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Pennsylvania Rideshare Accident Lawyers

The convenience that rideshare companies offer to customers is undeniable. Rather than take the bus, hail a taxi, or hop in their own car to get to a destination, customers can summon a personal car with the push of a button. While the rates for a rideshare trip vary, taking a Lyft or Uber is often cheaper than taking a cab. However, one of the major concerns surrounding the growth of this relatively new service is the increasing number of serious and fatal rideshare accidents.

At the law firm of Console & Associates, our experienced team of personal injury attorneys provides diligent and aggressive representation to those injured in rideshare accidents. With decades of experience handling all types of car accident claims, our PA rideshare accident attorneys are intimately familiar with the laws governing these claims and how to effectively negotiate with the multiple insurance companies that are often involved. Console & Associates enjoys a national reputation for excellence due to the skill and commitment we put into each client’s case.

We know that you have many choices when it comes to selecting a Pennsylvania car accident lawyer, and we make sure that when you bring us on your case, it is a decision you will not regret.

Pennsylvania Rideshare Companies

Uber is one of two major players in the U.S. rideshare industry. With approximately four million drivers and 103 million monthly active users, Uber commands about 70 percent of the rideshare market. Each day, Uber drivers complete nearly 17 million trips, and the company has provided more than 10 billion rides since its inception in 2009. Uber also operates the Uber Eats platform, which delivers food to its customers. Uber Eats is one of the largest food-delivery businesses in the country, with approximately 30 percent of the market share. As of the most recent reporting, 15 million people use Uber Eats.

The other major contender in the rideshare industry is Lyft. Initially, Uber commanded a much larger share of the U.S. rideshare market. However, Lyft has caught up in recent years. Currently, Lyft serves about 30 percent of the rideshare market. Lyft is available only in the United States and Canada and operates in about 640 cities. Lyft drivers complete over 1 million rides per day, and the company claims that it can pick up 95 percent of the U.S. population.

Uber and Lyft both experienced explosive growth in the past decade, transforming from small start-ups to large corporations. However, as the popularity of these rideshare businesses continues to increase, so too does the rate of Pennsylvania rideshare accidents. In fact, according to a 2018 study conducted by the University of Chicago and Rice University, rideshare companies are responsible for a two to three percent increase in the total number of fatal traffic accidents. Annually, this amounts to more than 1,100 fatal rideshare accidents. In addition, tens of thousands of rideshare passengers suffer a serious injury after being involved in an Uber or Lyft accident.

Causes of Pennsylvania Rideshare Accidents

While rideshare companies offer commuters and casual riders unrivaled convenience, this convenience too often comes at a great cost. Of course, any time someone gets into a vehicle, they accept a certain level of risk. However, rideshare companies present additional risks.

One of the most concerning aspects of ridesharing is that passengers must entrust their life to a driver they know nothing about. For example, many rideshare passengers assume that Uber and Lyft drivers are “professionals.” However, that is not the case. To drive for Lyft or Uber, someone need only possess the bare minimum experience.

According to Lyft’s website, someone is eligible to drive for the company as long as they meet the following criteria:

  • Be at least 25 years old;
  • Have a valid driver’s license with at least one year of driving experience; and
  • Complete an online screening of the applicant’s driving history and criminal record.

Uber’s driver requirements are similar, in that the company allows anyone to drive for the company provided that they:

  • Are at least 21 years old;
  • Have a valid driver’s license;
  • Have at least one year of driving experience (or three years of experience if the driver is under the age of 25); and
  • Complete an on-line driver screening.

Given the lax requirements to drive for these companies, many rideshare drivers have minimal experience on the road. This inexperience increases the risks that passengers must confront when getting into the car.

Other aspects of the rideshare concept also increase the risk to passengers, including:

Distracted driving:

Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of Pennsylvania car accidents. By far, cell phones are the most common distraction for drivers. By the very nature of their job, Uber and Lyft drivers rely heavily on their cell phones. Drivers will get notified of an incoming ride request on their phone, and once they accept the ride, the app will provide the driver with directions. After the driver picks up the passenger, the app will then map out the best route to get to the passenger’s destination. Thus, rideshare drivers are continually looking at their phones – which means they are not looking at the road.

Drowsy driving:

Rideshare drivers get paid by the trip. So, to make the most amount of money, drivers will often work long shifts. In many cases, these drivers also have day jobs and work for Lyft or Uber after they’ve worked a full day at their other job.

Not surprisingly, rideshare companies limit the amount of time that someone can drive per day. However, this time limit does not take into account other aspects about the driver, such as how much sleep they got or what they were doing before opening the app. Making matters worse is the fact that the busiest times for rideshare drivers are Friday and Saturday night. The result is that many rideshare drivers experience fatigue, increasing the chances that they could drift off or get distracted.

Speeding:

Speeding is a major concern for rideshare passengers, and many of the complaints drivers receive from their passengers are based on their aggressive driving. A rideshare driver may try to maximize their earnings by quickly completing trips. However, driving too fast, cutting in and out of traffic, and failing to yield to other vehicles can significantly increase the chance of a PA rideshare accident. Compounding this danger is the fact that drivers are frequently traveling in unfamiliar parts of the city, where they may miss a traffic sign or fail to notice an unusual traffic pattern.

At Console & Associates, our dedicated team of Pennsylvania Uber accident lawyers understands how difficult life can be after a severe car accident, especially a rideshare accident. These cases often raise complex insurance issues that are not present in other car accident claims, and dealing with the recovery process alone can be overwhelming.

We are here to help. With over 25 years of experience helping accident victims recover full and fair compensation for their injuries, our attorneys have the skills you can count on to get you the money you deserve.

The Complexities of Rideshare Insurance

Car insurance is the primary means an accident victim can use to recover compensation for their injuries after a crash. However, the rideshare concept threw a wrench in the existing insurance requirements, as it raised many questions about who is liable and which insurance policies apply. Over time, states have passed their own laws requiring rideshare companies to provide insurance on behalf of their drivers. Thus, Uber and Lyft both provide very similar coverage.

Rideshare customers may have seen Uber and Lyft advertising that they maintain a $1 million insurance policy. However, it is essential to understand when this policy applies and when it doesn’t. Generally, the $1 million limit will almost always cover the rideshare passenger; however, that is not the case for others injured by a negligent rideshare driver.

To better understand how rideshare insurance works, the rideshare experience can be broken down into three distinct phases:

Phase One: 

The app is open, and the driver is awaiting a ride request

If an accident occurs while a rideshare driver is waiting for a ride request, the following insurance limits will apply:

  • $50,000 per person/$100,000 per accident in bodily injury liability coverage
  • $30,000 of property damage liability coverage per accident

Phase Two:

The app matches the driver up with a passenger

Once the rideshare app matches a driver up with a passenger, the second phase of coverage begins. During this phase, a rideshare company provides the following coverage:

  • $1 million in bodily injury coverage
  • $1 million in third-party liability coverage
  • $1 million in uninsured or underinsured motorist protection

 Phase Three: 

The driver picks up the passenger

Phase three begins once the driver picks up the passenger and ends once the passenger gets dropped off. During this phase, the applicable insurance coverage is:

  • $1 million in bodily injury coverage
  • $1 million in third-party liability coverage
  • $1 million in uninsured or underinsured motorist protection

Notably, if a driver’s rideshare app is not open, or they are not actively accepting rides, the rideshare company’s insurance policy is not involved. In these cases, the only coverage available would be through the rideshare driver’s personal auto insurance policy. However, this can present a significant issue for injury victims, because car insurance companies exclude coverage for accidents that occur while the insured is in the process of providing rides for money.

Given this reality, accident victims may face a scenario where the rideshare company’s insurance policy does not apply, and the driver’s personal policy refuses coverage. If an accident victim has uninsured/underinsured motorist protection, this coverage may kick in.

However, their recovery would be limited to the amount of the policy. Thus, pedestrians, bicyclists, and other motorists hit by a negligent Pennsylvania rideshare driver who is not in the process of completing a designated ride may face significant hurdles when pursuing a claim for compensation against the driver.

Pennsylvania Rideshare Accident Lawyers

Rideshare Driver Injuries

For rideshare drivers who have been injured in a Pennsylvania car accident, the recovery process can be complicated. Often, drivers must deal with three different insurance companies: the rideshare company’s policy, the at-fault driver’s policy, and their own policy. This frequently results in a situation where each insurance company looks to the others to compensate the driver for their injuries. This can be incredibly stressful, especially while dealing with their own physical recovery.

Rideshare companies provide drivers with insurance coverage that will compensate them for the injuries they sustain. However, not every accident is covered to the same extent. Once a driver is paired up with a passenger, the company’s $1 million insurance policy kicks in. However, if the accident occurs while the driver is awaiting a ride request or – worse yet – while the app is not turned on, coverage is reduced or eliminated entirely. This can put a rideshare driver in the position of needing to rely on the at-fault driver’s insurance coverage, which may not be sufficient to fully cover their damages.

Drivers may also be able to file a claim with their insurance company. However, insurance companies will typically only cover an accident if the rideshare driver purchased a “rideshare endorsement.” This endorsement costs a little extra and, while all rideshare drivers should purchase an endorsement, not all do.

Rideshare drivers who were injured in a PA car accident should reach out to the attorneys at Console & Associates for immediate assistance. Our team of skilled personal injury attorneys has decades of hands-on experience handling all types of car accident claims, including claims on behalf of rideshare drivers injured due to no fault of their own.

What to Do After a Pennsylvania Rideshare Accident

The minutes, days, weeks, and months following a PA rideshare accident can be not only incredibly stressful but also confusing. Accident victims often have questions about where to get the best medical care, what they need to do to preserve their rights to recover financial compensation, and how to cover their medical expenses while they are recovering from their injuries and unable to work.

At Console & Associates, we are here to help. Below is a list of the most important things to keep in mind after a Pennsylvania rideshare accident:

  • Stay at the scene and report the accidentPennsylvania state law requires drivers involved in an accident resulting in injury to “immediately stop the vehicle at the scene of the accident or as close thereto as possible.” Once stopped, motorists must provide their name, address, insurance information, and car registration to anyone else involved in the accident. Regardless of fault, a motorist must also provide “reasonable assistance” to injured motorists, including taking them to the hospital.
  • Get medical attention – The most important thing to do after a car accident is to make sure that everyone is okay. Even if there are no visible injuries after an accident, it is still critical to obtain prompt medical care. Many car accident injuries do not appear until after the adrenaline rush from the accident wears off. It’s better to be safe than sorry, so if an ambulance is offered, accident victims should accept the ride and get checked out by a doctor.
  • Speak to police – If police respond to the accident, accident victims should be sure to speak for themselves, and not let the rideshare driver provide the sole account of the accident. Accident victims should also only say what is absolutely necessary to the rideshare driver, as they may be an opposing party in a subsequent PA rideshare accident lawsuit.
  • Talk to witnesses – If any other witnesses saw the accident, injured passengers should speak with them and get their names and contact information. Having a neutral third-party witness can tremendously help an accident victim’s claim.
  • Inform the insurance company – For injured passengers who have their own auto insurance policy, they will need to tell the insurance company about the accident. However, when talking to their insurance company, it is essential to know what to say – and more importantly, what not to say. If the driver’s or rideshare company’s insurance adjuster calls, accident victims are under no obligation to speak with them until they have thoroughly investigated the accident and their potential claim.
  • Speak with an attorney – Having a dedicated Pennsylvania rideshare accident attorney can make the difference in these claims. A rideshare lawyer will not only argue a case in court, if it gets that far, but will also prepare a claim for the possibility of an out-of-court settlement. Most Pennsylvania personal injury claims are settled out of court, so understanding how to best situate a case for a potential settlement is imperative.

Contact the Pennsylvania Rideshare Accident Lawyers at Console & Associates

If you suffered injuries in a Pennsylvania rideshare accident – either as a driver or a passenger – reach out to the dedicated injury advocates at the law firm of Console & Associates. With over 25 years of experience aggressively pursuing compensation on behalf of accident victims, we have the skills, know-how, and tenacity to make sure that you receive full and fair compensation for your injuries.

At Console & Associates, we know how stressful the recovery process can be, and we take on as many of these burdens as we can so you can focus on your recovery. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation with one of our Pennsylvania rideshare accident lawyers, call 866-778-5500 today.

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Rick is an exceptional advocate for his clients. He is extremely talented in navigating legal matters and shows an empathy to his clients that is hard to find. Rick is a good guy and I highly recommend him.

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