Who is Liable in a Ridesharing Accident?

Rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft have quickly become one of the most popular ways to get around major metropolitan areas like Pittsburgh. However, the confusion over whether drivers are employees or independent contractors often leads to difficulty assessing fault when an accident occurs. If you or a loved one has been involved in a rideshare vehicle and suffered injuries as a result, you deserve to be compensated for the harm caused by those responsible for the crash. At Disney Law, we are dedicated to helping victims of rideshare accidents and identifying liable parties in a crash. Call or text us at 412-999-5765 or contact us today to schedule a free consultation of your case.

Pennsylvania 2016 Rideshare Act

In 2016, the state of Pennsylvania passed the Rideshare Act to help victims of ridesharing accidents get the compensation they deserve after an accident. It also set safety standards for rideshare drivers and vehicles to help protect riders that utilize these services. Notable vehicle standards include that the car must be for fewer than 10 people, have at least four doors, not be a salvaged vehicle, and cannot be more than 10 years old. In addition, drivers must possess a valid drivers’ license, be at least 21 years old, pass a criminal background check, and not have had more than three moving violations in the last three years.

In regard to insurance standards, the Rideshare Act dictates that rideshare drivers must have certain minimum coverage when engaged and not engaged in prearranged rides. When not engaged in a prearranged ride, the driver must possess a minimum of $50,000/$100,000 for death and bodily injury, $25,000 for property damage, and medical benefits that include $25,000 for pedestrians and $5,000 for drivers. When the driver is engaged in prearranged rides for a rideshare service, the law mandates a minimum of $500,000 for death, bodily injury, and property damage in addition to medical benefits of $25,000 for passengers and pedestrians as well as $5,000 for the driver.

Who can be Injured in a Rideshare Accident?

There are many different people who can be victims in a rideshare accident. The most common victims of a rideshare accident are the driver and passenger in the rideshare vehicle. The driver and passengers of other vehicles involved in the crash can also be victims. If the rideshare vehicle strikes a pedestrian, bicyclist, or motorcycle, then those people, too, can suffer injuries in a rideshare accident. Whenever a rideshare crash occurs where someone is injured, it is critical that the at-fault parties are determined as quickly as possible by an experienced attorney so that the injured victims can pursue the compensation they deserve.

When Another Driver is at Fault

 When another driver is at fault in a rideshare accident, the liability and legal process works the same as any other type of car accident. Exchange information with the other driver, including their auto insurance information. Their insurance will cover the cost of the injuries and any property damage sustained in the accident, regardless of whether you are the driver or passenger in the rideshare vehicle. Seek immediate medical attention and speak with an experienced car accident attorney afterwards to begin the legal process of your personal injury claim.

When the Rideshare Driver is at Fault

If the driver of a rideshare vehicle is at fault for an accident, determination of liability can be more complicated. The first question asked is whether the driver was engaged in a prearranged ride for their rideshare company at the time of the crash. If the answer is no, then the driver’s regular auto insurance will likely apply to the accident. This is especially the case if the driver was off the clock and behind the wheel for personal reasons, but if the driver was between rides at the time of the crash and on the clock for their rideshare company, it may complicate your case.

If the driver of a rideshare vehicle was engaged in a ride with a passenger at the time of the accident, the Rideshare Act auto insurance minimums apply. This includes accidents in which the passenger is injured as well as any pedestrians, drivers and passengers in other vehicles, or anyone else outside of the rideshare vehicle at the time of the crash. The rideshare insurance applies up to the limits of the policy, but that may not be the only option for compensation.

Rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft also keep their own insurance policies for accidents where the compensation for injuries during a prearranged ride with one of their drivers exceeds the limits of the driver’s rideshare insurance limits. For example, Uber carries $1,000,000 in liability coverage for passengers and other drivers involved in a rideshare accident. If a victim’s injuries exceed the policy limit of the rideshare driver, they may be able to access the rideshare company’s policy to fully cover their claims. 

Compensation for a Rideshare Accident

Victims in rideshare accidents can collect damages for their economic and noneconomic damages caused by the crash. Economic damages cover all out of pocket expenses such as present and future medical bills, property loss, lost wages, and the loss of future income and benefits. Noneconomic damages compensate the victim for their pain and suffering, emotional distress and loss of enjoyment of life in addition to any disability or disfigurement caused by the accident. 

In the worst rideshare accidents, where the victim is killed as a result of driver negligence or recklessness, the family of the deceased can also seek damages for wrongful death. This includes compensation for all final medical bills, funeral and burial costs, and for the loss of love, support, companionship, and counsel of the victim.

Contact an Experienced Lawyer for Help Today

Have you or a loved one been injured in a rideshare accident? If so, call or text Robert Disney at 412-999-5765 or contact us at Disney Law to schedule a free consultation of your personal injury claims with an experienced rideshare accident attorney.