Pennsylvania enacted a Rideshare Law five years ago that places vehicle, driver, and insurance standards on Uber and Lyft and their business operations. Even with these statewide standards, however, rideshare accidents do occur and passengers do get injured.
So who is responsible for the victim's medical bills and other losses when a rideshare accident occurs? The driver? Uber or Lyft?
If you’ve been injured in an accident due to a careless Lyft or Uber driver in or around Philadelphia or the neighboring counties of Bucks, Montgomery, or Delaware, contact us at Marc E. Batt & Associates right away. With more than 40 years of experience in personal injury claims, our team will fight to get you the compensation you deserve.
Pennsylvania is a “choice no-fault” auto insurance state. When you purchase auto insurance, you can choose between a no-fault option and fault (or “full tort”) coverage.
If you opt for no-fault coverage and you’re injured in an auto accident, you will be compensated by your own PIP (personal injury protection) coverage, and you cannot sue the party responsible for your injuries unless those injuries are deemed “serious” under Pennsylvania law.
If you opt-out of no-fault coverage, you are no longer bound by these rules, and you are free to seek damages from the other driver’s insurance provider or even to sue the driver in court.
How does this apply if you’re injured in an Uber and Lyft accident in which you’re the passenger? If you have no-fault coverage, you would first have to file for compensation under your own insurance, then prove that your injuries were serious enough to make a claim against the driver. If you have full tort coverage, you can seek claims against the driver’s insurance and through a personal injury lawsuit without condition.
Pennsylvania’s Rideshare Law contains not only a screening mechanism for drivers but also imposes high liability and personal injury insurance standards on them.
Drivers must be 21 years of age or older with a valid driver’s license and no more than three moving violations in the past three years. They must also pass a criminal background check.
While ferrying riders on prearranged rides, with their Uber or Lyft app on, the drivers must carry insurance that covers $500,000 for death, bodily injury, and property damage. They must also carry $25,000 in insurance for medical benefits for passengers and pedestrians and $5,000 for themselves.
If the driver is logged off for some reason while carrying you as a passenger, then the higher liability limits do not apply, and the driver’s basic insurance is in effect with much lower dollar-value requirements.
The parent rideshare companies must also carry $1 million in liability and personal insurance to cover their drivers while their apps are on.
The rideshare parent companies and their insurance companies must provide ride information to injured riders covering the logon/logoff activity of the driver for the 12 hours preceding and 12 hours following an accident.
Both Uber and Lyft will claim that their drivers are independent contractors and therefore they have no liability for any injuries or damage they cause. In the case of personal injury lawsuits, however, they have both been known to settle out of court on occasion.
The distinction between independent contractors and employees is an issue that has constantly plagued both Uber and Lyft, here and internationally. When California passed a law declaring their drivers to be employees, the two companies joined in sponsoring a ballot measure to overturn the law. They spent millions and mostly succeeded, but ended up granting the drivers certain benefits as if they were employees.
If you’re injured in a Lyft or Uber accident, you should follow the same procedures as if you were the driver in your own vehicle and the other driver is at fault:
Call 911 and get the police to make an investigative report, then get a copy of it when it’s available
Get the driver’s contact information, license number, and insurance information
Take pictures of the scene from every possible angle, including road signs that may have been ignored
If there are witnesses, get their statements and contact information
Most importantly, get medical attention and copies of what the medical staff found and did to help you
If you’re injured in a rideshare accident, don’t go it alone and fight the insurance companies by yourself. Our attorneys at Marc E. Batt & Associates will investigate your situation and assess the avenues for receiving compensation. We will negotiate with the insurance companies and, if necessary, file a personal injury lawsuit to help you to pursue fair compensation.
Uber and Lyft may try to hide their liability behind the assertion that their drivers are independent contractors, but the distinction in status between employees and contractors can be legally fuzzy. Both companies have been known to settle when facing personal injury/property damage claims. They certainly have much deeper pockets than any of their drivers. We can apply pressure to them with the goal of obtaining compensation.
You don’t have to suffer the effects of a ridesharing accident alone. If you’ve been injured in an accident in or around Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, or in Montgomery County, Bucks County, or Delaware County, contact our team immediately at Marc E. Batt & Associates. Let us fight to protect your rights as you pursue the compensation you deserve.