Ridesharing via apps like Uber and Lyft is a convenient and increasingly popular transportation option. However, the laws regulating ridesharing are still developing, and most people using these services are not thinking about what will happen if they are involved in an accident. If you’ve been in an accident involving a rideshare service like Uber or Lyft, it’s critical that you understand what steps you should take following an accident.
Whether you were hit by an Uber or were injured while riding in an Uber when an accident occurred, you may have the right to compensatory damages.
How Florida’s Ridesharing Law Could Impact You
Chapter 627.748 of Florida Statute governs Transportation Network Companies (TNC) such as Uber and Lyft. It requires that all TNC drivers carry the following insurance if not engaged in a prearranged ride:
- A primary automobile liability coverage of at least $50,000 for death and bodily injury per person
- $100,000 for death and bodily injury per incident
- $25,000 for property damage
If a TNC driver is involved in a pre-arranged ride, it must carry:
- A primary automobile liability coverage of at least $1 million for death, bodily injury, and property damage
Furthermore, Uber or Lyft must ensure that their drivers meet certain requirements, including:
- Pass a criminal background check
- Follow a zero-tolerance drug and alcohol use policy
- Do not appear on the Sex Offender Registry
8 Steps to Take Following a Ridesharing Accident
If you are hurt in an accident involving a ridesharing service, you should know how to protect and care for yourself in the immediate aftermath. Here are 8 steps you should take:
#1. Always Wear a Seatbelt
Whether or not you are riding in an Uber or Lyft, you should always wear a seatbelt on the road both because it is likely to protect your safety during an accident and because not wearing a seatbelt could reduce your recovery for damages if you are in accident. Florida follows the rule of pure compensatory damages, meaning that if your damages are found to have resulted partially from your failure to wear a seat belt at the time of the accident, then your right to damages will be proportionally reduced according to your percentage of fault. However, if it is found that a seatbelt in the rideshare you were in was non-operational or non-existent, you may still be able to recover in full.
#2. Seek Medical Attention
Following an accident, the safety of everyone involved is paramount. Call 911 or have someone else call emergency services immediately. Even if you feel you aren’t hurt, you should always seek medical attention. It is not uncommon for injuries following an accident to appear later, and you will want to be able to connect your injuries to the car accident. For this reason, it’s important to continue monitoring your injuries following the immediate aftermath of the accident itself and to keep a record of any symptoms as they emerge.
#3. Do Not Admit Fault
Even if you are concerned that you may have been at fault, do not admit fault at the scene or make any statements (such as an apology) that might be construed as admitting fault. The fact is there may have been other circumstances involved in the accident of which you are not aware. By the same token, do not accuse the other driver of being at fault for the accident. Following any accident, it is best to exercise caution about what you say and to whom.
#4. Get Everyone’s Information
If you were a rider in an Uber or Lyft, be sure to get the information of the driver and everyone else involved in the accident. This information should include:
- Full names of drivers, passengers, and witnesses
- Addresses of drivers, passengers, and witnesses
- Phone numbers of drivers, passengers, and witnesses
- Driver’s license numbers of drivers
- License plate numbers of all cars involved
- Vehicle identification numbers of all cars involved
- Insurance information of all drivers involved
It is also a good idea to request driver’s licenses and vehicle registrations to verify this information.
#5. Document Everything
Take photos of the accident and the accident scene (including traffic signs and any possible obstacles), including any injuries. These photos could provide critical evidence in determining who is at fault for the accident. You should also save all medical bills and any other documentation you have pertaining to the accident.
#6. File a Police Report
It is crucial to have the accident officially documented by law enforcement. Without a police report, it may be difficult to ascertain whose account is accurate.
#7. File a Report with Your Insurance
Provide a straightforward and honest account of the accident to your insurance company without admitting or assigning fault.
#8. Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney
Rideshare accidents are more complicated than most auto accidents, so it’s especially important to seek competent legal counsel in these situations. A knowledgeable personal injury lawyer should be able to determine what your options are for damages, which may include:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Property damage
- Temporary transportation
- Diminished earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Rehabilitation costs
Some of these damages – including medical bills and property damages – may be awarded through Florida’s no-fault insurance policy, which can award up to $10,000 in damages. If damages exceed that amount, then your attorney may seek damages from the at-fault driver’s insurance company. In most cases, however, you will not be able to sue Uber or Lyft as their drivers work as independent contractors. In all cases, time is of the essence as Florida provides a limited time window of just four years following the date of the accident in which to seek damages.
Getting in a car accident can be a frightening and stressful experience, and this is especially so if you are hurt in an accident involving Uber or Lyft as these accidents can be especially complex. You may not know where to start. Our attorneys at Mitchell & West, LLC can help you seek damages after an accident.
If you or a loved one has been involved in a car accident involving a rideshare service, contact us online today or call us at (305) 783-3301 to schedule a consultation.