What Is a Rideshare Company?
Rideshare companies provide driver-for-hire ridesharing services to consumers by contracting with freelance drivers who use their personal vehicles to transport passengers. To qualify as a rideshare company, the company must incorporate the following elements:
- A smartphone to request a ride, set up a pickup and drop-off location, etc.
- The use of GPS for the driver to navigate and for the app to track the route and calculate the cost of the trip
- A social media-like platform for riders to rate their drivers so others can know what to expect when they book a trip
How Does Uber or Lyft Screen Their Drivers?Before a person can drive for Uber or Lyft, they are screened for a safe driving record and serious criminal charges. The potential driver must provide the rideshare company with such information as:
- Their name
- Date of birth
- Social Security number
- Driver's license number
- A copy of their driver's license, vehicle registration, and insurance
- Proof of a completed vehicle inspection
Are Rideshare Cars Registered as Commercial Vehicles?Drivers participating in commuter apps do not have to register or insure their cars as commercial vehicles. While these services provide commercial and taxi-like services that enable passengers to arrange rides on short notice using a smartphone app, they are exempt from following the same guidelines. Rideshare companies often argue that rideshare vehicles do not operate like traditional taxis; a single taxi is on the road upwards of 70,000 miles annually, whereas commuter cars are used considerably less. However, some rideshare drivers drive full-time, placing them on the road equally as often as taxi drivers. Rideshare companies like to claim that their businesses are “just an app.” They claim to be nothing more than a technological start-up serving as the middle man between a person willing to give someone a ride and the passenger willing to take that ride. Because of this loophole, Uber or Lyft are not required to operate as a commercialized vehicle-for-hire entity.
Are Rideshare Companies Required to Carry Insurance?
Signed into law in Colorado's Senate Bill 125, the Transportation Network Company Act affirms that rideshare companies must provide primary personal auto insurance coverage the entire time a driver's app is on. Therefore, auto insurers may rightfully deny personal-line policyholder claims arising out of incidents involving rideshare-affiliated vehicles. In effect, rideshare companies must provide primary liability coverage of at least $50,000 per injured person, $100,000 for all injuries in an accident, and $30,000 for property damage.
With the success of this bill, a California assembly bill soon followed.
Florida's Laws Regarding Rideshare CompaniesIn 2015, Florida's House of Representative Highway and Waterway Safety Subcommittee passed House Bill 509, which requires vehicle-for-hire companies to meet minimum insurance standards. The law requires Uber and Lyft to apply for insurance coverage from the time the driver is logged onto the app until the driver has dropped off their passengers. The required coverage is at least $50,000 for death and bodily injury per person, $100,000 per death and bodily injury per incident, and $25,000 for property damage. In 2017, the below additional stipulations went into effect:
- A rideshare driver, or the company itself on the driver's behalf, needs primary automobile insurance that recognizes the driver as a “transportation network company” TNC driver and uses the automobile for commercial purposes.
- The required coverage amounts when a driver is transporting a customer is at least $1 million death and primary automobile liability insurance, which meets the minimum requirements of a limousine user.
How HB 221 Can Affect Your Lyft or Uber Lawsuit in FloridaThe difference between Uber's current policy and the requirements outlined in the bill is the contingency of coverage when a driver is logged onto Uber's platform but not driving a passenger. This bill makes Uber's policy the primary policy if the driver is logged into the app. Without this piece of legislation, the driver's personal policy may take effect if the driver says he was logged onto the app but not using it, and Uber's policy would cover losses that the driver's personal policy did not. In 2017, Florida Governor Rick Scott signed HB 221, which overrides the patchwork of other state and local laws governing commuter service companies and instead consolidates everything into this new bill that otherwise maintains the same insurance coverage above.
Why Should You Hire a Rideshare Car Accident Attorney?There are several reasons why you should consider hiring an attorney if you've recently been in a rideshare accident.
An Attorney Can Help Negotiate Your Outstanding Medical BillsAn experienced rideshare car accident lawyer will provide assistance when necessary or upon request in coordinating an evaluation with a physician of the specialty applicable to your situation. Every Florida insurance policy contains $10,000 of personal injury protection (PIP) coverage to ensure the accident victim can receive expeditious medical treatment without having to wait for a court to determine liability. We would be happy to review your personal auto insurance policy to explain the coverage available to you after an Uber or Lyft accident.
Rideshare Accident Attorneys Have Experience in an Otherwise Tricky Area of LawOur attorneys are experienced in handling rideshare accident claims and are often called upon by fellow injury lawyers to assist on their largest or most complicated cases. A rideshare accident is different from a typical motor vehicle collision in that the insurance policies in play are far more significant. It is necessary for a law firm to have substantial financial resources with which to retain the best experts to aggressively litigate a rideshare accident claim. We have represented those struck by a Lyft or Uber driver, the passengers in rideshare vehicles, and the rideshare drivers themselves. Every attorney at Dolman Law Group has handled numerous Lyft or Uber accident claims. After a rideshare accident, we immediately make contact with any witnesses and send our investigator to secure any evidence available.
Don't Hire a Settlement Mill to Handle Your CaseDo NOT select a rideshare accident lawyer solely off a television or radio commercial. High-volume firms that advertise heavily are known as "settlement mills" by the insurance industry. A settlement mill is a law firm that attempts to mass-produce the settlement of car accident claims via aggressive advertising. Not every law firm that advertises heavily is a settlement mill, but a large portion of them are. Settlement mills are known for leaving money on the table when resolving a personal injury claim because they have to settle many cases per month to pay for advertising. And personal attention often does not exist at a high-volume personal injury law firm. After a rideshare accident, take time to research the best lawyers in your area. You only get one bite at the apple. Hire an experienced personal injury lawyer.
What if I'm a Passenger in an Uber or Lyft Accident?If you're injured as a passenger in a rideshare vehicle, your personal auto insurance policy probably would not provide coverage in the event of a severe injury. This is because private-passenger auto insurance policies were never intended to provide coverage for injuries incurred while the vehicle was engaged in a commercial enterprise. However, the rideshare insurance will more than likely cover your injuries. An experienced rideshare car accident lawyer can help.
What Should I Do if I'm in a Collision Involving Uber or Lyft?Auto accidents involving ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft can be confusing because of the changing landscape of the laws that regulate such businesses. Under current company policies, Lyft or Uber drivers should be covered as long as they are logged into the app. Likewise, passengers should be covered in a Lyft or Uber accident. The legal grey area, however, is when someone is on their way to pick up a client. In these cases, the victim of a crash will have to go through the driver's personal insurance before reaching the rideshare company. In other cases, injured passengers have to fight against the driver, their insurance, and/or even the contractor to receive fair compensation. Because Uber and Lyft are considered independent contractors, the question of liability can be difficult to understand. Let an experienced Lyft or Uber accident lawyer at Dolman Law Group help clear the air. We can help you fight for compensation for your current and future medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages, and other related damages.
Can I Lose My Rideshare Access if I Make a Claim?We understand individuals rely on rideshare systems either for income or for their regular transportation needs. If you bring a valid injury claim under the insurance policy from a rideshare company, you will not be penalized. Both Uber and Lyft pay a portion of each fare directly to their insurance companies for this exact purpose, and so pursuing a claim and retaining a rideshare accident lawyer will not cause you to be penalized. In Florida, Uber is covered by Progressive for their insurance, while Lyft utilizes York/AIG for their personal auto insurance. These Uber and Lyft claims adjusters are large enough so that any single claim does not impact their bottom line in any meaningful way. So long as your claim is valid, you sought medical treatment in a timely manner, and your claim was documented properly by the proper authorities, your claim will be given the respect that it deserves. Of course, it makes a big difference when you hire a law firm with considerable experience handling injury claims against a ridesharing company. The claim adjusters at Uber Lyft, Progressive, and York/AIG know who we are and respect our ability to bring a strong claim directly to a jury if necessary. Your privileges on the Uber or Lyft applications or platforms will not be in jeopardy simply because you bring a valid injury claim.
Contact Our Rideshare Accident Attorneys for Help with Your ClaimThe accident attorneys at Dolman Law Group have a combined 100+ years of experience handling personal injury claims. Dolman Law Group handles injuries related to everything from car accidents and trip-and-fall claims to premises liability and negligent security. We have also handled claims against Zantac for individuals who have been diagnosed with cancer, as well as claims for victims of AFFF firefighting foam. Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA 800 North Belcher Road Clearwater, FL 33765 (727) 451-6900 or 833-55-Crash https://www.dolmanlaw.com/uber-accident-attorney/
*The above information was written and reviewed by either Attorney Matthew Dolman or another injury lawyer at the Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA which has a combined 90 plus years of experience practicing Florida personal injury law. Matthew Dolman himself has been practicing personal injury law in Clearwater and St. Petersburg for the last fifteen (15) years. The information provided comes from extensive research and years of experience trying legal cases in courtrooms throughout Florida.