Being involved in a car wreck in Florida can be a terrifying experience, especially when you had no control over the situation. This is the case for many Uber and Lyft passengers who have gone through this traumatic situation in Florida. For Uber and Lyft accident victims, getting compensation for their injuries may not be easy. You might feel lost and overwhelmed not only by your accident but also by the complexities of Florida’s laws regarding this specific type of accident. Boca Raton Uber and Lyft accident attorneys Accident Attorneys Boca Raton invites you to keep reading as we discuss whether you can sue as a passenger in an Uber or Lyft Accident in Florida.
You may wonder whether there is something you can do to recover compensation after an Uber or Lyft accident in Florida. The good news is that you probably can, with one caveat: Florida is a “no-fault” coverage state. Typically, the compensation you can receive comes directly from your own personal insurance protection (PIP). Under the no-fault rule, a car accident victim in Florida can obtain coverage for their losses regardless of who was at fault for the accident. However, a PIP may only cover up to $10,000 in losses. This compensation may not be enough to handle all of your expenses.
Furthermore, you may not be able to take the liable parties to court and obtain compensation for things such as pain and suffering. Compensation for pain and suffering can only be attained by filing a personal injury lawsuit, which then begs the question of whether you can file a personal injury lawsuit against the liable parties for your Uber or Lyft accident in Florida.
While the general rule under Florida’s no-fault system prevents you from filing a personal injury lawsuit against the liable driver, you may still have the option to sue through an exception. In order to obtain compensation, or “damages,” from the responsible parties as a passenger in an Uber or Lyft accident, you need to meet Florida’s “serious injury” standard. To do so, the injuries sustained in your Uber or Lyft accident must have left you with a permanent injury, significant scarring, or a loss of bodily function to qualify for a personal injury claim.
A condition such as paralysis is one example of an injury that may qualify under Florida’s “serious injury” requirement. You may establish liability and seek compensation if you meet the requirements under this exception.
Both Uber and Lyft provide insurance coverage in the event of a car accident. These companies each have $1,000,000 in coverage for expenses related to a crash caused by their drivers, including your injuries. However, the insurance coverage provided by both rideshare companies only kicks in under specific circumstances. In other words, Uber and Lyft might provide coverage depending on three different circumstances.
First, the rideshare companies will determine whether the accident took place while the driver was in his vehicle with the app closed. Both Uber and Lyft have dedicated applications for their drivers. Each driver needs to be logged into their account in order to be covered under their company’s insurance policy. If a driver was involved in an accident while the app was closed, then the driver’s personal insurance will provide coverage for their accident.
Another scenario Uber and Lyft will consider when determining coverage is if the driver has the application open and is waiting on a potential passenger. It is possible the driver has their app open but has yet to accept a potential rider. This can change the dynamics of coverage provided by Uber and Lyft. Under these circumstances, if an Uber or Lyft driver has an accident, their company can offer a maximum of $50,000 per person, $100,000 per accident, and $25,000 for property damage.
The rideshare company’s full insurance is in effect from the moment a driver accepts a rider to the moment they drop their client at their destination. Uber and Lyft each have a $1,000,000 insurance policy covering those who were involved in a crash caused by their driver. This can include passengers as well as other people involved in the incident.
Every state limits the time an injured victim has to file their claim with the court. This legal time limit is known as the “statute of limitations.” Florida has a strict timeline for those who wish to file a lawsuit. According to Chapter 95 § 11 of Florida’s Statutes, personal injury victims have up to four years from the moment of their accident to file their claim.
Four years may seem like a long time to file a claim, and you may be tempted to leave your claim for later as you focus on recovering from your injuries. However, it is in your best interest to act swiftly. If you fail to file your claim in time, the court may refuse to take your case, and you may end up without a means to obtain compensation for things such as your pain and suffering. A skilled Uber and Lyft accident attorney can help you through the entire process.
Dealing with an Uber or Lyft personal injury claim in Florida can be overwhelming and complicated. Florida Uber and Lyft accident attorneys at Accident Attorneys Boca Raton understands how difficult your case may be and is ready to fight aggressively and tirelessly to get you the compensation you deserve following an Uber or Lyft accident in Florida. Thanks to our many years of experience handling personal injury cases, our team has developed the necessary skills to help you understand your case moving forward. Turn to our Boca Raton personal injury lawyers today for quality legal representation. To discuss your case in a free, confidential consultation, contact Accident Attorneys Boca Raton today.
One of the great transformations has been the proliferation of ridesharing across the United States. According to a Pew Research report, in 2014 only 15% of Americans had ever used a ridesharing company like Uber or Lyft. By 2018, that number had more than doubled, to 36%.
Even in New York City, the Mecca for cabs in this country, ridesharing is now king. As you can see from the chart below, in 2014, only 4.5 million rides were taken in a ridesharing vehicle in New York. By 2017, that number had risen to 159.9 million rides. The growth is not slowing down. In 2019 the NYC Taxi & Limousine Commission indicated approximately 20 million rideshares occurred in New York City. From 4.5 million rides to 200 million in 5 years – talk about explosive growth! If you were injured in a rideshare accident, you need to know who is liable for the crash. Boca Raton Uber + Lyft accident lawyers at Accident Attorneys Boca Raton are here to discuss who you should sue for a rideshare accident in Florida.
At the beginning of the ridesharing phenomenon, ridesharing was unregulated. Though customers never loved taking a taxi, at least a passenger in a cab could expect some assurances. One of those assurances was that the cab was covered under a motor vehicle insurance policy and some screening of drivers to at least try to weed out the bad from the good.
When ridesharing was in its infancy, Uber or Lyft did not ensure its drivers were insured nor was there an established method to screening potential drivers. As ridesharing comprised such a small number of rides taken overall, no one really paid much attention. As ridesharing grew in popularity, however, the city and state governments took notice and action. Governments enacted laws requiring all ridesharing services to screen their drivers and maintain an auto insurance policy with high policy limits, just like they do with cabs.
While the screening was easy to implement, the insurance requirements were not. The issue was that a ridesharing vehicle is not being used like a cab. A cab’s primary purpose is to deliver passengers for a fee. A ridesharing vehicle, on the other hand, while used commercial purposes, it is mostly used for the driver’s own daily needs. So if the government forced ridesharing drivers to maintain high policy limit insurance on their vehicle at all times, it would have deterred many rideshare drivers because the cost would have been too high. This, in turn, would have led to fewer drivers and less profits for ridesharing companies.
Eventually, a solution was crafted allowing insurance to fluctuate depending on the activity. Instead of maintaining a high policy limit insurance at all times, rideshare drivers can now have three different “modes” of insurance, which turn on or off, depending on what they are doing at a particular moment. There are three modes that respectively cover actively transporting a fare, in route, and neither.
So what does Florida require? Only Personal Injury Protection (PIP) and Property Damage (PD) coverage. PIP, also called No-Fault Insurance, pays 80% of your “reasonable” bills up until a $10,000.00 cap is reached. This policy of the driver’s policy may or may not cover your bills, based on the circumstances.
The PD policy requirement, on the other hand, allows the other driver to recover up to $10,000.00 in property damage caused by the rideshare driver’s negligence.
That is all the State of Florida requires. Florida does not require bodily injury insurance or uninsured motorist protection. So, if you are struck by a rideshare driver, and they are in Mode 3, there might not be any financial compensation from the driver’s insurance for your medical bills, injuries, lost wages and pain and suffering.
If all this seems a bit confusing here is a chart, direct from Lyft’s own website, further explaining how the insurance turns on and off.
Now that you understand what insurance may or may not be in play in a rideshare accident case, it is important for you to know who the responsible party is in your accident because often it is not the rideshare company. When a client who was injured in a ridesharing accident comes to our office, the most often asked question is “who are you going to go sue to compensate me for my injuries?” The short answer, when it comes to ridesharing, is the driver is the responsible party. Why is Uber/Lyft not responsible? Let me explain through an example.
Let’s say a moving company, ABC, sent its employee to move some furniture in a moving truck for a client. While employee was driving the truck, he caused a car accident. Who is responsible for this accident? First and foremost, the employee is personally responsible for the accident because a Florida driver is always responsible for their actions on the road.
The driver, however, is not the only one responsible. The moving company may also responsible under the legal theory of vicarious liability. Under Florida law, an employer is vicariously liable for an employee’s actions if the employee was acting to further the employer’s interest through the scope of the employee’s employment at the time of the incident. In this example, the employee was clearly furthering ABC’s interest, namely moving furniture for a customer, and that act was in the scope of the employee’s job at ABC.
With ridesharing, however, UBER and Lyft have structured their relationship with drivers in such a way as to avoid vicariously liability. All ridesharing companies perceive themselves (and so far, the courts have agreed) as only logistics companies supplying drivers with a software platform to locate fares. Drivers are not employees but instead classified as independent contractors. As vicarious liability only covers an employee’s actions, ridesharing companies are not held responsible for an independent contractor driver’s negligence.
That does not mean all hope is lost, far from it. As stated before, state governments including Florida, have imposed high insurance policy limits for all ridesharing drivers. So while you will be unable to recover from Uber or Lyft directly through vicarious liability, you should be able to recover against the driver for your damages.
If you were injured due to the negligence of a rideshare driver, we want to fight for you to get you the compensation you deserve. At Accident Attorneys Boca Raton, our Boca Raton Uber accident lawyers fight every day for the rights of those hurt by rideshare drivers. We are here to help and we take your injuries personally.