For the past decade or so, rideshare services such as Lyft have played an essential role in the daily lives of many Americans. The ability to call a car directly to your doorstep has been a game changer, and for many, has replaced taxis entirely. But unfortunately, the many advantages that Lyft may offer do not mean that it’s entirely free of risk.
$32 Million Wrongful Death
$26 Million Truck Accident
$17.5 Million Car Accident
$12 Million Product liability
$8 Million Truck Accident
$8 Million Truck Accident/Wrongful Death
$7.5 Million Auto Accident
$6.9 Million Garbage Truck Crash
$6.5 Million Traumatic Brain Injury
$5 Million Medical Malpractice
$5 Million Bus Accident
$4.7 Million Truck Accident
When you step into a Lyft, you expect to arrive at your location quickly and safely. But the reality is that many people across the nation have found themselves at the center of car accidents that involve a Lyft vehicle.
If you or one of your loved ones has experienced a Lyft accident in Wilkes-Barre, you very well may be entitled to compensation. Our experienced Wilkes-Barre car accident attorneys at Munley Law are here to help you achieve the payment you so very much deserve, and it’s our role to do the legal heavy lifting so that you can focus on rest, recovery, and get back to the parts of your life that bring you joy. You should not have to bear the financial burden of a Lyft accident yourself, so call us to begin the process of seeking justice and compensation with an experienced Lyft or Uber accident lawyer in Wilkes-Barre. We can schedule a free initial consultation today, and remember, you don’t pay unless you win.
Wilkes-Barre, PA Lyft Accident Facts
As of 2020, Wilkes-Barre has a population of more than 44,000 people. The city is also the largest concentrated employment center in Northeastern Pennsylvania. This means that every day, thousands of Wilkes-Barre residents are traveling to and from work, and many of them may rely on Lyft to get where they need to go. What’s more, this high concentration of working professionals means that many people are hitting the road at the same time.
Under these circumstances, with a large amount of vehicles, including rideshare drivers, all taking to the same roadways during rush hour, the risk of accidents is high. In fact, there were 3 fatal accidents in Wilkes-Barre in 2019. This does not include the non-fatal accidents that occurred that same year, of which there are many, many more.
As with all accidents, Lyft accidents, in particular, may be caused by any number of factors, or by a combination of factors. But one element that sets the risk of Lyft accidents apart is that by nature of the job, a Lyft driver experiences some distraction while behind the wheel. The CDC defines distracted driving as “doing another activity that takes the attention of the rideshare driver away from driving.”
This could include anything from texting to eating to talking to a passenger; if any of this takes your eyes or mind off the road or your hands off the wheel, it constitutes distracted driving. Lyft drivers, as part of their job, must keep a constant eye on the Lyft app. This tells them where to go to pick up a passenger, how to get a passenger to their destination, and more. A system in which a driver must be constantly looking away from the road is inherently a risky one.
Determining Liability in a Wilkes-Barre Lyft Accident
As with all types of motor vehicle accidents, any number of parties may be responsible for a Lyft accident. These parties can include:
- The Lyft driver
- Another driver
- A pedestrian or cyclist
- The city (if the accident occurred due to something like poor road maintenance)
- And more
What’s more, it’s often possible for multiple parties to share some degree of fault. For instance, imagine that a Lyft rideshare driver breezes through a stop sign without stopping, and they are hit by another driver who is texting, and therefore unable to survey the situation and stop in time. In a case like this, it’s possible that both parties bear some degree of fault, although it’s not always a 50/50 split. It may be that one party bears 80 percent of fault while another party bears 20 percent.
In determining liability, investigators and your insurance company adjusters will look at whether any of the drivers involved were negligent in some way; for instance, whether they were showing signs of distracted driving, not obeying traffic laws, and more. Generally, the insurance companies involved will then assign each driver involved some percentage of responsibility. However, in a city such as Wilkes-Barre, the Pennsylvania notion of “no fault” applies. This means that in most cases, in the state of Pennsylvania, your own insurance covers your own injuries and additional costs, regardless of who is at fault. This is in contrast to other states that function on a fault-based system, in which the at-fault party’s insurance provider offers coverage to the victim.
It’s also important to note that Lyft views its rideshare drivers as independent contractors rather than full-time employees. This often prevents them from being held liable or found at fault in the event of an accident, as they can argue that it’s not the company’s fault, but merely the specific driver’s. This is a lot of information, and it may seem confusing and overwhelming. But there is a way through, with the help of experienced Wilkes-Barre Lyft accident lawyers from Munley Law.
What Do You Do if You Were Injured While Driving for Lyft?
Not everyone that’s injured in a Lyft accident is a passenger — it’s very possible for Lyft rideshare drivers themselves, like all drivers, to be harmed in a car accident while working.
If you are a Lyft driver and have been injured while driving, the compensation you are eligible for depends on what leg of the trip the collision occurs during. If the app is off, then Lyft offers no coverage. But if the app is on, there are essentially three phases for every driver:
- When the rideshare driver is active on the app, but has not yet accepted a ride
- When the driver has accepted a ride and is on their way to pick up a driver
- When a passenger is in the vehicle and a trip is under way
If an Uber or Lyft accident occurs during that first phase, in most cases your personal insurance coverage will act as your primary coverage. However, Lyft may provide additional coverage if your insurance does not apply for any reason. When Lyft covers an accident during this phase of a trip, the following limits apply:
- $50,000/person for bodily injury
- $100,000/accident for bodily injury
- $25,000/accident for property damage
During phases two and three — on the way to pick up a passenger and actively transporting a passenger — Lyft’s insurance company generally acts as the primary coverage. This coverage includes:
- $1,000,000 for 3rd-party auto liability
- Uninsured/underinsured motorist bodily injury
- Contingent comprehensive & collision up to the actual cash value of the car ($2,500 deductible)
Keep in mind that in order to drive with Lyft, you do need to maintain your own personal automobile insurance. If you have been injured in a Lyft accident as a driver, you have access to the coverage listed above, but working with an experienced attorney can be helpful in ensuring you get that coverage. Lyft is a powerful company that, like most powerful companies, will most likely aim to pay out as little as possible. Contact a Wilkes-Barre rideshare accident attorney today to begin the process of achieving justice and compensation.
What Do You Do If You Were Injured as a Lyft Passenger?
If you are injured as a passenger in an Uber or Lyft accident, the same coverage listed above still applies. Of course, as a passenger, you are generally only present during phase 3 (the active ride), which means if you experience a collision during the ride, you may be eligible for up to $1,000,000 in damages.
If you have experienced an accident as a Lyft passenger, you should report the accident to Lyft as soon as possible. Waiting too long can cause Lyft to drag their feet on repaying you, or can even be used on their end to undermine the severity of your injuries. It’s also wise to contact a lawyer as soon as you can after the accident. Once you have a lawyer, they can act as the proxy and intermediary for all communication between you, Lyft, and Lyft’s insurance provider. This ensures that you’re never persuaded to accept an unfairly low settlement during a conversation between yourself and a Lyft representative. Instead, your lawyer will be present for all contact, working hard to get you the maximum compensation you deserve.
What If I’m Hit by a Lyft While Driving?
The compensation you can receive if you are hit by a Lyft vehicle while driving is impacted by the fact that Pennsylvania is a no-fault state when it comes to handling collisions and car accidents. “No-fault” in this context means that when an accident occurs, each driver’s own insurance covers their ensuing costs. Conversely, in a fault-based state, the at-fault driver uses their own insurance coverage to pay out necessary costs to the victim.
This means that if you are in an accident with a Lyft in Wilkes-Barre, your own insurance policy will most likely provide your coverage. However, depending on the severity of your accident, you may still be eligible to receive additional compensation through Lyft or the driver. In Pennsylvania, in order to receive payment through another party’s insurance provider, you must be able to prove that you meet the state’s standard of “serious injury.”
If you do have a serious injury and are able to be compensated through an insurance policy other than your own, you’ll need to determine what period of the trip the Lyft was in. As discussed above, this impact what kind of coverage the Lyft driver has at that moment. If the Lyft was on the way to pick up a passenger or had a passenger in the vehicle, you may be eligible to receive compensation for your medical bills and more under Lyft’s $1 million liability policy. If, however, the driver was active on the app but had not yet accepted a ride at the time of the accident, you may receive coverage under the policy that applies during this period of a trip:
- $50,000/person for bodily injury
- $100,000/accident for bodily injury
- $25,000/accident for property damage
If the driver in question is a Lyft driver but was not active on the app at the time of the accident, their personal auto insurance will cover the expenses needed.
If you have further questions about any of this, or if you want to get started on the process of receiving compensation, please contact Munley Law today. We are ready and waiting to take your call.
What Can a Munley Law Do For You?
Munley Law is one of the premier law firms in Pennsylvania. We have extensive experience helping car accident victims of all kinds, including victims of Lyft accidents, achieve the justice and compensation they deserve. The trauma of experiencing an accident is enough, you should not need to bear the financial, emotional, and physical burden that ensues on your own. Our accident attorneys are here to help you carry that weight. Our reviews and credentials speak for themselves, and you can visit our client victories page on our site to learn about all the people we’ve advocated for.
Every case we take on receives the utmost care and consideration. What’s more, when you work with one of our Lyft accident lawyers, you don’t need to worry about racking up legal fees you can’t afford. We always discuss fees up front, so there are no mystery costs. Your consultation is always free, and our Wilkes-Barre personal injury attorneys do not get paid unless you win.
We believe all victims of Lyft accidents deserve justice. The laws around this sector are always changing, and you want someone in your corner who is up to date on the latest information and the very best ways to help you. At Munley Law, we aim to provide exactly that. Please do not hesitate to reach out for a free initial case evaluation.