Who is Responsible for an Uber Car Accident in Pennsylvania?
After an accident, knowing who is responsible will be vital to your recovery. Lawsuits must be filed against drivers and other parties who actually caused the crash, so identifying them is an important preliminary part of your case.
Generally, any driver who violated a traffic law or was otherwise driving unsafely will be responsible for the crash. Uber generally cannot be sued for causing a crash, which means that the Uber driver will be at fault. However, Uber supplies car accident insurance that can help cover your damages.
If you were injured in an Uber or other ride-sharing accident, call our Philadelphia car accident attorneys at The Reiff Law Firm at (215) 709-6940 for a free case review.
Determining Fault in an Uber Accident in Pennsylvania
Who was responsible for the accident in question? It might not necessarily be one person. We look at who made a mistake, whether that mistake caused you injuries, and whether that mistake was worse than others. Overall, this analysis involves looking at a few prongs to determine whether negligence was involved.
To start, we all have a standard of conduct under the law, which changes according to the circumstances. Do a person driving down the street, an airline pilot, and a heart surgeon all have the same legal duty of care? Not at all. To meet our duty of care, we generally must do what a reasonably prudent person would do under the same circumstances. A driver must be a reasonably prudent driver. An airline pilot must be a reasonably prudent pilot, and so on.
It is when we fail to act as a normally prudent person would that the second prong of the negligence test can be met. For a plaintiff to prevail on a claim of negligence, the court must ultimately agree that the defendant breached their legal duty of care.
The third prong means that there must be a clear cause and effect between the defendant’s faulty conduct and the injury at hand.
Which brings us to the fourth prong of a negligence claim: damages. If you are not injured or did not face damages, your claim will most likely not succeed. A negligence case is largely about putting a price tag on the injuries you have suffered at the hands of a defendant.
Therefore, in case of an Uber of Lyft accident, we are looking to see who did not act as a reasonably prudent person under the circumstances. It could have been the Uber driver, or another driver. Even you might have made a mistake and contributed to the accident. But even if you were at fault in whole or in part, your negligence claim is not necessarily defeated.
Does Uber Provide Insurance for Car Accidents in Pennsylvania?
Uber’s website states that all rides on Uber are supposed to be insured. However, Uber’s insurance may not be sufficient to cover your injuries, and the company may also choose to deny a claim. In these situations, you will want a team of experienced attorneys to advocate on your behalf.
Our attorneys will gather all possible information about the crash, any citations issued by the police, police reports, names of drivers and witnesses, medical records regarding your injuries, and so on. Then, your lawyers will contact the parties they deem to be at fault. We can also file a lawsuit, as necessary, to get you the damages you need. There are many other nuances to litigating a personal injury case, and you want an experienced team by your side who is not afraid to take the matter to trial.
Court or Arbitration to Determine the Negligent Party
Who decides who was negligent in an Uber accident case? A jury normally decides and this is what you want as an injury plaintiff.
Pennsylvania also provides its citizens with a constitutional right to a trial by jury. There are, however, circumstances in which you may lose this right, such as by signing it away. A common example of this is arbitration agreements.
Arbitration agreements are contracts where you agree that if you have a dispute with the other party, the case will not go to a court or jury, but to arbitration. This means that a third party will act as the judge and jury and decide your case in full. The arbitrator will be the one to decide who was at fault in the accident. And most such agreements call for binding arbitration, which means that you cannot appeal to a judge or any other authority if you do not like the arbitrator’s decision. Whatever the arbitrator’s decision is, you are most likely stuck with it.
However, in some cases, a court can decide that you are not bound by the arbitration agreement and allow you to have a jury trial after all, where a jury of your peers will decide who was at fault in the accident. For example, in one case, Uber attempted to enforce its arbitration agreement against a wheelchair using passenger who had been injured because of the negligence of her Uber driver. In that particular case, the Pennsylvania court ruled that Uber’s arbitration agreement was unenforceable, and that the injured passenger was entitled to a trial by jury.
This case also underscores the importance of safety steps for both Uber riders and drivers. Wheelchair customers also present unique needs and before accepting a fare, a driver must have the proper accommodations and expertise to ensure disabled passengers are safe.
Our Pennsylvania Uber Car Accident Attorneys Can Help
For a free case review, contact our West Chester car accident attorneys at The Reiff Law Firm at (215) 709-6940.