from a defective product or in a DUI car accident, you may have a personal injury or wrongful death case. Contact the South Carolina personal injury accident attorneys at the Strom Law Firm, LLC today for a free, no-cost consultation today. 803.252.4800

Rideshare Services Don’t Do Proper Criminal Background Checks

criminal background check

Rideshare Services Accused of Failing Criminal Background Check Policies

criminal background checkAfter sweeping the United States and the world with its popularity, rideshare services like Uber, Lyft, and Sidecar now face accusations in their homestate – California – that the companies don’t conduct thorough enough criminal background checks, to prevent personal injury and car accidents.

The district attorneys of both San Francisco and Los Angeles said on Thursday, September 25th, that Sidecar Inc in particular, but other rideshare companies as well, have failed to conduct proper, thorough criminal background checks on their contract employee drivers in accordance with California business law.

The rideshare services have already encountered numerous accusations as they expanded across the country, hiring drivers in nearly every major city, including three cities in South Carolina. In particular, taxi companies have filed lawsuits against Uber, Lyft, and Sidecar for violating taxi company codes, which regulate drivers and their vehicles in the event of a car accident. Uber also faces a wrongful death lawsuit from a family in San Francisco, accusing the service of promoting distracted driving through the mobile app that helps drivers find fares. On New Year’s Day, this year, a driver in the city hit two children and their mother while the family crossed the street, killing a 6-year-old girl and injuring the other two victims.

In response, Uber and Lyft have both expanded their insurance coverage of drivers, but the companies have primarily hidden behind vague employment laws around contract employees, claiming their drivers much provide their own personal insurance because they use their personal vehicles, rather than specifically-labeled company provided taxis. The companies have also argued that they created a mobile app business, not a taxi company, and they cannot regulate how users interface with the smartphone app.

George Gascon, the district attorney of San Francisco, and Jackie Lacey, his counterpart in Los Angeles, filed a complaint against all three major rideshare companies, with a focus on Sidecar, stating that the companies mislead customers on how thoroughly they run criminal background checks. Without submitting employee drivers to criminal background checks, drivers with histories of felony DUI or assault and battery could become employees and find victims through the rideshare service.

According to Sunil Paul, the chief executive of Sidecar, he has already discussed the issue of background checks with local regulators, but he was surprised by the “sudden escalation” in concern in California. Mr. Paul said that his company runs thorough criminal background checks in accordance with the state’s law, but that Sidecar also cannot exclude potential employees if they were convicted of a felony seven years ago or more.

“We value innovation and new modes of providing service to the public,” San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon said in a statement. “However, we need to make sure the safety and well-being of consumers are adequately protected in the process.”

The Strom Law Firm Helps Victims of Distracted Driving in Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Cases

If you or a loved one have been injured or killed because of an accident, whether it was caused by distracted driving or DUI, the attorneys at the Strom Law Firm can help. The sooner you hire one of our accident lawyers, the sooner we will be able to investigate your case and the stronger your case will be. We offer free, confidential consultations to discuss the facts of your case, so do not hesitate to call us. 803.252.4800