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What Should I Do if I Am Involved in a Car Accident as a Ride-Share Passenger in Pennsylvania?

Posted on in Car Accidents

Pittsburgh personal injury lawyer

Ride-sharing services have grown in popularity significantly over the last several years. This is primarily due to the ease of use and the perceived high standard of service offered by companies such as Uber and Lyft. However, as with any vehicle-oriented service, there is the potential for car accidents while on the road. The ride-share driver might cause an accident due to negligence, or an accident may happen due to the fault of another driver. In such a situation, determining who is at fault is important. If the ride-share driver caused the crash, is the driver or the ride-sharing company held legally responsible? These are important questions to consider if someone uses this type of transportation and is involved in an accident as a passenger.

How Does Ride-Sharing Work?

Ride-sharing services are entities that bring drivers and passengers together. Specifically, these services allow the rider to request transportation in real time. Once the user of a ride-sharing app requests a ride (typically from his or her phone), the nearest ride-share driver receives the user’s contact information and location, and proceeds to the user’s destination to provide transportation.

Each driver is considered an independent contractor who accepts payment for providing a ride to a passenger. Ride-share services have created a maelstrom of legal questions in the United States. One such query is: Can a ride-sharing service company be held legally responsible by a passenger or even a pedestrian if a contractor gets into a car accident?

Can I Sue the Ride-Sharing Company if My Driver Gets Into an Accident?

It may be difficult to pursue a lawsuit against a ride-sharing company for injuries which occurred while using these services. This is because Uber and Lyft consider their drivers to be independent contractors rather than employees, which means that the companies can claim that they are not responsible if a driver endangered the safety of his or her passengers and nearby pedestrians. However, if a driver passed a rideshare company's screening process when they should have been disqualified, passengers or others injured by this driver should explore their legal options for pursuing compensation from the company.

In the case of Uber and Lyft, if a driver causes an accident, then the passenger(s) and the driver are covered by a $1 million liability insurance policy that both companies have. Other ride-sharing services have similar policies. If another driver causes the accident, then typically that motorist’s car insurance would cover any damages. The process for filing an insurance claim if someone is in an accident while using a ride-sharing service is the same as in any other car accident. The passenger should obtain a copy of the police report, take pictures of the accident, and exchange information with all drivers who are involved.

It is also wise for riders to review the policy and procedures of the ride-sharing company before using their services. However, ride-sharing companies are operating in a somewhat uncharted legal territory, which is why it is best to consult a knowledgeable car accident attorney if you find yourself in this scenario.

Contact an Allegheny County Personal Injury Attorney

If you or a loved one are involved in a car accident while using a ride-share service, your driver may be at fault. If you were hurt, you should find out your options for recovering medical costs or wages lost if you cannot work while recovering from your injury. Seeking damages can be complicated, since ride-share drivers are typically considered independent contractors. The caring Pittsburgh car accident lawyers at Colianni & Colianni, LLC can recommend the steps to take to recover the compensation you deserve. For a free consultation, contact our offices at 412-943-0007.

Sources:

https://medium.com/global-intersection/ride-sharing-services-4a21916ba067

http://money.com/money/4851877/my-uber-got-into-a-wreck-can-i-sue/

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