This week’s question is from Marianne K. from Pacific Heights who asks: “I read your column last week about the first Uber robot-car pedestrian death in Arizona. Then, the next day there was a fatal crash involving a Tesla on “Autopilot.” What is going on? Who is responsible when a car on Autopilot crashes?”
On Saturday October 7, a beautiful Indian summer day in Marin, approximately 1,300 cyclists gathered to ride through the rolling hills of Marin to support the Marin Bike Coalition in its annual Jensie Gran Fondo. As the day went on, what started as a fun-filled day turned to tragedy when the driver of a blue Dodge Ram pickup allegedly swerved to the right and struck 4 bicyclists knocking them to the ground and then sped off. The hit and run collision is the worst injury in the event’s history.
This week’s question comes from a reader identified only as “Bob” in Los Angeles who asks, “I was reading your columns online and I see that you write a lot about Lyft and Uber. I drive for both. While driving recently late at night from LAX I was sideswiped by a pickup truck driver who changed lanes suddenly without looking. I slammed on my brakes to try and avoid colliding with the truck but it hit the front of my car forcing me into the concrete dividing wall. The front and left side of my car is wrecked. My airbag went off and both the passenger and I were injured. The police came and took a report but I don’t have the license plate of the pickup truck driver. I told the company and they told me to submit a claim with my insurance company. What should I do?”
Karen in the East Bay writes, “Chris, I need your advice. I took my car to a neighborhood car wash. While I was going through the wash, the car behind me accelerated and reared ended my car. At the time, I was reaching for papers in the glove compartment. The force from the collision, while not great, was enough to shove my head into the dashboard. I ended up with a nasty gash above my eye that required stitches and may leave a permanent scar. I also suffered a neck injury, which hopefully will heal through physical therapy.
I don’t know how the driver of the car behind me hit me. It might not matter. He doesn’t have car insurance. The car wash owner claims he has no responsibility because there was nothing wrong with the car wash’s machinery.
My friends joke that I got into a collision inside a car wash. I am not laughing. Incredibly, I am already looking at over $10,000 in hospital and medical bills. What should I do?”
Ray from the Sunset District writes, “I deliver meals for one of the app food companies. Last week, my car was in the shop so I was driving my girlfriend’s new motorcycle when a driver for national package delivery service company pulled out of a driveway without looking and drove right into my path. We collided and I had to go to the hospital for a broken collar bone and some fractured ribs.
The driver claimed I was speeding. At most, I was going slightly over the speed. The driver was not injured but the rear of his van was smashed. His company’s insurance company is demanding I pay for the repair costs. My girlfriend’s motorcycle was a total loss. I have $16,000 in hospital bills.
I found out after the crash that my girlfriend did not have motorcycle insurance. She owns another motorcycle that is insured but hadn’t yet put her new bike on the policy. I have a policy for my car but don’t know if that helps. I asked about my situation on a message board for ride share drivers. One person said I don’t have any coverage under “Prop 213” because the motorcycle was not insured. Another person said I must not tell my insurance company I was delivering meals. What’s the real answer? Aren’t all app drivers covered by the company’s insurance?”
Sandra from the Upper Haight asks: “Chris, can you settle a matter for me? My best friend and I share a car. She is new to the City and constantly holds her phone while driving to check directions. When she is not doing that, she uses Spotify on her phone to listen to music through the car’s speakers. I love her dearly and don’t want her to cause or be in a crash. I have told her she can’t use the phone in her hand while driving. She claims it’s only illegal to hold the phone to talk or text. Is she right?”
Bao from Union City writes, “Chris, I got into a car accident last week and broke two ribs. My sister was with me and she suffered a concussion. The other driver ran a red light and hit us. I was driving my sister’s car which was totaled. I found out after the crash that my sister doesn’t have insurance. The agent for the driver who hit us says since the car was not insured he doesn’t have to pay for my injuries. I have my own car insurance policy. What should I do?”
Ten people were hurt, including two suffering life-threatening injuries, on Friday afternoon, December 16, 2016, when a car crashed into a MUNI bus stop in the 800 block of Stockton Street (near Sacramento Street).
Johanna from the Mission recently told me: “I saw a lady in a crosswalk get hit by a car recently. There were other people there who helped her get up and out of the street. She seemed hurt, but it did not seem life threatening, so I left. Now I feel bad that I did not give the lady my name and number to be a witness.”
Crashes Resulted In Man Falling From I-80 Highway Onto the Yolo Bypass
West Sacramento, CA (September 27, 2016) – Three crashes occurred between 2:33 a.m. and 2:45 a.m. on eastbound Interstate 80 along the Yolo Causeway, east of Webster Road and west of West Sacramento on Monday, September 26, 2016. The first collision involved a 2015 Ford Fusion that was stalled in the right lane after being involved in a fender-bender collision. There were no injuries with regard to the first crash. Afterward, the driver of the Ford and his female passenger got out of their vehicle and walked to the right shoulder of the road away from their vehicle. The Ford remained in the right lane of the road.