Starting in the 1980s, the United States saw a slow but steady decrease in the number of fatal traffic accidents per year. In fact, in 2014, that number hit 32,885, the lowest it had been since the 1940s. There are many factors that play into this decline in traffic fatalities, including cars that are better equipped to protect passengers in the event of a collision, more people wearing seatbelts more often, and more.
But unfortunately, this trend did not continue; starting around 2014, the rate of traffic fatalities across the United States began to rise once again. And this is just around the time that ride-sharing services such as Lyft were becoming a part of daily life.
Some researchers question where this rise in traffic fatalities can be directly linked back to the advent of Lyft, but there is significant reason to believe that there is a connection. The reality is that while Lyft can be an extremely helpful tool for people, it also comes with its own set of risks and dangers, and the threat of experiencing an accident is always present. Lyft does not offer statistics about its accidents or fatalities, which only raises more questions about just how dangerous this service can be.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a Lyft accident in the Scranton area, we are here to help. At Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys, we have extensive experience taking on Lyft accident cases and securing injury victims both the justice and compensation they deserve. What’s more, we are experts when it comes to the ins and outs of Pennsylvania law; we have been practicing here for more than six decades.
Don’t hesitate: reach out to us today for a free consultation and to learn how we can help protect your interests.
Common Kinds of Lyft Accidents
Like with all car accidents, Lyft accidents can be caused by any number of factors. Often, it’s a combination of factors that leads to a collision. But across the board, there are some common causes that often contribute to an accident involving a Lyft vehicle.
- Distracted driving. Distracted driving is essentially anything that removes a driver’s eyes or mental focus from the road, as well as anything that removes their hands from the wheel. This could include texting, eating, even engaging in conversation with a passenger. This is a particular risk for Lyft drivers, as so much of their work involves having constant eyes on the Lyft app. Constantly glancing down at the app in order to get direction or find a drop off point, while seeming harmless, can be enough to cause an accident.
- Aggressive driving. An Uber or Lyft driver relies heavily on the tips they receive from passengers, as well as the star ratings passengers provide. This means that if a driver gets a passenger to their destination quickly, they stand a better chance of receiving a good tip and a good review. The downside of this is that it can lead to aggressive driving, as an Uber or Lyft driver will do everything in their power to move through traffic quickly in order to get that tip and that 5 star review.
- Driving under the influence. Whether it’s the Lyft driver themselves who is under the influence or another driver on the road that collides with your Lyft, driving drunk exponentially increases the risk of an accident. In afct, in 2018, nearly half of the fatal accidents that occurred in Scranton involved a drunk driver.
- Driving while fatigued. In Scranton, and the state of Pennsylvania as a whole, Lyft drivers may drive for 12 consecutive hours. After this, they must take a 6 hour break before returning to work. 12 hours straight of driving is quite a lot, and there’s every chance that at the end of this shift, your driver may be exhausted. Even after a 6 hour break, a driver may still be fatigued, and this can greatly increase the risk of an accident.
- Poor vehicle maintenance or vehicle failure. Lyft does require drivers to maintain their car to particular safety standards, but the company as a whole does not appear to be extremely hands on about ensuring these requirements are met. An unsafe or poorly maintained vehicle can most certainly cause an accident. What’s more, vehicle failure can occur even in cars that are well-tended to; things like engine failure and brake failure can occur out of nowhere and cause a serious accident.
- Other drivers, pedestrians, and more. Of course, not all accidents that involve a Lyft are caused directly by the Lyft driver. The accident may be caused by another driver, a pedestrian, a cyclist, and more.
What Do I Do After a Scranton Lyft Accident?
- Call the police.
- It’s always extremely important to call the police to the scene of a car accident as soon as possible. In some cases, another party at the scene may attempt to dissuade you from placing this call; for example, if your Lyft driver caused the accident, they may try to stop you from calling the police for fear of experiencing repercussions. But having the police at the scene ensures there will be a detailed report of the accident, which will be crucial as you try to seek payment through insurance down the line.
- Document the scene
- You may see the police documenting the scene of the collision once they arrive, but this should not stop you from documenting the scene yourself as well. This can include taking photographs of the scene, including the damage done to the vehicles, any surrounding property damage, and any visible injuries you may have. If there were any additional witnesses to the accident, such as other drivers or pedestrians, you can also ask them for details about what they saw, as well as their contact information should you need their account later on. All of this helps to build a solid case showing that you deserve compensation for your experience.
- Seek medical care
- It’s important to seek medical care as soon as you can. Of course, if you have an injury that’s life threatening or needs immediate car, you should call 911 or head to the hospital before anything else — your health and safety are always paramount. Remember to examine yourself for any cuts or other injuries that may be masked by the adrenaline of the accident. Additionally, keep an eye out for any symptoms that appear in the ensuing hours and days. Sometimes things like whiplash or even concussions are not noticeable until shortly after the initial incident.
- Report the accident to Lyft
- You should report your accident to Lyft as soon as possible after it happens. If you wait too long, Lyft could potentially use this as a reason to refuse payment. Get the process started by letting them know what happened immediately.
- Hire a Lyft accident attorney
- Working with a Lyft accident attorney greatly increases your chances of receiving the compensation you so deserve. Even if you’re simply attempting to navigate the process of getting compensated through Lyft’s insurance policy, this can be an unduly overwhelming and complex system. Without a lawyer advocating for you, it’s very easy to find yourself agreeing to something that’s less than fair. At Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys, we have decades of experience fighting on behalf of our clients, and have successfully tackled many Lyft accident cases in the past decade. Do not hesitate to reach out to us for a free initial consultation.
Does Lyft Offer Compensation for Accidents?
Yes, Lyft does offer compensation for accident victims. However, it’s best never to try to negotiate for your compensation without the aid of a Scranton personal injury attorney. Lyft is an incredibly powerful company, worth several billion dollars and with more than 10 million riders across the United States and Canada. Going up against a corporation of such size and strength can be a challenge without an experienced Lyft accident attorney fighting for you.
When a driver has accepted a trip, the passenger of that trip is covered by Lyft’s $1 million liability policy. This means that Lyft’s liability insurance will pay for the passenger’s medical expenses and other expenses that occur as a result of the accident. As with most accident cases, the amount you receive is generally dictated by the severity of your injuries. This means that, in order to avoid making a larger payment, Lyft’s legal team may try to argue that your injuries are less severe than they truly are. They may also even twist your words, as insurance adjusters often do, in order to get you to agree to a lower settlement. For example, a Lyft representative may call to discuss your case and ask how you are; simply saying “I’m doing well” could be enough for them to argue that you’re no longer in pain and your injuries are not that severe.
For all of these reasons, you need the communication between yourself and Lyft to be mediated by an attorney. This ensures that your words are not twisted, and you’re not pressured into accepting an unfair settlement. Your lawyer will work hard to ensure you receive the maximum amount of compensation, fairly repaying you for the physical, emotional, and mental suffering you’ve experienced.
Issues with Lyft’s Policies and Coverage
Lyft, like other major rideshare companies like Uber, classifies its drivers as “independent contractors” rather than full-time employees. This protects the company from being held liable when an accident occurs. This, of course, can create issues when Lyft is in fact responsible for an issue. For instance, imagine that an accident occurs because Lyft hired a driver without giving them a proper background check. Lyft would likely argue that anything the driver does is out of their hands as a company, because this driver is not a full-time employee. This can make it extremely difficult to file a suit against Lyft, even when it’s clear they have exhibited negligence.
Additionally, while Lyft does have its million dollar liability policy during active rides, there are still some gaps. If an accident occurs during the time when the driver has turned on the app but has not yet accepted a ride, coverage is more limited. During this period, Lyft does not offer coverage to the driver if they experience an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver.
Because of the complexity of these issues, amongst others, working with a Scranton Lyft accident attorney is always to your benefit.
Why Choose a Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys Scranton Lyft Accident Lawyer?
If you or a loved one has experienced an Uber or Lyft accident in Scranton, we know you’re probably overwhelmed and exhausted. But you don’t have to be: with Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys, you can focus on rest and recovery while we handle the rest Particularly with the complex and oft-changing legalities around and rideshare accidents, you’ll want the support of our experienced Scranton Lyft accident lawyers.
Our law firm is dedicated to bringing you top of the line legal services and ensuring that you receive the justice you are owed. Having a rideshare accident attorney on your side will help ensure you receive the maximum amount of compensation, and are not lowballed by a powerful corporation. Our team of excellent, highly experienced lawyers and dozens of legal support staff will work tirelessly for you, and we do not get paid unless you win.
At Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys, the personal injury lawyers working on your Uber or Lyft accident case have over a decade of experience, as well as hands-on trial and courtroom experience. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys to discuss your car accident case and how we can be of service. Contact us today to schedule a free case evaluation.
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Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys
227 Penn Ave,
Scranton, PA 18503