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Who is Liable in a Rideshare Accident?

Posted on September 30, 2022

If you are involved in a rideshare accident in Pennsylvania, you may wonder who is liable for your injuries, property damage, and other losses. Who is responsible for your damages is decided on a case-by-case basis, as it will depend on the cause of the accident and whether the rideshare driver was working at the time. 

No-Fault Insurance

Pennsylvania is a “choice” no-fault insurance state. This means, depending on your policy, you may have to go through your own insurer to pay for medical bills and injury expenses regardless of who was at fault for your accident. However, the at-fault party is responsible for your property damage (e.g., repair/replacement of your vehicle) unless you carry optional collision coverage. You can sue the at-fault party or their employer for damages if you opted for “full tort” coverage or if your injuries qualify under the state’s serious injury threshold.

Liability in Rideshare Accidents 

In typical car accidents, the at-fault driver is responsible for the damages they cause, but an employer may be liable in a rideshare accident. Rideshare companies require drivers to carry personal auto insurance and will only cover an accident under certain conditions. For example: 

  • The rideshare app is off, or the driver is not logged on: If the driver has not begun working or is not logged into the app while driving and causes an accident, only their private insurance will apply to the accident.
  • The rideshare app is on, or the driver is “available” and waiting for a rider: When a rideshare driver engages with the company’s app but has not received a ride request, contingent liability coverage applies. For example, if the rideshare driver’s personal auto policy will not cover the accident, the rideshare company will pay for damages up to policy limits.
  • The rideshare driver has accepted a ride, is actively picking up a rider, or is transporting a rider: The rideshare company’s commercial insurance coverage will pay for the accident. For example, Uber and Lyft policies include up to $1 million for property damage and bodily injury per accident and another $1 million if the other driver is uninsured or underinsured.

On the other hand, if the accident was caused by a third party, such as another driver, a government agency, or a defective part manufacturer, you may have to pursue compensation from their insurance company instead. 

What to Do After a Rideshare Accident

Taking the following steps after a rideshare accident is critical to your health and will also assist you when pursuing a claim for compensation: 

  • Stay at the scene and call 911 if you or anyone else involved requires emergency medical care. 
  • If injuries are minor, still notify the police. Law enforcement will create a police report which can be vital to proving liability. 
  • If you are not transported to the hospital, document the scene by taking photos and videos of the surrounding area, the vehicles, their damage, and your injuries. 
  • Exchange information with all parties involved, ask for the rideshare driver’s company information if you are unsure, and ask any witnesses for their contact information. 
  • Seek medical care as soon as possible. Some severe injuries have delayed symptoms, plus you need medical records from immediately after the accident to link any injuries to the collision. 
  • Contact your auto insurer and report the accident. 

Lastly, speak to a Philadelphia Rideshare Accident Attorney as soon as possible. They will immediately begin investigating your accident to help you determine fault, gather evidence, and navigate the claims process.