As ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft rise in popularity, so do the number of car accidents. Research suggests that the introduction of these services in the last decade has contributed to a 2-3% increase in accident rates in the US.
Were you injured in an Uber accident? You may be entitled to compensation if:
- You were a passenger when your Uber/Lyft driver caused an accident
- You were a passenger in an Uber/Lyft when a third-party caused an accident
- An Uber/Lyft driver hit you while you were in another vehicle, walking, or cycling
- Your property was damaged by an Uber/Lyft driver
Ridesharing accidents are very different from regular car accidents. Because these services are still so new, the legislation and insurance protocol surrounding Uber and Lyft accidents is still somewhat murky. The experienced Uber accident attorneys at KFB Law in Tampa, FL, can help you navigate the unique legal complexities involved.
Hurt while riding in an Uber or Lyft?
In the event of an accident involving a ridesharing service like Uber or Lyft, you are entitled to compensation for:
- Past and future physical/emotional pain and suffering
- Past and future medical, hospital, rehabilitation, disability, and other healthcare-related expenses
- Lost wages
- Loss of future income due to any long-term disability
- Punitive damages
- Wrongful death when the lawsuit is brought by the family of the loved one who died
Calculating these damages on your own, especially when you are recovering from a traumatic accident, is no easy feat. Our Uber accident attorneys in Tampa, Florida, will help you figure out the true value of your claim. In many cases, we are able to help clients recover significantly more than the insurance company initially offers.
Are ridesharing drivers required to have insurance?
Rideshare insurance requirements vary by state. In Florida, rideshare drivers must carry at least:
- $10,000 of personal injury protection (PIP) coverage
- $10,000 of property damage liability coverage
When the driver is logged into a ridesharing app and is driving for money, Florida law mandates that the TNC (Transportation Network Company, such as Uber or Lyft) must provide coverage of $50,000 per person for bodily injuries ($100,000 per accident) and $25,000 of property damage liability coverage per accident when the ridesharing app is on, but the driver has not picked up a passenger.
The law also requires $1 million of coverage per accident for bodily injury and property damage when a driver is en route to pick up riders and during trips.
Can I sue Uber/Lyft?
Like buses and taxis, Uber and Lyft drivers are held to a higher standard of safety than regular drivers. This means they should be held responsible for any harm that comes to their passengers.
However, according to Uber and Lyft, their drivers are not employees, but rather, independent contractors. While a company is legally responsible for the negligence of its employees, it is not necessarily responsible for the actions of independent contractors.
For this reason, most general car accidents result in a lawsuit against the at-fault driver, not the ridesharing company itself. Fortunately, the ridesharing company’s commercial liability policy will kick in if the at-fault driver’s personal policy is not enough to cover the damages. Our Uber accident attorneys in Tampa will help you pursue your claim so that you can receive the maximum compensation you are entitled to you.
What to do if you are in an Uber accident
First and foremost, you should protect yourself as you would in any other accident. If you are seriously injured, seek medical attention right away.
If you are able to, use your cell phone to take pictures of the cars at the scene of the accident. Be sure to take photos of the driver’s license plate and insurance information, and get contact information from any witnesses present.
Florida law requires drivers to call the police from the accident scene only in cases involving death, injury, or serious property damage. However, it’s recommended that you call the police in any accident involving a rideshare driver so that they can investigate the accident and provide an official report to back up your claim.
Whether or not you will be able to file a claim against the ridesharing company’s insurance depends on when and how the accident occurs, so we’ve outlined some of the most common scenarios below. Just keep in mind that determining liability in these situations is not always black and white, and every accident is different – talk with your personal injury lawyer before deciding how to proceed.
Scenario #1: Your Uber or Lyft driver causes an accident while you are a passenger.
When your driver is clearly at fault – for example, they got into an accident because they were looking at their phone to line up their next job – the ridesharing service’s commercial insurance policy comes into play.
Uber and Lyft have very similar policies for their drivers and offer up to $1 million of coverage per accident. But again, this coverage only kicks in after the driver’s individual insurance, if any, has been exhausted.
If the driver is not insured or underinsured (they do not have enough insurance coverage to properly compensate you for your injuries) you can make a direct claim against Uber or Lyft’s UM/UIM coverage, which is also up to $1 million.
Scenario #2: Your vehicle is hit by an Uber or Lyft driver.
You’ve just been rear-ended, and you notice an Uber sticker in the front window of the at-fault driver’s car – now what?
Your options depend on whether or not the driver was “on the clock” (driving a passenger or on their way to pick up a passenger). If they were working at the time of the accident, you will be able to recover compensation through the ridesharing company’s commercial liability insurance.
If the Uber or Lyft driver was not on duty when they caused the accident, then you will have to make a claim against the driver’s individual policy. Unfortunately, this is not always adequate to cover the damages caused. If the driver was logged into the Uber or Lyft app but not en route to pick up or drop off a passenger, you may be able to supplement their individual policy with a limited amount of the ridesharing company’s commercial coverage ($50,000 per person, up to two people).
Scenario #3: You are a passenger in an Uber or Lyft when a third-party driver causes an accident.
If a third-party is at fault, then that driver’s insurance will be used to cover the damages. But if their insurance is not sufficient enough to cover your losses, then the ridesharing company’s $1 million liability policy will cover the rest. When you are the passenger in an Uber or Lyft, it doesn’t matter who was at fault – the ridesharing company is ultimately responsible for your compensation.
Scenario #4: Your property was damaged by an Uber or Lyft driver.
The most that Uber or Lyft will pay for vehicle or property damage is $25,000. This only applies if the damage is done while the driver is logged into the ridesharing app.
Contact an Experienced Uber Accident Attorney in Tampa, FL
While Uber accidents are quite different from regular car accidents, one thing is always the same – the insurance company’s goal is to pay out as little as possible.
The personal injury attorneys at Kinney, Fernandez & Boire have more than 50 combined years of experience helping clients get their lives back on track after an accident. Our knowledgeable and compassionate team is ready to assist you with your Uber or Lyft accident case – contact us online or call us at 813-543-6838 to request your free consultation today.
Disclaimer: While we always strive for accuracy, this publication is not intended to provide legal advice as individual cases will differ and should be discussed with an attorney.
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