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Summer Driving Risks: Tips to Stay Safe on the Road
Summer Driving Risks: Tips to Stay Safe on the Road

By: Allan M. Siegel

Summer is fast approaching, and for many residents throughout the Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, DC, that means time off school, planned vacations, and more reason to get out and about. Whether you have plans to get on the road for a vacation, lengthy road trip, or simply for your daily commute around town, it is important to remember that the coming months bring real risks when it comes to roadway safety, as well as notable increases in car accidents.

At Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C., our legal team has worked with many victims throughout the years who were injured in auto accidents during the spring and summer months, and has seen some of the increased risks common during this time of year. Below, we discuss some of these summer driving risks and how you can stay safe on the road.

  • Bicyclists and pedestrians – With warmer weather comes more foot traffic. Whenever you hit the road, be sure to be vigilant and aware of your surroundings, especially when approaching intersections, making turns, and backing out. Pedestrians and bicyclists can do their part by obeying rules of the road, avoiding blind spots, and making themselves as visible as possible.
  • Distractions – Summer months may mean more activities, planned trips, and get-togethers that require families and friends to share rides, all of which can pose potential distractions for drivers. Remember that driving and operating a vehicle safely should always be your primary task. Reduce risks of distractions by planning thoroughly before any trip, mapping out directions, and limiting distractions posed by passengers. If you need to make plans via phone, do so before driving or pull over in order to text or place a call.
  • Young drivers – Summer vacation means that teen and younger drivers are off from school and have more freedom to hit the road and venture out. Unfortunately, new drivers present a number of risks on the roads, and these risks can be increased substantially when vacationing teens and young adults are distracted behind the wheel by friends or their cell phones. Always provide safe distances between you and other vehicles and be prepared to react in the event that an inexperienced driver makes a sudden move or mistake. If you are the parent of a new driver, make sure they understand their responsibilities when driving.
  • Tire safety – Hotter weather and higher temperatures can cause tires to become inflated. When tires are over-inflated, they pose risks of blowouts, which can cause drivers to lose control of their vehicles and crash, especially at higher speeds. Always check your tires and other critical safety features before summer, periodically, and before any long trip.
  • Tourists – DC is a major metro area and a popular attraction for tourists. This means that roadways in the summer may see an influx of tourists who are not familiar with the local landscape. If you know the area well, you might want to avoid locations where there may be increased tourist traffic. You can also protect yourself in the event of a sudden stop or maneuver by increasing your following distance and always surveying your surroundings.

Even when all the proper steps have been taken to make safety a priority, wrecks can still happen, especially when negligence is involved. Thankfully, our civil justice system provides victims who have been harmed by negligence with the opportunity to pursue legal action against the at-fault party and hold them liable for the damages they incurred. These damages can include economic losses such as medical bills and lost income, and noneconomic damages intended to compensate you for your pain and suffering.

If you or someone you love has been harmed in a preventable car accident anywhere in the DC metro area, our award-winning personal injury lawyers are available to discuss your case and rights during a free case evaluation. Contact us to speak with a member of our team.

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  • Summer Driving Risks: Tips to Stay Safe on the Road

    By: Allan M. Siegel

    Summer is fast approaching, and for many residents throughout the Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, DC, that means time off school, planned vacations, and more reason to get out and about. Whether you have plans to get on the road for a vacation, lengthy road trip, or simply for your daily commute around town, it is important to remember that the coming months bring real risks when it comes to roadway safety, as well as notable increases in car accidents.

    At Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C., our legal team has worked with many victims throughout the years who were injured in auto accidents during the spring and summer months, and has seen some of the increased risks common during this time of year. Below, we discuss some of these summer driving risks and how you can stay safe on the road.

    • Bicyclists and pedestrians – With warmer weather comes more foot traffic. Whenever you hit the road, be sure to be vigilant and aware of your surroundings, especially when approaching intersections, making turns, and backing out. Pedestrians and bicyclists can do their part by obeying rules of the road, avoiding blind spots, and making themselves as visible as possible.
    • Distractions – Summer months may mean more activities, planned trips, and get-togethers that require families and friends to share rides, all of which can pose potential distractions for drivers. Remember that driving and operating a vehicle safely should always be your primary task. Reduce risks of distractions by planning thoroughly before any trip, mapping out directions, and limiting distractions posed by passengers. If you need to make plans via phone, do so before driving or pull over in order to text or place a call.
    • Young drivers – Summer vacation means that teen and younger drivers are off from school and have more freedom to hit the road and venture out. Unfortunately, new drivers present a number of risks on the roads, and these risks can be increased substantially when vacationing teens and young adults are distracted behind the wheel by friends or their cell phones. Always provide safe distances between you and other vehicles and be prepared to react in the event that an inexperienced driver makes a sudden move or mistake. If you are the parent of a new driver, make sure they understand their responsibilities when driving.
    • Tire safety – Hotter weather and higher temperatures can cause tires to become inflated. When tires are over-inflated, they pose risks of blowouts, which can cause drivers to lose control of their vehicles and crash, especially at higher speeds. Always check your tires and other critical safety features before summer, periodically, and before any long trip.
    • Tourists – DC is a major metro area and a popular attraction for tourists. This means that roadways in the summer may see an influx of tourists who are not familiar with the local landscape. If you know the area well, you might want to avoid locations where there may be increased tourist traffic. You can also protect yourself in the event of a sudden stop or maneuver by increasing your following distance and always surveying your surroundings.

    Even when all the proper steps have been taken to make safety a priority, wrecks can still happen, especially when negligence is involved. Thankfully, our civil justice system provides victims who have been harmed by negligence with the opportunity to pursue legal action against the at-fault party and hold them liable for the damages they incurred. These damages can include economic losses such as medical bills and lost income, and noneconomic damages intended to compensate you for your pain and suffering.

    If you or someone you love has been harmed in a preventable car accident anywhere in the DC metro area, our award-winning personal injury lawyers are available to discuss your case and rights during a free case evaluation. Contact us to speak with a member of our team.

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  • CSCS Celebrates National Safety Month

    By: Allan M. Siegel

    Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C. is celebrating National Safety Month, a month when communities across the country take the time to reflect on the importance of making safety a priority, and raise awareness about important safety topics. As Washington, DC personal injury lawyers who help victims hold negligent parties accountable for causing preventable accidents, we know prevention is worth a pound of cure when it comes to safety.

    This June, the National Safety Council, which leads the month-long observance of National Safety Month, has outlined a few important topics and information everyone can benefit from taking a moment to review. These include:

    • Emergency Preparedness – Being prepared for the unexpected is a crucial component of safety, whether that means being prepared in the workplace, at home, or nearly anywhere else. According to the National Safety Council, not enough Americans have plans in place to respond to real emergencies, including those involving medical emergencies and natural disasters. The NSC provides a number of resources for families and employers who want to make effective safety and emergency preparedness plans, including family plans for things like home fires or flooding.
    • Wellness – Personal health and wellness is something many people forget to consider when it comes to safety. Plans and resources can only do so much if you aren’t taking the time to ensure your own personal safety, and the safety of those around you. While this can include healthy lifestyles, exercise, and eating habits, it can also include simple things like ensuring you get enough sleep. At the National Safety Council notes, fatigue is one of the single most common causes of preventable accidents, in the workplace, at home, and on the road. In fact, drowsy driving has been found to be just as dangerous as drunk driving!
    • Falls – Falls are a leading cause of preventable injuries and death, especially among the elderly and in a number of workplace settings. That’s despite the fact that many fall risks can be appropriately managed when safety is made a priority. Whether you’re using a ladder at home, working from heights on the job, working to ensure safe conditions on your property, or caring for an elderly loved one, there are numerous steps you can take to reduce fall-related accidents.
    • Driving – Driving is something many of us do on a daily basis, and because of that we’re quick to forget just how dangerous is really is. Car accidents, including pedestrian and bicycle accidents, have long been a leading cause of injury and death in the U.S. – and many of those accidents are preventable. Ensuring safety on the road means always putting safety first by abiding by traffic laws, being aware and considerate of those around you, avoiding distractions, never driving drunk, and more.

    You can learn more about these safety topics and ways you can get involved in spreading the word on safety by visiting the National Safety Council’s website.

    CSCS: Committed to Safety

    As personal injury lawyers who have been serving injured victims and families throughout Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, DC for over four decades, we know all too well how accidents and injuries can disrupt the lives of victims and their loved ones. Over the years, we have upheld our commitment to safety not only by advocating for initiatives and organizations that prioritize prevention and victims’ rights – such as the Brain Injury Association of Metropolitan Washington, DC, the Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA), and even the drafting of important legislation like the DC Youth Athletic Concussion Protection Act – but also by publishing a number of safety-related blogs for our clients and local residents.

    Below are just a few safety blogs we’ve written over the years that you may find helpful:

    Our firm has also published E-books that can help you protect your health and safety, as well as your right to compensation, after a crash occurs. You can view these E-Books here.

    Unfortunately, we know that even the most safety conscientious individuals can suffer harm when others around them are negligent. Should you or someone you love suffer injuries in a preventable accident, our award-winning attorneys are readily available to help you navigate the journey ahead, including prioritizing your safety by helping you obtain the medical treatment you need, and helping you begin the process of filing a personal injury claim. To learn more about our personal injury services, the cases we handle, and how we may be able to help you, call (202) 644-8303 or contact us online for a free consultation.

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  • Federal Investigators Find Driver of Self-Driving Uber in Fatal Arizona Crash Saw Pedestrian, Failed to Brake

    By: Allan M. Siegel

    In March, a self-driving Uber accident made headlines after a test vehicle in Arizona caused the first known pedestrian fatality involving an autonomous car. As we discussed in a blog post regarding that accident, Uber formally postponed test operations in Arizona and other cities across the country pending a full investigation into what went wrong. Now, federal investigators have released their preliminary findings.

    In a preliminary report from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), regulators found that the emergency braking system was not enabled at the time of the crash. Here are some important facts about their initial findings:

    • Investigators noted the self-driving Uber vehicle spotted the female pedestrian approximately six seconds before she was struck by the car.
    • Despite identifying the pedestrian, the vehicle did not apply the brakes, as the autonomous technology system used to apply brakes in such emergency situations had been disabled.
    • According to the NTSB, emergency braking is not enabled when autonomous Ubers are under computer control in order to “reduce potential for erratic vehicle behavior.”
    • With these systems inoperable, those autonomous vehicles rely on human intervention from “safety drivers” behind the wheel. However, the system is not designed to provide any warnings or alerts for those drivers.
    • A video released by authorities and reviewed by the NTSB showed the safety driver had attempted to steer the vehicle less than a second prior to impact, and was not able to brake until a second after impact. It also shows the safety driver had been looking down, away from the road before it struck and killed the pedestrian.

    The NTSB report, which does not determine fault for the accident, is intended to provide additional information into what factors led to the crash, and the role both autonomous vehicle technology and human safety drivers play in avoiding such collisions. As noted by Uber, which pulled all testing of self-driving vehicles from Arizona just days before the report was released, the company has been working hand-in-hand with investigators to identify areas of safety improvement for future test operations and large scale commercialization of self-driving cars.

    Autonomous Technology Still Being Refined

    One of the most glaring takeaways from the NTSB report, which has already been widely expressed in the weeks since the fatal accident, is that autonomous vehicle technology is still very much in its testing phase. From software and programmed decision-making to emergency situation protocol and the role of safety drivers, there is still a tremendous amount of moving parts involved in the operation of self-driving vehicles that must be addressed by companies which develop and test them. This includes testing operations on public roads in states where regulations are still lax or unprepared to address issues posed by these unique accidents when they occur.

    Addressing and refining autonomous technology and the issues it creates remains a major a concern, especially after it was discovered that the autonomous SUV involved in the crash was able to spot the pedestrian while traveling 43 mph, and needed 1.3 seconds to brake before impact. In this scenario, a better system for automatic braking, or a warning system for safety drivers could have prevented the death. Still, other issues involved in the crash show that it is important for vehicles to be able to assess and adapt to unpredictable situations. This includes the fact that the pedestrian had been crossing the road in a non-intersection without lights, was wearing dark clothing and had a bicycle with no lights or reflectors, and also tested positive for methamphetamine and marijuana, according to NTSB officials.

    The report may not make any conclusions or decisive findings about the crash or about who should be held liable – an issue that still needs tremendous attention from lawmakers if autonomous vehicles are to hit the road anytime soon – but it does show that these vehicles need ample refinement and additional testing on controlled roads so as to protect public safety. Our laws and regulations also need to address how these vehicles can assimilate onto public roadways, and how any accidents they are involved in should be handled in terms of liability.

    At Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C., our firm has been handling auto accident cases throughout the DC metro area for decades. Throughout that time, we have dealt with many new and novel issues involving automobiles, advancements, and technology that required our laws and our approach to handling cases adapt. This is precisely what we see with self-driving vehicles today, and why we are actively on the forefront of tracking such issues before autonomous vehicles become a common presence on our roads. Until then, and when the time comes, we make ourselves readily available to help victims of all types of auto accidents protect their rights to compensation during the personal injury claim process. Contact us to speak with an attorney about a potential accident case.

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  • Keyless Ignitions Linked to Numerous Injuries & Deaths, Auto Industry Slow to Protect Consumers

    By: Allan M. Siegel

    For many motorists on the road, the thought of being able to start your vehicle with the touch of a button was something reserved for science fiction. Today, it’s a standard and popular feature in numerous new-model cars and trucks. While it may be a nice convenience and appeal to our fascination with futuristic advancements, keyless-ignitions are not as simple or safe as they may seem. In fact, they’ve been tied to numerous injuries and deaths across the U.S. for over a decade.

    As reported by the New York Times, keyless ignitions pose serious risks when it comes to carbon monoxide exposure. Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas fatal to humans. When inhaled, especially over a period of time, the toxic fumes can cause headaches, dizziness, vomiting, and chest pain, and may cause victims to lose consciousness or stop breathing. Even in cases where victims do not die as a result of exposure, they can suffer long-term and debilitating disabilities, including permanent brain damage.

    Here are a few important findings from the Times’ investigative report:

    • Keyless ignitions have been associated with more than two dozen fatalities involving carbon monoxide poisoning nationwide since 2006.
    • The NYT found evidence of nearly 50 injuries, including severe brain damage, associated with keyless-ignition vehicles between 2006 and 2016.
    • Keyless ignitions are a standard feature in more than half of 17+ million new model vehicles produced in the U.S. annually.

    Because keyless ignitions utilize key fobs rather than physical keys that require manual turning, they can start and stop engines with the push of a button, as long as the key fob is inside or close to the vehicle. This system causes many motorists to not notice when their car may still be running, a problem often compounded by the fact that newer cars have quieter engines. As a result, many reports of injury and death involved vehicle owners who mistakenly thought their cars were off, left them in enclosed spaces (such as a garage), and were exposed to toxic fumes in their homes and / or while they slept.

    Need for Better Safety Features

    The numbers of injuries and deaths associated with keyless ignitions have given way to increased efforts by advocates and regulators who want to prevent them. This includes safety features such as alert sounds which notify vehicle owners when an engine is still running, and updates that can automatically turn an engine off it is has been idling for too long. In fact, the NHTSA used these features to create standards for the auto industry in a bill it proposed to lawmakers.

    Unfortunately, the auto industry has been aggressive in fighting the measure, and the initiative has since stalled. This is despite experts and regulators reporting that such measures can save lives, and that they are inexpensive to implement, with software updates costing automakers just pennies per vehicle.

    Profits Over People: How it Creates Dangers for Consumers

    As we have discussed at length in many of our blog posts, this corporate focus on profits rather than people and public safety is not uncommon. It happens all the time, in the auto and trucking industry, consumer product industry, and the medical industry. Because these corporations care more about saving on costs and cutting expenses than they do about implementing safety changes proven to save lives, they send a clear message that injuries and deaths will likely continue until they are forced to “do the right thing” by stricter laws, better regulatory oversight, and the threat of fines, violations, and civil penalties when they don’t comply.

    Until that happens, which can take time as corporations commonly lobby politicians to support their agendas, consumers (and especially older drivers used to older manual ignitions) still face risks when it comes to potential carbon monoxide poisoning caused by their keyless-ignition vehicles. This often means victims and families who do step forward to assert their rights and file civil lawsuits (such as personal injury or wrongful death suits) against automakers have cases that not only provide them with an opportunity to secure justice and compensation for their losses, but to also raise awareness about these dangers, muster the support to prompt new laws, and spark changes that can prevent others from becoming statistics in a pattern of preventable harm.

    At Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C. we continually show that we’re dedicated to protecting everyday Americans in their fight for justice after being harmed by the negligent and careless acts of others – even if the defendants they face off against are powerful and wealthy corporations. We also make it clear our clients have tragic stories that can very well become the stories of other victims and families when no action is taken to correct unsafe and unacceptable practices, and fight aggressively to play a role in helping build upon that message and the fight for needed change.

    If you have questions regarding your rights after suffering preventable injuries or losing a loved one due to negligence, please do not hesitate to call (202) 644-8303 or contact us online. We offer free and confidential consultations, and proudly serve clients throughout Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, DC.

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  • Dozens Injured After Truck Collides with School Bus in Milwaukee, Investigators Look into Potential Causes

    By: Allan M. Siegel

    At least 20 victims were injured in Milwaukee Wednesday morning when a school bus full of students was violently rear-ended by a commercial truck. According to reports from the Wisconsin State Patrol, the wreck occurred shortly after 10:00 am on Wednesday, May 23 on Interstate 39.

    The school bus involved in the collision was from HOPE Christian School: Semper, and at the time of the crash, had been carrying 33 passengers, including 27 students and 6 adults. Authorities also state that the bus was stopped on the shoulder of the Interstate when it was struck by the tractor-trailer.

    Of the 20 victims injured in the crash, 4 suffered serious injuries. Two victims were also transported by helicopter from the scene to a local hospital.

    While the investigation is still in its early stages, preliminary information indicates the school bus was traveling north on the Interstate before the driver pulled over onto the shoulder near an Exit due to a mechanical issue. The bus was then struck at high speed by the tractor-trailer.

    Additionally, authorities stated they had received reports that the truck had been driving erratically prior to the crash. Although they issued an “attempt to locate” call, the crash happened before law enforcement was able to find and stop the driver. Representatives from the trucking company which owned the rig, said the driver had only been on the road for an hour before the collision.

    Trucking Accidents & Investigations

    Witness statements, reports, and preliminary crash scene investigations have provided a fair amount of information to local law enforcement to work with. However, it may be some time before any definitive determination is made about what caused the wreck and whether or not it could have been prevented. That’s because commercial truck accidents can be caused by a variety of factors, including driver fatigue, mechanical error, or even driver impairment by drugs and alcohol, as cited by authorities in a press conference discussing the need for a full investigation.

    With so many potential causes, post-accident investigations become critical to helping victims and families who may be entitled to financial compensation for their damages. By looking into all of these factors, investigators can follow up on leads, rule out suspected causes, and reach final determinations that can aid victims in holding the appropriate party liable. For example:

    • Driver fatigue / error – Although the driver in this incident was reportedly on the road for only an hour prior to the crash, looking into who that driver was, what they were during before and during the crash, and questioning them after the crash will be vital to determining whether or not driver error or fatigue played a role. This is especially true given reports that the truck was being driven erratically, and because many rear-end accidents are caused by driver error and negligence. Fatigue can also not be ruled out until investigators look further into the company and its records, including any E-logs that may have logged the driver’s time on duty. Even then, investigators will likely look beyond company records to rule out possibilities that the driver may have already exceeded weekly Hours-of-Service rules, or may have been awake for an extended period of time prior to starting their shift or getting behind the wheel (which was the case in the high profile Walmart truck accident that seriously injured comedian Tracy Morgan and killed one victim).
    • Mechanical Error – As stated by police, investigators will also look into the possibility of mechanical errors, which may account for the erratic driving. Delving into this possibility is important for victims, as it may reveal that a defective product caused the wreck, and open the door to claims against a product manufacturer, rather than the truck driver or trucking company.
    • Drug or Alcohol Impairment – Investigators will also test the truck driver to determine whether or not he was under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the crash, another possible explanation for the erratic driving. Because trucking companies have obligations to abide by safety regulations specifically for drug and alcohol testing and when hiring drivers who won’t pose unreasonable risks on the road (such as drivers with a history of substance abuse), positive test results could implicate the trucking company as a liable party.

    Our legal team at Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C. expresses our sincere condolences to all families affected by this serious crash, and are hopeful investigations will provide the insight which can guide them in any personal injury claims they may choose to pursue. When representing our clients, we make sure to be a part of these investigations, and conduct independent evaluations of our own, because they have significant influence over the direction and substance of their cases.

    If you or someone you love has been hurt in a truck accident anywhere in Washington, DC, Virginia, or Maryland, our attorneys have the insight and resources to help you immediately. Call (202) 644-8303 or contact us online to discuss a potential case.

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  • Uber & Lyft End Mandatory Arbitration for Sexual Assault Claims

    By: Allan M. Siegel

    Uber and Lyft have become immensely successful rideshare services, providing customers with convenient access to local drivers nearby. Unfortunately, the nature of these services pose some risks to passengers, including risks of sexual assault and misconduct. Now, the companies will no longer require victims who bring forth allegations of sexual assault or rape to have their claims handled in forced arbitration.

    Over the years, both companies have come under scrutiny in cases where victims have alleged sexual assault against drivers. Prior to their announcement, both Uber and Lyft had policies which contained binding arbitration clauses customers accepted as a condition of using their services.

    These clauses are commonly used by corporations who provide services to consumers, and they require any disputes or claims brought by customers against the company to be handled in arbitration, where the scales are commonly tipped in favor of corporations and where victims face an uphill battle to prevail in their cases.

    Uber and Lyft’s decision to end the criticized practice of forced arbitration is likely a response to the current social climate, where sexual assault and misconduct have become hot-button issues, and which champions the rights of victims. Although it is certainly a victory for victims, many believe it should have been done earlier. This step in the right direction could also go further. For example, both rideshare companies can implement measures to better protect customers and prevent assaults from happening in the first place, such as:

    • Better background checks on drivers
    • Prohibiting applicants with certain criminal offenses on their record from driving
    • Standardized policies to appropriately investigate and resolve sexual assault allegations
    • Improved technology to allow for in-app reporting and emergency notifications
    • Shared reporting of complaints between services, as many drivers work for both Uber and Lyft

    Forced Arbitration Slashes Victims’ Rights

    Uber and Lyft’s announcement provides an opportunity to educate the public about just how detrimental forced arbitration clauses can be for consumers when they need to bring forth claims of misconduct and wrongdoing. Frequently hidden in the fine print of contracts or terms and services agreements, including nursing home contracts, forced arbitration clauses hurt victims and help corporations. Here are a few reasons why:

    • Bias Decision-Makers – Forced arbitration prevents victims from taking claims to civil court, and instead requires them to participate in private proceedings overheard by a private arbitrator, paid for by the corporation, rather than an impartial judge. Because these arbitrators are being paid by the corporation and want repeat business, it incentivizes them to rule against victims.
    • Lack of Transparency – One of the biggest reasons why corporations use forced arbitration is to prevent victims’ allegations from becoming public. Proceedings and records in civil court are open to the public, allow for greater transparency and accountability, and help establish unacceptable patterns of neglect and misconduct when new claims are brought forward. By using arbitration, however, most companies require proceedings to be kept confidential, even if they are important to the health and safety of other customers, or the public at large.
    • Costs & Requirements – Most forced arbitration clauses unfairly burden victims who bring claims against a company. Often, victims are forced to waive their rights, which allows the company to sue in court. They may also require steep filing fees to only initiate a case, and pay their share of the arbitrator’s hourly fees. Corporations also typically provide themselves with the right to choose the location for proceedings, which can further burden and limit the rights of consumers.
    • Weakened Civil Safeguards – As opposed to civil proceedings, arbitration clauses commonly restrict victims in their ability to argue their side of the story, such as through restrictions on obtaining evidence or appealing adverse decisions.

    Although there have been victories in ending forced arbitration, corporations still zealously work to pass laws in their favor. This includes Wall Street’s recent success in rolling back a rule banning mandatory arbitration in financial contracts, a feat included in the American Association for Justice’s report on the Worst Corporate Conduct of 2017.

    Sexual Assault & Civil Lawsuits

    In addition to highlighting the threat forced arbitration poses to victims’ rights and civil justice, Uber and Lyft’s announcement for dealing with victims’ claims can aid advocates in their calls for better policies that help prevent the acts which led to them in the first place. Arbitration and civil lawsuits are both reactionary in nature – they’re a response to an alleged wrongdoing that could and should have been prevented. As such, Uber and Lyft should be doing more than providing victims with rights they should have always been entitled to in the first place. As advocates agree, this should include better policies to ensure the safety of customers, especially when it comes to vetting potential drivers.

    Because Uber and Lyft owe a duty of care to their customers, they can be held accountable for failing to take reasonable measures that protect their safety. This is often why victims of sexual assault committed by rideshare drivers bring direct claims against the company. With the recent move allowing sexual assault claims to be handled in civil court, greater awareness and accountability may follow, and hopefully better measures for rider safety.

    Support for Sexual Assault Victims in Washington, DC

    As a law firm that focuses on protecting the rights of the injured and the wronged in the civil justice system, we believe that although Uber and Lyft have done the right thing by ending forced arbitration, their commitment to protecting riders should go further. That’s because we have represented victims of sexual assault and misconduct, and we know how difficult such experiences can be. As we work to protect their rights when bringing civil sexual assault or sexual abuse claims, including their right to justice and compensation, we also want these cases to show the importance of prevention and the duties companies must uphold to protect the public.

    If you have a potential case to discuss, our attorneys are available to help. Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C. serves clients throughout Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, DC, and offers free and confidential consultation. Contact us to speak with a lawyer.

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