13-year-old boy sues Uber over Hollywood death of film director dad

 

POSTED BY TONI MCALLISTER ON JANUARY 16, 2017 IN LIFE 

The son of a Portuguese cinematographer, producer and film director killed in a collision with an Uber driver in the Hollywood area in 2016 is suing the ride-hailing service.

The Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit was filed on behalf of 13-year-old Joaquim Timoner, whose 41-year-old father, Vasco Lucas Nunes, was killed last March 11 at Beverly Boulevard and Hudson Avenue.

The wrongful death suit filed on the youngster’s behalf by his paternal grandmother, Andrea Doane Timoner, names Uber Technologies Inc. and Uber driver Andre Zamon Ausler and seeks unspecified damages.

The lawsuit alleges Ausler was using the Uber app at the time of the 11:30 a.m. collision even though doing so causes drivers to be distracted.

An Uber representative did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

According to the complaint filed Friday, Ausler was driving west with a passenger on Beverly Boulevard when he made a left turn into the path of Nunes, who was on a motorcycle. Nunes was propelled into the air and landed on the pavement, where he was given CPR by a good Samaritan.

“Unfortunately, Mr. Nunes succumbed to his injuries and died moments later,” according to the lawsuit.

Nunes’ work is part of the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.

–City News Service

http://mynewsla.com/life/2017/01/16/13-year-old-boy-sues-uber-over-hollywood-death-of-film-director-dad/

Dallas woman sues Uber after crash changed her life

Local regulators need to WAKE UP! Protect the general public from this! 

Lyft driver's crash with fire truck could expose shortfalls of insurance coverage

by: Bob Ward Updated: Nov 22, 2016 - 6:44 PM

BOSTON - There may not be enough insurance money to pay for all the damage after a Lyft driver crashed into a Boston fire truck last month.

The driver hit the truck in the intersection of Commonwealth Avenue and Dartmouth Street, which sent the truck crashing into a row of parked cars -- causing tens of thousands of dollars in damage.

The driver of the Chevy Equinox was working for the ride-hailing service Lyft at the time. Boston police have cited him for the crash.

But owners of rideshare cars are suddenly realizing they’re in for a big headache as there may not be enough insurance money to pay for all the damage.

In an email to FOX25, Lyft says because its driver didn’t have a passenger or an assignment, its insurance is limited to $25,000 for the entire crash.

The Boston fire department told FOX25 it estimates the damage to its 20-year-old reserve fire engine, which suffered a bent frame, to be at least $50,000.

The owner of a luxury car showed us documents that his car was valued at nearly $14,000 and it was considered totaled.

Those two vehicles alone total $64,000, well above Lyft's $25,000 limit.

With the number of luxury cars damaged or destroyed, the total could easily top $100,000.

Mayor Marty Walsh told FOX25 insurance for ride-hailing services like Lyft has been a concern from the beginning.

“I know when legislation was passed we were concerned about some of the regulations and the ability to regulate car sharing and we don’t have that ability in the city. And I think one of the check marks we were looking at was insurance,” Walsh said.

The city hasn't made a decision on how it will move forward, it just knows that fire truck is going to be scrapped. 

Several of the owners of damaged cars say they're looking at their own options.

http://www.fox25boston.com/news/lyft-drivers-crash-with-fire-truck-could-expose-shortfalls-of-insurance-coverage/469695460?utm_content=bufferef324&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer

“Don’t let Uber and Lyft’s $1 million dollar insurance coverage fool you. This should be a great concern for other drivers on the streets, bicyclists, and pedestrians. Rideshare insurance coverage is NOT what you think. I’m hoping regulators in the future will understand the importance of this.”
— A#1 Cab Dispatch- Naomi Hjelm's thoughts on this article

Here's how good Uber's Insurance is- Read This!

Passenger Opens Fire: Uber driver fights to get his car fixed

Posted: Sep 17, 2016 1:22 AM CDT

SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - A passenger took aim at his Uber driver, but miraculously escaped the bullets that hit his car multiple times.

Brandon Williams said he is lucky to be alive after his Uber passenger opened fire on him while trying to do a good deed that did not go unpunished.

"He left his phone in my car charging in the back seat. It was an UberPOOL, another passenger picked it up, I answered it and assured him I was going to return it," said Williams.

Before Williams could return the phone, another passenger found the phone and posted disparaging remarks on the alleged shooters Twitter account.

Williams said he did not realize it until he arrived to the Valencia Park home.

The former Uber passenger began shooting at Williams.

"He shot about five times. A couple of bullets went through the glass. Three of the bullets went into my car. He was aiming at my head and fortunately I have very thick seats and the bullets got lodged in the second and third row seats."

Police arrested a 16-year-old, and his case is still making its way through the courts.

In the meantime, Williams tried to file a claim with Uber's insurance provider - James River Insurance Company- which covers drivers while logged into the app.

"They do not want to cover my medical expenses or my car at all. I am basically out defenseless with the wolves essentially," said Williams.

James River Insurance's coverage matches a driver's personal policy while driving for Uber. William's policy, however, denied his $17,000 claim.

William's insurance said he is not covered for commercial driving - so James River Insurance followed the same footsteps as his insurance.

Uber directed questions about the denial from CBS News 8 to James River Insurance - James River Insurance did not have an after-hours contact.

Uber said it has suspended Williams from driving after the incident until his car is repaired.

"I don't think I'll ever do any taxi or service or anything of that nature - it's too dangerous. My mother made me promise. She said jokingly - Uber is not going to send me flowers if you are killed driving for them - it's not worth it," he said.

While Williams continues to appeal the insurance decision he is also trying to receive restitution from the shooter's family. That process could take some time as the case makes its way through the courts - until then he and his car are off the road. 

http://www.cbs8.com/story/33116773/passenger-opens-fire-uber-driver-fights-to-get-his-car-fixed

Riders must beware of the fine print when taking Uber & Lyft

 

 

Tom Krisher, Associated Press - Jun 25, 2016 11:00 am

When you catch a ride using Uber or Lyft, you do so at your own risk.

Under terms and conditions that riders agree to — but few read — at sign up, the app-based ride-hailing companies say they aren’t legally liable for the safety of their drivers or the quality of their services. That’s because the drivers are independent contractors, not employees.

The terms seem to be at odds with company statements that highlight their efforts to keep riders safe with driver background checks, a code of conduct and other measures.

Instead, if a rider is injured in a ride-hailing car, the driver appears to be liable. If a driver gets lost and makes a rider late for an appointment, or if a driver assaults someone, the company says it’s not involved.

Uber “does not guarantee the quality, suitability, safety or ability of third-party providers (drivers),” its terms say. Riders also agree that the “entire risk arising out of your use of the services, and any service or good requested in connection therewith, remains solely with you.”

“That’s just a real eye opener,” says Stephen Saltzburg, a law professor at George Washington University and frequent Uber user, who admits he didn’t read the terms. “If Uber is so confident in the checks and all of this, why is it so anxious to try to shift liability to the user?”

Lyft’s terms say it has “no control over the quality or safety of the transportation that occurs as a result of the services.” The company also tells drivers that they are responsible for all liability. “The language in the terms of service is a reflection of the reality that people using the platform are on the open road in moving vehicles, which presents a risk,” spokeswoman Alexandra LaManna says.

Uber doesn’t take on the liability risk of drivers because they are independent contractors, which is common in many industries, says spokeswoman Taylor Patterson. “It doesn’t detract in any way from the fact that we take safety very seriously,” she says.

Uber’s app shows riders the driver’s name, license plate number, photo and ratings from other riders. The app also lets friends track a route in real time, says Patterson.

Both Uber and Lyft carry $1 million in liability insurance that covers each driver while en route to pick up a passenger or while carrying one. The policy becomes the primary insurance covering the driver.

Several apps that summon taxicabs have liability waivers in terms and conditions that are similar to Uber and Lyft. But many taxis are different. Riders in New York City who get cabs in conventional ways, for instance, do not have to agree to any terms, said Allan Fromberg, spokesman for the city taxi commission.

The liability waivers also are being tested in court.

People can still be legally bound by the terms if they don’t read them, says Saltzburg. The terms could hold up in court with Uber’s argument that it merely offers a platform to link riders and drivers, he says.

https://skift.com/2016/06/25/riders-must-beware-the-fine-print-when-taking-uber-and-lyft/

Lyft sued over fatal crash after settlement delay

Carolyn Said | on April 18, 2016

Eighteen months after an accident claimed the life of a 24-year-old Sacramento man taking a Lyft ride home on a rainy night, his mother and boyfriend are suing the San Francisco ride company. They claim that Lyft is dragging its heels on taking financial responsibility for a crash that the California Highway Patrol says was the Lyft driver’s fault.

“Losing my son is a black hole I live with all the time,” said Donna Dinapoli, 55, a Folsom resident. “And I’m angry because it was so senseless and didn’t have to happen if the driver had been more careful.”

Lyft, despite its vaunted $1 million insurance liability policy, has not offered her compensation or even condolences, she said. “I think it’s a disgrace for a company as large as Lyft” to try to duck responsibility, Dinapoli said.

“Our hearts go out to the victims of this tragic accident,” Lyft wrote in a statement. “Lyft’s $1 million liability policy, which includes uninsured/underinsured liability coverage, is designed to provide coverage for Lyft drivers to protect passengers and third parties.”

A source familiar with Lyft’s position on the case said the company has not disclaimed responsibility for the accident, which was the young company’s first fatality. The delays stemmed from the investigation of the crash by Lyft’s insurance carrier — James River Insurance Co., which also insures Uber rides — a process that is still ongoing, the source said. The legal case, which is still in the discovery process, also is likely to have a lengthy timeline. Dinapoli’s attorney said he hopes to go to trial by the end of the year.

In the early hours of Nov. 1, 2014, Dinapoli’s son, Shane Holland, 24, and his boyfriend, Brady Lawrence, 27, summoned a Lyft car to take them home from a Halloween party. Holland had promised his mother that the couple would be safe and not get behind the wheel.

Heading westbound on I-80 near Citrus Heights in Sacramento County, Lyft driver Shanti Adhikari, then 31, abruptly swerved to avoid a disabled vehicle up ahead, lost control of his Toyota Camry and spun out onto the shoulder, where the car smashed into two trees, killing Holland and injuring Lawrence and the driver, according to the CHP report on the incident.

“(Adhikari) caused this collision by making an unsafe turning motion,” said the CHP report, adding that the Lyft driver’s actions were “the proximate cause” of Holland’s fatal injuries and amounted to “involuntary manslaughter without gross negligence.” Moreover, the Lyft driver had no proof of insurance, the CHP said. Adhikari said he was struck from behind, rather than having swerved, the report said. “After inspecting (the Lyft car) on scene, I was unable to locate damage which would substantiate (that) claim,” the investigating officer wrote. Adhikari, who could not be reached for comment, has not been charged.

Over speed limit

Kevin Morrison, the attorney for Dinapoli and Lawrence, said data from the Camry showed it was going at 75 mph at the time of the crash, over the legal speed limit and particularly unsafe in rainy conditions.

Morrison said Adhikari, who had been driving for Lyft for about a month at the time, had a speeding conviction from a year before the accident. That wouldn’t have disqualified him from driving for Lyft. Its website states that a driver can have up to three moving violations in the past three years and up to one major moving violation.

To a layperson, Lyft’s legal responses to the lawsuit may seem harsh. Its “affirmative defense” appears to blame the victims. “Injuries or damages to decedent, if any, were proximately caused by negligence, recklessness or intentional conduct of decedent in that he failed to exercise ordinary care under the circumstances,” says its answer to the case filed in San Francisco Superior Court.

While heartless-sounding, such wording is commonplace, said Andrew Bradt, assistant professor at UC Berkeley School of Law. “They have to put that language into their early filings in order to avoid waiving the possibility of contributory negligence on the part of the plaintiffs,” he said. For instance, if the passengers were found not to have been wearing seat belts, Lyft’s and its insurer’s liability could be reduced, he said. “Failure to assert a possible defense can result in losing it forever.”

Still, he said, Lyft’s responses are unlikely to play well in the court of public opinion — and could hurt the company’s reputation. “It seems like misdirection if one of their main selling points is protection by an insurance policy, but the realities of recovering under that policy are extremely onerous,” Bradt said.

Lyft’s response also uses the driver’s status as an independent contractor as a defense, another commonplace legal placeholder for a possible future defense. The driver “was an independent contractor responsible for their own means and methods, making the doctrine of respondeat superior inapplicable,” Lyft’s response said. That doctrine holds that an employer is responsible for wrongful actions an employee performs within the scope of his or her work.

At the time of the accident, both Lyft and outside experts said its insurance would cover any claims.

While the lawsuit doesn’t seek a specific amount, “I’m sure it’s more than a million-dollar case, by a lot,” said Bradt, the Berkeley Law professor.

Uber’s similar battle

Lyft’s arch-rival Uber notoriously prolonged a battle over a fatal accident. After an Uber driver struck and killed a 6-year-old girl in San Francisco on New Year’s Eve in 2013, Uber allegedly disclaimed responsibility because the driver was in between ride assignments. That case was finally settled in July 2015 for an undisclosed amount before it was to go to trial.

The other passenger in the Lyft accident, Lawrence, who spent three days in a hospital intensive care unit after the accident, said he racked up $92,000 in medical bills. A massage therapist, Lawrence said he was unable to work for almost a year after the accident as he healed from internal injuries and multiple contusions. He’s still emotionally traumatized from losing the man he expected to spend his life with.

“I grew up in a fundamental Christian family and had issues with accepting my sexuality,” Lawrence said. “Shane was the first person who made me feel loved, accepted and understood.”

Holland, who had struggled with Tourette syndrome, was attending Sierra College, a community college in Rocklin, full time as a physics major with the goal of transferring to UC Davis, then pursuing medical school to be a radiologist, his mother said.

Both Lawrence and Dinapoli said it adds to their pain to have to pursue a legal battle.

“It’s hard to keep having to relive and replay everything I went through that night,” Lawrence said. “It makes me sad and it makes me angry.”

 San Francisco Chronicle

http://m.sfgate.com/business/article/Fatal-Lyft-accident-tests-its-insurance-coverage-7256093.php

Taxi and Ride share Regulation Information 2016 by A#1 Cab Dispatch

Taxi and Ride share regulation 2016 by A#1 Cab Dispatch