Ridesharing and Auto Accidents
Ridesharing services, like Uber and Lyft, are legal in both Broward and Palm Beach Counties. Residents and tourists use ridesharing services as an affordable and easy alternative to driving themselves. With Apple’s recent $1 billion investment in ridesharing, it’s clear that these services are here to stay.
However, accidents involving ridesharing cars can be complicated. If you are injured while riding in an Uber or Lyft car, you have legal rights. But, ridesharing is a relatively new industry. There is a lot of confusion about how Uber and Lyft will handle Florida car accidents.
(This is a developing area of the law, andLeifer & Ramirez will update this information as needed.)
How is Ridesharing Different from a Taxi Service?
The taxi industry has fought hard to keep ridesharing companies out of Broward and Palm Beach Counties. Cab companies argue that unregulated ride sharing services are unsafe.
While their services may seem identical to consumers, there are some differences between cabs and rideshares.
Taxi companies hire employees and own their vehicles. A licensed taxicab must be fully insured. If you are injured in a licensed taxi, the cab company’s insurance should cover your injuries. Additionally, licensed cab drivers undergo extensive background checks.
When you request a ride on Uber or Lyft, an independent contractor will pick you up. While rideshare drivers undergo background checks, it is unclear how thorough these checks are.
The driver, not the company, owns ridesharing vehicles. The independent driver is responsible for carrying insurance on the vehicle.
Unfortunately, the independent driver’s personal insurance will often deny coverage for a passenger’s injuries. (Under most personal insurance policies, paid passengers are not covered.)
What Happens if I’m Injured While Riding in an Uber Car?
Florida requires no-fault (or PIP) coverage for all motor vehicles. If you are injured in a rideshare and have your own Florida no-fault policy, it should cover your wage loss and medical benefits.
Your insurance company should pay 60% of your lost wages and 80% of your medical costs (up to $10,000). Deductibles may apply, depending on your insurance policy. For more information, see our article on PIP benefits.
However, if you do NOT have Florida no-fault coverage, things become more complicated. Both Uber and Lyft require their drivers to carry personal no-fault insurance.
(It also appears that Lyft may carry its own PIP coverage for uninsured passengers.) However, insurance companies often deny no-fault benefits if the vehicle is being driven for profit.
It is possible that uninsured rideshare passengers will be unable to receive Florida no-fault benefits. Hopefully, uninsured passengers have health insurance to help offset their medical expenses.
Also Read: 7 Facts About Personal Injury Protection Insurance in Florida
Can I Sue Uber for my Injuries?
Both Uber and Lyft carry liability insurance for their drivers. If a rideshare driver caused your serious injuries, you may sue both the driver and the rideshare company for negligence.
Read Must: Uber Florida Certificate of Liability Insurance
All rideshare drivers carry personal car insurance. You you should file a liability claim with the driver’s commercial insurer.
A claim should also be filed with Uber or Lyft’s liability insurer. Both Uber and Lyft carry significant liability coverage.
But, the liability insurance limits vary depending on whether the independent driver had a paid fare or was between trips. A skilled lawyer can assess your claim and determine which policy limits apply in your case.
What if Another Driver is at Fault for the Accident?
Your rideshare driver may not have caused the accident. If another negligent driver caused your serious injuries, you may be able to sue this driver. In this case, your liability claim is handled like any other negligence lawsuit.
Unfortunately, almost 24% of Florida drivers are uninsured. If the negligent driver was uninsured (or underinsured), you may be unable to receive compensation for your injuries. Leifer & Ramirez encourages all Florida drivers to get Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (UM) coverage.
If you are covered by UM insurance, you can file claims against both the negligent driver and your insurance company. The UM insurance company should pay for damages that exceed the negligent driver’s coverage.
UM claims are very complicated. If an uninsured motorist caused your injuries, you should consult with a lawyer immediately. A skilled attorney can help you with the claims process.
Do I Need to Hire a Boca Raton Auto Accident Attorney?
Car accidents involving a rideshare are very complex. You may have multiple claims against multiple different insurance companies.
Most people cannot handle these claims alone and hire an experienced lawyer to help them. (Read our article on the benefits of legal representation for more information.)
Call today to speak to a Boca Raton auto accident attorney about your case. We can help guide you through the claims process and will work to maximize your compensation.
Our experienced team of car accident attorneys is waiting to help you make smart decisions in your car accident case.