There are so many exciting things to see and do in Florida. Fortunately, we have many rideshare companies to help us get where we want to go. But what happens if the Uber or Lyft driver gets in an accident?
Filing may recover compensation for the pain, suffering, and monetary loss of a rideshare wreck, but it isn’t easy. Insurers and rideshare companies are in no hurry to push these claims through, and they leave you waiting. An experienced rideshare accident lawyer will cut through the red tape while you get back to enjoying life.
Who’s Liable for an Uber Accident?
It’s easy to assume that the driver of your Uber car works for Uber, but they don’t.
Drivers using these services connect with riders through the company’s app, and riders make payments through their app.
Uber and Lyft take a portion of the fare and pass the remainder to the drivers, but the drivers are not employees of these companies. They are independent contractors, so direct responsibility for accidents usually does not fall on Uber or Lyft. Instead, the driver and their insurance policy typically cover injuries and vehicle damage in car accidents involving these ridesharing services.
As a result, Florida’s vicarious liability laws typically do not subject Uber or Lyft to lawsuits involving their drivers.
This does not imply that you cannot seek compensation for accidents involving Uber or Lyft.
Every driver, including a rideshare driver, must operate their vehicles with appropriate caution. This standard of care is what a reasonably prudent driver would do under similar circumstances. If drivers fail to meet this duty and cause an accident, they must pay for any damages, including financial losses, pain, and suffering from the accident.
To ascertain which party’s negligence led to the accident, your rideshare accident lawyer and the offending driver’s insurance companies conduct independent investigations, then they negotiate the value of each victim’s personal injury claim.
In some instances, liability is obvious, such as when an accident in Florida involves a rear-end collision. However, in other situations, insurance companies might dispute liability and refuse to admit their driver’s fault. In these scenarios, an Apex Uber accident lawyer may need to file a lawsuit to establish liability and secure compensation for damages.
Uber, Lyft, and Ridesharing Insurance Policies
While rideshare drivers must purchase insurance, the rideshare companies must as well. Uber and Lyft maintain substantial insurance policies, offering up to $1 million in third-party liability coverage under specific circumstances.
The caveat is that the insurance policies of Uber and Lyft often undergo updates every few months, making it almost impossible for the injured party to file a successful claim alone.
The applicability of these policies hinges on the rideshare driver’s activity at the time of the accident.
Here’s a breakdown of the scenarios:
- If the driver isn’t actively using the ridesharing app and isn’t operating as a driver, their personal insurance is the sole available coverage.
- When the driver has the app active and is in the waiting phase to connect with a passenger, both companies generally provide coverage of $50,000 for injury per person, $100,000 per accident, and $25,000 for property damage if the driver’s insurance doesn’t respond. However, these figures fluctuate as Uber and Lyft modify their insurance agreements.
- While the driver is on the way to pick up a passenger or during the ride, Uber and Lyft offer $1 million in primary third-party liability coverage.
Accident victims must know that insurance companies aim to maximize their profits by minimizing payouts on claims. So, even though a $1 million coverage threshold may seem reassuring, it doesn’t guarantee that Uber and Lyft’s insurance providers readily compensate victims.
Insurance companies employ various strategies to settle cases for the least amount possible. Therefore, seek legal representation to safeguard your rights and navigate your claim effectively.
When Must Uber or Lyft Drivers Use Their Personal Insurance Coverage?
When might Uber or Lyft drivers need to rely on their personal insurance policies? In certain situations, the driver’s individual auto insurance coverage may come into play to address the accident-related expenses.
These circumstances include:
- The driver is not logged into their ridesharing app and has no passengers in the vehicle.
- The other party in the accident lacks adequate coverage to address all the incurred damages, including medical expenses.
- The Uber or Lyft driver’s personal auto insurance offers higher coverage limits than the ridesharing service’s policy.
Irrespective of liability in a ridesharing accident, immediately contact law enforcement and find a skilled car accident lawyer to ensure the defense of your rights and the quest for compensation for any damage resulting from the accident.
How to Sue Uber or Lyft After an Accident
Immediately after an accident:
Contact Law Enforcement
Following an Uber wreck, reach out to law enforcement authorities and report the incident. This will initiate an investigation.
Report Your Driver Through the Uber/Lyft App
Reports submitted through the app remain anonymous. Report the driver to prevent them from offering rides to other passengers.
Document Correspondence, Credit Card Charges, and Driver Details
Keep records of all messages, credit card charges, and driver information to substantiate your claim. This documentation can facilitate the legal process.
Send Uber a Straightforward Demand Letter
Let your lawyer do this for you. They will include your name, outline the problem, and state your desired compensation.
Your lawyer will send it via U.S. Certified Mail. Send the letter to:
Uber USA, LLC
The Corporation Trust Company
Corporation Trust Center 1209 Orange St
Wilmington, DE 19801
185 Berry Street, Suite 5000
San Francisco, CA 94107 USA
Fill Out Civil Claim Court Forms
Each state has different forms, and your rideshare accident lawyer will know what you need to file and properly fill it out for you.
File Your Complaint With the Court
Make three copies. The court stamps all three copies and retains the original.
Your lawyer will serve one of the stamped copies to the rideshare company. Someone over the age of 18 must complete the service of process and will alert Uber or Lyft about your choice to engage in a hearing.
If the parties involved don’t reach an arrangement, the case may go to trial, but claims against Uber/Lyft typically end in a settlement. A qualified lawyer with experience in Uber accidents will make the process easier and faster.
Attend the Hearing
The judge and/or jury will decide if you win the case. If you win, you may recover financial compensation.
Hiring a Florida attorney to go through this process with you reduces the confusion and speeds up the legal process.
Uber and Lyft Extended Services Beyond Passenger Transportation
In addition to their primary passenger transport offerings, both Uber and Lyft provide delivery services. Uber operates a food delivery service where drivers pick up and transport food orders to customers. While the driver’s personal policies come into play when the driver inactivates the app, Uber’s insurance policy applies during all other active periods.
Lyft offers delivery services encompassing food, retail products, and prescriptions. Coverage is available for accidents during delivery or while the driver awaits a delivery request. Passengers are not present in the vehicle during these times, which can simplify some of the associated legal considerations.
Uber and Lyft distance themselves from their drivers and shield the company from allegations of direct liability for an accident. Regardless, Uber or Lyft generally make suing them unnecessary because the company’s and driver’s insurance policies should cover most injuries.
What Kind of Damages Can I Recover From an Uber Accident in Florida?
Possible recoverable damages for a rideshare accident resemble those in a regular accident and can encompass:
- Emotional distress
- Physical disability
- Pain and emotional suffering
- Medical bills, including hospitalization, disability, rehabilitation, etc.
- Lost earnings, encompassing both wages and salary
- Property damage
- Future income loss
- Permanently reduced earning capacity
- Compensation for wrongful death, benefiting surviving family members
- Punitive damages for particularly egregious misconduct, especially if the company attempted to conceal its involvement in the accident, which may involve issues like negligent hiring practices.
Is Opting Out of Legal Representation a Cost-Effective Choice?
Resolving your cases directly with Uber or Lyft can result in significant financial losses, particularly with severe injuries or fatalities.
While it may seem like a cost-saving measure at first glance, settling your case independently with Uber or Lyft can potentially result in financial disaster.
The Cost of Going Solo
Opting for a DIY approach to handling your rideshare accident claim may cost you thousands of dollars. One of the most significant drawbacks is that you will likely receive far less compensation without a skilled attorney’s expertise. Insurance companies, including those representing rideshare giants like Uber and Lyft, are invested in minimizing their payouts.
Without a legal advocate, adjusters may quickly argue that you don’t require immediate or future medical care and don’t qualify for the benefits you deserve.
The Importance of Legal Representation
Enlisting the services of an experienced rideshare accident lawyer in Florida can significantly enhance your chances of securing a fair and substantial settlement.
A rideshare accident lawyer advocates for accident victims and navigates the intricate legal terrain surrounding rideshare accidents. They have the knowledge and experience to counter the tactics employed by insurance companies to downplay your injuries and reduce payouts.
Uber and Lyft Are Tough Nuts to Crack
Uber and Lyft, despite their extensive insurance policies, often employ a range of tactics to minimize their liability. They protect their bottom lines, which can leave accident victims grappling with a complex and adversarial claims process.
Choosing to represent yourself in a rideshare accident case in Florida may initially seem like a cost-saving strategy, but it typically leads to financial losses. Increase your shot of receiving a fair and substantial settlement by consulting with a personal injury lawyer.
With their expertise and knowledge of the Florida legal system, they can help you maneuver the confusing claims process and ensure that your rights are protected.
Don’t let Uber and Lyft’s sophisticated legal teams intimidate you; seek the legal support you need today.