Ridesharing Companies: What Happens After A SC Personal Injury Accident?

Ridesharing Companies Branch Out to SC, Personal Injury Dangers Loom

ridesharing companiesSC personal injury accidents occur every day.  If you are the victim of an accident, you may be looking for insurance coverage to help you pay for your medical bills and lost wages.  With the expansion of ridesharing companies such as uberX into South Carolina, the South Carolina Office of Regulatory Staff is warning South Carolina citizens that they may not be covered in the event of an accident.

On Tuesday, June 24th, the South Carolina State Office of Regulatory Staff released a statement of public advisory warning potential ridesharing users that uberX and other such companies do not have adequate insurance or registration with the state, putting passengers at risk of loss in the event of a  SC personal injury accident.

The office said that uberX had posted craigslist ads looking for drivers in Myrtle Beach, Columbia, and Greenville, which means the San Francisco-based company could move into South Carolina in 2-3 weeks. The ORS said that it has not received an application to operate as a commercial transport service, meaning the company violates South Carolina regulations.

Ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft have insisted in other state cases that they are not a traditional taxi service, but a mobile app that connects passengers with drivers, who use their personal vehicles and rely on personal insurance in the event of an accident. However, past problems with accidents have shown that the driver’s personal insurance does not always cover the costs of personal injury in the event of a car accident.

The OSR said in its public statement that using ridesharing apps that hire drivers without a certificate from the Public Service Commission could leave customers with potential gaps in insurance coverage in the event of a car accident leading to personal injury. Some vehicle insurance policies have specific clauses that do not cover personal injury in the event that the driver uses the vehicle for commercial purposes.

Ridesharing companies Uber and Lyft both recently announced that they would expand insurance coverage for their drivers in the event that the contract employees are involved in an accident while acting as employees. If the driver is logged into the mobile app to accept fares, whether the driver is driving a fare or not, Uber says its new insurance plan will cover the driver in the event of an accident. The insurance will cover the driver after the driver’s personal insurance fails, up to $100,000 in bodily injury and $25,000 in property damage.

“Uber is taking this step to eliminate any ambiguity while the insurance industry and state governments update policies and regulations for the new world of ridesharing transportation,” the company wrote in a blog post. “We are proud to be the standard bearer on this issue as we believe that this clarity is in the public’s best interest.”

“Safety always comes first in the cities and communities we serve,” Uber says. “We make sure all ridesharing drivers undergo background checks that are among the most stringent in the industry.”

A lawsuit going forward in San Francisco alleges that the mobile app also distracts ridesharing drivers, because it encourages them to take their eyes off the road in order to pick up fares. This distracted driving problem led to the death of a little girl on New Years Day in San Francisco, and the family has filed a wrongful death personal injury suit against Uber.

The Strom Law Firm Defends 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

Charleston Reps File Motorcycle Helmet Safety Legislation

helmet

Three State Reps Have Filed New Legislation to Require Helmets for Motorcycle Safety

helmetThree state representatives have filed new legislation to require helmets for motorcycle drivers and passengers in response to a recent spike in motorcycle accident deaths.

On Wednesday, January 14th, Reps. Wendell Gilliard, Carl Anderson, and J. Seth Whipper, from Charleston, filed House Bill 4500, which proposes a helmet requirement for motorcyclists in the Palmetto State.

“This is about saving lives,” said Gilliard on Thursday, January 15th. “I feel like that’s one of the things I was sworn to do.”

Fatal motorcycle accidents have gone up in South Carolina since 2010. That year, there were a reported 81 deaths in motorcycle accidents. In 2012, that number rose to 110, and last year it reached 121.

Part of the reason for the spike, according to Gilliard, has to do with the state’s growing population. When previous motorcycle safety legislation was passed, he says, there was not as much business and not as much traffic. South Carolina requires those under 21 to wear motorcycle helmets, but that measure alone is not enough to promote better safety.

“The only way to be safe is to wear a helmet,” he said. “It’s better to be safe, to be proactive, than to be sorry.”

However, similar legislation has been filed before and it never left committee. In 2012, former Senator Ralph Anderson, from Greenville, filed a similar bill but it never went out of committee for a vote. Governor Nikki Haley also threatened to veto the bill, provided it was voted into law by the Senate and House.

A biker’s rights group called ABATE has also learned about the potential new legislation and asked its members to voice their opinion about mandatory helmet laws.

“We believe there’s a freedom of choice that motorcyclists across the state should be able to choose,” said Chad Fuller, an attorney and spokesman for the group. “We don’t advocate not wearing a helmet. We don’t believe that helmets save lives. Education saves lives.”

Lowcountry Harley-Davidson also released a statement about the motorcycle safety legislation:

“While we encourage motorcyclists to wear protective gear while riding, the Harley-Davidson brand is built on freedom. We believe that the individual rider should have the freedom to choose whether to wear a helmet or not.”

Motorcycle Accident Injuries and Fatalities

A motorcycle accident typically involves serious, and sometimes fatal, injuries to the driver.  Many times, these accidents are the result of careless conduct by individuals driving automobiles and other larger motor vehicles.

The amount of compensation that a person injured or killed in a motorcycle accident receives depends upon several facts, including the financial losses, medical expenses, pain and suffering, and loss of quality of life.

The Strom Law Firm Accident Attorneys Can Help with Motorcycle Accident Lawsuits

The Strom Law Firm’s South Carolina motorcycle accident attorneys will carefully analyze all aspects of the sequence of events, road conditions, and mechanical factors which led to the collision. If you have suffered a serious personal injury, or the wrongful death of a loved one due to another person’s negligence, call The Strom Law Firm, LLC at 803.252.4800 or contact us in Columbia, South Carolina, for a free consultation.

Traffic Camera Fate Delayed

Accident News

BEAUFORT, S.C. (WLTX-TV) – A state commission that was supposed to examine the use of traffic cameras in the state was supposed to have issued its report this week.  However that has not been done because the panel never met.

The Beaufort Gazette reports the panel was established as part of a law passed over the summer banning use of cameras to issue speeding tickets.

Gov. Nikki Haley’s office says there was a glitch in the law that left out who was to be on the commission, which is why the panel never met. Chairman Glenn McCall said he is ready to proceed once the members are determined.

Ridgeland became the first municipality in South Carolina to use cameras to catch speeders when it stationed them on Interstate 95 in 2010.

The town has since ended the program.

The ban on the use of traffic cameras was established after the town of Ridgefield attempted to use the cameras to catch out-of-state speeders traveling down seven miles of Interstate 95.  AAA Carolinas also endorsed the cameras because of South Carolina’s poor history with traffic safety.

However, Ridgeland was told its plan was illegal based on a 2006 general attorney ruling and 2009 law that effectively disallowed photo enforcement.  After the ban in late June, the town abandoned their efforts to install traffic cameras.

According to theInsurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), a little of half of the States, 52%, use cameras to enforce speeding and/or red light laws.

IIHS says they support the cameras because of the dangers brought about by having a police car stop another vehicle in dense or high-speed areas and the impossibility and potential neglect of having police provide complete around-the-clock surveillance.

By: Pete Strom, South Carolina Accident Attorney

Connor Shaw Suffers Concussion, Questionable for Florida Game

WLTX-TV is reporting that Steve Spurrier confirmed that USC quarterback Connor Shaw and linebacker Devonte Holloman both sustained a concussion in Saturday’s game against Arkansas.   As a precaution, Shaw and Holloman will not participate in practice and will be further evaluated this week. A decision as to whether they will be allowed to play in Saturday’s game against Florida will not be made until  Wednesday or Thursday.

concussion

concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury that is caused by a blow or jolt to the head or body, a fall, or another injury that jars or shakes the brain inside the skull.  Common symptoms of a concussion include:

  • loss of consciousness,
  • confusion/disorientation,
  • headache, and
  • nausea or vomiting.

Because many of the symptoms of “mild” to “moderate” traumatic brain injury go unnoticed, a severe injury may not be detected.

Even a mild TBI – classified as loss of consciousness or confusion/disorientation lasting less than 30 minutes – can have long-standing after effects. While MRI and CAT scans are often normal, the patient may experience headache, difficulty thinking, memory problems, attention deficits, mood swings and frustration, among other symptoms, for weeks or even months after the injury.

Repeated mild TBI occurring over months or years can cause cumulative neurological and cognitive deficits. If repeated over a short period of time (hours, days or weeks), they can be catastrophic, even fatal.

Click here to read more about traumatic brain injuries.

The Gamecocks will take on the Florida Gators at Williams-Brice Stadium at 12:00 p.m. on CBS.  Our best wishes go out for a speedy recovery.

By: Pete Strom, South Carolina Personal Injury Lawyer

Child Dies in SC Day Care

Richland County, SC- Wltx-TV is reporting that Columbia police is still investigating the death of a child at a day care center.

Family members told the news station that the 15-month-old girl passed away Thursday afternoon.

The coroner’s office says they are still performing tests to find out if the death will be ruled accidental, natural, or criminal. Until investigators release the cause of death, the name of the child care facility will not be released.

Authorities say a cause of death could be determined Friday after an autopsy is performed.

By: Pete Strom, South Carolina Criminal Defense Lawyer

ADT Recalls Carbon Monoxide Detectors

South Carolina Accident Attorneys

Approximately 20,000 CO 1224T Carbon Monoxide (CO) detectors are being voluntarily recalled by Sensor System, of St. Charles, Ill., and ADT Security Services Inc. of Boca Raton, Fla., in cooperation with the Consumer Product Safety Commission.  In order to check your detector and determine whether you are affected by the recall, you should check the model number which is listed behind the front cover.

Hazard: The CPSC says when the CO detectors reach the end of their useful life, they should send a signal to make a sound in the home alarm panel indicating to the homeowner that it is time to replace them and also send signal to ADT’s alarm monitoring center.

However, some of the detectors were not wired properly to the ADT alarm system.  This can result in the sound not going off in the home alarm panel.  It can also mean the detector will not send a signal to the ADT alarm monitoring center at the end of its useful life.  Not replacing a CO detector at the end its useful life poses a severe CO poisoning hazard.

Incidents/InjuriesThankfully, no injuries and incidents have been reported.

Sold at: The defective detectors were installed by ADT between October 2008 and December 2010 as part of a  home security system.

Manufactured in: They were made in China and Mexico

Remedy: If you have a CO detector affected by the recall, you should call ADT immediately for a free inspection of the recalled detectors and, if necessary, a free repair. The CPSC says consumers should not try to disable the recalled detectors. ADT says they have contacted all customers.

Consumer Contact: For more information, call ADT toll-free at (800) 238-2727 between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m. ET Monday through Friday or visit the company’s website at www.us.adt.com

By: South Carolina Accident Attorney Pete Strom

 

 

Beware of Sexual Offenders, Especially on Halloween Night

One of America’s most fun-filled holidays is just around the corner.  With proper planning and safety prevention, you and your family can enjoy a safe and Happy Halloween.

One of the most important safety measures a parent or guardian can take is to understand the laws regulating sexual offenders and know where they live within your community.  Look up the locations of sexual offenders here.
South Carolina Sexual Predator Directory

South Carolina prevents sexual offenders who are on probation or parole from answering their doors on Halloween night.  The law states that sexual offenders who are on probation should turn off any outside light (porch lights) and not answer the door at all on Halloween night.  They should also not participate in any Halloween parties, carnivals or other celebrations.  State law also prevents them from putting up any Halloween decorations.  (Note: This does not apply to all sex offenders, many of whom are no longer on probation or parole and therefore not under the jurisdiction of SCDPPPS.)

Sexual offenders also have to comply with a mandatory curfew from 5:30 to 9:00 p.m. and some S.C. counties require sexual offenders to report to a designated location during the curfew.

Parents and guardians should be cautious and follow these additional safety tips for a safe and fun night:

  1. Make sure that your child trick or treats with you or other trusted responsible adults.
  2. Discuss safety issues in advance with children such as carrying a flashlight or glow in the dark wand and walking on the sidewalk or the proper side of the road.
  3. Children should be taught not to approach homes that do not have a well-lit porch or entryway and to stay together.
  4. Check EVERYTHING children collect while trick or treating.

 

 

 

Car Crashes into Columbia Building

South Carolina Accident Lawyers

(source: wltx.com)

WLTX-TV reports that an elderly woman was fortunate enough to walk away uninjured Thursday morning after her car came to rest inside a building located near Two Notch Road and Interstate 20.

Authorities say the 77-year-old woman hit the gas pedal instead of the brakes causing her to ram her Toyota Camry into a Buddhist center, Shin Hatch, located in the SGI-USA building on O’Neil Court. Ironically, the Department of Motor Vehicles is also located in the same building.

A volunteer manager at the center Shin Hatch says no members were inside the building during the accident, but if  the accident had occurred 15 minutes later, people could have been inside studying and praying.

“We never expected this,” said Hatch. “We had members arriving here right after it happened.”

A DMV spokeswoman said the accident may have caused a small crack in their space, but described the repairs needed as minimal.

Thankfully, no one was injured and no charges have been filed.

By: South Carolina Accident Attorney Pete Strom

Police: We Need Your Help for Car Break-Ins

South Carolina Accident Attorneys

WLTX-TV is reporting that Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott is asking the local community for assistance in resolving a string of car break-ins in the Midlands.

The Richland County Sheriff’s Department says a string of the break-ins have occurred in the Ballentine, White Rock, and Chapin areas of Richland and Lexington Counties.  The incidents, which occured between September 16 and October 21, 2011, took place in the early morning hours of 2:00 AM – 5:30 AM.

Authorities say a large number of these crimes have occurred in the Forty Love Point, Foxport and Lakeport communities in Richland County. Fortunately, one of the incidents was captured on surveillance video. In the video, it shows the suspect carrying items taken from a car break-in that occurred in Lexington County.

Sheriff Lott says the suspect is forcing his way into cars and stealing guns, laptop computers and iPads. He stated the suspect is believed to be a male approximately 6 feet tall and of slender build.

The Lexington County Sheriff’s Department and Richland County Sheriff’s Department are working together to identify the person(s) responsible.

Anyone with information on the identity of those responsible is urged contact Crimestoppers at 1-888-CRIME SC or www.midlandscrimestoppers.com.

By: South Carolina Accident Attorney Pete Strom

AAA: Teens Most Likely to Crash in First Month of Solo Driving

South Carolina Accident Lawyers

A new study conducted by the University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center, on behalf of the AAA Foundation, found that teens are at the greatest risk of getting into a crash during their first month of solo driving.  For the frantic parents out there, there is some hope. The risk of getting into an accident drops drastically after one to two years of experience behind the wheel.

The study also stated that during the first month of solo driving, teens are 50 percent more likely to be involved in an accident than in their entire first year, and twice as likely to wreck than after their second year of experienced driving.

The most common mistakes that caused crashes were failing to reduce speed, inattention and failure to yield. These mistakes accounted for approximately 57 percent of the crashes in which teens were at least partly to blame during their first month of solo driving.

If you have been injured in a car wreck, you need an aggressive Columbia, South Carolina auto accident lawyer to protect your legal rights. Even minor accidents can lead to severe and catastrophic injuries, result in permanent disability, and even death.

Centrally located in Columbia, South Carolina, the car accident and personal injury lawyers at the Strom Law Firm, L.L.C. will pursue your right for fair compensation after an accident.

Our South Carolina auto accident injury lawyers have the experience you need. Whether your case involves:

The auto injury lawyers at the Strom Law Firm, L.L.C.  will help you maximize the amount of compensation that you receive, and let you focus on getting better.

By: South Carolina Car Accident Lawyer Pete Strom