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Erie, Pennsylvania Rideshare Accident Lawyers

Seasoned Personal Injury Lawyers Advocate for Clients Injured in Rideshare Accidents in Erie County and Across PA

As the use of ridesharing services continue to increase, logic dictates that motor vehicle accidents involving these drivers and vehicles will also become much more common. The prevalence of ridesharing services and the confusion over who is responsible for injuries in an accident, motivated Pennsylvania and other states to develop an entirely new insurance system that only applies when a rideshare driver is involved in an accident. Understanding the mechanics behind this new system can be key to ensuring that you recover full compensation for your injuries after a rideshare accident.

At Purchase, George & Murphey, P.C., our personal injury and car accident lawyers have studied this new law and understand how to use it to help our clients get the compensation they need after a rideshare accident. If you have sustained injuries in a rideshare accident in Erie or elsewhere in Western Pennsylvania, our lawyers can help. Call our offices today to schedule a free initial consultation to discuss your case.

Pennsylvania’s Insurance System vs. Rideshare Insurance Coverage

Under Pennsylvania law, drivers have an option of choosing whether they purchase an at-fault insurance policy or a no-fault insurance policy. Under this system, the basic end result is that the at-fault driver’s insurance policy ends up paying out in all cases, but if the driver selected a “no-fault” insurance policy, he or she can also make a claim for personal injury coverage with his or her own insurance company. This system is important, because it may come into play in some situations involving rideshare drivers, where the insurance scheme in Pennsylvania is modified. If a rideshare vehicle is involved, the following insurance rules will now apply:

  • Transporting a passenger. If the rideshare driver is transporting a passenger, the $1 million insurance policy that they are required to maintain applies.
  • Looking for a passenger. If the rideshare driver has his or her ridesharing app turned on, so is actively looking for a passenger, but not transporting a passenger, a contingent insurance policy will be available. This policy provides up to $50,000 in personal injury protection for each person, and up to $100,000 in personal injury protection per accident (regardless of who is at fault for the accident).
  • App is turned off. If the rideshare driver has the ridesharing app turned off, so is not looking for a passenger, his or her personal insurance policy will apply in the same way as in any other car accident. This means if the driver has satisfied Pennsylvania’s minimum insurance requirements, $15,000 in PIP coverage per person and $30,000 per accident will be available, as well as $5,000 for property damage.

Our Personal Injury Lawyers Fight to Maximize Clients’ Compensation Awards After Rideshare Accidents in PA

At Purchase, George & Murphey, P.C., our seasoned car accident lawyers will advocate for your right to a fair and just compensation award when a rideshare driver was involved in your accident. Rideshare accidents, like other car accidents, can take on a variety of forms, including accidents where:

  • The rideshare driver gets in a car accident (whether or not at fault) where you were a passenger in the vehicle,
  • An rideshare vehicle causes an accident with your own private vehicle while you were driving,
  • A rideshare driver hits you while you were walking as a pedestrian, or on a bicycle.

Regardless of how the ridesharing service was involved, you have the right to recover compensation based upon the new insurance rules, and our lawyers can help you understand your new rights and take on the burden of negotiating with the insurance company on your behalf.

Contact an Aggressive Erie, PA Personal Injury Attorney to Discuss Your Rideshare Accident Case Today

Call our offices or fill out this online form, to schedule a free consultation with our lawyers today. We pride ourselves on keeping current when it comes to legislative developments that impact our clients, and are well-versed in the strategies that can now be used to recover compensation in rideshare accident cases throughout Pennsylvania. For your convenience, we have three office locations located at 2525 W.26th St., Erie, PA 16506, 310 Chestnut St., Suite 111, Meadville, PA 16335 (in the Masonic Building) and 68 East Main Street, North East, PA 16428.

Contact Our Trusted Rideshare Accident Lawyers in Erie, PA Today for a Free Initial Case Review

It is common for rideshare accident victims to feel as though they must challenge these large companies themselves to get fair compensation.  At Purchase, George & Murphey, P.C., our experienced injury lawyers are here to help. We face off against large corporations and insurance companies on a daily basis—and have been successfully doing this for decades. 

For more information on how we can help, call our office or contact us online today.

Frequently Asked Questions About Rideshare Accident Claims in Erie, PA

Ridesharing services provide Pennsylvania residents with a valuable transportation option.  Rideshare drivers use private vehicles to offer rides to the general public. This means that the causes and consequences of rideshare accidents are similar to any other accident.

At Purchase, George & Murphey, P.C., our experienced lawyers are here to provide clients with insight into how rideshare accidents are often different from other motor vehicle accidents.  Below are some answers to the most frequently asked questions of rideshare accident victims in Erie, PA.

FAQ: If I was injured as a passenger in a rideshare vehicle, does the new insurance rule mean that I get $1 million for my injuries?

No. Under the new insurance rules, the available compensation under the insurance policy is $1 million—that means $1 million is the maximum award, but you still have to negotiate with the insurance company to determine the actual payment, as in any other car accident case. Like any other insurance company, rideshare insurance companies are likely to provide an initial offer that does not fully account for your expenses, making a skilled lawyer a valuable asset in these cases. For example, it may be difficult to anticipate the extent of your injuries immediately after an accident, and our lawyers will examine your medical records and consult with medical experts, including your doctor, to determine the true cost of your injuries.

FAQ: How long do I have to file a claim for compensation after a rideshare accident in Erie, Pennsylvania?

Under Pennsylvania law, you have two years after you were injured in a rideshare accident in which to file a personal injury lawsuit for compensation—just like any other car accident case. Despite this, it is important to take action to begin investigating your crash as soon as possible after the accident to preserve evidence and make the strongest possible argument for compensation, so don’t wait too long to consult with an attorney on your case.

FAQ: Why are rideshare drivers subject to different insurance laws than other drivers in Pennsylvania?

Important questions arose as to whose insurance policy would be available to pay compensation when a rideshare driver was involved in an accident. Rideshare drivers have personal car insurance like everyone else. However, most of these policies contain clauses that say the insurance will not apply if the driver engages in commercial activity—meaning that the insurance won’t pay if the driver is driving for profit with a rideshare company. Also, rideshare companies were claiming that they were not responsible for damages because drivers are classified as independent contractors, not employees. The government reacted to this by enacting the new rideshare insurance laws.

FAQ: I was using a rideshare service because I don’t have a car or car insurance when my driver caused an accident. Whose insurance will pay my expenses?

Rideshare companies now provide drivers with additional insurance above and beyond what personal drivers in Pennsylvania must carry. If a rideshare driver is carrying a passenger and causes an accident, the rideshare policy covers up to $1,000,000 in third-party liability coverage. As a ridesharing passenger, you would be eligible to make a claim under this policy.

FAQ: What happens if a rideshare driver is looking for a passenger and causes an accident with my vehicle? Whose insurance will pay my expenses?

If the rideshare driver has their app on so that they are available to accept passengers, a ridesharing insurance policy is also available. That insurance policy covers:
– Up to $50,000 per person for bodily injury,
– Up to $100,000 per incident for bodily injury, and
– Up to $25,000 in property damage.

FAQ: Do rideshare companies provide insurance if my driver was not at fault for an accident, but the other driver was uninsured?

Yes. Rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft provide uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance. The $1,000,000 coverage limit also applies in cases where the rideshare company is providing UM/UIM coverage because the at-fault driver did not carry insurance or did not carry a sufficient amount of coverage.

FAQ: What if a rideshare driver causes an accident but did not have their app on at the time of the accident?

If the driver was not carrying or looking for a passenger, personal insurance coverage applies. The driver is not driving for commercial purposes, so rideshare companies do not provide coverage.

FAQ: Can I sue the rideshare company for compensation if my injuries were severe and caused by their driver?

Generally, no. Drivers are independent contractors, meaning that the ridesharing services are not responsible for their actions. That is one of the primary reasons why rideshare insurance coverage limits are so much higher than normal policies.

FAQ: Do the rideshare increased insurance coverage limits apply if I was on a bicycle and the driver caused an accident?

Yes. The rideshare enhanced insurance requirements also apply in bicycle and pedestrian accident cases.

FAQ: As the ridesharing driver, can I access the increased insurance limits if I was driving a passenger and someone else caused an accident?

Yes. The enhanced rideshare insurance policies are available to passengers, rideshare drivers, drivers of other vehicles, pedestrians and anyone else involved in the accident.

FAQ: Why isn’t rideshare insurance handled in the same way as taxis in Western Pennsylvania?

Because rideshare drivers use their own personal vehicles. Further, they do not have the same types of “livery” licenses that taxi drivers must have. Therefore, they cannot qualify for the type of commercial insurance taxi drivers use.

FAQ: Do rideshare companies provide any safeguards against fatigued driving to prevent accidents?

Yes, but they are not particularly strict. For example, Uber locks drivers out of the app after they have driven for 12 consecutive hours. Lyft requires drivers to take a break (for at least 6 hours) after 14 hours of consecutive driving. Because of these extended time frames, rideshare accidents are frequently caused by fatigued driving.

FAQ: Do rideshare drivers have to go through any type of training to help prevent accidents?

No. Rideshare drivers must have at least one year of driving experience and be 21 years old (Uber drivers under 23 must have at least three years’ driving experience). Every driver must have a valid U.S. driver’s license and must also submit to a background check. However, rideshare drivers are not required to complete any specific training program to drive for the ridesharing services.

FAQ: What types of compensation can I recover if I was injured in a rideshare accident?

The same compensation that is available in a regular car accident is also available if your accident involved a rideshare vehicle.

Compensation might include:

– Medical bills, including the cost of treating your injuries in the future,
– Lost wages,
– Lost future wages,
– Pain and suffering,
– Emotional distress,
– Property damage,
– And more.

FAQ: Why might I run into problems making an insurance claim with a rideshare company?

The mere existence of an insurance policy with high limits does not mean it will be easy to make your claim. In fact, it might make it more difficult. Because more money is on the line, insurance carriers might challenge the extent of your injuries more strongly. They might try to question you to get you to admit that you had a preexisting injury. Further, the presence of multiple insurance companies can also create a “finger pointing” situation where all companies try to shift responsibility to someone else. In some cases, the rideshare driver may have even mistakenly turned the app off mid-ride, creating questions about why you were in the vehicle in the first place. Our experienced accident lawyers can help with any issues that arise when making your insurance claim.

Personal Injury Case Results

$1,250,000

Car accident

At approximately 50 mph, a young woman’s vehicle collided with a truck. Both vehicles were totaled. Client suffered multiple injuries including complex fractures and a myocardial contusion.

$700,000

Motorcycle Fatality

Client’s husband was killed in a motorcycle accident caused by a careless driver. His underinsured motorist carrier originally denied coverage, based on a policy exclusion, and then offered only half the coverage.

Criminal Defense Case Results

Charges Dropped

DUI, Lane violation & Careless driving

Late at night, a driver turned right at a stop light and crossed into the oncoming lane of traffic. His BAC was over the legal limit. He was charged with DUI, a lane violation and careless driving.

Not Guilty

Sex Offense

An instructor at a local high school was accused by a student of indecent assault on the last day of school. After four days of trial, the jury acquitted the instructor of all charges.

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