Philadelphia Rideshare Accident Attorney
Rideshare services like Uber and Lyft are immensely popular. A once unheard-of idea of letting a stranger give you a ride in their personal vehicle is now commonplace. However, rideshare accidents are a common occurrence throughout Pennsylvania and especially in metropolitan areas like Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, and suburban areas and college towns like West Chester, Media, and State College. When someone is injured in an Uber accident or Lyft crash, they should be able to secure compensation. Find attorneys to be determined and experienced and with the resources to fight for you and your family when seriously injured in a Uber or Lyft rideshare accident in Pennsylvania. At the Ciccarelli Law Offices, our Uber accident lawyers are here to help.
After an unexpected rideshare accident, many people often experience a feeling of helplessness and confusion. Not only do you have to recover from physical trauma, but you have to ensure that your rights are respected throughout the process.
A Pennsylvania rideshare accident attorney at Ciccarelli Law Offices can help guide you through the complexity of a crash involving services like Uber or Lyft by providing advice and practical assistance. Our attorneys can review the specific terms of the rideshare policy, identify legal options, and handle communication with insurance companies and other parties so that you receive just compensation for any losses from the crash.
Additionally, if necessary, our Pennsylvania Injury law firm will represent you in court and negotiate with other attorneys to reach an equitable agreement. In short, hiring a rideshare accident attorney from Ciccarelli Law Offices is essential for anybody involved in a rideshare collision because we provide invaluable legal aid during what would otherwise be a daunting process.
Why Do You Need a Rideshare Accident Lawyer?
Philadelphia Uber accidents and other rideshare car accidents can become incredibly complicated. They usually require extensive investigation by a rideshare attorney with the experience and resources necessary to handle the case. Your injury attorney in Philadelphia will work to obtain all evidence necessary to prove liability, including driver logs, accident reports, video and photo surveillance, eyewitness statements, and more.
Your Uber accident lawyer will also work to ensure you are evaluated by a trusted medical professional who will assess the extent of your injuries. Importantly, your rideshare accident lawyer will handle negotiations with all parties involved in order to secure the compensation you need.
Who is Liable In A Philadelphia Rideshare Accident?
Just like any car accident, proving liability in these cases can be difficult. There could be various parties liable in these incidents:
- The rideshare driver. If the Uber or Lyft driver had a passenger at the time they caused a crash, then the rideshare company’s insurance carrier will generally cover damages for all parties involved. If the rideshare driver did not have a passenger, it is likely their personal insurance carrier will be responsible for damages.
- Another driver on the roadway. If another driver causes an accident while you are in a passenger in the rideshare vehicle, then Uber or Lyft’s insurance will still cover your damages.
Uber and Lyft have $1 million liability policies in place, but they only apply to situations when a driver has a passenger or is on the way to pick one up. In most other instances, a crash will be treated like any other car accident.
Why Do Ride Share Accidents Happen?
There were more than 128,000 total car accidents during the latest reporting year in Pennsylvania in 2021. Accidents with Uber and Lyft motor vehicles are going to occur. Rideshare drivers are not immune to making mistakes, nor are they immune from being impacted by other people’s driving errors. Some of the most common causes of Uber and Lyft accidents in Philadelphia are:
- Distracted driving. This can impact anyone on the roadway, particularly rideshare drivers who must continually look at their phones for directions and to accept fares.
- Drunk driving. Whether a rideshare driver is impaired or another driver on the roadway is, drunk driving is incredibly dangerous.
- Sudden stops. Uber and Lyft drivers often make unexpected stops when looking for their fares or when trying to find the right addresses.
How Common Are Rideshare Accidents?
It is difficult to pinpoint just how many rideshare accidents there are in the U.S. since many police reports do not differentiate between an Uber or Lyft and a “regular” vehicle. It stands to reason, however, that with the number of Uber and Lyft vehicles on the roadways, there are bound to be more rideshare accidents.
According to Verge, there were 101 traffic fatalities across Uber’s platform in 2019 and 2020 combined. This included 14 drivers and 19 riders, with the remaining deaths being the occupants of other vehicles, motorcyclists, and pedestrians.
A study conducted by the University of Chicago and Rice University concluded Uber and Lyft were responsible for a 2-3 percent increase in traffic fatalities since 2011. However, there are certain flaws in the study since a large percentage of ridesharing rides actually substitute for a trip someone would have taken in their own vehicle. Further, since Uber and Lyft must keep large numbers of cars on the road to get to riders quickly, drivers are subsidized to stay on the road between fares. These facts make it difficult to determine whether ridesharing has increased the number of accidents on the roadways.
The state of Pennsylvania operates under no-fault insurance—but with some twists. Drivers can choose limited tort insurance, which means they can only seek monetary compensation from the at-fault driver under very limited circumstances. A driver may also choose full tort insurance, which is more expensive but allows a driver to sue the at-fault party for damages.
Under limited tort insurance, the driver’s own insurance will pay for medical expenses, lost wages, and damages to the vehicle up to specific amounts. The minimum amount for medical expenses under limited tort is $5,000. Unless injuries are minor, this amount will not cover those expenses. You cannot file for pain and suffering damages under your own limited tort insurance.
If your injuries are severe, and you quickly exceed your own limits for injuries and lost wages, you can file against the at-fault driver’s insurance. You are not allowed to file for pain and suffering damages unless your injuries have resulted in disfigurement or a disability. Under full tort coverage, you can file against the at-fault party to recoup your damages. If your own limited tort insurance, along with the at-fault party’s insurance, does not fully cover your damages, and if the Uber or Lyft driver had the app open and was on the way to pick up a passenger or had passengers in the vehicle, then you can file against Uber or Lyft insurance.
What Are the Most Common Types of Rideshare Accident Injuries
Rideshare injuries typically include bruises, cuts, contusions, sprains, strains, neck and back injuries, and broken bones. The most common neck injury is whiplash, which can cause pain and limited mobility that lasts for months, or even years. More serious injuries include traumatic brain injuries, facial disfigurement, spinal cord injuries, amputated limbs, and severe internal organ damage.
At Ciccarelli Law Offices, our Pennsylvania rideshare accident lawyers have helped injured victims who suffered from:
- Brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Internal organ damage
- Head and neck injuries
Where Do Most Rideshare Accidents Occur?
Since most rideshares are in the urban environment, it stands to reason that most rideshare accidents occur in cities. Cities are busy places with a higher risk of auto accidents for all drivers, so rideshare drivers are no different. Many rideshare drivers may take their passengers to unfamiliar places, increasing the chance of an accident. Plus, many drive passengers to and from busy areas with bars or events, also upping the chance of an accident.
How is Fault Determined Following a Rideshare Accident?
As noted, Uber or Lyft will only pay in instances where the rideshare driver has the app opened and will either pick up passengers or has already picked up passengers. But many things have to happen before your accident ever reaches the stage where Uber or Lyft might be required to pay for your damages.
First, it must be determined which driver was at fault for the accident. Perhaps the Uber driver was at fault, or the other driver may have been negligent or careless, causing the accident. Whether you are a passenger on a rideshare vehicle, the driver of the rideshare vehicle, or the driver of the other vehicle or vehicles involved in the accident, you must determine which driver was a fault.
Fault is often determined through the police investigation when they arrive after the accident. It would be extremely rare for a passenger to be found at fault, so fault generally lies with either the Uber driver, the other driver, or the drivers involved in the accident. If the police cannot determine fault and no citations are given, you can bet that Uber and Lyft will conduct their own separate investigations. Uber and Lyft obviously do not want their driver to be found liable because that liability could also spread to them. Therefore, you need a lawyer on your side who can investigate the accident for you.
Once liability is clear, if you have limited tort Pennsylvania insurance, your immediate medical expenses and lost wages will be paid by your own insurance company. Once that insurance runs out, you can sue the at-fault driver for damages over and above what your insurance paid. You can immediately file a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance if you have full tort insurance.
If your injuries are extensive or have caused disfigurement or disability, you can sue for medical expenses, lost wages, lost future wages, and pain and suffering. If the at-fault driver’s insurance runs out, you may be able to file against Uber or Lyft. It is important to have a highly-skilled, experienced personal injury attorney in your corner who deeply understands the complexities associated with rideshare accident claims. This will ensure you receive a full and fair settlement that will fully cover all your accident-related expenses.
Damages Available Following A Rideshare Accident
As we mentioned above, you will have to contend with the no-fault insurance system in Pennsylvania after any type of vehicle accident if that is the type of insurance policy you have purchased. However, if you have opted into the full tort system, then the claim will be determined on a fault-based system. We mentioned no-fault and full tort systems because the types of damages available will vary slightly depending on where the compensation comes from.
In general, whether a right your accident victim files a claim with their own insurance carrier or against another driver’s insurance carrier, they should be able to recover compensation for:
- Emergency medical bills
- Ongoing doctor visits
- Medical devices, prescription medications, and physical therapy
- Lost wages or lost future earnings
- Rental vehicle assistance
Non-economic damages, particularly those related to pain and suffering, are not available when under Pennsylvania insurance laws unless a person has sustained an injury that resulted in a disability or disfigurement. In those particular circumstances, individuals may be able to file a lawsuit to recover compensation for physical pain and suffering, emotional and psychological distress, and loss of quality of life damages.
Rideshare Accident Tiers
Both Uber and Lyft use a tiered system to determine the level of insurance they provide rideshare drivers. For example, if a driver is off duty, then they are not covered by any insurance from the rideshare companies at all. If a rideshare driver causes an accident when they are off duty, then their personal insurance is responsible for paying compensation to others.
Tier/Period One – This is the time frame when the rideshare driver turns their app on but does not yet have a passenger and has not been assigned to pick a passenger up. If a rideshare driver causes an accident during this period, then their personal insurance is the primary carrier responsible for paying compensation to others. However, both Uber and Lyft do provide supplemental bodily injury and property damage coverage if the personal insurance carrier does not cover all of the victim’s expenses.
Tier/Periods Two & Three – During these periods, the rideshare driver has either been matched and is on the way to pick a passenger up or already has a passenger in their vehicle. Both Uber and Lyft offer $1 million third-party liability insurance policies as well as uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage that pays for expenses to every party involved in an accident.
How Long Do You Have to File a Philadelphia Rideshare Lawsuit?
Individuals have a limited amount of time to file a lawsuit against a negligent party after a vehicle accident occurs. The Pennsylvania personal injury statute of limitations is two years from the date of the accident. If a rideshare accident victim fails to file a lawsuit against the alleged negligent party within this time frame, they will likely lose the ability to recover any compensation at all for their losses.
Please understand that insurance carriers have their own reporting deadlines, and failing to promptly report an accident to an insurance carrier could lead to significant delays or even a claim denial. Remember, Pennsylvania is a choice no-fault state, and most individuals end up turning to their own insurance carrier to cover their expenses. Typically, claims must be reported to the insurance carrier within a day or two after they occur.
Steps You Should Take After a Philadelphia Rideshare Accident
There are various steps that individuals can take to help ensure not only their safety but also that they recover the compensation they need. Some of these steps can be taken right away after the incident occurs, but there are other steps that may not occur until weeks or even months after the incident. Accidents involving Uber and Lyft vehicles are fluid situations, and we encourage you to remain in close contact with your attorney every step of the way.
- Seek medical care. The number one priority after any vehicle accident is getting evaluated by medical professionals. There are often delayed injuries involved with vehicle accidents, and it can be tempting to skip going to the hospital altogether. However, going to a doctor right away after a rideshare accident helps establish a solid link between the incident and any injuries that occur later.
- Do not apologize. Even if you are convinced you caused the vehicle accident, under no circumstances should you ever accept blame for the incident or apologize for causing the incident. There are often circumstances you are not aware of that could lead to other parties sharing fault for the incident.
- Report the incident. Nearly every vehicle accident that occurs in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania must be reported to law enforcement officials. Somebody at the scene needs to call 911 so the police can conduct a preliminary investigation and fill out the police report. Insurance carriers will need this police report to move forward with the claim.
- Gather evidence. It may be possible at the scene of a crash to gather some evidence. Individuals can often use a phone to take photographs or video surveillance of the entire scene, including vehicle damage, causes of the incident, injuries, and debris. It is important to get the names and contact information of any eyewitnesses written down before they can leave the scene.
- Contact an attorney. A skilled Uber and Lyft accident lawyer in Philadelphia should get involved as quickly as possible. They can help obtain and preserve evidence and initiate conversations with insurance carriers.
- Stay off of social media. We know it can be tempting to post everything about your life on various types of social media platforms, but you should refrain from doing so after a rideshare accident. Anything on your social media accounts could end up being used against you or misinterpreted by the other side.
- Continue medical treatment. You need to continue medical treatment until a doctor says you have reached the point where additional medical care will likely not make a difference in your recovery. Discontinuing care before a doctor says you should could result in complications when trying to recover a full settlement.
About Uber and Lyft
Uber began in 2008 with two friends attending a Paris technology conference. Travis Kalanick had just sold his startup Red Swoosh for $19 million, while Garrett Camp had just sold StumbleUpon to eBay for $75 million. The two men could not hail a taxi on a cold Paris night, and Uber was born.
Following the conference, the two went their separate ways, but when Camp returned to his home in San Francisco, he continued to ponder the idea of buying the domain name, UberCab.com. He soon began working on a prototype of UberCab, eventually persuading Kalanick to join him. Uber was first tested in New York in 2010 with three cars, with the official launch in San Francisco in May 2010.
The ease and simplicity of ordering a car skyrocketed Uber to popularity, quickly becoming one of the most popular startups. Less than two years later, Uber launched internationally in Paris, and by 2019, Uber went public.
Although Uber’s IPO was one of the most highly anticipated of the year, with the company being valued at $120 billion, Uber negatively made history with the biggest first-day dollar loss in U.S. history. Despite this, in a single quarter in 2021, Uber reported a net income of $1.1 billion, with 1.5 billion trips. Uber has since acquired JUMP, Postmates, and Drizly, along with a partnership with Lime scooters, while launching UberEats. Despite a sometimes-bumpy ride, Uber is now a major company with the largest share of rides.
Logan Green had a similar concept in 2007 when he started a company known as Zimride, which offered long-distance ridesharing between college campuses. John Zimmer, an analyst at Lehman Brothers and carpooling enthusiast, saw a post about Zimride, connecting with Green through a mutual friend. Four years later, Lyft launched in San Francisco not as a standalone company, but rather as a service of Zimride, offering short trips.
Lyft drivers had large fuzzy pink mustaches on the front of their vehicles when the company launched, which made them easy to spot. The company was renamed Lyft in 2013 after selling Zimride to Enterprise. By 2014, 24 locations were added, expanding to 60 cities. In 2016, Lyft partnered with GM with an investment of $500 million on the part of General Motors. By 2016, Lyft dropped the pink mustaches and was serving a million daily rides. While Lyft only holds about 28 percent of the rideshare business, Uber has the remainder. Lyft had an income of $3.2 billion in 2021.
When you suffer an injury in a rideshare accident, you need a law firm that can fight for you. A Pennsylvania rideshare accident lawyer at Ciccarelli Law Offices can ensure you are fully compensated for your damages.
Contact a Philadelphia Rideshare Accident Attorney Today
If you or someone you care about has been injured in an accident involving an Uber or Lyft motor vehicle in Philadelphia, contact a rideshare accident attorney as soon as possible. At the Ciccarelli Law Offices, our car accident lawyers are going to get to work investigating your case today. Our goal is to secure the compensation you need, which can include:
- Coverage of all crash-related medical expenses
- Lost income if you cannot work while recovering
- Pain and suffering damages
- Loss of enjoyment of life damages
- Possible punitive damages against Uber or Lyft
When you need a Philadelphia rideshare accident attorney, contact Ciccarelli Law Offices, our Philadelphia car accident lawyers offer free case evaluations and will fight for fair compensation.