Victims who have been hurt in ridesharing accidents or who have been assaulted by their ridesharing drivers and want to recover compensation for their suffering have the burden of proving their case. Proving that someone else should be held liable for your injuries is essential for a successful personal injury claim.
The personal injury lawyers at The Brod Law Firm know how to prove liability in a ridesharing personal injury case, even in complicated situations where your injuries were the result of someone's intentional conduct.
How Fault and Liability Work in Pennsylvania
The personal injury law in Pennsylvania aims to compensate victims for the injuries they have suffered and that were not their fault. Determining who was at fault, therefore, is a crucial part of any lawsuit for compensation in the state.
Once fault has been determined, the question turns to liability. Generally speaking, people are held financially liable for the costs of accidents that were their fault, making fault and liability inextricably linked to one another in the eyes of the law.
As the victim and plaintiff in a personal injury case, you are entitled to compensation for the portion of the accident that was not your fault, so long as you were not more than half at fault for your injuries. In the event that you were partially at fault for your injuries, Pa. Cons. Stat. § 7102allows you to recover compensation for your losses minus the percentage of fault you contributed.
To put all of this together, here is an example.
If you are driving and you get hit by a ridesharing vehicle from Uber and you get hurt in the crash, who was at fault for the crash will determine who is held liable for it. If you suffer $10,000 in damages from medical expenses and lost wages, and the jury determines that the Uber driver was 70 percent at fault while you were 30 percent at fault, you could recover $7,000 in a lawsuit. If, however, the jury determines that you were 60 percent at fault, you would not be able to recover anything for your losses, no matter how bad they are because you were more than half at fault for your injuries.
How to Prove Liability in a Ridesharing Crash
Proving liability in a Pennsylvania personal injury case involves showing four different things by a preponderance of the evidence:
- The person you are suing had a duty to keep you safe or out of harm's way;
- That person failed to uphold that duty;
- That failure was the cause of your injuries; and
- You were, in fact, hurt.
When it comes to car accidents, in general, everyone on the road has a legal duty to drive reasonably safely for the conditions they face. Showing that the person you are suing breached this duty often involves pointing to traffic violations the person made that caused the crash (e.g., speeding or turning without signaling) or to unsafe but technically legal driving practices (e.g., driving distracted due to talking to children or other passengers).
In ridesharing cases, though, this process is made complicated by the presence of the ridesharing company, in addition to the ridesharing driver. Ridesharing drivers often have minimal insurance, so implicating the ridesharing company they were working for can be a big part of recovering the full amount of compensation that you deserve. In some cases, it is possible to extend liability for a crash through the driver and to the ridesharing company, in spite of the employment structure that ridesharing companies use to insulate themselves from such liability.
For example, a ridesharing company like Lyft or Uber could be held liable for a crash involving one of its drivers if it comes to light that the driver was woefully unprepared to drive but was hired to drive anyway. In these cases, Lyft or Uber's negligent hiring practices could be deemed the ultimate cause of the accident, and they could be held liable for it.
Proving Liability After an Assault by a Ridesharing Driver
Things get different if your injuries came from intentional and even criminal conduct by the driver rather than an accident. In these cases, like if the ridesharing driver assaulted or raped you during or after a trip, the driver's insurance is almost guaranteed to back out of the picture because it does not cover intentional conduct.
Implicating the ridesharing company in these cases is critical for your personal injury claim. The ridesharing driver is rarely ever going to have enough money to cover your losses, so imputing liability onto the company is often your only option.
Showing that the ridesharing company should have known that the driver posed a threat to passengers but hired him anyway is the best way to extend fault and liability to the ridesharing company.
For example, if Uber or Lyft hires a driver with a criminal background that includes sexual assault, and then that driver assaults you during a trip, a personal injury claim for compensation can implicate the company and recover compensation from it. After all, the company put you in harm's way by hiring someone it should have known would be a risk to your safety.
Personal Injury Lawyers at The Brod Law Office
Ridesharing has become a mainstay of transportation in Pennsylvania, especially in bustling cities like Philadelphia and Reading. With the convenience of hailing a ridesharing vehicle has come serious risks to innocent people.
Regardless of whether they were hurt in a car accident or by a driver's intentional conduct, victims of ridesharing issues deserve to be compensated for their losses. A big part of recovering that compensation is proving that someone else, preferably the ridesharing company, was liable for the incident.
The personal injury lawyers at The Brod Law Office can help make this happen in your case. If you have been hurt while ridesharing in Philadelphia or the surrounding region, call The Brod Law Office at 855-BRODLAW or contact us online.