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Ride Share Car Accidents in Pennsylvania

Uber and Lyft Crashes in Pennsylvania

Ridesharing is an increasingly popular form of transportation throughout Pennsylvania. In some ways, rideshare has improved roadway safety, making it more likely for people to avoid drunk or otherwise impaired driving. However, rideshare drivers can still be inexperienced, negligent, or distracted, and the crashes that result can pose a serious danger to others on the road.

Why Do Rideshare Crashes Happen in Pennsylvania?

Rideshare drivers may have a collision for the same reasons as other drivers. After all, rideshare drivers are not professional drivers with commercial driver's licenses. Rideshare drivers do not have specific training; they just must have a clean driving record and a valid Pennsylvania driver's license. The vast majority of rideshare trips pass without incident, but the quality of each rideshare trip may vary dramatically. Uber and Lyft crashes may be caused by:
  • Speeding or failing to follow the rules of the road
  • Distracted driving
  • Fatigued driving
  • Impaired driving
  • Dangerous driving by a third party
  • Bad weather and other road problems
  • Poorly maintained vehicles
Rideshare drivers are generally treated as independent contractors, which means that big companies like Uber and Lyft do not have the same level of control over their drivers as, for example, trucking companies that hire employees. However, Uber and Lyft drivers behind the wheel all day may be equally vulnerable to dangers like fatigued driving, which can be almost as dangerous as drunk driving. If you have been injured in a rideshare collision, the experienced Allentown personal injury lawyers at Metzger & Kleiner can help you pursue compensation.

Will Uber or Lyft Cover the Damages?

Rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft provide insurance policies for accidents involving their drivers while on the clock and engaged in a rideshare transaction. This insurance is required by the state and touted as a benefit of choosing their companies. It is important to understand the three periods that are used to determine whether this insurance applies. The periods of driving are as follows:
  • Period 1: The driver has the app turned on and is waiting for a ride but has not yet accepted or engaged in a ride.
  • Period 2: The driver has accepted a ride request but has not yet picked up the passenger.
  • Period 3: The driver has the app turned on and is currently transporting an accepted ride request.
If the driver does not have the app turned on, the rideshare coverage generally does not apply. Instead, the parties must rely on the rideshare driver's personal insurance policy. During period 1, both Uber and Lyft offer a limited "contingent" insurance policy that covers up to $50,000 per person and $100,000 per accident. This policy relies on the driver also maintaining their own insurance. During periods 2 and 3 -- that is, once a ride request has been accepted -- Uber and Lyft's $1 million liability coverage policy kicks in. An Allentown personal injury lawyer can help you to understand these policies, navigate the system and protect your interests.

Pennsylvania Auto Insurance and Rideshare Collisions

Pennsylvania's car insurance system is described as "choice no-fault." This means that when you sign up for car insurance, you choose either a no-fault policy or a fault-based policy. Under a no-fault policy, you can receive a minimum amount for injuries as specified in your insurance documents, but you may also have "limited tort," which limits your ability to recover for some kinds of injuries or additional damages. With a "fault" policy, you must take action to pursue a claim against the other party who is at fault for causing the damage. You may be able to step outside the no-fault system in some cases, such as if you meet Pennsylvania's serious impairment of a bodily function threshold. There are also circumstances where the limited tort rules about the types of damages you can pursue do not apply. These complexities can make it more difficult to understand your next steps after being injured in a Pennsylvania rideshare crash, and your Allentown personal injury lawyer can advise you about your options and represent you vigorously to pursue the compensation you deserve.

What to Do If You Are Injured in a Pennsylvania Rideshare Crash

Any motor vehicle accident can have devastating results, including ongoing medical needs, serious property damage, lost wages, and other damages. If you have been injured in an Uber or Lyft in Pennsylvania, contact our experienced personal injury team at Metzger & Kleiner for an initial consultation. Call our offices at 610-435-7400 or use our simple online form today.

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