Is Uber the New 9-1-1?

Uber Car Crash Lawyer

In November 2015, a Grand Rapids, Michigan man was shot and was bleeding heavily. Instead of calling 911, he called an Uber.

Slow ambulance response times and the astronomical service fees that follow, have many individuals taking matters into their own hands, or phones actually. Individuals in need of emergency care are now picking up their smartphones, opening their favorite ridesharing app, and instead of adding their local bar as their destination, users are requesting to be dropped off at the nearest emergency room. Uber, in particular, has responded to this trend by creating a non-emergency transportation application to help healthcare providers, Uber Health.

Distressed people find themselves waiting long periods of time for an emergency vehicle to arrive. These slow response times have caused life-threatening obstacles for many individuals. In 2013, “the city of Detroit had fewer than 10 working ambulances. A 911 caller with a medical emergency was likely to wait 20 minutes or more for help to arrive,” according to the Altarum Institute. In 2014, Detroit had seen some of its worst response times in decades. In January 2014, the average response time of Detroit's Emergency Medical Services (EMS) was 18 minutes, as mentioned by, The Motor City Muckraker. But, the article also mentions that in 2015, The City of Detroit saw an increase from 12 to 25 EMS vehicles after Mayor Mike Duggan took office, and started an initiative to improve Detroit’s ambulance response time. The article also mentions that the initiative, which began in April 2015, saw response times surpassing the national average, dropping 10 minutes to 8 minutes and 30 seconds.

But even with improved emergency service response times, many individuals are still choosing ridesharing services over calling 9-1-1. Why? Ambulance rides are expensive! A deciding factor in choosing transportation for many individuals is how much it will cost them. People love Uber for the simple reasons that they can arrive at a destination quickly and without breaking their wallets. And when the price of an ambulance ride to the hospital can range from $600 to $1,000, according to the Department of Health and Human Services, it’s no wonder people prefer an Uber! According to the University of Kansas, “the use of Uber in cities across the country has reduced per capita ambulance volume by at least 7%,” likely because patients want to avoid the expensive ambulance ride with paramedics. The study looked at ambulance rates in 766 U.S. cities across 43 states from the time Uber was made available in the area from 2013-2015.

Although taking an Uber to the hospital may be much cheaper and at times faster, it might not be a medically sound decision to rule out an ambulance. A 5-star uber driver may provide bottled water and your choice of music but ambulances come equipped with trained professionals who provide life-saving care! Also, an emergency vehicle can legally impede traffic to race an individual to an emergency room, where ridesharing services cannot.

Detroit Car Crash Lawyer

While Uber does not encourage using their services in place of emergency care, they have recognized the need for more efficient and easy to use transportation in the medical sector, and have introduced Uber Health. According to Uber, “Uber health is a technology solution for healthcare organizations that leverages the ride hailing power of Uber platform... the app allows hospitals and other healthcare professionals to request, manage, and pay for rides for others, at a scale.” Healthcare organizations use Uber Health to allow patients to request or schedule a ride to and from their place or treatment, and for staff to get to and from work, 24/7. Uber Health is currently available in the United States everywhere Uber is already available. According to The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), “services like Uber Health could help patients avoid missing appointments because of lack of affordable transportation.”

But it should be stressed again that Uber Health is not an alternative to calling 911, but rather an aid for healthcare providers to arrange higher quality transportation services for patients. Requesting ridesharing services instead of emergency vehicles because of slow EMS response times or hefty medical bills may put injured victims at a higher risk of not getting proper medical attention.


Calling an Uber to go to the ER for a paper cut is a better idea than calling an ambulance. But, taking an Uber to the ER after experiencing a heart attack may not be the best medical decision. No one likes going to the hospital or dealing with piling medical bills. The personal injury attorneys at The Michigan Law Firm, PC understand the frustration that injured victims feel and help them so they can focus on their recovery. Contact us at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation.

Michigan Horse-drawn Buggy Collision Kills 3

Grand Rapids Car Crash Lawyer

A horse-drawn buggy collision in central Michigan has killed three and injured several others. The Detroit Free Press reported that at 8:34 AM on Sunday, October 29, a pickup truck rear-ended a horse-drawn buggy that was carrying a family of nine in Montcalm County, Michigan. The buggy was traveling east on Condensery Road near Wood Road in Bushnell Township, Michigan when it was struck but a Dodge truck. The truck was driven by Brandon King, 29, from Sheridan, Michigan.

Three children traveling in the buggy suffered fatal injuries. A 7 year-old girl, a 9 year-old girl, and an 11 year-old boy were all pronounced dead at the scene. An 18 month-old girl, a 2 year-old boy, 3 year-old boy, and 8 year-old boy were all transported to Helen Devos Children’s Hospital in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The 18 month-old has since be released. The children’s parents, Paul Martin and Judith Martin were also injured, and were taken to Hurley Medical Center in Flint, Michigan and Spectrum Health Butterworth in Grand Rapids, Michigan, respectively. King was a wearing a seatbelt at the time of the truck accident and was not injured. Investigators have ruled out alcohol as a factor.

Under Michigan law, horse-drawn buggies are street legal and are considered traffic. However, there are no types of licensing laws when it comes to horse-drawn buggies, so they can be driven by a person of any age. Michigan legislature states that “a person riding an animal or driving an animal-drawn vehicle upon a roadway shall be granted all of the rights and shall be subject to all the duties, criminal penalties, and civil sanctions applicable to the driver of a vehicle.”

Michigan Horse Car Crash Lawyer

According to Mlive, horse-drawn buggies are considered “implements of husbandry”, which is any sort of vehicle use for farming or agricultural purposes. As such, they are required to display an orange safety triangle on the rear of the buggy, which indicates that they are a slow moving vehicle. They also must not obstruct traffic, meaning that if a large line of vehicles forms behind the buggy, it must pull of to the side of the road and let the vehicles pass. It is not until the person dismounts the buggy that they are considered a pedestrian, and the horse is considered an animal.

While seeing a horse-drawn buggy, or any other sort of “implements of husbandry” may be frustrating due to their slow moving speed, it’s crucial that automobile drivers remember that there are people riding in them, and that those people are at a bigger risk for injury should a motor vehicle collision happen as compared to the driver who is protected inside their metal vehicle. Passing and overtaking a buggy may seem like a quick fix drivers to get back up to the speed they want to be going, but buggies don’t operate the same way vehicles do, and it’s impossible to predict how a horse will react when a car goes flying by. No one likes to have to slow down, but under Michigan law, horse-drawn buggies have as much of a right to be on the road as any driver.


Driving on rural roads can present obstacles many drivers aren't used to, such as slow moving farm vehicles, sharp curves, and unpaved roads. It's important that drivers are extra cautious when traveling in a rural area, especially if it's something they don't do often. If you have been involved in an automobile accident, including a car crash in a rural area, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free legal consultation.

5 Years Later: Revisiting Michigan's No Helmet Law

Lawmakers and motorcyclists continue to rumble about the 2012 repeal of a Michigan law that previously required motorcyclists to wear a helmet at all times. The new version of the law gives motorcyclists the option to decide whether or not they want to wear a helmet. “Our perspective is that this is a freedom issue and an individual rights issue,” said Jim Roades of American Bikers Aiming Toward Education (ABATE) of Michigan, a nonprofit cycling rights group that was vital in the push for the 2012 repeal. When asked about a potential return of the mandate, Rhoades said, “We would fight tooth and nail. We want people to know we’re not going anywhere.” 

Motorcycle Accident Lawyer

The Republican-controlled Congress does not appear to be showing any signs of bringing back the mandate, although science and statistics reveal the price that’s paid when head meets pavement in a motorcycle crash. 146 people were killed in 2016 due to motorcycle crashes, according to Michigan State Police data, which is the highest number since 1985. MLive reports that from 2000 to 2011, an average of 112 motorcyclists were killed per year. From 2012 (when the law took into effect) to 2015, that number has averaged nearly 126 people. 

In a 2016 study of 345 motorcycle crash victims treated at Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital in Grand Rapids, Michigan, 10% of riders who were not wearing helmets died, compared to 3% of riders who did wear a helmet. The study also found that not wearing a helmet leads to more severe motorcycle crash head injuries, more days in intensive care, and more time on a ventilator. Additionally, getting into a motorcycle accident without a helmet and living to tell the tale will cost riders more, as the average hospital cost for non-helmeted riders was $27,760, 32% higher than for riders wearing helmets. 

Motorcycle Accident Lawyer

Dr. Carlos Rodriguez, a trauma surgeon at the hospital, told MLive that he happened to be on call the first few days following the law repeal. “We had three or four really bad motorcycle crashes and all of them had not been wearing helmets. It made an impression on me. I thought, ‘Wow, this is more than we normally see.'” The study also found that the number of riders brought to the hospital who had not been wearing a helmet during a crash had quadrupled. 

In 2014, Senator Rebekah Warren, a Democrat from Ann Arbor, Michigan introduced a bill that would restore mandatory helmet use in Michigan. The proposal was so unpopular among the legislators that it never even came to a vote. Warren once again proposed a similar piece of legislation in 2015, but it faced the same fate as the 2014 effort. “It’s very disappointing. This is really a public health issue. We are seeing a lot more injuries and deaths for people not wearing helmets,” Warren said. Warren has also stated that she is seeing growing support for restoring the law from medical groups. However, public support means little if the public doesn’t get a chance to vote on the issue. “I feel like with an issue like this, if we could actually have a hearing on what it means in our emergency room, what this means to our loved ones and what it means to all of taxpayers, I think you could change some minds,” Warren expressed. 

Senator Warren isn't the only one concerned about the risks to one's health that are created by choosing to ride without a helmet. Dr. Nicholas S. Adams of the Michigan State University College of Human Medicine and Spectrum Health in Grand Rapids recently led a study that found the number of skull fractures and other head and facial injuries doubled in the first three years following lawmakers' decision to make motorcycle helmets optional. Researchers estimate that the risk of facial trauma may be reduced by half and facial injuries by more than 30 percent just by wearing a helmet while riding a motorcycle. Despite these facts, a third of motorcyclists do not wear helmets, even in states where they are required.   

Michigan Motorcycle Crash Attorney

Under current law, riders 21 and older may ride a motorcycle without a helmet as long as they pass a safety course or have ridden a motorcycle in the past two years. They are also required to carry $20,000 in medical insurance. Michigan became the 31st state to allow motorcycles to ride without helmets when Governor Rick Snyder signed the bill that was twice vetoed by former Governor Jennifer Granholm. For the time being, it seems the laws will stay the same. Snyder reportedly does “not have any initiative underway to revisit the law," contrary to advice from doctors and researchers such as Adams, who say, "We urge state and national legislators to re-establish universal motorcycle helmet laws."

Motorcycle crashes can put riders, passengers, and other people on the road at risk of a severe injury or fatality. The easiest way to help prevent getting hurt from a motorcycle accident is to wear protective headgear. The endless discussion on whether or not helmets should be required will likely go on for years to come. Yet one thing remains clear: nothing bad ever came from wearing a helmet while riding a motorcycle. 


Previously, The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC blog discussed helpful tips on how to safely ride a motorcycle. In this article, wearing a helmet was the number one tip. Wearing a helmet can be the difference between a trip to the hospital and a trip to the morgue, and in a state with poor road conditions like Michigan, you can never take too many safety precautions. If you or somebody you know has been injured in a motorcycle accident or an automobile crash involving a motorcycle, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC. Our attorneys are experienced in working side by side with victims to identify possible legal solutions. Call us today, at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation. 

Newborn Baby Abandoned In Unknown Car

Child Hot Car Lawyer Michigan

A visitor to Mercy Health St. Mary’s Hospital in Grand Rapids, MI discovered a newborn baby abandoned in a car in the hospital parking lot, on the morning of June 12, 2017 and alerted police. The baby was not found in its parents' car but in an unknown man's vehicle. Officials are currently working to get to the bottom of the case. It has been reported that the baby’s 24-year-old mother is currently cooperating with investigators. However, it is still unclear whether or not the baby’s mother knows the man in whose car the baby was found.

Luckily, the baby, who appears to have been born within the last week, is in good health. However, the baby's abandonment is even more alarming because of the recent hot Summer weather in Michigan. Temperatures outside on Monday, June 12th reached the mid-90s, turning the inside of vehicles into ovens. It is of course, never safe to leave children or pets inside hot cars. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that from 1998-2016, 700 children died from heatstroke in vehicles. 54% of these deaths were due to the child being forgotten in a car by a caregiver. While a few minutes in a hot car might sound harmless, in just ten minutes, a car can heat up to 20 degrees higher than the outside temperature, which can be enough to kill children who are left in vehicles. Additionally, children are often too young to alert others for help if they are trapped in an abandoned car.

Source:  Kars4Kids.org

It is therefore important to “check for baby” before leaving the car, to ensure child hot car safety. Making it a habit to check the backseat before leaving the car can prevent children from being left behind on hot days. The non-profit organization Kars4Kids wants to help bring awareness to this important subject. They have developed an app to help forgetful parents remember that there is someone alive and breathing in the back of their vehicle, among the mountains of groceries.

They have created an app, called Kars4Kids Safety, which is designed to set off an alarm every time a phone that has the app leaves a vehicle. It does this by connecting to a car's Bluetooth technology to track when a user goes in and out of a vehicle. A customizable ringtone and option to add your child's photo make remembering to double check one's car as easy as posting on Facebook about your baby's first trip to the pool. Considering that even with windows rolled two inches down, a car can overheat at mercury-defying rates, Kars4Kids is helping fight for child car safety.  

Not only is it important to make sure children aren't left in cars, but it is equally important to not allow them to break into a vehicle when adult attention is turned away. Cars may look like giant playgrounds to small children, but in reality they are powerful, dangerous machines that should only be used for driving and not for hide and seek. By locking the car when it is not in use and by keeping keys out of reach of children, children can be stopped from being able to get into a vehicle and potentially trapping themselves inside.  

Michigan Child Car Safety Lawyer

While most parents and caretakers unintentionally leave children and pets in cars because they were distracted and forgot about the quiet dog or sleeping baby in the back, others think it's ok to leave a child in a car because they'll be right back in just one minute. While these actions are dangerous to the child, they are not done with ill intent. The Grand Rapids baby on the other hand was presumably, intentionally, abandoned in a hot car in a hospital parking lot. It's a shame that this is how the mother decided to leave her child when, according to CBS Detroit, the State of Michigan allows people to surrender their newborn babies to hospitals and other emergency care providers, without having to worry about criminal charges. In fact, the mother could have left the baby safely with a health care professional in the hospital itself, where she presumably gave birth, and not outside in a hot car. No matter what, there is no excuse for leaving a child to die alone in a hot vehicle. 

Driving with children always requires extra precautions, particularly in the Summer when scorching hot temperatures make vehicles burn to the touch. With the rescue and shelter resources available around the State of Michigan, there is no reason a child should be left behind. On June 12, a stranger saved a newborn baby's life. Next time, someone might not be there until it is too late.


Children should never be left in car on sweltering hot Summer days, for their own safety. If you so someone you know is in need of legal assistance relating to an incident of child car safety, contact The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.Firm for a free consultation.