What If I’m Hit by a Lyft Driver While Walking?

October 19, 2018 | Attorney, Matthew Dolman
What If I’m Hit by a Lyft Driver While Walking?

Florida Pedestrian Lyft Accidents

When you're walking down the street, the last thing that you expect is to be hit by a Lyft driver. However, many consumers, especially in densely populated areas, will use ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft, to get around for a reasonable fare. Keep in mind that a Lyft driver must pass a background check, cannot have any recent violations (especially drunk driving and other felonies/misdemeanors that relate to personal safety), and must carry the minimum levels of insurance required by their company and by the state of Florida. Lyft drivers are independent contractors operating private vehicles for rideshare purposes. They can be sued by third parties for instances of negligent driving.

Lyft Drivers and Accidents Caused by Distracted Driving

A Lyft driver is like any other driver on the road, capable of being distracted, driving under the influence, reaching down to grab something on the floor, or committing another error. Taking attention away from the road even for a second could mean the difference between an alert driver and a distracted driver. Usually, an alert driver can avoid a collision. However, a pedestrian can be hard to see, especially at night. What's more, a pedestrian can walk out into traffic unexpectedly. Because a pedestrian has no protection against a moving vehicle, the effects of the accident are usually devastating. If you were hurt by a Lyft driver while walking on a Florida street, sidewalk, or parking lot, we might be able to help. At a minimum, the Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA offers pedestrian victims a free case evaluation, which does not obligate you to accept legal representation. Speaking with an attorney can help you understand your rights and the best way to proceed from an accident.

Florida is a No-Fault State

Getting hurt in a collision with a car, truck, or SUV is a serious matter. The first thing to keep in mind is that Florida no-fault legislation requires all drivers and passengers to go to their own insurance for $10,000 in personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. Then, if you have more medical damages or lost wages, you may decide to file a lawsuit against the defendant or defendants in your case. You may also seek a claim against your own Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage (UMIC) if the Lyft driver was uninsured or underinsured. If the defendant was a Lyft driver, claims of late against the Lyft corporate policy (which has a $1 million policy limit) haven't been very successful. One reason is Lyft considers its drivers to be independent contractors, not employees acting on the company's behalf. Another reason is that Lyft requires drivers to have minimum protections for their private vehicles, and they can be sued individually for negligent driving. In Florida, a Lyft driver needs at least $1 million in liability coverage (for bodily injury, property damage, and death) while operating as a rideshare service, and $50,000 in coverage that applies while he or she isn't on the clock.

Understanding the Law in Florida

In Florida, you would need greater than $10,000 in medical damages, lost wages, or other damages to pursue a claim against an at-fault Lyft driver. You also hold the burden of proof that your injuries resulted from another party's negligence. You must show through medical records, direct evidence, and other documents how the accident caused one or more of these conditions:
  • Permanent injury
  • Significant and permanent disfigurement or scarring
  • Significant and permanent loss of one or more bodily functions
In car accident cases involving Lyft drivers, a lawyer may help you organize and present a claim for damages to the Lyft driver's insurance company and/or to Lyft. However, without compelling medical documentation, you're unlikely to receive a decent offer.

Typical Damages in Lyft Car Crash Claims

Pedestrians may sue a negligent Lyft driver for serious injuries. These are the monetary indicators of how the crash impacted your life, caused unnecessary pain and suffering and made it difficult for you to continue supporting yourself and even your family. Your damages might include some or all of the following:
  • Medical bills
  • Lost wages (past, present, future)
  • Prescription costs
  • Physical/occupational therapy
  • Transportation to treating doctors
  • Pain and suffering
  • Lawyer's fees and costs
  • Punitive damages (These are only possible if the defendants were personally guilty of intentional misconduct or gross negligence. Then, the judge may allow evidence to convince a jury why the plaintiff deserves more than the insurance policy limits). Limits on punitive damages are also defined.

Establishing Liability in Lyft Crashes – Making the Driver Pay

Each claim against a negligent driver is unique. You could have serious injuries, but the Lyft driver's insurance company might not want to settle. They might wish to take the case to trial, which carries its own risks. A civil trial is extremely costly for both sides. Insurance defense lawyers will do everything in their power to show that something beyond the driver's actions (or failure to act) caused the accident. Furthermore, they could argue that your actions or mental/physical/emotional state contributed to your injuries and that you should be held partly or fully liable. It takes an experienced Florida attorney to review the facts of an accident case and determine if a viable claim exists. There may be other factors that you never considered, like a tire in the road, a passenger who was threatening the driver, or hazardous road conditions. External factors could endanger a potential Lyft claim, which means the accident must be investigated as soon as possible. Important evidence could be destroyed or lost in the days after the collision. In this case, you might not have car insurance, and there's no one in your household whose policy can extend PIP benefits to you. Therefore, you could look at potential third-party claims (that is, seeking a settlement or verdict) to cover your huge medical bills. We work on a contingency fee basis to assist injured accident victims, meaning there is no charge to hire an attorney unless you obtain a settlement or judgment.

How to Hire a Lyft Accident Lawyer in Florida

In a pedestrian case, a claimant might only have four years to make a claim against the defendants; more importantly, evidence from a collision must be collected as soon as possible. Don't delay! Please call the Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA at (727) 451-6900 or contact us online if you've been injured in an accident involving a Lyft driver. Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA 800 North Belcher Road Clearwater, FL 33765 727-451-6900 https://www.dolmanlaw.com/car-accident-lawyer/lyft/


Matthew Dolman

Personal Injury Lawyer

This article was written and reviewed by Matthew Dolman. Matt has been a practicing civil trial, personal injury, products liability, and mass tort lawyer since 2004. He has successfully fought for more than 11,000 injured clients and acted as lead counsel in more than 1,000 lawsuits. Always on the cutting edge of personal injury law, Matt is actively engaged in complex legal matters, including Suboxone, AFFF, and Ozempic lawsuits.  Matt is a lifetime member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum for resolving individual cases in excess of $1 million and $2 million, respectively. He has also been selected by his colleagues as a Florida Superlawyer and as a member of Florida’s Legal Elite on multiple occasions. Further, Matt has been quoted in the media numerous times and is a sought-after speaker on a variety of legal issues and topics.

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