Many people across the sunshine state have begun using rideshare services such as Uber and Lyft for convenient travel from one place to another. Ridesharing is especially popular among younger generations, who may choose to call an Uber to avoid drinking and driving, as a preferable alternative to taking a bus or taxi service.
Although still unfamiliar to some, ridesharing services first emerged just over a decade ago and have since increased substantially in popularity. While many regard Uber and Lyft rides as a generally safe way to travel, there’s no escaping the reality that—regardless of how you’re traveling—accidents do happen.
Unlike typical car accidents, rideshare drivers are subject to different laws and regulations when it comes to determining personal liability in an accident.
If you’re a rideshare driver who’s suffered personal injury or property damage as a result of a motor vehicle accident, you may be entitled to compensation from your company.
Florin|Roebig can help you file a claim, understand Florida law regarding rideshare accidents, and pursue compensation for losses resulting from the accident.
Rideshare Services In Florida
Transit and transportation are major issues in a number of areas across the state of Florida, and research has shown that rideshare services such as Uber and Lyft have an increasingly relevant role to play.
Unlike traditional transportation services such as public buses and taxis, most rideshare services require the use of a digital application that can be accessed on a smartphone or laptop. To use these services, you must register as a user of the respective app, enter payment information, and then enter the location you wish to go.
As a state that doubles as a popular place to live and a major tourist attraction, Florida boasts a wide base of rideshare service users from both in- and out-of-state. The most popular ridesharing companies in the state are the California-based powerhouses, Uber and Lyft.
Uber And Lyft Services
Uber is currently the most widely used rideshare service in the United States, with Lyft trailing in second as the company’s top competitor. These services have a sizeable impact on Florida’s economy, with Uber alone making an estimated impact of $1.1 billion gross domestic product. Bigger cities in the state such as Miami, Orlando, Ft. Lauderdale, and Tampa are especially popular for these services.
Popular Uber services include:
- UberX (the most popular): Traditional ride type in an average-size vehicle
- UberBLACK: Stylish ride services in black-on-black luxury sedans
- UberSUV: Uber service in a black SUV for larger groups
- UberSELECT: Ride services in high-end vehicles for the UberX experience with “a touch of luxury”
- UberXL: Ride service in large vans or SUVs for up to six riders, or extra luggage space for those traveling
Popular Lyft services include:
- Lyft RideShare: Traditional ride services within a standard motor vehicle
- Lyft Bicycles: Bike-sharing services through Lyft, accessible through their app in select locations
- Food Delivery: Lyft food pickup and delivery to your residence (or other chosen location)
- Lyft Scooters: Even newer than the bike-sharing services, users may also rent motorized scooters for convenient transport, depending on availability, in select locations
Difference Between Rideshare Services And Taxis
Rideshare services may appear to be very similar to traditional taxi services, but there are actually some very important ways in which they differ.
How are taxis different from Uber or Lyft rides?
The most notable differences between taxis and rideshare services include:
- employment and vehicle classifications
- auto insurance requirements
- how each service is accessed
Uber and Lyft drivers are classified as self-employed rather than full- or part-time employees of their respective companies. This distinction impacts how drivers file their taxes, their eligibility for employee benefits (none, for self-employed), and their liability should they get into an accident.
In addition, unlike designated taxis, the car that picks you up when you order an Uber or Lyft ride is not going to look all that different from your standard vehicle. This is because rideshare drivers use their own vehicles—which are recognized by Florida law as personal, noncommercial vehicles.
Uber and Lyft drivers are also offered very little in the way of training compared to taxi drivers. According to several current and former drivers, training for new Uber and Lyft contractors can consist of as little as a short video outlining basic rules and regulations.
In contrast, most taxi services:
- require drivers to pass certain safety and health tests
- require more training (if minimal)
- operate through a different payment system
- use commercial vehicles
Ridesharing vs. Taxis: Is one of these transportation services safer than the other?
Not necessarily. Both rideshare and taxi drivers have received their fair share of pushback, from concerns about increased traffic accidents to driver and passenger harassment.
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Steps To Take After Getting Into A Rideshare Accident In Florida
Despite the popular use of rideshare services, many people are unaware of what they would need to do were they to get into an accident serious enough to cause injury or car damage.
If you’re a driver for Uber or Lyft, you’ll likely be the one to feel the greatest responsibility in ensuring others’ safety in the event of an accident and assessing the damage to your vehicle. Determining your liability for the accident and how to seek compensation for damages, however, is where things can get tricky.
Getting into a rideshare accident can be overwhelming. However, there are certain steps that can be crucial to take as soon as you’re able to get your bearings.
1. Attend To Safety Of All Involved
Your safety and that of your passengers (if relevant) should be the number one priority in the immediate aftermath of an accident. If you or anyone else involved in the accident is injured or has fallen unconscious, call 9-1-1 for immediate medical assistance right away.
2. Gather Information
Once you have assessed yourself and others for medical concerns, gather the personal and insurance information from all motorists involved in the accident. This includes names, insurance carriers, contact information, and license plate numbers.
3. Contact The Police
As a rideshare driver, it’s important that you contact the police to notify them of any accident that occurs while you’re on the clock.
Police officers can offer assistance in helping you contact additional medical care if needed and will be required to file an official accident report. This report can be used as evidence of official documentation later on should you decide to file a personal injury claim.
4. Take Photos And Jot Down Notes
While a police officer can take notes of important details once they arrive onscene, you may also want to take down notes of the accident before and after their arrival. The sooner you can begin taking notes on the incident, the better.
Details to record after a rideshare accident may include:
- photos of the accident scene
- time and location of the accident
- screenshot of your ride status (within the Uber or Lyft apps)
- sustained injuries
- damage to other motorists, pedestrians, or property
- witness testimony
5. Contact A Rideshare Accident Attorney
One of the most important calls you can make after getting in an Uber or Lyft accident is to an experienced rideshare accident attorney. You may choose to do this after calling the police, or before, in case you feel uncomfortable with the idea of speaking to the authorities alone.
Reaching out for professional legal experience in rideshare accident law can give you access to the knowledge and resources necessary to inform you of your rights in the aftermath of an accident and assist in their protection.
Do not declare fault for the accident or provide a statement to a representative from your rideshare company before speaking to an attorney. This can complicate your case, should you choose to pursue legal recourse for personal injury or property damage.
6. File A Claim For Personal Injury, If You Choose
The costs of getting into an accident can add up very quickly, from ambulance costs to medical bills and car repair. Depending on the nature of your accident, you may be eligible to file for a personal injury claim to seek compensation to cover accident-related damages.
Reasons why you may choose to file a personal injury claim after getting into a rideshare accident include:
- seeking compensation for medical costs not covered by your personal auto insurance or rideshare insurance policy
- seeking compensation to cover short- and long-term expenses resulting from the accident, such as lost wages, pain and suffering, mental anguish, or projected treatment costs for serious or permanent injury
How Rideshare Accidents Are Handled In Florida
Individuals who drive for Uber and Lyft are regarded by Florida law differently than other transportation service drivers.
Under Florida law, Uber and Lyft drivers are subject to rideshare-specific regulatory processes when it comes to determining liability in an accident. These regulatory laws vary by state.
In Florida, how rideshare accidents are handled can depend on:
- whether you were logged into the rideshare app and waiting for ride requests when the accident occurred
- whether you had passengers in your car
- whether you are determined to be at-fault for the accident
Drivers for Uber and Lyft are required to follow company-specific insurance procedures before being able to transport passengers through the app. This information should have been relayed to you during your initial onboarding process.
Uber and Lyft both require their drivers to carry personal auto insurance. However, they also provide their drivers with company insurance coverage plans for accidents that occur while drivers are using their vehicles for ridesharing purposes.
Each company carries $1 million insurance protection for their drivers in the event of an accident, as long as the driver was:
- actively logged into the app and waiting for a ride request
- on their way to pick up a passenger
- transporting a passenger
It’s important to note that the status of a ride—e.g. waiting for a request, driving a passenger—has an impact on the amount of coverage drivers are eligible for, as detailed further by your rideshare company’s policy. This can play a role in your liability for covering resulting personal injury and property damage costs.
If you’re confused by this information, you’re not alone. Determining personal liability in a rideshare accident can be tricky. The best way to get accurate information about your eligibility for legal action after a rideshare accident is to consult with a skilled rideshare attorney.
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Florida Rideshare Accident Laws
In Florida, rideshare companies are regulated through the state’s “Uber/Lyft” bill, formally known as House Bill 221, which was signed into law in May 2017.
House Bill 221 details multiple requirements for rideshare drivers and their transportation network companies. One of these requirements details minimum insurance coverage requirements for rideshare drivers who are logged into the app or transporting passengers.
This creates an important distinction for insurance requirements based on whether a rideshare driver is using their vehicle for personal use or for business.
It is due to this distinction that both Lyft and Uber require their drivers to carry personal auto insurance in addition to the company’s plan. Drivers who are not using their vehicle for ridesharing at the time of an accident are not eligible for Uber or Lyft’s company insurance coverage.
Statute Of Limitations On Rideshare Accident Claims
Another important consideration for rideshare drivers who wish to file a personal injury claim is the relevant statute of limitations.
The statute of limitations on rideshare accident claims refers to the amount of time a driver has to begin any form of legal action after getting into an accident.
In Florida, there is not currently a statute of limitations that is specific to ridesharing accidents. However, there is a four-year statute of limitations for personal injury cases, which includes injuries sustained as a result of an Uber or Lyft accident.
The most effective course of action you can take in order to seek compensation for rideshare-related personal injury is to begin the process of filing your claim as soon as possible. If you aren’t confident in your ability to file a timely claim, contact an attorney with rideshare accident experience.
Florida Insurance Requirements For Rideshare Services
Florida’s insurance requirements for rideshare services are outlined within House Bill 221, which requires Uber and Lyft drivers to carry minimum insurance coverage amounts for several different accident scenarios.
Florida’s minimum insurance coverage requirements for rideshare drivers are as follows
For Uber/Lyft drivers who are logged into the app but are not yet carrying passengers:
- $25,000 in property damages
- $50,000 in death and bodily injury per person
- $100,000 in bodily injury per accident
- personal injury protection (PIP) insurance and uninsured/underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage as required by existing Florida law
The above applies for drivers who are either actively waiting for ride requests or are on their way to pick up a passenger.
For Uber/Lyft drivers who are carrying passengers in their vehicle:
- $1 million liability coverage for bodily injury, property damage, and death
- PIP and UIM coverage as required by existing Florida law
The above coverage is required the moment a passenger enters the rideshare vehicle to the moment they depart.
What To Know If You Are The Driver In A Rideshare Accident In Florida
Many people who drive for Uber and Lyft rely on the money they make while driving to support their or their family’s livelihood.
In order to make ends meet, drivers may be under great pressure to remain healthy enough to drive (e.g. not debilitated by serious or permanent injury) and have a vehicle that is in a condition to transport passengers.
If you’re an Uber or Lyft driver and you get into an accident while logged into your company app, you may be eligible for personal injury and property damage compensation. If your rideshare company or your personal auto insurance refuses to cover accident-related damages, you may be able to file a claim for compensation.
Are There Any Consequences For Filing A Rideshare Accident Claim?
Drivers for large companies like Uber often worry about what it could mean for their job if they were to file a claim against their company. If this is a concern you share, let us set the record straight: you cannot be penalized for bringing a valid injury claim under your rideshare company’s insurance policy.
Navigating a legal situation without a solid grasp on personal injury law or rideshare insurance policies can be stressful. At Florin|Roebig, our attorneys can offer you a free case evaluation to to discuss your legal options based on the details of your accident.
Rideshare Accident Rates In Florida
According to a recent study conducted by the University of Chicago and Rice University, the rise of ridesharing services since 2011 is accompanied by a 2 to 3 percent increase in overall traffic deaths in the United States.
In Florida’s cities, where ridesharing services thrive the most, Uber and Lyft drivers may be at an even greater risk for accidents.
Several urban areas in Florida report significant transportation and traffic issues. Adding ridesharing into the mix can further increase the instance of such issues, even if these services also provide a valuable tool for individuals who lack easy access to a personal vehicle, bus system, or traditional taxi service.
Tips On Choosing A Florida Rideshare Accident Attorney
Filing a personal injury claim for a rideshare accident is not a simple process. Having the right attorney on your side can make an enormous difference in helping you get on track to receive a fair settlement for damages.
What should you look for when choosing a Florida rideshare attorney?
Look For Experience
Having the title of an attorney or lawyer is not enough to prove a person’s competence in handling an Uber or Lyft accident case. Rideshare accidents are subject to different regulations than your typical motor vehicle accident, and thus can require a particular skill-set to handle most effectively.
As you’re searching for a personal injury attorney to represent your interests, make sure they have specialized experience in rideshare accident personal injury law. This can provide you with the best chance at successfully receiving compensation for your losses, which may include anything from medical treatment costs to repairs, lost wages, and projected expenses for permanent injuries.
Ask For References
Don’t be afraid to ask an attorney for references from their former clients. This can be one of the best ways to get an accurate picture of an attorney’s trustworthiness and their track record. It can also provide insight into the type of experience you can expect to have with them, as far as their communication skills and personal attitude when working with clients.
List Of Rideshare (Uber/Lyft) Accident Attorneys In Florida
Florin|Roebig is Florida’s premier personal injury law firm, housing a team of attorneys who possess unmatchable skills in providing successful legal representation for Florida residents.
With extensive experience in handling rideshare accident cases for individuals in Florida, our attorneys have the necessary expertise to help you file a strong personal injury claim and secure a fair settlement.
Rideshare accident attorneys of Florin|Roebig in Florida include:
- Wil H. Florin, B.C.S.
- Tommy D. Roebig, B.C.S.
- Michael L. Walker, B.C.S.
- Chase P. Florin, B.C.S.
- Neil P. O’Brien, M.B.A.
- Shaun M. Cummings
- Luca G. Esposito
- Chad K. Florin, M.B.A., LL.M.
- Nicholas S. Costantino
- Josh T. Walker
- Jordan A. Kolinski
- Catherine J. Sams
- Parker Y. Florin, LL.M.
- Taylor D. Roebig
- Matthew L. McMullen
- Michael A. Ossi, O.C.
- Lawrence J. Najem, O.C.
- Andrew M. Leone, O.C.
- Nollys R. Solarte, O.C.
- Brian R. Dettman, O.C
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How To Find A Rideshare (Uber/Lyft) Accident Attorney In Florida
Finding the right attorney to help you file a rideshare personal injury claim can make all the difference in obtaining a satisfactory settlement to compensate for accident-related damages.
At Florin|Roebig, our skilled team of attorneys have the knowledge, resources, and diligence necessary to determine your rights in the aftermath of an accident and file a strong personal injury claim.
Filing a legal claim can be intimidating. Our attorneys can help. With offices located across the state of Florida, our attorneys can work with you every step of the way to secure a fair settlement.
Don’t wait to learn what your settlement is worth. Call us today to schedule a free case evaluation with one of our top rideshare accident attorneys in Florida.