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Rideshare Accidents Involving Uber and Lyft

The massive upsurge in popularity of rideshare and ride-hailing companies means increasing numbers of people are being injured in accidents involving Uber and Lyft.

Uber, Lyft, and other ride-hailing companies use amateur drivers. Although drivers must submit their details including their accident record and undergo a background check before being hired as partners, critics say the checks are not vigorous enough.

Ride-hailing companies may be contributing to an increase in car wrecks. It’s a complicated equation because these services can also help reduce drunk driving. In a recent working paper, the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business claimed Uber and Lyft are fueling accidents. The team estimated about 2 to 3 percent of the number of crashes in any given area is attributed to the introduction of ride-hailing services.

If you have been hurt in an accident as a rideshare service passenger, hit in another vehicle by a rideshare driver, or are an injured rideshare driver, you should know your rights. Please contact our experienced Virginia rideshare injury drivers for a free consultation.

Who is responsible for Accidents Involving Uber and Lyft?

When Uber and Lyft first hit the streets, people who were injured in accidents involving these services faced a battle to claim compensation. Drivers could also be left in a precarious position. Their insurance companies refused claims, and Uber and Lyft failed to pay up.  People injured in these accidents now receive more protection.

When a crash involves an Uber or Lyft car, the driver is usually liable.  The driver is the person who was operating the vehicle. However, a driver’s insurance policy may not be enough to adequately compensate passengers for injuries they suffered. More insurance companies are now offering rideshare policies.

However, in some cases, crash victims are holding rideshare companies accountable for the poor driving, and lawsuits against the companies have steadily increased. Uber and Lyft have also been sued over sexual assaults by drivers.

Uber and Lyft in the past claimed their drivers are not employees, but “independent contractors.” The companies sought to distance themselves by claiming they merely supplied the mobile communications for the drivers. The courts have not always agreed with this argument. The rideshare companies now have more generous insurance policies.

What Insurance Policies do Uber and Lyft Hold?

Uber and Lyft provide a $1 million insurance policy that covers drivers and passengers injured in ride-hailing accidents. These policies provide compensation for injuries, medical costs, and loss of life. The plan includes:

  • Rideshare passengers who are injured while riding in the vehicle;
  • Rideshare drivers who are hurt in an accident that was caused by another driver;
  • Other drivers, pedestrians, cyclists or bystanders injured in accidents caused by a rideshare driver.

As well as this policy, Uber requires its drivers to carry state-mandated minimums for their own insurance policies.

How Do Rideshare Insurance Policies Work?

Lyft’s Rideshare Insurance

Lyft outlines its policy on its website. If a driver has the Lyft app but the driver mode is off, any accident is covered by the driver’s own policy.

If the driver mode is on but no ride has been accepted, Lyft provides contingent liability coverage. The policy has a $50,000 maximum limit per person, a $50,000 maximum limit per person and a $25,000 ceiling for property damage.

From the time a rider has accepted a request until the driver has finished the ride on the app, Lyft’s policy has a $1 million per accident limit. This will be additional to your insurance even if you have a commercial ridesharing policy.

Uber’s Rideshare Insurance

Uber states when its app is on and its partners are waiting for a ride drivers are covered for liability to a third party if you are in an accident when they are at fault. Coverage includes the driver’s liability to pay another’s medical bills or to pay for property damage.

Minimum coverage limits are:

  • $50,000 per person/$100,000 per accident for bodily injury;
  • $25,000 per accident for property damage incurred.

When drivers are not at fault, they make a claim against their own insurance. A personal insurance policy may cover drivers in this situation.

En route to picking up a rider after accepting a request and during the Uber trip, drivers are covered for:

  1. Third party liability coverage for damages to another driver, a pedestrian or property when the Uber driver is at fault up to $1 million per accident.
  2. Uninsured or underinsured motorist bodily injury coverage in case of an accident when another driver was to blame but has no insurance or inadequate insurance. This coverage also includes the situation in which a hit-and-run driver cannot be located.
  3. Contingent collision and comprehensive coverage as long as the driver maintains auto insurance that includes collision coverage for the vehicle when not on an Uber ride. The coverage limit is up to the actual value of the vehicle and there is a $1,000 deductible.

When a Rideshare Company is Negligent
On occasions, the behavior of a rideshare driver goes beyond negligence. Sometimes, victims sue rideshare companies claiming they failed to properly vet drivers. Rideshare companies may be accountable for the actions of drivers when they:

  • Drive drunk
  • Commit robberies
  • Assault riders
  • Commit sexual assault and rapes
  • Kidnap riders

These serious and dangerous incidents have been blamed on the companies’ failure to perform wide-ranging enough background checks on the drivers using their apps. Both companies outsource their background checks and don’t require riders to provide fingerprints.

Contact an Experienced Virginia Injury Lawyer over Accidents Involving Uber and Lyft

Accidents involving Uber, Lyft, and other ride-hailing companies often involve a confusing network of insurance companies and liability claims. An experienced Virginia injury lawyer can assist you with your claim. Please contact the Smith Law Center via our website or call us at (757) 244.7000.

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If you or a relative had a severe reaction to military housing mold, it might be time to talk with a toxic mold lawyer. Mold is everywhere, and can be dangerous. Researchers have linked mold to serious respiratory illnesses in some individuals.

Smith Law Center may be able to help if a property owner failed to keep you safe from mold in your military housing. We are one of Virginia’s oldest and most successful firms. We know how to hold negligent property owners responsible, especially when the military is involved.

Call us at (757) 244-700 or contact us online to set up a free consultation. There’s no fee for learning more about Virginia mold laws, your rights, and your legal options.

Mold in Military Housing

Black mold in military housing became widely known when Reuters published an investigation in 2018. Since then, the Department of Defense and the housing providers were supposed to take steps to improve the situation.

Unfortunately, a 2020 audit by the DoD Office of Inspector General found many issues, including the need for mold remediation, still persist.

Monetary Awards in Military Housing Toxic Mold Cases

If the property owner lets toxic mold run wild and continue to cause you harm, talk with our toxic mold attorneys about filing a lawsuit.

You may receive financial compensation for:

Service members and their families do not receive different types of damages than civilians. These are civil lawsuits in traditional courts of law.

Military Housing Mold Toxicity Symptoms

The Institute of Medicine discovered there was evidence connecting exposure to indoor mold with:

  • Upper respiratory tract symptoms;
  • Coughing;
  • Wheezing;
  • Asthma symptoms in individuals with asthma; and
  • Hypersensitivity pneumonitis in individuals with weak immune systems.

There is also limited evidence that mold causes respiratory illnesses in healthy children or causes people to develop asthma.

Understanding Exposure to Toxic Mold in Military Housing

The topic of toxic mold is complicated. This Is in part because the term “toxic mold” isn’t accurate. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) explains mold isn’t toxic or poisonous. However, some molds are toxigenic, which means they produce toxins called mycotoxins.

Mold is common in military housing because it’ll grow anywhere there’s moisture. That includes on and inside walls, carpet, upholstery, wallpaper, and heating and air conditioning systems. This is especially pronounced in humid conditions such as those present in Virginia.

Some people have no difficulties around mold, even large infestations in their homes. Other individuals are sensitive to molds, including those that produce mycotoxins. Someone can have a severe reaction when exposed to a large amount of mold indoors.

People may be more likely to experience mold toxicity symptoms if they have:

  • Allergies,
  • An underlying lung disease,
  • Immune suppression,
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder,
  • Asthma, or
  • Another chronic respiratory disease.

Common Types of Military Housing Mold

When you’re trying to learn more from the CDC and other resources, you’ll see the word “fungus” a lot. Mold is a type of fungus, which is something that exists all around us. Fungi are living organisms different from animals, plants, and bacteria. There are over 200,000 types of fungi and over 100,000 types of molds.

If you discovered mold in your military housing, it could be Cladosporium, Penicillium, Stachybotrys chartarum, Aspergillus, or many other types. Stachybotrys is what everyone knows as black mold. Aspergillus is a common indoor fungus, which releases mycotoxins and can cause illness. Your symptoms may resemble common allergy or asthma symptoms.

Who is Liable for Military Housing Mold?

Since 1996, most military housing has come under the management of private companies:

  • Belfour Beatty Communities: Fort Eustis and Fort Story/li>
  • Lincoln Military Housing: Dahlgren, Little Creek, Naval Station Norfolk, Northwest Annex, Oceana, Portsmouth, Quantico, and Yorktown/li>
  • Hunt Military Communities: Fort Lee and Langley AFB

Outside of Virginia, Lendlease and Corvias Military Living are two more housing providers. Together, these five companies formed the Military Housing Association.

Military families living in on-base housing must take their complaints to their private management company — not the military. The company is responsible for providing habitable conditions and making repairs, including mold remediation.

If you’re unsure about your rights, review your state law and local ordinances about mold. In general, it’s the landlord’s responsibility to provide a habitable unit, which means it has to be safe to live in. A unit isn’t safe if it’s causing a tenant health issues due to mold.

The Virginia Residential Landlord and Tenant Act requires landlords to disclose if there’s mold in the written report of the move-in inspection. If a tenant discovers visible mold in the unit, then the Act requires the landlord to remove the mold and relocate the tenant until it’s gone at no additional cost to the tenant.

Unfortunately, many families find their housing providers aren’t receptive to complaints. Attorney Stephen M. Smith has handled many mold lawsuits against military housing providers who fail to abide by their lease terms and the law when it comes to mold remediation and other hazards.

Other Hazards in Military Housing

Many service members and their families deal with uncomfortable, if not hazardous, conditions in privatized military housing, including:

Lead Paint: Lead-based paint can cause headaches, nausea, fatigue, irritability, behavioral problems, learning disabilities, seizures, organ damage, and in extreme cases, death.

Asbestos: Exposure to asbestos harms a person’s lungs, and can lead to lung fibrosis (scarring), lung cancer, and mesothelioma.

Radon: Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking. It naturally forms underground, however cracks and gaps in buildings lead to over-exposure indoors.

Poor Water Quality: Dozens of military sites have water with detectable levels of harmful chemicals.

Other issues involve rodent or insect infestations, pesticides, and faulty electrical wiring.

What Happens When a Lot of People Get Sick?

Sometimes mold exposure impacts a single individual or family. However, when the mold spreads throughout military housing, it can impact hundreds or thousands of people.

Occasionally, a large enough group of people are injured to allow for a class action or mass tort lawsuit. A class action lawsuit is one where a class representative acts as the plaintiff on behalf of the group of hurt individuals. Not every victim participates in the lawsuit. There are rules about when a group is big and similar enough to create a class action.

Mass tort lawsuits are different. When there are fewer plaintiffs who have their own set of circumstances, each person files a lawsuit. For efficiency’s sake, one or a couple of law firms may represent most plaintiffs, and the lawsuits are consolidated in a federal court.

Call the Military Housing Mold Lawyers at Smith Law Center for Help Right Away

Mold cases come about in a few ways. You or a loved one may start getting sick, and after weeks or months of struggling to find answers, you finally realize your military housing has a mold infestation. In other cases, you struggle with visible mold and then become ill.

Once you connect the illness with the mold, it’s time to talk with a toxic mold lawyer. Reaching out to an attorney early helps you build a strong compensation claim. We know how to collect evidence, identify who is liable, and craft a successful argument for a settlement or court award.

Attorney Stephen M. Smith has decades of experience handling injury claims and has been internationally recognized for his work. He has litigated cases involving catastrophic injuries and complex legal and scientific issues. In 2019, he was inducted into the Virginia Lawyers Hall of Fame.

You’re in good hands when you come to Smith Law Center for help. Reach out online or call (757) 244-7000 to schedule your 100% free consultation.

Military Housing Mold Lawsuits: FAQs

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