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What type of insurance coverage do Uber and Lyft drivers have in the event of an accident?

Popular ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft are incredibly convenient, but what happens if a rideshare driver is involved in an accident? Ridesharing laws are evolving and may differ from state-to-state, so it is important to know what protections are available to you if you are hurt in an accident as a passenger or are involved in a collision with an Uber or Lyft.

If an Uber or Lyft driver is involved in a crash, the driver and the company may be liable, depending on the circumstances. In 2017, Connecticut passed rideshare legislation requiring background checks for drivers to identify potential safety issues including major traffic violations and others and mandating that drivers have adequate insurance to protect passengers and other drivers in the event of a collision.

In addition to the driver’s personal insurance policy, Uber and Lyft both have a three-tier insurance policy that applies depending on the circumstances:

Tier One: The rideshare app is not active. In the event of a collision, the driver will be personally liable. The driver’s insurance policy will be responsible for damages.

Tier Two: The rideshare app is active, and the driver is waiting to take fares. If the driver is involved in a collision, Uber and Lyft both have a 50/100/25 policy. For bodily injury, there is a maximum of $50,000 liability per person (with a maximum of $100,000 in liability per accident). A $25,000 property damage limit also may apply.

Tier Three: The rideshare app is on, and the driver is transporting a passenger or is on the way to pick up a fare. Uber and Lyft both have a $1 million-dollar liability policy that may apply if an accident occurs.

While ridesharing services have revolutionized the transportation industry, we have a right to expect that the drivers they employ operate their vehicles in a safe, responsible manner. If you have been hurt in an accident with an Uber or Lyft, you may be entitled to damages. Contact Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers to discuss your rights.

Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers Expands Its Connecticut Presence With Recent Opening Of Offices In Downtown Waterbury

With the help of the Waterbury Regional Chamber of Commerce and City of Waterbury officials, Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers held a ribbon cutting ceremony last week as the personal injury law firm opened its new offices in downtown Waterbury, CT.

“We reviewed market and economic trends for this region and found downtown Waterbury to be a great location for growth in central and western Connecticut. Located in between the UConn Waterbury campus, Waterbury Palace Theater and Waterbury Green is the perfect location for our law practice. Our redevelopment plans for the building at 30 North Main Street where our offices are located were on-target thanks to our many community partners and contractors,” said Attorney Jonathan Perkins. “We look forward to meeting all of the community members and strengthening the local economy here in Waterbury.”

“The Waterbury Regional Chamber of Commerce is excited to have Attorney Jonathan Perkins and his legal team as a member of our organization and a new neighbor in our downtown business community,” said Christopher Conway, Waterbury Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Pictured above during the recent ribbon cutting ceremony (L to R) are 1. Dr. William Pizzuto, University of Connecticut Waterbury Campus; CT State Representative Geraldo Reyes Jr.; Attorney Jonathan Perkins; Lynne Ward, Waterbury Regional Chamber of Commerce; Joe McGrath, City of Waterbury; and Carlos Rosa, Main Street Waterbury.

Pictured above at the recent law office opening in Waterbury (L to R) are Attorney Jonathan Perkins and Mattatuck Museum staffers Stephanie Harris, Roxane Sanders and Cyndi Tolosa.

With offices in Hartford, Bridgeport, Woodbridge (New Haven area) and Waterbury, Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers specialize in representing the rights of individuals who have been injured due to the negligence and wrongful acts of others. This includes auto accidents, defective products, dog bites, medical malpractice, motorcycle accidents, nursing home accidents/abuse, personal injury, premise liability, slip and fall and workers’ compensation cases. For more information, visit www.facebook.com/PerkinsInjuryLawyers, www.twitter.com/JPInjuryLawyers, www.800perkins.com or phone 1.800.PERKINS.

Safest Ways to Remove Snow and Ice from the Roof of your Vehicle

car buried in snow - personal injuryWinter means treacherous driving, and drivers need to pay extra attention when they get behind the wheel. Drivers in Connecticut have an even greater level of responsibility to those with whom we share the road: to reduce the number of personal injuries caused by winter accumulations, the state has required drivers to clear snow and ice from all parts of their vehicles after a snowstorm.

The law was passed several years ago because of accidents and near-misses caused by snow and ice blowing off cars. Though it’s common sense as well as common courtesy, it’s also more easily said than done. Here are some tips on how to do it without harming your car, or yourself.

  • Assuming that you can open your car door, always begin by starting your car. The warmer your vehicle is, the more easily the snow and ice will be dislodged. Turn the defroster on to full blast and turn on your rear window defroster too. Make sure your doors are unlocked before you close the door again.
  • Clear off the snow from the more accessible areas of the car first. Pay special attention to all windows, as well as the hood and trunk of the car.
  • When it comes to clearing the roof, remember that it is easier to pull the snow down than to push it, even though that means that it is going to fall on you. The most effective tool for clearing snow from the roof is called a foam push broom. Its soft surface won’t scratch your car’s paint, and it has a long handle so that even short people are able to reach at least halfway across.
  • Make sure your headlights and brake lights are clear of snow – and your license plate too.

Take care while doing this – the goal may be to avoid causing a personal injury to drivers around you, but you don’t want to slip and fall while you’re doing your civic duty! Wearing shoes or boots with good grips is always a good idea in icy conditions.

If you’ve been in an accident caused by another person’s failure to clear ice or snow off their vehicle, you may be entitled to damages. Call Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers to learn more about your rights.

Weight Loss Surgery: New Year’s Resolutions and Complications

Weight Loss Surgery - Medical MalpracticeWe are well into the new year of 2018: did you make a New Year’s resolution? According to the online polling website YouGov, two out of three Americans do, and the top resolution that people make is to lose weight. Though eating better and exercising more are the safest and most-frequently followed pathways to weight loss, some people opt for weight loss surgery, which is usually accomplished either through an adjustable gastric band, a sleeve gastrectomy or gastric bypass. Though these surgeries are increasingly common that does not necessarily mean that they are always safe. There have been many instances in which people have suffered severe injuries or even died as a result of complications due to medical malpractice.

When patients opt for weight loss surgery, they are asked to sign numerous forms acknowledging that the procedure is inherently dangerous. Though these forms are intended to protect surgeons and medical facilities from being sued in case something goes wrong during the surgery, a signature does not give them permission to act negligently. Healthcare professionals are expected to perform with a degree of care at all times when providing medical care, and if their actions are deemed substandard, reckless or careless, it is considered medical malpractice. They can be held legally and financially responsible for the harm that they do.

There are a number of common injuries suffered by weight loss surgery patients that are indicative of medical malpractice. These include:

  • Failure to respond to reports of patient pain, leading to patient injury, illness or death
  • Failure to advise a patient against the surgery as a result of pre-existing conditions that add risk
  • Failure to diagnose postoperative infections or bleeding leading to patient injury or death
  • Postoperative leakage
  • Failure to treat postoperative leakage
  • Intra-abdominal hemorrhage
  • Gallstones
  • Bowel obstruction
  • Stomach perforation

Failure of a weight loss surgery to provide you with the weight loss you had hoped for does not constitute medical malpractice: patients have a responsibility to adhere to doctor’s orders and even an operation does not provide a magical effect: losing weight is still hard work. But if the doctor fails in his medical technique or in some other way falls short of the level of care that is expected as standard from others in the field, they can be held responsible for any resulting damage or loss.

If you or someone you love has been hurt as a result of medical malpractice, the attorneys at Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers can help. Call us today to set up an appointment to discuss your situation.

Is it Safe to Use a Kerosene Heater in your Home?

kerosene heater - defective productsHow many times have you turned on the news, only to hear about a child who was burned or a fire that was caused by the use of a kerosene heater? It’s been estimated that there are 50 deaths in the United States each year caused by kerosene heaters. Your first thought on hearing of these incidents may have been that the heater’s owner used it improperly, but that’s not always true. In many cases, it has turned out that the heaters were defective products, designed or manufactured improperly or sold without proper instructions or sufficient warnings. In one such case, a toddler suffered second and third-degree burns after her pajamas caught fire when she simply passed by a unit whose safety cage failed.

Kerosene heaters are not always unsafe. There are manufacturers and designers that are diligent, and who provide appropriate warnings and instructions, and in these cases, these portable units can be safe to use in your home as long as you follow all of the appropriate safety precautions. Here are guidelines for their safe use:

  • Check to make sure that the unit has been UL approved
  • Choose a model that does not require the use of matches. A kerosene heater should have a battery-operated lighting device.
  • A kerosene heater should have a safety shut-off feature
  • Never leave a kerosene heater unattended.
  • Make sure that the room in which the heater is placed is adequately ventilated.
  • Check the wick regularly and clean it when it gets dirty.
  • Wipe up any kerosene that has spilled immediately.
  • Kerosene heaters are not meant to be used in small rooms, and their use in bedrooms is particularly problematic.
  • Always use 1-K grade kerosene.
  • Do not place kerosene heaters within several feet of furniture, drapes and curtains, clothing, bedding, or other flammable items.
  • Do not place kerosene heaters anywhere near aerosols, lacquers, gasoline or other combustibles.
  • Keep small children and pets away from kerosene heaters.
  • Do not try to move a kerosene heater that is burning.
  • Turn kerosene heaters off before going to sleep.
  • Do not try to refuel a kerosene heater when it is hot.

Kerosene heaters that are properly designed still require careful use in order to ensure safety. If you or someone you love was injured or suffered any type of damage due to a kerosene heater that was defective, you need an experienced advocate to stand up for your rights. Contact the professionals at Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers today.

Who is at Fault if Someone is Injured While Sledding on Private Property?

Sledding - Premises LiabilityWith snow comes the fun of winter activities: ice skating, skiing, sledding and more. When you go to a ski resort or ice skating rink, you know that the owner and operator take on a certain amount of legal responsibility for the condition of their property. But what about sledding? What are the premises liability rules for a homeowner with a great hill on their property that attracts all the neighborhood children? If someone is hurt while sledding at their home, is the sledder responsible, or the property owner?

The situation happens more often than you’d think, and in cases where the injury was a result of the condition of the property where the accident took place, premises liability laws will rule against the property owner and in favor of the person who sustained the injury.

When a person is injured in a sledding incident, or really on any property other than their own, there are three questions that need to be addressed. They are:

  • Who is responsible for the property? People who own or occupy property have a duty of care to keep it reasonably safe. Though a property owner is not responsible for somebody else acting recklessly on their property, they are responsible for the condition of the property and for removing any conditions that put people at risk.
  • Was the person who was injured trespassing? As a property owner, you have a responsibility for anybody who is welcome on your property, but not to people who are trespassing. But if your property is widely known as having a good sledding hill, it doesn’t matter whether the children have your permission to be there or not – you are responsible for protecting them by warning that there’s a dangerous condition present.
  • The assumption of risk vs unknown dangers. While a sledder assumes a certain amount of risk when they go sledding that risk is for falling off the sled, twisting an ankle that type of injury. It does not include being hurt by a hidden dangerous condition. If a property has hidden dangerous rocks, sharp metal, or broken glass and somebody gets hurt by it, premises liability laws make the owner responsible.

If you’ve been hurt on somebody else’s property, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical expenses and other damages you’ve suffered. Contact our office today to learn more about your rights.

Why You Should Never Follow a Truck Too Closely

Tailgate - Truck AccidentWhen one vehicle follows another too closely, it is referred to as tailgating. When you are driving a passenger car, having somebody tailgating you is both annoying and dangerous, and often leads to a completely preventable accident. But commercial drivers who operate enormous 18-wheel vehicles know that having a car tailgating them or riding in any of their “no zones” can lead to a deadly outcome and is responsible for many truck accidents.

Why you should never follow a truck too closely

It is not entirely clear why a driver would tailgate a huge vehicle like a commercial truck: doing so cuts off their field of vision completely and prevents them from being able to see traffic and signage ahead. Beyond their own comfort, when a passenger car follows too closely behind an 18-wheeler, the driver puts both himself and his passengers at significant risk for injury in a truck accident for the following reasons:

  • Driving too closely behind a truck means they are unable to see what is happening ahead and can’t anticipate the truck stopping. This makes it more likely that they will slam into the back of the truck, and if that happens at a high rate of speed, their car could go under the truck and cause significant injuries to the car’s passengers.
  • The driver of an 18-wheel vehicle has no way of seeing what is immediately behind them. This area is referred to as the rear no-zone, and it extends a good distance beyond their back liftgate. The best position for the driver of a small car is somewhere far enough back that they are able to see the trucks side view mirrors.

Drivers of cars should also respect a truck driver’s side no-zones and avoid driving to the side of a tractor-trailer because the driver can’t see them. The rule for driving around a truck is the truck’s side view mirror. If you can’t see the driver’s face in the mirror, you need to assume that they can’t see you and don’t know you’re there. If the truck needs to shift lanes suddenly they’ll do so, thinking the lane is clear.

A surprisingly large number of accidents between large trucks and passenger vehicles are caused by mistakes made by the driver of the smaller vehicle, but in a truck accident, it’s the passengers in the smaller vehicle who end up with the worst injuries. If someone you love has been hurt in a truck accident, call us today to learn what your rights are.

Top-5 Vehicle Maintenance Tips for Winter Driving

CT Pothole Accident and Injury LawyersWinter driving means you need to be extra alert. Not only are conditions treacherous, but you can’t be sure about what other drivers are going to do, or what their level of preparation or driving skill may be. In order to make sure your vehicle is operating at peak condition and minimize your chance of getting into an auto accident, here are our top maintenance tips for winter driving.

  1. Make sure that you’re up to date on scheduled maintenance, especially on items like fluid levels and the condition of your tires and brakes. If your car has been giving you any signals that things aren’t up to snuff, be sure to mention it to your mechanic so that they can check out every knock and ping. Make sure all filters have been changed and that the cooling system has been flushed and refilled that your heater and defroster work and that all the bulbs in your brake lights, headlights and turn signals are working.
  2. Put together a winter emergency kit for your car that includes warm clothing, gloves and boots, a shovel and windshield cleaner, and ice melt, sand or Kitty Litter. You should always have a set of jumper cables handy, check the condition of your spare tire, and make sure you have a charger for your phone.
  3. Buy a bottle of fuel-line antifreeze. This product can help ice from forming in the fuel line in frigid temperatures. Another good way to prevent freezing is to keep your tank at least half full.
  4. Check to see when the last time is you bought a new battery, and if it isn’t recent, then have your battery checked. Cold weather can turn a weak battery into a dead one.
  5. Freezing temperatures can affect different car parts in many different ways. You can help fend off unexpected problems by applying graphite or WD-40 to locks, silicone to door gaskets, and installing fresh windshield wipers. It’s also a good idea to buy a fresh jug of windshield washer fluid, as wintry weather can mean emptying your tank on just about every trip.

Unfortunately, preparation can help keep you safe, but can’t guarantee it. If you’ve been in an auto accident and you’ve been injured, you need an experienced advocate to fight for your rights. Contact the professionals at Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers to set up an appointment to come in and speak to us.


Truckers’ Failure to Remove Snow From Trailers Can Lead to Accidents and Death

snow removalHave you ever seen a sheet of ice or snow go flying off of a tractor trailer? It’s a frightening sight and one that’s all too common for highway drivers following snowy cold weather or ice storms. When the “snow torpedo” lands on open road, it’s a dangerous distraction that can shake a driver’s attention and cause them to swerve: when it strikes a vehicle or pedestrian, it can turn deadly.

Everybody has an obligation to drive more carefully when the roads are covered with snow, and that is especially true of commercial truck drivers, whose vehicles have the potential for causing an extensive amount of damage. Though most people envision truck accidents in snow involving slipping, sliding, and trouble braking, the dangers of ice and snow on top of tractor trailers cannot be understated. One victim of this type of accident in Illinois was driving when a sheet of ice from a passing truck struck his car’s windshield. The windshield shattered, sending large and small pieces through the vehicle’s passenger compartment and lacerating his head, nose, and eye. He was lucky, as he was able to pull over and free himself from a large piece of windshield pinning him into the car, and a passing nurse administered treatment while first
responders were on their way.

There are several states that have passed laws with the specific goal of preventing this type of truck accident from happening. As of 2013, the state of Connecticut began requiring commercial motor vehicles to remove snow and ice from hoods, trunks, and roofs of their vehicles or face a fine of up to $1,250. Passenger cars had already been required to clean their vehicles of snow before venturing onto the roadways.

When a commercial driver causes a truck accident as a result of being negligent in removing snow or ice, or for any other reason, they can be held financially responsible for the damage that they cause, and in many cases, the company that hires them is liable as well. If a truck driver shows a disregard for the rules regarding removing snow and ice from the roof of their truck and it leads to injury or death, then they can be made to pay for medical expenses, property damage, lost wages, and more. For information on how we can help you if you’ve been hurt in an accident, contact the attorneys at Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers.


Does Using Your GPS Count as Distracted Driving?

GPSThe dangers of distracted driving have become a hot topic among drivers of all ages and all levels of experience. Though the latest and most frequently blamed culprit is cell phone use, the truth is that distracted driving has been a major factor in car accidents since people abandoned the horse and buggy and got behind the wheel of automobiles and trucks. There are countless instances of drivers being distracted by a wide array of activities, including changing the radio station, raising or lowering windows, opening or closing sunroofs, putting on makeup, eating or drinking, or arguing with fellow passengers. Breaking up an argument between kids in the backseat means taking your eyes off of the road in front of you, and that’s all it takes to cause a significant crash.

One of the most recent additions to the list of driving distractions is the use of GPS systems. Whether the device is built into your car through a state-of-the-art navigation system or you’re using an application on your phone, using them often involves taking your eyes off of the road to check what your next turn is going to be, or whether you’ve missed it entirely. Though the new technology certainly is easier to follow than trying to read a map, it can still lead to an accident if misused. To avoid having your GPS take your focus off of the road in front of you, follow these simple rules:

  • Program your destination into your GPS before you start your journey. Typing a destination into Google Maps or Waze while driving is no different from texting while driving, and it’s just as dangerous.
  • If you are driving with passengers, put them in charge of navigation. Whether it’s checking to see how much farther you have to go, or changing the route to avoid a traffic jam ahead of you, ask the person who is riding shotgun to take care of the data input and oversight.
  • Keep your GPS volume high, and if you have Bluetooth technology, set it to play through your audio system. The less you have to glance at your screen, the better.

Though texting is what has gotten most of the attention, getting distracted by a GPS has caused thousands of accidents. If you’ve been injured in a car accident and you suspect that use of a GPS contributed to your injury, contact the attorneys at Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers today.