Justia Lawyer Rating for David M. Barish

Rideshare services in the U.S. have been in the news recently with the tragic death of a South Carolina university student, who was kidnapped and murdered by the person she mistakenly believed to be her Uber driver. While events like that are thankfully rare, car accident injuries involving rideshare drivers are less so. Sometimes, those damages are suffered due to the missteps of a rideshare driver, sometimes the rideshare driver is the person who was harmed.

Whether you’re an injured rideshare driver or someone hurt by a rideshare driver, there are several things you need to know in order to take legal action in the most effective way possible. One of the most basic of these is: whom should I sue? This can be more complicated than you might think, given the complexity of the corporate structure of some of the rideshare services. Every choice you make matters and may mean the difference between success and defeat, so be sure you have a skilled Chicago injury attorney representing you at every step along the way.

One question being asked these days, in relation to rideshare services, is “what is Raiser, LLC?” Raiser is an integral part of the corporate structure of Uber and is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Uber. (Uber has several of these entities.) Raiser is the business entity with whom Uber driver are technically contracted. When an Uber driver gets paid, it is Raiser that is technically paying that driver.

Editor’s note: The original article appeared in the Atlantic technology section on June 25, 2018.

I’m sure I looked comical as I staggered down a downtown San Francisco street on a recent weekday, arms full of packages—as I dropped one and bent down to pick it up, another fell, and as I tried to rein that one in, another toppled.

Yet it wasn’t funny, not really. There I was, wearing a bright-yellow safety vest and working for Amazon Flex, a program in which the e-commerce giant pays regular people to deliver packages from their own vehicles for $18 to $25 an hour, before expenses. I was racing to make the deliveries before I got a ticket—there are few places for drivers without commercial vehicles to park in downtown San Francisco during the day—and also battling a growing rage as I lugged parcels to offices of tech companies that offered free food and impressive salaries to their employees, who seemed to spend their days ordering stuff online. Technology was allowing these people a good life, but it was just making me stressed and cranky.

In mid-November, the Chicagoland area saw a preview of winter, with temperatures in the teens and single digits, along with snow on the ground. Cold and slick conditions can cause havoc for drivers, but they can be especially perilous for air travelers. As if to remind everyone of that, ABC 7 had the story (and video) of an American Eagle flight arriving at O’Hare Airport that slid off its runway upon landing, after having already aborted one landing attempt due to poor weather conditions.

Sometimes, weather-related accidents are outside everyone’s control but, many times, these crashes have an element of human error to them. If you were hurt as a result of a bad-weather plane crash, you need an experienced Chicago aviation accident attorney on your side to help you get to the bottom of your accident and, if human or mechanical errors played a part, hold accountable those who were responsible for the harm you suffered.

Thankfully, no passengers, crew members or people on the ground were hurt in this recent incident. Not all weather-influenced flight accidents here had such fortunate outcomes. Back in December 2005, a Southwest Airlines flight slid off a runway at Midway Airport while the pilot attempted to land in a snowstorm. The plane eventually careened through a wall and into a roadway intersection. A 6-year-old boy died in the accident. At the conclusion of the NTSB’s investigation, that agency concluded that the accident was the result of pilot error. Specifically, the pilots failed “to use available reverse thrust in a timely manner to safely slow or stop the airplane after landing, which resulted in a runway overrun.” That failure came as the result of the pilots’ having been distracted by the plane’s autobrake system, according to the NTSB.

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Uber and Lyft drivers who have been injured while transporting passengers in the past have run into significant roadblocks while trying to obtain compensation for those injuries. Rideshare services like Lyft and Uber have aggressively and consistently argued that all of their drivers are independent contractors and are not employees. This makes a huge difference as employees are entitled to many things that independent contractors are not, such as receiving a minimum wage, overtime pay or workers’ compensation benefits if they’re hurt on the job.

A recent federal court ruling offers some potential good news for drivers hurt on the job. These types of rulings should remind drivers that, if you’re hurt while driving for Uber or Lyft, there may be more options for compensation than you might have thought, so be sure to reach out to an experienced Chicago workers’ compensation attorney right away.

In that federal court case, no one was injured, but the Third Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling still has the potential to help injured drivers. In the case, a driver in New Jersey, J.S., brought a class action lawsuit against Uber for its failure to pay him overtime compensation. The key to J.S.’s case was his argument was that Uber had engaged in misclassifying its drivers as independent contractors when the true nature of the relationship was one of employee-employer. That was vital because, generally, non-exempt employees are entitled to overtime pay, whereas independent contractors are not.

Rideshare services like Lyft and Uber continue to make headlines for negative reasons. According to a multitude of riders who have filed several lawsuits recently, Lyft isn’t doing nearly enough to protect riders and that unreasonable level of inaction by Lyft has played a role many injuries, including a Brooklyn woman’s alleged gang rape.

According to that woman’s lawsuit, Lyft doesn’t interview potential drivers, doesn’t do significant background checks on potential drivers, doesn’t fingerprint drivers and doesn’t remove drivers after riders report sexual misconduct. These failures and more, she argued, created the circumstances that allowed for her rape to occur. If you’re injured here in Illinois due to an attack perpetrated by your Lyft or Uber driver, it is possible that the rideshare service’s negligence may have played a role and you may be entitled to compensation from the rideshare service. Contact an experienced Chicago injury attorney to find out more about the legal options available to you.

According to a Vice report, the Brooklyn woman was injured in 2017 after she used Lyft for a ride home from a Crown Heights party. The ride should have taken only 15 minutes and cost less than $20. Instead, the driver allegedly took her on a 79-minute drive to a remote New Jersey location and gang raped her. On top of that terror and injury, Lyft charged the woman $106 for the ride, she asserted.

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Whether you’re in Chicago, New York or any other major city, construction work is one of the most dangerous jobs out there. Too many times, the damaging or even fatal accidents that happen to construction workers are the result of inadequate safety protections and protocols at the job site. Some accident types occur over and over, leading OSHA to declare them to be the “Fatal Four.” These four accident types – falls, being struck by objects, electrocutions and being caught in/caught between – accounted for roughly 60% of fatal construction accidents in 2017.

When that happens, you, as the loved one of a deceased worker, may be entitled to recover death benefits under the workers’ compensation system. Meeting all the requirements of the workers’ compensation process isn’t easy, so be sure to retain an experienced Chicago workers’ compensation attorney without delay.

R.L.’s case was a tragic Chicago-area example of the “Fatal Four.” R.L. died after a driver of a front loader backed up his vehicle into R.L. and pinned the worker between the front loader and a dump truck.

New information regarding commercial airplane crashes and fatalities points to some good news. A report has indicated that the number of deaths in commercial jet crashes dropped substantially between 2016 and 2017. While the report indicated far fewer fatalities, the information also served as a reminder of how dangerous being an airplane crew member can be, since nearly 45% of the deaths last year were crew members. If you’ve lost a loved one in a fatal air crash, it is important to take prompt action, including retaining a skilled Illinois aviation accident attorney.

The Aviation Safety Network’s recently released report regarding commercial airline crashes and deaths, as reported by the Los Angeles Times, showed that 2017 was, overall, a good year for airplane safety worldwide. In 2017, there were 44 deaths arising from 10 crashes. The year before, there were 16 fatal crashes, but those crashes led to many, many more deaths (303).

According to the network, the rate of fatal airline crashes has been dropping steadily and continues to do so. On “average, for every 7 million flights worldwide, there is one fatality,” the Times reported. None of those fatalities took place in the United States. 2017 was the fourth consecutive year in which there were no deaths in commercial jet crashes in this country. The last time a commercial jet crash caused fatalities was in 2013, when an Asiana Airlines flight crashed on its final approach in San Francisco. The crash killed three passengers, all of whom were Chinese teenagers.

Recently, this blog touched upon a serious risk for riders using rideshare services like Lyft and Uber. That danger is being sexually assaulted by a driver who should have been removed from the app or never should have been contracted in the first place.

The danger for riders is real, but, as a recent report details, riders are not the only ones at risk. According to the report, many drivers (mostly women) have been the victims of assault. The report calls into question the adequacy of the services’ actions to protect drivers, with some drivers indicating that the rideshare services are even less responsive to the dangers riders may pose to drivers as opposed to driver-on-rider assaults. If you’ve been hurt by your rideshare rider and you can show your injuries were due, in part, to the service’s inadequate safety measures, then you may be entitled to significant compensation. To find out more about what you can do, contact a knowledgeable Chicago injury attorney right away.

Back in 2017, the issue of rideshare drivers victimized by sexual assault was in the news. An Uber driver accused a famous professional football quarterback of having sexually assaulted her. According to the driver, the star NFL player reached between her legs and groped her genitals over her yoga pants. The player later apologized for “the position I put you in” and the NFL suspended him for part of the 2018 football season.

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Recently, USA Today reported on a major airline that received a great deal of criticism for a tweet it published, which discussed the safest place on a plane when it comes to surviving a crash. The social media post stated that passengers in seats near the back have the lowest risk of dying in a crash. While much of the criticism of the airline’s tweet related to the breezy and seemingly insensitive tone of the post, one might still wonder… was it factually correct? Some data appears to indicate that it was.

While commercial airline crashes are thankfully rare, they do sometimes happen still. If you are injured – or a loved one is fatally hurt – in a commercial air flight crash, you may be entitled to damages if the evidence shows that airline negligence contributed to accident. Be sure to reach out without delay to an experienced Chicago aviation accident attorney to learn more about your options.

The tweet that caused the furor was actually the second of a connected pair. The first one cheerfully queried “Do you know which are the safest seats on an #aircraft? Comment the correct answer below and stand a chance to win exciting … goodies!” The second stated that, “According to data studies by Time, the fatality rate for the seats in the middle of the plane is the highest. However, the fatality rate for the seats in the front is marginally lesser and is least for seats at the rear third of a plane.”

Head injuries suffered aboard commercial air flights can be serious matters. Whether it is a turbulence-related accident or an impact with a piece of luggage that falls from an overhead compartment, the effects can be significant and long-lasting. If you’ve suffered a head injury aboard a flight, it’s possible that accident was the result of the airline’s negligence and you may be entitled to financial compensation. Be sure to contact an experienced Chicago aviation accident attorney to discuss your situation and your legal options.

An international flight experienced an unplanned detour recently due a passenger who possibly suffered a head injury during the flight. Shortly after 5:00 a.m., a passenger aboard the American Airlines Philadelphia-to-Prague flight fell and experienced at least one seizure. After she visited the plane’s restroom, the passenger, a woman in her 50s, fell again, Irish Examiner reported.

After the second incident, the plane’s flight crew chose to divert and landed at Shannon Airport. The passenger was transported to a hospital in Limerick, as the plane’s crew had become concerned that the woman had suffered a head injury during the first incident and the effects of that head injury were the cause of her second incident, according to the report.

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