Drivers of cabs and ride-share services are classified as common carriers, which means that they provide a transportation service for a free. These common carriers owe their customers a duty of care which ensures their safety. Reckless or negligent driving endangers all of those who frequent Philadelphia's streets.
Passengers trust these drivers to obey the rules of the road and to drive responsibly. Violations of this trust can cause accidents and serious injuries. According to Pennsylvania law, cab companies are only required to insure individual passengers up to $15,000 per person, and $30,000 for all of those involved in an accident. If this sounds ridiculously low, it's because it is. These rates were set in 1974 and have not been adjusted since.
Uber offers much higher insurance policies, at up to $1.5 million in damages for passengers. However, ride-share services have extensive insurance and legal resources who are prepared to fight claims and deny coverage.
If you've been in an accident as a passenger in a cab or ride-share, we strongly suggest consulting with an experienced cab accident attorney. This is necessary in order to earn damages which meager cab insurance policies won't cover and to fight powerful corporations who will do everything they can to deny a claim.
In most common carrier accidents, drivers and passengers of other motor vehicles are involved. Many of the same rules that apply to other car accidents apply here. If the common carrier driver behaved in a negligent way which caused the crash, he or she may face a lawsuit for damages not covered by insurance. Additionally, the cab company itself may also be held liable for negligence if the cab was being rented by the driver.
Motorists must drive in a way which respects the safety of pedestrians. This is doubly true for common carrier services. These drivers must yield to pedestrians and do everything in their power to avoid collisions with them. Accidents near crosswalks, intersections, and sidewalks can cause devastating injuries to the innocent pedestrians who are using them at the time of the accident.
In Philadelphia, cycling has become a very common form of commuting. More and more bike lanes are popping up as Philly residents opt for this convenient and frugal alternative to driving or cab use. Motorists must stay aware of cyclists whenever they are behind the wheel, including when they are parked.
Many cyclists have been "doored" - meaning that they've been struck by a car door when the driver neglected to check his rear-view mirror before opening it. This can cause painful and serious injuries. Cyclists who have been injured by a cab driver's negligence deserve compensation for these serious injuries and other difficulties faced after an accident.
Common Forms Of Negligence
Common carrier drivers often engage in a variety of negligent behaviors which endanger not only their riders but everyone else in the vicinity of their vehicle. Some common examples include:
- Aggressive driving (e.g. weaving through traffic, tailgating, etc.)
- Distracted driving (e.g. texting/talking on phone, adjusting music, etc.)
- Fatigued driving (from driving too many hours)
- Driving while intoxicated
- Failure to signal
- Illegal U-turns
Many passengers may not have been paying attention at the time of the accident. That's why it's important to gather contact info from any witnesses who can testify to any driving mistakes which may have contributed to the accident.
Many cabs have missing or malfunctioning seatbelts, which can cause more serious injuries than other motor vehicle accidents. Additionally, the partition separating passengers from drivers can cause injuries. Passengers may be flung into this partition during an accident.
Who Can Be Held Liable?
Cab companies and ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft have different rules regarding liability. Determining liability is often a complex process which requires the services of experienced cab accident lawyers.
Liability in a cab accident depends on a few different factors. Some drivers own their cab, while others rent it from a parent company. Drivers who own their cab may be solely liable for an accident caused by negligent driving. With rented cabs, both the driver and the cab company may face litigation following an accident.
Malfunctioning parts or negligent mechanic repairs also may have played a role in the accident. In these cases, manufacturers and negligent mechanics may also be held liable.
Uber and Lyft drivers are officially classified as independent contractors, rather than employees. These companies frequently cite this distinction in order to avoid lawsuits when a negligent driver causes an accident. Suing the driver directly can become complicated since many insurance policies have provisions against accidents caused while the driver was working.
Because of the complicated nature of liability in these accidents, experienced legal counsel is often necessary. If you've been injured in a cab or ride-sharing accident, the right lawyer will have experience taking on large corporations and insurance companies in previous similar cases.
Determining at-fault parties after an accident can be extremely difficult. Many passengers may have been distracted at the time of the accident. Additionally, the complex liability framework for cab and ride-hailing accidents can be difficult to navigate for a layman. This makes it imperative to contact an attorney as soon as possible following an accident with a cab or ride-hail vehicle.