As Lyft and Uber have increased in popularity in Florida, there are new legal implications involving whether or not you can sue the ride sharing company if you are involved in an accident involving one of their drivers. Here are some of the basics that you need to know regarding these ride share companies and your legal rights if you are involved in an accident involving one of them.
Ride share companies like Lyft and Uber have really taken off in the last few years as users can schedule pick-ups using apps on their smartphones. However, these rideshare drivers still owe a duty of care to not only their passengers in the vehicle, but also to those who are on the road with them or simply walking down the road. For instance:
- If the rideshare driver is at fault—If the driver of the rideshare vehicle is currently “on the clock” then his individual insurance policy does not have to cover the accident. Instead, the insurance policy of the rideshare company itself has to pay out the expenses associated with the accident. Depending on the state where the accident occurs, some of these policies may be worth as much as one million dollars. Whether or not the driver is working at the time is easy to determine by showing that the rideshare app was on at the time of the accident. This affects not only the rideshare passengers who may be injured but also the individuals in any other cars involved in the accident as well as bystanders who may have been injured by the rideshare driver.
- If the rideshare driver is not at fault—If you are a rideshare passenger and your driver is involved in an accident that is not his fault, then you will have to file a claim against the other driver who is at fault. If the offending driver does not have enough insurance to cover the damages, then you may have to file an uninsured or underinsured motorist claim against the rideshare company’s insurance. (Again, the rideshare driver’s personal auto insurance does not come into play here.)
- What compensation can you expect—As with any type of car accident, the type of compensation can vary greatly, largely based on your injuries. However, it can include medical expenses (including future projected medical needs), loss of income including loss of earning potential, damages to personal property, and emotional and mental anguish and suffering.
If you are involved in any way in an auto accident involving an Uber or Lyft rideshare vehicle, you should be sure to contact your local law enforcement, seek medical attention, and get as many pictures of the accident scene as possible. You should also be sure to get information such as insurance and driver’s license numbers from the driver(s) involved as well as the names and numbers of any witnesses. But the next step should be to contact an experienced rideshare auto accident law firm such as the attorneys at Wolf & Pravato. We have handled many cases such as this in South Florida and can help protect your rights during the complex process of bringing forth a case against a rideshare company.