New York City is known for its over 13,000 yellow taxicabs that constantly shuttle passengers all over its five boroughs. In addition to these, there has been a recent surge in taxi services like Uber and Lyft, which employ individuals wholly unrelated to taxi companies. Inevitably, with all these new cab services on NYC roads, there are bound to be crashes and accidents. These accidents can occur between any combination of vehicles, pedestrians, bicycles, and motorcycles. In this article, we are going to explore some of the legal ramifications of taxi crashes and what they might mean for you if you find yourself in one.
Before considering ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft, let’s take a look at traditional taxi companies. Whenever a taxicab is involved in an automobile accident, all expenses are generally covered by the taxi company’s insurance. Since the cab is owned by the company and the driver is an employee of the company, it will generally be held liable for all related costs. Uber and Lyft, since they are not traditional cab companies, have a much different business model. Drivers for these companies are considered individual contractors, not employees. Consequently, they must provide their own insurance and keep their cars maintained at their own discretion. In the case of an accident, there are three different possible cases:
- A driver is not on shift/doesn’t have passengers
- A driver is on shift and doesn’t have passengers
- A driver is on shift and DOES have passengers
The responses of Uber and Lyft differ for each of these scenarios. In the first scenario, if the driver is using her own car and is not accepting riders, she will bear the entire cost of any accident that occurs through her insurance. In the second scenario, the accident’s costs will typically be split between the driver and the company, with the driver bearing most of the cost and the company doling out money up to a cap, usually if there are injuries. In the third scenario, the costs are also split between the company and the driver. In the case of the driver not having appropriate insurance, the company will typically cover all of the costs. While drivers for companies like Uber are not employees and not covered by company insurance, they are nevertheless rigorously vetted and not allowed to drive unless they have correct insurance.
On a side note, there have also been instances of automobile accidents being caused by city transit vehicles like buses. In these cases, the legal responsibility of the public vehicle typically falls on the appropriate government department, like the New York City Transit Authority.
Lawyers in New York City cover automobile accidents and related injuries ranging from pedestrian accidents to whiplash to highway defects. If you find yourself involved in an automobile accident in NYC, either as a driver, passenger, pedestrian, or otherwise, you should contact an attorney to discuss your legal options.
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Why Can’t People just not Drive when Drunk?
The law known as the “Prohibition in the United States” was witness to Americans’ excessive alcohol consumption before the 1920s. As this law was intended to end excessive drinking among Americans, it forbade anyone from selling, producing, transporting or importing alcoholic beverages all across the nation. But while this law might have succeeded in keeping overall alcohol consumption low, it did not totally eliminate the presence of alcohol in the land.
Today, any American adult, those 21 years old and above, can drink anytime, anywhere, except in the more than 200 Bible Belt counties where the Prohibition law remains in effect. Well, there is nothing wrong with drinking, really, so long as it is not excessive and that one does not drive afterwards. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an average person takes about an hour to metabolize a standard drink; this can be a 12 ounce bottle of beer, 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits or 5 ounces of wine.
It is estimated that a 160lbs male individual will have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level of 0.08% after consuming about four standard drinks within one hour (there are different factors that can affect a person’s BAC level, such as his/her age, food taken (an empty stomach can result to a higher BAC level), alcohol tolerance, and overall health) and, in all jurisdictions within the U.S. it is illegal to drive while impaired, that is having a BAC level of 0.08% or greater (for truck and commercial vehicle drivers, however, the BAC limit is 0.04%, while for individuals under the age of 21, even the smallest traceable amount alcohol in their blood can result to a DUI charge – this is due to the “zero-tolerance” law that is in effect for the underage.
Getting a 0.08% BAC level, though, can differ from one person to another due to a multitude of influential factors, such as strength of drink, rate of consumption, age, gender, body type, body fat or muscle content, metabolism, hydration, overall health, alcohol tolerance, food taken (an empty stomach can result to a higher BAC level), and so forth. Regardless of how many standard drinks a person consumes, one fact remains: alcohol causes impairment, slowing a person’s reflexes and affecting his/her ability to focus on the road, judgment, perception, coordination and reaction time, and the more drinks he/she consumes, the more impaired he/she will be.
Impairment, because it increases the possibility of an accident, an injury or death, is the primary reason why drunk driving is prohibited. This is why it is too frustrating and maddening to think of reasons why millions of those who drive cannot or choose not to understand that drinking and driving simply do not match due to the dangers it entails. Yet, in 2014, more 1.1 million drivers were arrested for driving under the influence either of alcohol or narcotics, according to the CDC.
According to Houston car accident attorneys, despite government attempts at regulating the safety of cars, most automobile accidents are brought on by the dangerous acts of the driver, not the car. Thus, no matter how high safety standards become, so long as there are reckless drivers on the road, accidents will continue to occur.
Due to the grave injury, disability or death a car accident may result to, Toronto personal injury lawyers, therefore, believe that victims should also receive proper care and protection from care experts and leaders in the field of medical rehabilitation.
Simply put, no victim should have to face the consequences of a drunk driving accident without fair compensation. Drivers know the dangers associated with drunk-driving, yet they willfully and deliberately put others in danger. This makes them totally liable for the consequences of their actions.
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