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Accidents During Ridesharing Trips

Accidents During Ridesharing Trips
With ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft becoming ever more common, the likelihood of being involved in an accident with one of their drivers rises as well. For someone who is injured in an accident involving a rideshare driver—whether the injured person is the passenger, a pedestrian, or in another vehicle—the involvement of the ridesharing company can have consequences for the resulting legal dispute.

Ridesharing and insurance

Ridesharing companies typically provide coverage for their drivers under commercial insurance policies similar to what conventional taxi companies carry. Nevada law requires ridesharing drivers to be covered under personal or commercial policies with limits that vary based on where the driver is in the ridesharing process (NRS 690B.400 et. seq.):
  • While waiting for a passenger (Phase 1): While a driver is cruising around with the ridesharing app active waiting for a passenger to request a ride, his or her liability insurance policy must cover at least $50,000 per injury, per person; $100,000 bodily injury per accident; and $25,000 in property damage.
  • While on the way to pick up the passenger (Phase 2) and while carrying the passenger (Phase 3): Once the driver is matched to a passenger, and until the passenger leaves the vehicle, the driver must be covered for not less than $1.5 million of liability per accident.
Ridesharing drivers can also buy additional ridesharing endorsements from their personal auto insurance providers. The main purpose of buying add-on coverage like this is to protect the driver from the coverage limitations of a typical ridesharing company’s policy. For example, a driver may want more than the minimum coverage during Phase 1 waiting. A ridesharing endorsement can also protect a driver from deductibles payable by the driver under the company’s commercial policy ($1,000 for Uber, $2,500 for Lyft).

Keeping track of details

A person injured in any car accident hopefully has an opportunity to collect essential information about the crash before the people involved leave the scene. Most of the important details are the same as for any car crash, and include:
  • Names and contact information for drivers, passengers, and witnesses.
  • Insurance policy information for everyone involved.
  • The name and contact information for the ridesharing company.

Winning the battle over fault

In any legal dispute following an accident, someone who has been injured may wish to sue both the individual driver as well as the ridesharing company. The ridesharing companies expect this and are insured to deal with it. Insurance companies prefer to settle auto accident cases rather than take them all the way to trial. Settlement can give injured parties faster relief as well. But in an accident the insurance companies involved will try to shift the blame for the accident away from themselves. In the ridesharing context, that can mean the driver’s personal insurer and the company’s commercial insurer may end up arguing about who should pay.

GGRM is an auto accident law firm in Las Vegas

For over 45 years the attorneys at Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez have represented clients who have been injured in auto accidents. Although ridesharing has introduced novel problems onto Nevada’s roads, it hasn’t altered the basic legal framework of car accidents. If you have been injured in an accident involving a ridesharing driver, call us today for a free attorney consultation at 702-388-4476, or reach us through our contact page.

Who Bears Legal Responsibility for 3D-Printed Devices?

Who Bears Legal Responsibility for 3D-Printed Devices?
3D printing technology promises to revolutionize the way products are designed and made. At the industrial scale it allows manufacturers to build customized goods at a fraction of their historical cost. Affordable consumer-grade 3D printers give anyone with a computer unprecedented creative control over the design and construction of products. But if a 3D-printed item is unsafe and causes an injury, who bears responsibility? A 3D printer works by translating a digital model into a real object typically made of ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene), a common plastic used in all sorts of products. The printer builds up an object one thin layer at a time, allowing designs to incorporate complex elements like hinges or wheels. In theory a 3D printer can be used to create just about anything. Libraries of downloadable model files are available on the web, many of them for free. Many designs are simple toys or decorative objects. But other models are for useful objects. Instead of tossing out an old product with a broken part, the consumer could simply print a replacement part. Instead of running to the store to track down a specialized tool for solving a particular problem, the consumer could simply print one.

The potential risk of harm from 3D-printed objects

There probably is little harm if a model file for a cat figurine doesn’t print out correctly. But some products may involve real risk of personal injury. For example, a printed model of a safety fitting on a chainsaw may not have the same performance specifications of the original part, perhaps because the printer’s output material isn’t appropriate for the application or because the model itself isn’t precisely the right shape. If a consumer is injured by an improperly designed model the creator of the model might be legally liable for damages. Most likely such a case would need to be based on a theory of negligence. The injured person must show that the designer did not take reasonable care to ensure that the model would be safe in reasonably foreseeable applications. A designer might be responsible for warning consumers if the model needs to be made using a specific kind of material, especially if it is something other than ABS. A central challenge for a plaintiff in such cases will be proving the source of the defect in the 3D-printed object. The model designer likely will point out that he or she had nothing to do with the printing process itself, which could introduce flaws that aren’t inherent in the design. There may also be a good argument that the user of a 3D-printed object assumes the risk that it will not work the way an ordinary commercial product would.

Talk to a personal injury attorney if you have questions

For over 45 years the attorneys at Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez have represented personal injury clients in the Las Vegas area. If you have been injured by a 3D-printed object we can guide you through your legal options. Call us today for a free attorney consultation at 702-388-4476, or request a call through our website.