Ridesharing apps have become a very convenient way for people to get around town. Using an app on your smartphone, you can summon a ride from one of the ridesharing companies such as Uber or Lyft. Florida residents use these services a lot to get rides home when they have had too much to drink, and they are also widely used for a number of other purposes; such as getting a ride home from the hospital after a medical procedure, having a way to get around when your car is in the shop, or just commuting to and from work.
Using a ridesharing service such as Uber or Lyft is certainly very convenient and relatively affordable, but there are also some risks involved with traveling this way that people do not always consider. One thing people often express concern about is that Lyft and Uber drivers do not go through a very thorough vetting process when they are hired compared to taxi drivers and other types of independent contractors or employees.
A person can become a driver for one of these services without ever meeting anyone from the company, and although these companies do perform background checks, not knowing their drivers personally is a risky practice that would make some riders a little uneasy about using a service like this.
Liability for Ridesharing Accidents in Florida
In 2017, Florida passed a law that requires rideshare drivers to carry a minimum of $1 million in liability coverage for injury, death, and property damage in addition to the minimum personal injury protection (PIP) coverage that is already required. The ridesharing companies have their own insurance as well, but it only kicks in during certain situations:
- Driving App Off: When an Uber or Lyft driver gets into an accident and they do not have their app turned on, the ridesharing companies do not extend any coverage. In this type of case, it is presumed that the driver is off duty, even if they have a sign in their window. When a ridesharing driver causes an accident in a situation like this, an injured person would look to the driver’s personal insurance policy for compensation.
- Driving App on with no Passenger: If the driver has their app turned on and is either waiting for instructions to pick up a passenger or is on their way to pick up a passenger, they are considered to be in “driving mode”. When this is the case, Uber and Lyft provide liability coverage of $50,000 per person and $100,000 per accident, as well as $25,000 in property damage.
- Driving App on With a Passenger: When a ridesharing driver has a passenger in the car, Uber and Lyft provide up to $1 million in coverage for the accident.
What to Do if you are Involved in a Ridesharing Accident
Whether you are a Lyft or Uber driver, passenger, another driver, bicyclist, or pedestrian, if you get into a ridesharing accident, there are some important things you should do right away:
- Call 911 for medical attention if anyone is hurt. The 911 operator will usually also summon the police to the accident scene.
- Exchange information with others involved; specifically, you should get their names, driver’s license numbers, insurance information, and information about the ridesharing company.
- Take multiple photos of the accident scene showing different angles to help establish how the accident occurred.
- Obtain statements and contact information from any eyewitnesses that may have seen what happened.
- Be polite and courteous with those you interact with but did NOT admit any fault for the accident.
- Contact an experienced auto accident lawyer at your earliest convenience.
Injured in a Ridesharing Accident in Pensacola? Whibbs, Stone, & Barnett is Here to Help
Uber and Lyft accidents can be extremely complicated, and it can be difficult to determine who to go after in order to obtain compensation for your injuries. Also keep in mind that insurance companies are no easier to deal with in these types of cases, and they will look for any way they can to minimize the amount of damages they have to pay.
At Whibbs, Stone, & Barnett, we have several decades of experience successfully representing clients who have been injured in motor vehicle accidents in Florida. If you or someone close to you has been injured in a ridesharing accident, message us online or call our office today at 1-888-219-4561 to schedule a free consultation and case assessment. We look forward to serving you!