There are three different types of personal injury cases that involve ridesharing drivers in Pennsylvania:
- A car accident where you are the passenger in the ridesharing vehicle,
- A car accident where you are not in the ridesharing vehicle, and
- Injuries caused by ridesharing driver's intentional or criminal conduct, like if they assault you while you were their passenger.
In each of these circumstances, you can suffer serious injuries through no fault of your own. Recovering compensation for your losses is essential, but also tricky because Pennsylvania law is still catching up with this novel form of transportation.
Type 1: Getting Hurt Because Your Rideshare Driver Caused a Crash
You hail a ride through Uber or Lyft, get into the vehicle, and your driver speeds off. Before you reach your destination, though, there is a crash with someone else or your driver loses control and causes a single-vehicle wreck.
Situations like these are common. In fact, they are all too common: Ridesharing drivers are paid per ride, regardless of how long it takes, so they have a financial incentive to get to the destination as quickly as possible so they can collect another ride. Speeding, driving recklessly, and taking risks to shave off a few seconds are a part of the game.
The only good part about the situation is that passengers who get hurt in a crash that was caused by their rideshare driver should be covered by the million dollar insurance policy that ridesharing companies tout when they talk about how much they protect their customers. Of course, being covered by such an extensive insurance policy and getting it to pay for the full extent of your losses are completely different issues.
Type 2: A Rideshare Driver Crashes Into You
The urgency that ridesharing drivers have when they pick up a passenger does not just put the passenger at risk – it also puts the other members of the public at risk, as well. Other cars on the road have to deal with the recklessness of the ridesharing vehicle, and if the drivers in those cars do not take extra precautions they can get seriously hurt when the ridesharing driver collides with them.
The prognosis is even worse for people who are not protected by a car. Pedestrians, bikers, and motorcyclists are even more at risk for a collision with a ridesharing driver because the urgency that ridesharing drivers bring to the road often causes them to forget alternative modes of transportation. They are so busy trying to get to the destination as quickly as possible that they forget to check their passenger side mirror before making a sudden right turn or fail to look up and down the sidewalks for a pedestrian before turning at an intersection or do not give a motorcyclist the following distance they need.
Not only are ridesharing drivers more likely to hit bikers, motorcyclists, or pedestrians; they are also far more likely to seriously hurt them in the collision. These vulnerable parties will feel the impact of the collision directly, rather than from inside a box of metal, plastic, and airbags. The resulting injuries are almost guaranteed to be severe, even without the additional speed and distraction that are so common in ridesharing journeys.
Worse, the silver lining that rideshare passengers can lean on – the million dollar insurance policy carried by most ridesharing companies – has a huge caveat when the victim was not a paying rideshare customer at the time of the crash: Ridesharing companies do not make a point of proving that they care for the safety of innocent victims outside of their car. Flamboyantly covering the costs of a hurt Uber or Lyft passenger is a marketing ploy to show other people that they have nothing to worry about if they get hurt, but that purpose is gone when the victim was someone else.
Type 3: A Rideshare Driver Intentionally Hurts You
Perhaps the most difficult type of personal injury case involving the ridesharing experience in Pennsylvania is when you get hurt by your own ridesharing driver's intentional, and potentially even criminal conduct.
This scenario is, unfortunately, far from rare. Investigations have found that plenty of Uber and Lyft drivers use their position of power over their passengers – especially women who are using rideshare to get home after a night of partying – for their own sexual gratification. A CNN report found that no fewer than 103 Uber drivers have been accused of sexual assault or sexual abuse. Perhaps more disturbing is that these are only the ones that we know of and the fact that police have few records to provide.
Personal injury cases like these are difficult because insurance will rarely cover the costs of intentional or criminal actions, and because it would be rare indeed for an Uber or Lyft driver to be able to cover the amount of compensation that a jury awards you, should you take your case to trial and win.
Instead, a crucial component of a personal injury lawsuit that recovers the compensation you need will be implicating the ridesharing company and showing that they knew your driver would have been a threat. If you can prove that they had a criminal background with sexual offenses in the past, but was hired anyway, or if other women had complained about sexually threatening behavior and they were not let go, you can recover compensation not from the driver, but from the ridesharing company that had the power to protect you, but failed to do so.
Personal Injury Lawyers at The Brod Law Office in Pennsylvania
If you have been hurt by a ridesharing driver and want to pursue the compensation that you need, deserve, and should be able to count on, you need effective legal representation and guidance. The personal injury attorneys at The Brod Law Office can help. Contact us online or call our law office in Philadelphia at 855-BRODLAW to take the first steps towards invoking your rights and recovering the compensation you deserve.