Uber/Lyft Passenger Rights in Maryland

Uber/Lyft Driver in Maryland

Despite their relative youth, ride-sharing services have revolutionized the transportation industry like no other innovation before them. Offerings like Uber and Lyft make it easy to find a ride just about anywhere in the world with the swipe of a finger across a smartphone. They’ve also led to an increased amount of untrained drivers stepping in to fill professionals’ shoes. Also, Uber and Lyft pay drivers based on the mileage they travel, which means it’s in the financial interest of drivers to cover as many miles as possible in the shortest time. They also use the app to notify drivers of “surge,” or heavy travel areas, where they can earn more money and usually send drivers notifications about their next fare before they have dropped off their current rides. All of it, the emphasis on speed and the constant distraction of the notifications, means an increased likelihood of accidents with passengers in the car.

So what happens if you, as a Lyft or Uber passenger, are injured in a crash? 

Ride-share services have attempted to have their drivers categorized as independent contractors rather than employees, which would limit their liability in the event of a crash. However, whether Uber or Lyft drivers are considered employees or independent contractors, they are still acting as agents for the company, so any fault or negligence of your Uber or Lyft driver is fault or negligence that you can attribute to the company.

Further, Maryland considers Uber/Lyft vehicles as public conveyances or common carriers and requires drivers to obtain motor carrier permits as for-hire carriers. 

Passengers injured in an Uber/Lyft car accident in Maryland can make a claim against Uber/Lyft

In Maryland, all ride-share drivers must maintain their own auto insurance policy in accordance with state laws. On top of that, Uber maintains $1,000,000 in third-party automobile liability insurance on behalf of all U.S. drivers. Even if you are hurt in an accident by the negligence of someone other than the Uber or Lyft driver, you can still make a claim against this $1,000,000 policy. After all, you booked your ride through their ride-sharing service and were injured in a car registered as an Uber or Lyft vehicle.

However, you still need to prove the driver was at fault for the crash that injured you. In the event of an accident, make certain that the driver reports the accident to the company. If you do decide to sue Uber/Lyft, the last thing you want to find out is that there’s no record of the accident. 

Uber and Lyft are big companies that operate almost exclusively online, which means it can be difficult and time-consuming for injured parties trying to deal with them. If you’ve been in an Uber/Lyft accident in Maryland, a lawyer can help you determine the best course of action. Contact the Law Offices of Nicholas Parr in Baltimore, MD today to schedule your free consultation. We don’t receive a fee unless we win.

How to Fight a Drug Possession Charge

Drug Possession Charges in Maryland

Drug possession charges are the court’s most commonly seen criminal cases, both here in Maryland and throughout the country. The severity of the charge depends on the circumstance (such as the drug in question and how much of it is found); nevertheless, any drug possession charge is a serious one, with potentially life-changing consequences. 

If you’ve been charged with possession of a drug, you might be feeling overwhelmed and unsure of what to do. Here is some helpful advice for fighting the charge. 

Know your rights – and determine if they were violated. The first step in fighting a drug possession charge is determining if your Fourth Amendment rights (the amendment that protects you against unlawful search and seizure) were affected at the time of your arrest. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Did the police have probable cause – and legal authority – to search you? For example, if you were driving, did the police stop you without enough evidence or suspicion of a crime to justify doing so? If you were at home, did they enter without a warrant? Police need to demonstrate a reasonable basis for conducting a search; if they don’t, they are violating your rights and you can push to have the charges dropped.
  • Did they ask for – and receive – your consent to be searched? Even if police had probable cause to search you, if you didn’t consent to be searched or they didn’t ask you before they searched you, any evidence they gathered is inadmissible in court.
  • Did the police read you your Miranda rights when they arrested you? If so, did they respect your request to remain silent under questioning? If your rights were not properly respected, you can argue that anything you said at the time of your arrest cannot be admissible in court.

Explore medical exceptions. One way to fight drug possession charges is to argue that you need the drugs in question for medical reasons. Obviously, this approach won’t work with certain narcotics, but if you’ve been caught with a small amount of marijuana, you could make the case that you need it for medicinal purposes.

Consider a diversion program. If this is the first time you’ve been charged with a drug offense, you might be able to undergo counseling, community service, coursework, or other “rehabilitation”-type avenues in lieu of fines or jail time. In addition to providing you with an alternative to a more serious sentence, diversion programs benefit the state as well, since they eliminate the money, time, and hassle of a protracted court case.

Hire an experienced lawyer. Aligning yourself with an experienced, aggressive lawyer is the smartest decision you can make when fighting a drug charge. A lawyer who has handled these types of cases before knows the ins and outs of the system and can help you determine the best course of action – whether that’s examining diversion programs, pleading down to a lesser offense or simply burying the prosecution in so many document requests and other red tape that they eventually give up and drop or lessen the charges.

If you’ve been arrested on a drug charge in Maryland, a lawyer can help you determine the best course of action. Contact the Law Offices of Nicholas Parr in Baltimore, MD today to schedule your free consultation. We don’t receive a fee unless we win.

Things to Know About Medical Malpractice Laws in Maryland

Medical Maryland Malpractice

A recent surgical procedure or medical treatment has left you injured. It’s clear your situation was the result of negligence, or possibly incompetence, on behalf of a doctor, nurse, technician, hospital, or medical worker. You sue, you win and you are left with a sizable payout to cover your “actual economic loss,” including lost wages and medical expenses resulting from the malpractice and “noneconomic loss,” such as pain and suffering.

Unfortunately, it’s not that easy. Medical malpractice, both in Maryland and just about every other state in the country, is an extremely complicated issue. Generally speaking, you, as the injured patient, must prove that (1) a professional duty was owed to you as the patient;(2) the medical provider breached such duty; (3) that your injury was a direct result of the breach; and (4) the resulting damages will reasonably address your losses.

There are also several rules governing how a medical malpractice lawsuit can proceed…

Malpractice Lawsuits Must Be Filed Promptly

The first thing that comes into play regarding a malpractice lawsuit is the statute of limitations, i.e., how much time you’re legally granted between the date of the alleged malpractice and the date you must file the lawsuit. If the malpractice occurred on Date A, the clock starts running and any lawsuit must be filed by Date B. However, even this isn’t that cut and dried. Maryland malpractice law holds that a malpractice claim must be filed within five years after the injury occurred, OR within three years after you’ve discovered or reasonably could have discovered the injury, whichever comes first. If you were mentally incapacitated (under prolonged sedation, in a coma, or otherwise unable to make decisions) when the alleged malpractice occurred, you will more than likely have until three years after your mental disability ends.

Miss the statute of limitations deadline and your case will almost definitely be dismissed by the court. 

Maryland’s “Certificate of Qualified Expert” Requirement

You claiming that your doctor was negligent is one thing, but the courts require you to bring in a qualified expert to confirm that your claim is reasonable. Within 90 days of filing your medical malpractice claim, you will need to provide documentation of a qualified medical expert who has sworn that he/she has reviewed your claim and believes that (1) the medical care provider did not meet the accepted medical standard of care when treating you; and (2) that your injuries are a direct result of the health care provider’s negligence to meet that standard.  

The Maryland Cap on Medical Malpractice Damages

How much can a malpractice claim actually win? Maryland is one of many states that has capped the amount of “noneconomic damages” awarded to a patient who’s won a malpractice lawsuit. This cap depends on the year in which the injury occurred. The total amount for the calendar year 2022 is $860,000, with the limit increasing by $15,000 each year. For injuries that occurred prior to 2022, the limit is decreased by $15,000 per calendar year.

Keep in mind that “noneconomic damages” refers to compensation for hard-to-quantify elements like pain and suffering, anxiety, loss of enjoyment of life, scarring, and other negative side effects. Maryland does not cap “economic damages” such as compensation for past medical expenses, current medical care, lost income, and damage to your future ability to earn a living.

If you’ve been a victim of malpractice in Maryland, a lawyer can help you determine the best course of action. Contact the Law Offices of Nicholas Parr in Baltimore, MD today to schedule your free consultation. We don’t receive a fee unless we win.