How Florida Law Protects Victims Of Ridesharing Accidents
Online ridesharing services like Uber & Lyft offer customers with a convenient way of catching a ride home or to run errands. But what happens if you are injured in an accident while riding with these services? Can you sue the ridesharing company? Or is the driver legally responsible for any damages?
Anytime someone is operating a motor vehicle on Florida roads, they need to be insured. This means anyone working as an Uber or Lyft driver must purchase a minimum amount of coverage for their own vehicle. However, these minimums are not that high. Florida only requires drivers to carry $10,000 in personal injury protection (PIP) and $10,000 in coverage for any property damage.
Now, these minimums only apply when the driver is “off duty,” i.e., they do not have their Uber or Lyft app active. Once the driver activates their app–i.e., they are prepared to accept passengers–then the “transportation network company” (TNC)–e.g., Uber or Lyft–need to provide insurance for the driver. And this insurance carries higher minimum coverage requirements.
But the amount of required coverage depends on the driver’s status. If the driver has activated their app but not yet been assigned a passenger, the TNC is only required to provide a minimum of $50,000 in bodily injury coverage per person (or $100,000 per accident), and $25,000 in property damage. Once a passenger has been assigned, however, the TNC must provide at least $1 million in bodily injury and property damage coverage.
What Steps Should You Take Right After an Uber or Lyft Accident?
If you are involved in an accident while riding with Uber or Lyft, you need to be aware of Florida’s comparative fault rule in personal injury cases. Basically, this means the driver could try and shift some of the blame to you for your injuries. For instance, if you were not wearing a seat belt when an accident occurred–assuming the vehicle had them–that could mitigate your damages.
Also note that generally speaking, you cannot sue a ridesharing company like Uber or Lyft directly for an accident. Drivers are usually classified as “independent contractors” and not “employees” of these companies. So even if a TNC’s insurance coverage will pay for your damages, you still need to sue the driver (or their own insurance company) directly.
Contact the Accident Attorneys at Lyons & Snyder Today
As with any auto accident, if you are injured in a crash involving an Uber or Lyft driver, you should seek immediate medical attention if necessary. It is also advisable to contact the police, as they can prepare an official accident report. You should also take down the name, address, and insurance information for all drivers involved in the accident.
And if you have sustained serious injuries, you should contact an experienced Plantation Uber & Lyft accident lawyer as soon as possible. Call the trial attorneys at Lyons & Snyder today to schedule a free consultation with a member of our personal injury team.