Driving services like Uber and Lyft have become one of the most convenient ways for people to get from one place to another, all through the use of an easy-to-use phone application.
Despite their wide use, however, drivers and passengers of popular ridesharing services often admit that these services are not perfect. One of the risks that comes with taking an Uber or Lyft—or driving a rideshare vehicle—is getting into an accident.
Knowing your rights when involved in a ridesharing accident can empower you to seek strong legal representation for an accident-related injury and begin the process of securing fair compensation.
Through a free case consultation with Florin|Roebig, our attorneys can help you determine your rideshare company’s accident liability and fight for the compensation you deserve based on the nature of your case.
If you are in a ride-sharing accident and suffer an injury, or experience assault at the hands of a ride-share driver or passenger, call today to get a free case evaluation.
What Is Ridesharing?
Ridesharing refers to a transportation service that can be accessed through a phone application for convenient transport from one location to another.
Ridesharing services have become popular in the past decade as part of the technological boom focused on creating convenient services through the use of devices, like smartphones.
Although several ridesharing companies have emerged in recent years nationally and across the globe, the two most common ridesharing services in the U.S. are Uber and Lyft.
Typical requirements for accessing ridesharing services include:
a smartphone or other personal device
method of payment (e.g. credit card, Paypal)
installed ridesharing app
Uber is the leading ridesharing service across the globe, available in over 60 countries. Founded in 2009 under the name “UberCab”, Uber has rapidly expanded from its roots in California as a widely used transportation service, initially developed to serve as a cheaper and more convenient alternative to getting a taxi.
In order to use Uber, passengers have to download the Uber app on their phone, enter their personal information (i.e. name, phone number, payment information), and request a ride.
Since its initial rollout, Uber has developed several services for specialized use. The most popular Uber service is UberX, which offers private rides capable of holding about one to four people per ride request.
Additional Uber services, which utilize varying vehicle sizes and styles, include:
Trailing somewhat behind in popularity, Lyft is another widely used ridesharing service that emerged as an Uber competitor in 2012. With its headquarters in San Francisco, Lyft currently operates in over 600 cities across the U.S. and Puerto Rico and in nine cities in Canada.
Lyft services generally mirror the Uber business model in that they also offer convenient transportation services that can be accessed through a smartphone app. Some of the primary differences between the two companies’ services include differences in cost, local availability, and the types of services offered.
Lyft’s primary services include:
- car rides
- food delivery services
- scooter rental
Ridesharing Vs. Taxis: What’s The Difference?
Ridesharing services were created with the goal of offering a lower-cost, more convenient alternative to traditional taxi services. Although both primarily serve as a transportation service, one of the main differences between the two is how they are accessed.
Ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft are typically requested and paid for through an application, unlike the traditional taxi that has a payment system installed within the vehicle.
Another important distinction is how the companies and their drivers, are classified. For instance, unlike taxi drivers, drivers for services like Uber and Lyft are brought on as independent contractors.
This means they are not considered official employees of the ridesharing company. This classification allows rideshare companies to withhold certain protections given to drivers who are formally employed by a taxi service.
Because Uber and Lyft drivers use their personal vehicles for transporting passengers, ridesharing companies can also classify their companies differently. Unlike designated taxi cars, the car that picks you up when you order a Lyft or Uber ride is not considered a commercial vehicle.
These differences have important implications for rideshare regulation, as well as legal concerns such as related accidents, injuries, and cases of assault.
Are Uber And Lyft Drivers Certified Or Trained?
Uber and Lyft drivers are typically provided some form of training before being permitted to pick up passengers. There is no certification requirement to become an Uber or Lyft driver, although all drivers are subject to a background check during the onboarding process.
The amount of training provided for rideshare drivers is meager, according to current and former contractors, and leaves much to be desired in considering how to best protect the safety of passengers and drivers.
For Uber drivers, training might consist of as little as a short training video sharing general company rules, regulations, and procedures within the span of a few minutes. Additional training materials and courses are available to new drivers at their own cost.
Lyft, on the other hand, has been publicly called out for offering only “mentorship” for new drivers, in lieu of actual training.
In response to multiple company lawsuits and public outcry, Uber and Lyft have in the past year started rolling out new educational materials, including training that focuses on identifying human trafficking victims and sexual violence prevention for drivers.
What To Do After Getting Into A Rideshare Accident
Getting into an accident with a ridesharing vehicle, either as a driver or passenger, can be a frightening and confusing experience. Here are the most important steps to take if you are involved in a rideshare accident:
1. Seek immediate medical care for anyone involved
The number one priority in the event of an accident is to attend to any resulting injuries and check the health and safety of others involved, including your passenger(s).
In the event of injury, it’s important to call for immediate medical assistance as soon as possible. Prolonging seeking medical care may worsen the injury’s condition and lead to more serious consequences down the road.
Medical professionals who arrive onscene can then properly assess injuries among those involved in the accident and provide official documentation on the nature of each individual’s injuries.
2. Take down any details of the incident and contact police
Once you have sought medical care for yourself or your passenger, you’ll want to take note of as many details concerning the accident as you can. This may include taking photos, jotting down notes on your phone, and trying to recall as many details as you can from the moments leading up to the accident.
Details you may wish to record include:
- personal injuries
- injuries of a passenger
- physical car damage
- photos of the accident scene
- screenshot of the rider status on your Uber/Lyft app
- damages to other drivers, pedestrians, or property
- testimony from other witnesses/involved persons on the scene
- personal and insurance information of other drivers or pedestrians involved
Rideshare drivers who are involved in a car accident should also notify their rideshare company and contact the police in order to report the accident and seek officer assistance.
Contacting the police is important because officers who arrive onscene can write up their own official documentation regarding details of the incident and provide it as proof in a legal setting, as necessary.
3. Contact a rideshare accident attorney to discuss details
The next step is to call an attorney who can help you determine and understand your coverage rights in the event of accident-related personal injury.
At Florin|Roebig, our team of attorneys have the experience necessary to help you navigate complex legal situations and secure fair compensation for damages based on the details of your case. Our offices offer free initial case evaluations for those who wish to understand what type of legal action they can take following a rideshare accident.
4. File a rideshare accident claim, if you choose
Once you have consulted with a rideshare accident attorney, if your case is eligible, they will likely recommend filing a rideshare accident claim. However, the choice of whether to file a claim is entirely up to you.
Reasons why you might choose to file a claim:
- to secure compensation for damages not covered by your personal auto insurance or rideshare company policy
- getting greater compensation for an accident that occurred without a rideshare passenger in the car (i.e. waiting for a ride request)
- to secure compensation for uncovered medical expenses, lost wages, or mental anguish as a result of the accident
Our attorneys would be happy to explain this process in greater detail once you contact our office, should you have any additional questions.
What To Know If You’re The Driver In A Rideshare Accident
Although some people who seek legal representation for ridesharing-related accidents are those who have suffered an accident as a passenger, drivers of Uber and Lyft are just as likely ( if not more) to also require legal assistance for accident-related damages.
Both Lyft and Uber carry $1 million of liability insurance for their drivers, as long as the drivers are:
- transporting a rideshare passenger at the time of the accident
- logged into the app and waiting for a ride request
- on their way to pick up a passenger
Beyond these situations, determining personal injury liability in a ridesharing accident can become complicated, with some primary determining factors being the type of accident and ride status.
Drivers who contract with Uber and Lyft are required to have insurance under the company’s insurance plans. However, the amount of coverage offered for rideshare drivers who get into an accident is not going to be the same in every scenario.
Types Of Rideshare (Uber/Lyft) Accidents
Issues of liability and eligibility for insurance coverage in a rideshare accident can depend on the nature of the accident as well as what stage of the process the driver was in as the accident occurred, otherwise known as the ride status.
Uber/Lyft Accidents While Logged Into The App With A Passenger
Rideshare insurance coverage is provided for both the driver and passengers as soon as the driver has accepted a ride request via the Uber or Lyft app. This coverage continues to apply for both parties until the passenger(s) has fully left the vehicle.
Both ridesharing companies offer similar plans for insurance coverage in the event of an accident either during or en route to a ride request. These plans include up to $1 million uninsured or underinsured motor vehicle bodily injury coverage and $1 million third-party liability coverage for damages to passengers, another driver, pedestrians, or property.
When another driver is at fault, this covers all individuals who were present in the rideshare vehicle, including hit-and-run situations where the at-fault driver has left the scene without stopping to provide their information.
Insurance coverage through these rideshare services also offers car damage protection for drivers who maintain contingent collision and comprehensive coverage on their personal auto insurance. This provides physical damage protection up to the actual cash value of the car, with a required $1,000 deductible.
Uber/Lyft Accidents While Logged Into The App Without Passengers
For drivers who are logged into their rideshare app but haven’t yet picked up any passengers, drivers who are not at fault in an accident may be eligible for the following coverage through their rideshare insurance plan:
- $50,000 in bodily injury per person
- $100,000 in bodily injury per accident
- $25,000 for property damages
This coverage is offered as third-party liability for damages that are not covered by your personal auto insurance. In Lyft’s explanation of their rideshare insurance plan, this is referred to as contingent liability.
Uber/Lyft Accidents While Not Logged Into The Rideshare App
Drivers who are contracted with a rideshare company are only eligible for rideshare insurance coverage when they are logged into their account and/or actively transporting passengers. If drivers get into an accident on their own time, they can only seek coverage for damages through their personal auto insurance policy.
Uber/Lyft Accidents While Parked And Waiting For A Request
As long as Uber/Lyft drivers are logged into their app and accepting work, they have access to the same coverage as those who are logged in but without passengers.
Uber/Lyft Accidents While En Route For A Passenger
Rideshare drivers who get into an accident while en route to pick up a passenger are eligible for similar coverage to that offered during a ride request with a passenger(s) in the vehicle.
The primary difference between getting into an accident during a ride or before a ride is that drivers are only eligible for $1 million liability coverage while a paying passenger is in the vehicle.
If you get into an accident en route to pick up a passenger, your coverage includes:
- $50,000 for bodily injury per person
- $100,000 for bodily injury per accident
- $25,000 for property damages
Some coverage amounts may vary by location in order to comply with state laws and regulations.
Insurance Requirements For Rideshare Services
Every driver on the road is required to have personal auto insurance, but rideshare drivers are also often required to opt into company-provided insurance. This is what can provide coverage for accident-related injuries and other damages accrued while logged into the app or driving an Uber/Lyft passenger.
Although subject to regulatory processes that differ from other transportation services, in the years that rideshare services have gained greater popularity, questions surrounding issues of liability and insurance have garnered a significant amount of attention.
Rideshare Accident Laws
Under Florida law, rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft are required by a bill known as the “Uber/Lyft bill, or HB211, to provide a minimum amount of coverage for their drivers.
This Uber/Lyft bill was passed by Congress in 2017 and secures the coverage amounts and types detailed in the above sections for Florida drivers.
Questions To Ask A Rideshare Attorney
There are several important questions you should ask a rideshare attorney in order to better understand your legal options and your best course of action.
What are my rights following a rideshare accident?
If you are contracted as a driver with Uber or Lyft and have insurance through the company, any accident that occurs when you are logged into their application grants you eligibility for minimum levels of coverage.
If you feel that your rights to coverage have been violated, or are unsure of your rights, contact our office to schedule a free evaluation. This will allow us to give you more specific answers based on the details of your case.
Will I lose access to my Uber or Lyft services if I file a claim?
Many people who drive for ridesharing services like Uber or Lyft have concerns about taking any action they believe may jeopardize their position as a driver. It’s also very common for people to be unaware of their rights, which can stoke even greater frustration and confusion.
We know that understanding your rights in a legal situation can be tricky, especially when you are working as a contractor for a large and powerful company. However, understand that Uber and Lyft drivers who bring a valid personal injury claim cannot be penalized.
Your right to file a valid claim under the ridesharing company insurance policy is protected and can be further legitimized with proper paperwork and documentation from police and medical professionals.
How much is my case worth?
There is no average number for each rideshare accident case. The best way to find out how much your case is worth is to contact a rideshare attorney, like the seasoned attorneys at Florin|Roebig, so we can provide an informed number based on the details of your case.
How long do I have to file a rideshare accident claim?
An accident attorney is one of the first people you should ideally contact in the event of a rideshare accident, in addition to your rideshare company, the police, and 9-1-1 for medical assistance. In most legal cases, the sooner you contact an attorney to begin the claim filing process, the better. There may be a time limit (statute of limitations) for filing your claim.
What are your fees?
One of the biggest concerns individuals have when seeking legal representation is the cost. With personal injury cases, many lawyers receive a percentage of recovered damages as part of their compensation.
However, clients may also be responsible for an upfront cost, or additional case-related costs, in the event that they do not receive recovered damages. These costs can vary on a case-by-case basis. Call our office for more information on what these fees might be based on your personal injury case.
How To Find A Rideshare (Uber/Lyft) Attorney Near Me
Florin|Roebig houses an expansive team of successful personal injury attorneys across the country who possess the skills necessary to patiently discuss and explore the details of your rideshare accident case.
With locations in Florida, Texas, Minnesota, and Colorado, our attorneys can help you get the compensation you deserve based on the nature of your accident and any obstacles placed in your way by either your personal auto insurance or rideshare company policy.
Our firm has secured over $1 billion for clients nationwide. Don’t wait to find out what your case is worth. Call or contact us through our online form today to schedule a free consultation with one of our adept rideshare accident attorneys.