West Chester PA Uber / Rideshare Accidents
After an unexpected rideshare accident in West Chester PA or Chester County, 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 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.
How Common Are Rideshare Accidents in West Chester PA and suburban Chester County?
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. Think of the number of Uber and Lyft drivers unfamiliar with the roads of Chester County and unfamiliar with the unique number of one way roads in West Chester Borough. Think of the number of college students using Uber and Lyft or the number of couples deciding on using Uber or Lyft at night for a restful relaxed or romantic dinner.
According to the 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 2018 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.
How Does Pennsylvania No-Fault Insurance Affect a Rideshare Accident?
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:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Amputation and disfigurement
- 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.
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.
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.
Ridesharing is the concept that combines elements of carpooling with a traditional taxi service. These types of services allow drivers with empty seats in their vehicles to provide prearranged transportation for compensation from people seeking rides to destinations. Drivers and passengers are often connected through the online platform of a transportation network company (TNC), such as:
The motor vehicles that are used for ridesharing services are just as likely as any other traditional taxi to cause an accident. Passengers or drivers of other automobiles involved in crashes with TNC vehicles can sustain broken bones, severe internal organ injuries, or amputations as well as many other types of serious injuries that can lead to a lifetime of physical and financial hardship.
Unlike traditional taxi services that place a much higher degree of responsibility on their drivers and require more training, many of the drivers for rideshare services have little to no professional transportation experience. Furthermore, the reliance of these businesses on cell phone applications poses a frequent distraction risk for drivers. This dramatically increases the likelihood of TNC drivers causing accidents on roads in and around West Chester.
It is extremely important to understand that most ridesharing companies do not consider their drivers to be employees. Rather, they are classified as independent contractors. Thus, many of these companies supposedly require any driver to have his or her own personal automobile insurance and then claim that such company is the one liable for any damages that are caused by a TNC driver’s negligence.
West Chester, Pennsylvania Uber Accident Lawyer
If you sustained catastrophic injuries or your loved one was killed in a crash caused by a driver for a ridesharing service, you will want to immediately contact the highly experienced attorneys at Ciccarelli Law Offices. We work as a team to get compensation for crash victims throughout Chester County, Delaware County, Montgomery County, Philadelphia County, and Lancaster County.
Our firm represents clients on a contingency fee basis, which means that we only collect a fee if we obtain monetary damages for the people injured in accidents. You can receive a complete evaluation of your case by calling (610) 692-8700 to schedule a free consultation.
Contact Our PA Personal Injury Lawyers
We are a team of Pennsylvania Personal Injury Lawyers our main offices located in West Chester, Chester County Pennsylvania and serving clients throughout the greater Philadelphia Metro Area including Lancaster County, Berks County, Bucks County, Delaware County and Montgomery County. If your family has been victimized by the negligence of another and you are seeking a free initial consult on you rights and possible claims, it is crucial you speak to an experienced Pennsylvania Injury lawyers in order to ensure your rights are protected and to review all of your legal options with you.
The Injury attorneys of Ciccarelli Law Offices have successfully represented individuals throughout the state of Pennsylvania that have been injured in accidents. Our Chester County based law firm is based at 304 North High Street, West Chester PA 19380 and serves clients throughout Pennsylvania including but not limited to in Kennett Square, Downingtown, West Chester, Coatesville, Exton, Chester Springs, Chadds Ford, Landenberg, Lancaster, Media, Harrisburg, Reading, Philadelphia, Honey Brook, Oxford, Malvern, Parkesburg, Phoenixville and Paoli. Contact us now at (610) 692-8700 or call toll free (877) 529-2422. Don’t wait—contact an attorney immediately.