Pennsylvania Ride Sharing Act

Date: January 19, 2011
Posted In: DLP Law

Harry was employed by Happy Times Candy Company. Happy Times provided transportation for their employees to and from the factory. Happy times utilized a van and provided a driver to pick employees up, such as Harry, from their home and being them to work and then, at the end of the day, take them back to their home.

Harry was riding in the employer-provided van driven by a fellow employee when the van collided head on with another vehicle. Harry suffered serious injuries and attempted to file a claim against his employer under Workers\’ Compensation.

Question: Can Harry seek a Workers\’ Compensation claim?

Under the laws of Pennsylvania, there exists what is called the Ridesharing Act. This Act provides the transportation of employees to and from their place of employment in a motor vehicle owned or operated by the employer will not be covered under the Workers\’ Compensation Act. In essence, the Act eliminates employer-provided transportation from the scope and course of an employee\’s employment.

Harry, though, will be able to file suit against the drivers of both the vehicle he was in and the driver of the other vehicle, which was involved in the collision. Unlike Workers\’ Compensation, where his only recovery would be lost wages and medical bills, with a civil suit, he can also collect for his pain and suffering.

Normally, co-employees are immune from liability under the Workers\’ Compensation Act. Because the Workers\’ Compensation Act would not apply, Harry could now sue the driver of his own van and, in effect, bring suit against his employer who provided the driver.

Disclaimer: The above article is for instructive purposes only and each case is fact sensitive. Consultation with an attorney should be obtained instead of reliance upon the legal issues discussed in this column.

Tom Cummings
Thomas P. Cummings has been a Partner with Dougherty Leventhal & Price, LLP since 1996 and has been with the firm since 1991. He focuses his practice on workers’ compensation, Social Security Disability and personal injury cases.