Rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft have innovated travel, providing an efficient and cost-effective alternative to traditional taxis. However, with the growth of rideshare usage comes a rise in rideshare accidents. Understanding the causes, consequences, and legal recourse available is crucial for passengers and drivers involved in rideshare-related accidents. A rideshare accident attorney can guide you in navigating this complex landscape.

The Rising Frequency of Rideshare Accidents

The convenience of rideshare services has led to a significant increase in their usage. According to recent statistics, rideshare trips have grown exponentially, leading to a corresponding rise in Uber and Lyft accidents. A Research Brief released by the University of Chicago  found that the introduction of ridesharing accounts for a roughly 3 percent annual increase in traffic fatalities. This uptick in accidents highlights the pressing need for passengers to know the risks and their legal options.

An article published in the University of Illinois UIC Today found that one-third of rideshare drivers surveyed in a new study reported being involved in a crash while working. 

Common Causes of Rideshare Accidents

Several factors contribute to the frequency of Lyft and Uber accidents. Understanding these causes can help passengers stay vigilant and improve safety.

  1. Distracted Driving: Rideshare drivers rely heavily on their smartphones for navigation, accepting rides, and communicating with passengers. This constant use of mobile devices can result in distracted driving, increasing the risk of accidents.
  2. Fatigue: Many rideshare drivers work long hours, often juggling multiple jobs. This can result in fatigue, which impairs reaction times and decision-making abilities, increasing the likelihood of accidents.
  3. Speeding: Some rideshare drivers exceed speed limits to complete more rides and earn higher fares, which can lead to dangerous driving conditions.
  4. Inexperience: A lack of driver experience or unfamiliarity with local roads and traffic patterns can contribute to errors and accidents.
  5. Poor Vehicle Maintenance: Unlike traditional taxi services, rideshare drivers are accountable for their vehicle upkeep. Lack of periodic maintenance can result in mechanical failures and accidents. 

Consequences of Rideshare Accidents

Rideshare accidents can have severe consequences, affecting both passengers and drivers.

  • Injuries: Passengers, drivers, and other road users can suffer various injuries. This can range from lacerations and bruises to critical, life-altering conditions such as traumatic brain injuries or spinal cord damage.
  • Financial Loss: Medical bills, lost wages, and property damage can accumulate quickly, placing a significant financial burden on those involved.
  • Emotional Trauma: The emotional effect of an accident can be profound, leading to anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
  • Legal Complications: Determining liability in a rideshare crash could be complex, involving multiple parties such as the driver, the company, other drivers, and insurance companies 

Your Rights as an Uber or Lyft Passenger

As a passenger in a rideshare vehicle, you have specific rights, especially if you suffer an auto accident injury:

  1. Right to Safety: You have the right to a safe ride. If a driver’s negligence or misconduct causes an accident, you can hold them accountable.
  2. Right to Compensation: If you are hurt in an auto accident, you can fight for compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.
  3. Right to Legal Representation: You have the right to hire the best car accident lawyer to assist with your case and assure you receive fair compensation for injuries. 

Steps to Take After a Rideshare Accident

If you find yourself injured in a rideshare accident, it’s critical you take the following steps to safeguard your rights:

  1. Seek Medical Attention: Your health is the absolute priority. Though your injuries may seem minor, get a thorough medical examination. There may be hidden or more severe injuries.
  2. Report the Accident: Notify the rideshare company about the accident through their app or customer service. This establishes an official record of the incident.
  3. Document the Scene of the Accident: If physically able, take photos of the scene, vehicle damage, and any visible injuries. Collect contact information from witnesses.
  4. Gather Driver Information: Obtain the driver’s name, contact details, insurance information, and vehicle details.
  5. File a Police Report: Ensure a police report is filed, as it is an official accident record, which can be crucial for your case.
  6. Consult a Rideshare Accident Attorney: Contact an auto accident attorney in Wilkes-Barre to examine your case and discuss legal options. 

Frequently Asked Rideshare Accident Questions and Answers 

Who is liable in a rideshare accident case?

Liability can be complex in rideshare accidents. It may involve the rideshare driver, another driver, vehicle or parts manufacturer, or even the rideshare company. A rideshare accident lawyer can help determine the responsible parties. 

What kind of compensation can I receive?

It may be possible to seek compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and property damage. The amount depends on the severity of your injuries and the specifics of your case.

 How long do I have to file a rideshare accident claim?

The statute of limitations for personal injury claims varies by state. Pennsylvania has a two-year statute of limitations on personal injury lawsuits. It’s vital to consult with a rideshare accident lawyer promptly to avoid missing the deadline.

Do I need an attorney to handle my claim?

While not legally required, hiring a personal injury attorney can considerably improve the likelihood of appropriate compensation. They can navigate the legal complexities and negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf. 

A Rideshare Accident Attorney Can Protect Your Rights

Hiring a rideshare accident attorney is crucial for five reasons:

  1. Experience in Rideshare Accident Cases: Attorneys who focus on rideshare accidents understand the unique legal issues and can provide knowledgeable guidance.
  2. Determining Liability: Establishing fault is the first step in seeking compensation. Fault may rest with the rideshare driver, another motorist, a trucking company, or possibly the rideshare company if negligence can be proven. An accident claims lawyer can help.
  3. Negotiation: Filing a claim can be complicated, and insurance companies may attempt to minimize payouts. Rideshare collision lawyers are skilled negotiators who can deal with insurance corporations to ensure you receive fair compensation.
  4. Representation in a Personal Injury Lawsuit: If your case goes to court, a Pennsylvania accident attorney can represent you and advocate for your rights.
  5. Peace of Mind: Dealing with the aftermath of a rideshare crash is stressful. An auto accident attorney can tackle the legal complexities, enabling you to concentrate on recovery. To sum it up, an experienced rideshare lawyer can guide you through the claims procedure, negotiate with insurance, and represent you in court if necessary. 

Take Prompt Action if Involved in a Rideshare Accident

Rideshare accidents are a grim reality in our increasingly mobile world. The hidden dangers associated with these accidents highlight the importance of being informed and prepared. By understanding the causes, consequences, and legal recourse available, you can better protect yourself and your rights.

If you are injured in a rideshare accident, taking swift action and seeking professional legal advice can make a major difference in securing the compensation you deserve. Don’t let the complexities of a rideshare accident overwhelm you; contact a rideshare accident attorney in Wilkes-Barre today. The auto accident attorneys at Distasio, Kowalski, & Yelen have years of experience protecting and fighting for the rights of car accident victims. Call or email DKY Law today.

Read our latest blog to learn more about selecting a personal injury attorney for your case.



Michael J. Kowalski, a partner with DKY Law Firm, has been representing individuals and their families in personal injury matters for 30 years. These include cases involving medical malpractice, medical errors, birth injuries, and auto and truck accidents, among others. If you are injured, you want Attorney Kowalski and the DKY Law Firm fighting for you. Contact Attorney Kowalski today.




Jeffrey A. Yelen, a partner with DKY Law Firm, is an Elder Law Attorney who brings 25 years of estate planning, probate and estate litigation experience to the clients he serves. He is head of the firm’s Elder Law and Estate Services division and is highly experienced in Wills, Estates, and Trusts.  When you are searching for an Elder Law Lawyer, Attorney Yelen can provide the skilled legal representation you and your family need. Contact Attorney Yelen

The horrific fatal crash of yet another modified stretch limousine this past weekend has us again talking about the lack of safety regulations for these vehicles. 20 were killed in the New York limousine crash, making it the deadliest transportation accident in the U.S. in nearly a decade. According to news reports, a Ford Excursion limousine went through a stop sign and hit a parked vehicle before crashing into a ditch. Two pedestrians and all 18 people in the limo died. Among those killed in the limousine accident were four sisters. Others included couples just starting their lives together and friends who came together to celebrate a 30th birthday. This limousine crash is an unspeakable tragedy that may have been prevented.

The dangers of modified stretch limousines

Why did not one passenger survive the limousine crash? It’s a question that investigators hope to answer. The concerning lack of safety regulations for these vehicles will certainly come into play. Modified stretch limousines are largely untested and unregulated. They often don’t have the strict safety measures that factory-built vehicles are required to have. This includes things such as side-impact airbags, reinforced rollover protection bars and accessible emergency exits. When limousines are first built, they must meet these strict safety regulations. After a vehicle leaves the factory, the oversight stops. When vehicles, such as this Ford Excursion are stretched and converted into a limo, the safety features are sometimes weakened or removed completely. This can result in serious danger in the event of a crash.

Although some automakers do produce stretch limos that are safer than many we see on the roads, there are many more out there that have been converted and are simply not safe. Some limos have been radically altered after factory and have not been properly safety tested. To modify a vehicle into a stretch limo, an ordinary car or SUV is cut apart and then lengthened with metal plates to create a much longer body. This often weakens the structural integrity of the vehicle. The modification may weaken the frame and reduce its ability to withstand the impact of a crash. Because of the way the seats are configured, most limo passengers are without the protection of seat belts and side airbags. Exits may have been blocked or removed during modification. This makes it extremely difficult to get out of the vehicle quickly and safely in the event of a crash. In addition, these long vehicles are extremely difficult for drivers to maneuver. Modifications may have created blind spots that prevent the driver from seeing properly. Limo drivers should also be properly screened, licensed and trained to drive this particular type and length vehicle. As seen in the New York tragedy, not all drivers are properly licensed.

More regulations needed for modified stretch limousines

Tragically, although they carry large groups of people, there is far less regulation and oversight of these modified vehicles than newly manufactured vehicles. Modified limos are often not engineered properly from the beginning and they often receive no testing and no quality control. Without adequate testing, dangerous structural deficiencies can be missed. Additionally, modified stretch limousines are exempt from federal seatbelt laws, because of their banquette seating. The lack of seat belts can prove deadly in the event of a limousine crash.

Many people who choose to hire a stretch limo are doing so because they are celebrating and want to be sure to be transported safely. They are doing what they believe is the responsible thing to do when celebrating, having a designated driver. Modified limos are carrying wedding parties, birthday celebrants and young prom-goers. They have no idea they may be putting themselves in harms way in a potentially dangerous vehicle. Without the protection of seat belts, airbags and other safety measures, even the slightest accident can cause serious injuries. Strong federal regulations must be put in place for modified stretch limousines to keep passengers safe. They need to be held to higher safety standards, so horrific tragedies like this don’t happen again.

The lack of regulations is concerning, so what can you do to protect yourself and your loved ones?

  • Do your research before hiring a limousine company.
  • Be sure the company is registered with the state and that all drivers are properly licensed. Ask if the limo has been modified or if it is a factory-built stretch limo, which is required to meet strict safety regulations.
  • Call the Better Business Bureau to check on the company and to check for any complaints or red flags.
  • Finally, the limo that crashed this past weekend had recently failed an inspection and the driver lacked the proper license for driving that vehicle. If you have a bad feeling about a company you’reD dealing with or the situation just doesn’t feel safe, don’t take any chances; look for another means of transportation.

Distasio & Kowalski is a Wilkes-Barre personal injury firm that specializes in representing the victims of auto accidents. Our clients are our top priority. Our hearts go out to the families of the victims of this fatal limousine crash.



May is Motorcycle Safety Month and PennDOT is encouraging riders to register for a free motorcycle safety course through the Pennsylvania Motorcycle Safety Program. There are programs for new motorcycle riders, as well as returning and experienced riders. Spring can be one of the best times for motorcyclists, but sadly it can also be one of the most dangerous. As a personal injury firm, the attorneys at Distasio, Kowalski & Yelen have seen the damages of motorcycle crashes firsthand. We’ve just come off a cold snowy winter in NEPA and the weather has finally warmed up. Motorcycle riders can’t wait to get out on the open road and feel the wind in their face. It’s important to keep safety top of mind when riding. Motorcyclists are much more likely than passenger car occupants to die or become injured in a serious crash. The NHTSA reported that in 2016, we saw the largest number of motorcyclist fatalities since 2008. The number took a 5.1 percent jump to 5,286 fatalities.

PA motorcycle helmet laws

Motorcyclists who ride without helmets run a significantly greater risk of death or permanent injury. The U.S. General Accounting Office found that helmeted riders have a 73% lower fatality rate than unhelmeted riders and an 85% reduced incidence of severe and critical injuries. Motorcycle helmet laws vary from state to state. Currently only 18 states and the District of Columbia have universal helmet laws. PA Law requires that any person who operates or rides a motorcycle (including an autocycle) must wear protective headgear unless he or she is over 21 years of age and has either two years of riding experience or has completed a motorcycle safety course approved by PennDOT or the Motorcycle Safety foundation.

Ten dangers to watch for when riding a motorcycle

  1. Potholes – We live in northeast Pennsylvania, so we all know the dangers of potholes. Ever experience that horrible bump when you’re
    motorbike accident

    driving down a Wilkes-Barre road and your vehicle hits what seems like a large crater? Imagine if you’re riding a motorcycle what that impact can feel like and the real danger it can pose. Potholes seem to be everywhere right now, on city streets, in rural areas and on our highways, including I80, I81 and the PA turnpike.

  2. Gravel & Road Debris – Small rocks, leftover leaves, branches and twigs and any other road debris can cause a serious motorcycle accident. Debris on the road is something you definitely need to be on the lookout for. Even the smallest amount of gravel can cause a cycle to skid and crash when traveling at a high rate of speed.
  3. Unsafe Lane Changes – When the driver of a passenger vehicle or a motorcycle fail to check carefully before changing lanes, especially their blind spot, it can lead to a dangerous motorcycle collision. This is another common cause of crashes.
  4. Car Doors Opening – The opening of car doors into the path of an oncoming motorcyclist is a leading cause of motorcycle accidents in cities. As the driver of a passenger vehicle, you need to be extremely careful when opening your car door on a busy street. A motorcyclist also needs to be on the lookout for opening doors.
  5. Sudden Stops – Tailgating can result in a rear end motorcycle collision that can result in serious injury to a motorcyclist.
  6. Distracted Drivers – Distraction on the part of other drivers can pose a danger to a motorcyclist who lacks the protection of a car and is very vulnerable in the event of an accident. Consult with a motorcycle accident lawyer at Distasio, Kowalski & Yelen if you’ve been injured by a distracted driver.
  7. Motorcycle Defects – Just like vehicles that we see recalled every day, motorcycles can be defective as well. They can have a dangerous design or a defect in manufacturing that may lead to a crash.
  8. Impaired Driving – Alcohol use plays a huge factor in motorcycle accidents. According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, 25% of motorcyclists involved in fatal crashes in 2016 were alcohol impaired. That’s higher than the drivers of any other vehicles involved in fatal accidents.
  9. Dangerous Driving – This can include speeding weaving in and out of traffic, making unsafe turns, lane splitting and driving too closely to the vehicle in front of you. Lane splitting occurs when a motorcycle drives between two lanes of stopped or slow moving traffic. It’s a common cause of collisions and a dangerous practice for motorcyclists. Oftentimes motorcycle accidents are caused by another vehicle turning left in front of the motorcycle. The driver of the other vehicle may be distracted or just misjudged the speed of the motorcycle. All drivers need to pay attention on to their surroundings.
  10. Lack of Proper Riding Gear – Most noteworthy, statistics show that motorcycle helmets do save lives. Many riders opt not to wear them, and it can mean very dangerous injuries in the event of a motorcycle crash. In addition to a helmet, motorcyclists should also wear protective face and eyewear, boots, gloves and a jacket.

Motorcycle accidents in Pennsylvania

A motorcycle accident in Pennsylvania can cause very serious and possibly fatal injuries. Traumatic brain injuries are not uncommon in motorcycle collisions, especially when a helmet is not worn. Other serious injuries can include head, neck and spinal cord injuries, paralysis, fractures, loss of limb, internal injuries and serious road rash. Be sure to always wear safety gear when riding, be visible to other motorists, be sure you are well trained on your bike and be on the alert for roadway dangers. In addition to the training courses available through the PA Motorcycle Training Program, the Motorcycle Safety Foundation also offers courses for riders and provides important motorcycle safety information and training.

If you have been in a motorcycle accident as a result of the negligence of another party, the motorcycle injury lawyers at Distasio, Kowalski & Yelen in Wilkes-Barre can help. Call 570-970-5400 or contact us online.

Freezing temperatures have brought snow, sleet and icy road conditions to Pennsylvania and other areas of the country. This has caused many winter weather related crashes. Just this month, a crash involving more than 75 vehicles occurred on the Interstate 90 at the Pennsylvania Ohio border. On that same road, a 13-vehicle pileup occurred. Snowy driving conditions were said to have played a part in the crashes, according to CBS News. Another pileup involving 40 vehicles occurred in Michigan last week as well. This past weekend, a multi vehicle wreck also closed part of Interstate I 80 near Luzerne County.

Many motorists are killed and injured in winter weather related crashes every year. With the snowy weather just starting, hazardous road conditions and crashes will be all too common in months ahead.

Five winter driving safety trips

  1. Slow down. Adjust your driving speed according to conditions. Give yourself extra time to get to your destination.
  2. Increase the distance between you and the car in front of you. It takes longer to stop in snowy conditions.
  3. Brake and accelerate slower than normal to avoid sliding.
  4. Winterize your vehicle. Have tires, brakes, heater/defroster, wipers, battery and other items checked on your vehicle before driving this winter.
  5. Keep on the lookout for slippery spots and black ice on the road.

Winter storms will continue to cause unsafe driving conditions in the northeast and throughout Pennsylvania. It is imperative that drivers prepare and stay alert. Snowy conditions can result in winter weather related crashes from minor fender benders to fatal multi-vehicle collisions. Be aware of the possibility of black ice when driving, especially when driving on bridges, on and off ramps, and at intersections. Be particularly carefully when driving near snowplows and tractor-trailers. Visibility may be low and trucks have blind spots.

The car accident lawyers at Distasio, Kowalski & Yelen encourage drivers to keep a winter emergency kit in their vehicles at all times when driving. The kit should include items such as jumper cables, a flashlight, blankets, flares and water.

Winter accident statistics

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, 445,303 people were injured and 5,897 people killed in weather vehicle related crashes in a 10-year period from 2005-2014. Following safety precautions and being alert when driving in winter conditions can help reduce your chance of a car accident. Winter crash studies have found that a high percent of winter season crashes involve driving too fast for conditions. This can definitely be a factor when looking at cases of multi-vehicle pileup crashes.

If you have been injured in winter car accident or truck accident, call the car accident lawyers at Distasio Kowaslski in Wilkes-Barre today. Call 570-970-5400 if you need an attorney who is experienced in vehicle accidents to fight for your rights.


truck-accidentsTwo safety regulators, the NHTSA and the FMCSA, have proposed a joint rule to help reduce large truck crashes. The rule would require large trucks and buses to be equipped with speed limiting devices. The proposal would affect all newly manufactured trucks, school buses and multipurpose vehicles with a gross vehicle weight of 26,000 pounds or more. Each vehicle would be required to have its device set to a specified speed.

Safety administrations feel that this truck speed limiting safety measures could affect force of impact in the event of a crash and could save lives. The proposal addresses the benefits of setting maximum speeds of 60, 65 and 68 miles per hour. According to the Wall Street Journal, the government agencies said that capping the speeds on new large vehicles would reduce the 1,115 fatal crashes involving large trucks that occur each year. The speed limiting devices could also save $1 billion in fuel costs.

Studies in the proposal examined the relationship between travel speed and crash severity. It was concluded that the severity of a crash increases with increased travel speed. Furthermore, research found that the effect of this kinetic energy in a crash is particularly relevant for combination trucks, such as tractor-trailers, due to their large mass. Higher speeds also affect the brake time of trucks,  significantly increasing the distance it takes to come to a stop.

Researchers studied truck crashes that occurred between 2004 and 2013 where speed likely contributed to the severity of the crash. During that time period, safety administrations estimated that truck crashes resulted in 10,440 speed-related fatalities.

Large Truck Crash Statistics

The NHTSA Truck Safety Facts 2014 Data released earlier this year found that in 2014, there were 3,903 people killed in crashes involving large trucks. An estimated 111,000 people were injured in large truck crashes. This was an increase of 17 percent over the previous year. 73 percent of those people killed in large truck crashes were the occupants of other vehicles. With these facts, any measure that safety administrators can implement and enforce to reduce truck accidents and protect lives should be taken.

As truck and car accident lawyers who see the devastation and traumatic injuries caused by large truck accidents, we feel it’s important that this be addressed. Read the entire proposed trucking rule.

If you or a loved one have been injured in a truck accident, call the truck accident attorneys at Distasio Kowaslski in Wilkes-Barre today at 570-970-5400. You need an attorney who is experienced at litigating truck accident cases and fighting for the injured.