Lyft and Uber Accidents
Rideshare apps have been steadily growing in popularity for over a decade, and they are especially popular in tourist destinations like Southwest Florida. While apps like Uber and Lyft allow speedy access to transportation without the hassle of contacting a traditional cab service, some areas of the law have still not caught up. Consumers and rideshare drivers alike are largely unaware of the specifics regarding liability for rideshare car accidents. As the speed of adoption and the number of food delivery and rideshare cars on the road grows, it becomes increasingly important to know what rights you have when involved in an accident.
Insurance and Personal Injury in Florida
Florida requires Personal Injury Protection (PIP) and Property Damage Liability (PDL) before registering a vehicle, and the minimum for each is $10,000 of coverage. PIP pays for your medical bills, no matter who caused the accident, up to $10,000. For non-serious car accidents with minor injuries, you are unlikely to have any contact with the other driver’s insurance company. If you are a passenger in a rideshare service, your driver’s insurance will cover you under their PIP coverage up to, again, only $10,000.
Just because Florida requires PIP coverage and drivers make claims with their own insurance company first doesn’t preclude someone from suing a negligent party for a more ‘serious injury.’ A serious injury is defined by Florida law as an injury that:
- Causes a permanent and significant loss of a bodily function
- Results in death
- Leads to a permanent injury
- Causes significant or permanent scarring or disfigurement
Accidents that cause death are classified as a ‘wrongful death‘ personal injury, and the personal representative of the deceased can file a claim. In most accidents, a permanent injury can occur, so it is important to consider a personal injury claim or lawsuit whenever this occurs.
Lyft, Uber, and Liability
Bodily injury (BI) coverage protects the company and driver when passengers inside their vehicle are injured.
However, Uber and Lyft are not mandated to have a certain amount of bodily injury coverage, and the drivers of these apps are contractors, not employees. How can you know if you are protected during a rideshare accident, and who can be held liable?
If you suffer from a serious injury during a rideshare accident, you will likely have to pursue legal action against the negligent driver, the rideshare company, and both of their insurance companies in order to receive compensation. The big rideshare companies are tangentially involved in these accidents and thus provide some sort of insurance protection for their drivers. These protections are applicable when drivers are using the app and generally take precedence over their insurance policy. However, an accident with a rideshare driver not currently engaged in business, aka using their app, is the same as any other accident. The rideshare company, at that point, is not involved whatsoever, even if the driver sometimes does engage in ridesharing with the company or is taking a break between jobs.
To recap, Uber and Lyft offer protection to their drivers that can make you whole following a serious injury. Florida residents can also sue a negligent driver in civil court, no matter if they were a passenger in a rideshare or driving their own vehicle.
A personal injury attorney can help guide you through the complex process of establishing liability and filing a claim in the case of an accident. They can also research all available lines of insurance so that you recover the fullest compensation you deserve. To learn more and discuss the merits of your case, call Hale Law today for a free consultation.