Uber and Lyft drivers typically pay more than the average motorist if they are at fault in an accident in Pennsylvania. That is because rideshare drivers are required to carry much higher insurance coverage than the typical individual. With a new study showing the prevalence of crashes involving such services, these higher payouts could impact more people than ever.
In Pennsylvania, private vehicles have minimum insurance limits of $15,000 per person and $30,000 per accident. However, Pennsylvania statutes require that rideshare drivers have at minimum $50,000 in liability insurance for death and bodily injury per person, $100,000 for death and bodily injury per incident and $25,000 for property damage. They also must have medical benefits of $25,000 for pedestrians and $5,000 for a driver.
These amounts are required even before a passenger gets into the vehicle. For prearranged rides, drivers must have at least $500,000 for death, bodily injury and property damage. If insurance has lapsed or is inadequate, the rideshare company is responsible, according to Pennsylvania law. With these higher limits, the potential payoff for crashes involving rideshare services is substantially higher.
According to a report from the career website, Ladders, rideshare services do a good job in reducing alcohol-related accidents, specifically when people choose to take Uber and Lyft rather than driving intoxicated. However, these services do a poor job in reducing crashes in general, the article notes, pointing to a recent study that shows rideshare services linked to increased car and pedestrian crashes at pickup locations.
The study, by the Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, was the first to use direct data from individual trips. Researchers studied 372 million trips made in New York City during 2017-18. They looked at specific areas of the city and compared the number of ridesharing trips at each crash location with numbers a week before and after the accidents. They also cross-referenced crashes involving motorists, pedestrians and cyclists and analyzed data involving taxi services.
The study found that “ride-sharing apps decrease alcohol-fueled crashes but simultaneously cause more accidents at crowded pick-up and drop-off spots.” This wasn’t the case with taxis. The researchers concluded that perhaps “especially busy streets in cities like New York should be off-limits when it comes to arranging pick-ups and drop-offs” via rideshares.
Car accidents and crashes are the leading cause of death in the world, killing about 1.3 million people annually, according to the article in Ladders. If you would like to talk to an experienced auto/car accident attorney, please reach out to us. Our firm is recognized as a leader in litigating car accident cases in Pennsylvania.