If you have suffered injuries or lost a loved one in a rideshare accident, the Florida rideshare accident lawyers at Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, might be able to help you recover compensation for your losses. Reach out today for a free consultation to learn more.
Florida's legislators have taken steps to protect Florida residents and visitors from ridesharing accidents, and our legal team has already seen a fair share of rideshare injury cases. Since this is an evolving area of law, it's critical that you do not risk working with an inexperienced law firm.
How Common Are Rideshare Accidents in Florida?
Over the past decade, rideshare services such as Uber and Lyft have proven to be very popular in Florida. In one recent year, roughly 111 million people used Uber each month.
In fact, Uber has become virtually synonymous with ridesharing, where customers obtain a ride by using an app. They have risen in popularity because ridesharing is often less expensive than taking a taxi in Florida and more convenient than using public transportation in many areas of our state.
But, the bloom may fade from the ridesharing rose as time goes on. The fact is rideshare accidents have become more common and dangerous for many people. Passengers, pedestrians, and other passersby have suffered injuries and death due to driver negligence. Drivers with criminal records have also assaulted, raped, and even murdered their passengers.
Our Florida rideshare accident attorneys have the skills and experience to fight for justice for rideshare users.
- Recently, we secured a $1 million wrongful death settlement for the family of a young man killed in a rideshare accident.
- We also won a $935,000 settlement for a rideshare passenger who suffered a mild traumatic brain injury (TBI), neck injuries, and shoulder injuries requiring surgery in a rideshare accident.
While no results are guaranteed, we can promise to work diligently to recover the maximum amount of compensation possible based on your rideshare accident circumstances. Contact one of our attorneys today for a free consultation to learn more about rideshare accident laws and discuss your legal options.
How Do I Find the Best Florida Rideshare Accident Attorney Near Me?
Partner With the Dedicated Team at Dolman Law Group
After a rideshare accident, you may be left with more questions than answers. When this occurs, you need someone on your side who can give you the truth and help you explore your legal options. An experienced Florida rideshare attorney at Dolman Law Group will be there every step of the way.
We offer free initial consultations so you can get to know us better, and so we can help you through this difficult time. Our Florida personal injury attorneys have experience handling a wide range of rideshare accident cases across the state, and we have the resources necessary to challenge big rideshare companies and tackle these complex cases.
With offices located across the state of Florida, including Tampa, Clearwater, Jacksonville, and Miami, we are here whenever you need us. Call us today to begin fighting for your rights to full and complete compensation. We can meet with you at our office, in your home, or even virtually if that's more convenient. You can easily reach the legal professionals at Dolman Law Group by calling 833-552-7274 (833-55-CRASH), or you can send a message using our online contact page.
How Do Florida Rideshare Accidents Differ From Other Vehicle Accidents?
The differences between rideshare accidents and other vehicle accidents in Florida are often reflected in the relief available to those who are injured and whether they can bring a suit against the parties responsible for their accident.
First, rideshare drivers do not face the same commercial driver's license (CDL) requirements that are required for commercial truck drivers or bus drivers, for example. This opens up the possibility that they may possess less experience and knowledge than what is necessary to provide services to the public.
Second, in many geographical areas and for many years, ridesharing drivers were not subject to performance requirements of the type that CDL holders must meet. For example, companies did not perform background checks or monitor for any use of alcohol or controlled substances. This is still true in some areas. Fortunately, it is no longer true in Florida.
Under Florida law, rideshare companies must now perform a background check and other duties intended to make rides safer, such as reviewing the driving records of their applicants. They must also:
- Make sure that the information drivers provide about their vehicles is accurate,
- Require the drivers to display their picture and license plate number on the app and
- Ensure that the app provides an electronic record of the ride.
Under Florida law, rideshare companies cannot hire drivers convicted of:
- Felonies (within the past five years);
- Driving under the influence (DUI), hit-and-run, or reckless driving charges;
- A violent offense, sexual battery, or sex crime as defined in Florida; or
- Driving with a suspended license.
Rideshare companies must obtain information about these offenses and other information at the time of application and then at three-year intervals after hiring a driver.
Third, drivers are not employees of the ridesharing companies. They are classified as independent contractors. Being an independent contractor can have legal implications for injured people.
Insurance Requirements for Rideshare Drivers and Companies
Rideshare drivers (or the company, on the drivers' behalf) are required to obtain Transportation Network Company (TNC) insurance. This replaces the driver's own car insurance, but only if the driver is either logged on to the digital TNC network (the app you use for hailing a ride) or in the process of performing a ride.
If the driver is using just their own insurance and not the TNC insurance, the driver's insurance could legally refuse to cover a claim. In other words, once the driver is logged on and driving, only the TNC insurance is relevant.
A rideshare must take place through the digital TNC network to legally qualify as a rideshare. In other words, if you see someone exiting an Uber or Lyft and you then hail the driver verbally or by flagging them down, it is not legally a rideshare. A rideshare legally begins when a qualified driver accepts your request via the network. It ends when you (or the last passenger, in the case of a several-passenger ride) leave the vehicle.
The drivers should carry the following TNC insurance coverage.
- $50,000 in personal injury liability coverage per person ($100,000 per incident) and $25,000 in property damage if the driver is available for hire (logged on) but not actively working.
- Personal injury protection (PIP, no-fault) insurance of $10,000 if the driver is available but not working.
- A total of $1 million in liability insurance if the driver is actively engaged in a rideshare.
- Basic uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage.
Those who have been injured in an Uber accident may wonder if the rideshare company can ever bear responsibility for an accident. The answer is that they may bear responsibility through vicarious liability. If the company violated Florida law by failing to perform a background or other check, for example, the company may bear responsibility for an accident.
Florida No-Fault Rules and Rideshare Accidents
Florida follows a no-fault system for car accidents. No-fault means that injured parties in a car accident are expected to turn first to their own insurance for payment of damages that the accident has caused, such as coverage for medical bills.
If you sustained severe injuries, however, Florida law would likely allow you to either bring a third-party claim against the driver's insurance or file a Florida rideshare accident lawsuit against either the insurance company or the driver.
What Common Injuries Do Our Florida Rideshare Lawyers Handle?
The injuries suffered in rideshare accidents are similar to other motor vehicle crashes. They can vary from simple bumps and bruises to more severe, life-altering conditions. The rideshare attorneys at Dolman Law Group have handled cases with many types of injuries including:
- Broken bones;
- Soft tissue injuries;
- Internal injuries;
- Nerve damage;
- Traumatic brain injuries;
- Spinal cord injuries;
- Head, neck, and shoulder injuries;
- Scarring and disfigurement;
- Coma; and
In addition, rideshare passengers can suffer harm at the hands of other passengers or from the driver (such as an assault or theft). While assaults, thefts, rapes, and other harm are criminal matters, the driver and/or the company may also bear responsibility. A Florida rideshare lawyer can explain your legal rights and the potential compensation that you may wish to pursue.
What Compensation Could I Receive If I Am Injured in a Florida Rideshare Accident?
If you are injured severely to the point that you are eligible to step outside of no-fault insurance, you may seek compensation in the following categories under Florida law:
Economic Damage Compensation
- Medical bills already incurred, including doctor's care, hospitalization, surgery, prescriptions, rehabilitative therapy, diagnostic tests, emergency care, assistive devices, and more.
- Medical bills expected in the future, in the same categories.
- Lost wages or other income from work if the accident itself or the injuries result in your losing time from work.
- Lost wages expected in the future, for a recuperation period or permanently, due to the injuries.
- Personal property damage.
- Physical pain and suffering.
- Emotional pain and suffering.
- Mental anguish.
- Loss of life enjoyment.
Florida Rideshare Accident Frequently Asked Questions FAQs
I was hurt in a Florida rideshare accident. What should I do now?
First, if you have suffered injuries in any type of accident, you should seek medical attention immediately. Your health and safety are the top priority. See a doctor or go to an emergency room.
This is important even if you do not feel or look injured. Only a doctor can examine you thoroughly and run diagnostic tests to check for injuries. If the doctor believes you are injured, follow any medical recommendations they give you.
Second, contacting an experienced Florida rideshare attorney at Dolman Law Group can help protect your legal rights. The issues of liability and insurance surrounding rideshare companies are extremely complicated. If the rideshare driver, rideshare company, or another party bears responsibility for the accident that hurt you, an attorney could help hold them accountable for your injuries.
A Florida rideshare attorney could increase the likelihood that you will recoup the maximum compensation for your injuries. They could troubleshoot any issues that might prevent you from achieving compensation and build a solid case to support your claim.
Some of the potential complications that surround rideshare accidents may include understanding Florida's no-fault car accident system. Florida operates under a no-fault system for all car accidents. This includes rideshares. People injured in an accident are expected to approach their own insurance company first for payment of medical bills and lost wages or other income.
But this can change if you have sustained a severe injury as defined by Florida law.
You may take legal action beyond the no-fault system if you suffered one of the following in an accident:
- Fractured bone(s);
- Significant disfigurement;
- Permanent limitation of use of a body organ or member;
- Significant limitation of use of a body function or system; or
- Substantially full disability for 90 days.
If any of these serious injuries occur, you may pursue damage compensation from an at-fault party, either by filing a third-party claim with the at-fault party's insurance or by filing a Florida ridesharing lawsuit in civil court.
However, further complications arise when you must deal with rideshare driver's insurance.
Why is obtaining compensation from a rideshare driver's insurance complicated?
Florida mandates that rideshare drivers obtain insurance and let their insurance company know the vehicle is in use as a rideshare. The insurance is known as transportation network company (TNC) insurance. TNC refers to the fact that rideshare companies, like Lyft and Uber, operate via a digital network rather than by telephone (like a limousine service) or physical hailing or summoning (like a taxi). Riders summon rides through the app, and the drivers respond to these requests over the app.
However, TNC insurance is only valid if the driver is logged onto the app or in the process of giving a ride. If neither of these conditions apply, the driver's own personal car insurance may come into play instead. However, if the driver's personal insurance company learns that you suffered an injury in the process of a rideshare, they may legally deny your claim. This is because TNC insurance is meant to cover rideshare situations, not personal car accidents.
Legally, a rideshare begins when a rideshare driver accepts your request over the app (the network) and ends when the last passenger exits the vehicle.
One complication in Florida is that rideshare TNC insurance does not apply if the driver does not accept your request through the network. For instance, if you were out late at night and saw an Uber letting out two passengers, then called out to the driver, asked for a ride, and got in, the whole process took place verbally. None of it was through the app (network).
Because a rideshare only legally begins when a driver accepts your request over the app, you are not legally in a rideshare if you verbally ask and the driver verbally responds. The same is true if either of you use gestures, as potential riders do with taxis. As a result, both riders and drivers should always use the digital network.
How much does it cost to work with a Florida rideshare attorney?
Injury victims sometimes hesitate to approach a rideshare accident attorney because they may not understand the advantages of having an experienced lawyer, and they are worried about the costs of legal services.
First, the initial consultation with the injury attorneys at Dolman Law Group is always free. This is where you can discuss how you were injured, who or what caused the accident, and what long-term or permanent effects have arisen from the injury.
If we believe you have a legal case against an at-fault party, we can work with you on a contingency fee basis. This means you pay nothing upfront and no fees until we successfully resolve your case. Upon completion, we only receive a percentage of what you receive for your losses.
How can my injury lawyer recover compensation for me after a Florida rideshare accident?
To receive compensation, we can either approach the TNC insurance carrier and file a third-party claim or file a Florida ridesharing lawsuit in civil court against the at-fault party.
These are not mutually exclusive options. If insurance companies refuse your claim or fail to offer you a fair settlement for your injuries, we will be ready and able to file a Florida ridesharing lawsuit against them as well.
Regardless of the course of action you decide to take, it is a good idea to work with highly experienced legal representation. It is not uncommon for insurance companies to possess sophisticated techniques designed to deny or minimize your claim. Given the complications of rideshare accidents, liability, and insurance, letting a lawyer assist you with negotiations can increase your chances of a positive outcome for you and your family.
Who may be held responsible for a Florida rideshare accident?
Multiple parties can bear potential responsibility for a rideshare accident. Drivers only bear responsibility if they are negligent defined as failing to exercise the proper care that an ordinarily prudent driver would exercise. The duty of care involves following all traffic laws, safe driving practices, and Florida regulations concerning TNC companies and rideshares.
Factors other than driver negligence can cause accidents. Frankly, any car accident, including a rideshare collision, can stem from problems with the car's manufacture, its components, and issues with repair and recall. Parties responsible for these problems, such as car and component manufacturers and repair shops, may also bear liability and financial responsibilities for injuries and damages caused by those problems.
Under some circumstances, rideshare companies themselves may be held negligent, and thus may bear financial responsibility for damages suffered by accident victims. Companies may be legally responsible for someone else's negligent behavior under a doctrine known as vicarious liability. Depending on the circumstances surrounding your rideshare crash, we might have the grounds to pursue compensation from the rideshare company. Talk to one of our skilled rideshare accident lawyers to learn more.
How have rideshare companies tried to avoid liability?
For ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft, drivers are not employees. Instead, they are considered independent contractors. For many years, these companies tried to argue that the independent contractor status meant that they had few (if any) responsibilities toward passengers and little (if any) liability for harm taking place during rideshares. They did not, for example, certify drivers to ensure that their driving was up to par or perform background checks of criminal records.
The absence of certification, driving checks, and background checks meant that there were few restrictions on who could become a driver. Unfortunately, over a period of time, passengers were hurt in accidents caused by unqualified or careless drivers. Some passengers have even suffered assaults and other crimes committed by drivers.
As a result, Florida passed laws requiring TNC companies to institute multiple checks on driving records and drivers' backgrounds. The companies must now review an applicant's driving record, both before hire and every three years once hired. They need to check that the information the driver provides about the intended rideshare vehicle is correct. Drivers are now required to display a picture of themselves and their license plate number on the TNC network.
The apps must also contain an electronic record of each rideshare, including the time a passenger was picked up and discharged.
The companies must also perform background and other checks to determine if the drivers have committed serious offenses when a potential driver applies and then every three years thereafter if they are hired.
Vicarious liability may apply due to these requirements. For example, if a TNC did not follow Florida law and failed to check a driving record or license history, it could face responsibility for an accident that injures a passenger.
Lawyers often work with investigators to determine the cause of an accident. For example, an accident that appears to stem from driver error may turn out to be the result of bad brakes after further examination. A manufacturer or repair company may thus bear liability instead of the driver or rideshare company.
What if my loved one died as a result of a Florida rideshare accident?
So far, we have primarily discussed injuries and injury compensation. But, rideshare accidents can result in death, either immediately following the accident or through severe injuries that later lead to a fatality.
In those cases, certain parties may bring a wrongful death suit against the at-fault parties in court. Wrongful death suits are designed to compensate the deceased person's estate and family members. They are filed by the decedent's personal representative on behalf of the estate and family members.
In Florida, the decedent's spouse, children, and parents can receive damages, as can a blood relative or adoptive sibling who was partly or completely dependent on the decedent for support or services.
Family members and the estate can seek compensation for the following.
- The deceased's medical expenses paid by a surviving family member
- The deceased's funeral expenses paid by a surviving family member
- The value of support and services provided by the decedent
- Lost wages, benefits, and other earnings the decedent could reasonably have expected to receive if they had lived
- The value of earnings the decedent may have reasonably expected to receive if he or she had lived
- Loss of companionship, guidance, and protection offered by the decedent
- Mental and emotional pain and suffering stemming from the loss of a child
What Should I Do If I Am in a Florida Rideshare Accident?
If you are in a rideshare accident in Florida, you should follow the same steps as if you were driving a car involved in an accident.
First, if you are not seriously injured (requiring emergency transport to an emergency room), stay at the scene until you have received crucial information. If emergency responders think you need emergency transportation and treatment, follow their recommendations. You can obtain the information you need through other channels.
Gather the contact information from all those who were involved in or witnessed the crash. You want the rideshare driver's information, including driver's license number, name as it appears on the driver's license, insurance information, and contact email.
Make sure you get a copy of the police report. Under Florida law, the police should receive a call if an accident within a municipality causes injury, death, or vehicle damage of more than $500. If the accident happens outside a municipality, the county sheriff or Florida Highway Patrol should receive the call. A police report can be a key piece of evidence in determining how an accident occurred, and thus who or what entities may be liable.
Take multiple pictures of the accident scene if you carry a smartphone. This evidence can help better portray how the accident actually occurred and show the severity of the accident.
Once you obtain all this information, it is best to see a doctor as soon as you can. Serious harm, such as a traumatic brain injury (TBI), does not necessarily result in any immediate symptoms. A medical professional should examine you for any potential injuries. Follow any recommendations the doctor gives.
If you delay receiving medical care, an insurance company or opposing lawyer may attempt to point to the fact that you did not seek medical attention as proof that you did not suffer serious injury. It is also a very good idea to take pictures of your injuries as soon as possible after receiving them in the accident.
Because rideshare accidents carry potential complications that other types of accidents do not, it may be crucial to call a rideshare lawyer to discuss your case as soon as possible.
How Does my Florida Rideshare Accident Lawyer Calculate Damage Amounts?
For economic damages such as medical bills and wages lost from work, damages are determined by assessing certain documentation and calculations. Medical expense damages equate to the amount of medical bills incurred, plus all related expenses including transportation to the places where the medical treatment took place.
Lost income and lost future earning capacity are generally computed by multiplying the time lost by average salary and determining future benefits that will be missed.
In both of these categories, if you are expected to need medical care or time off work in the future due to the injuries sustained, expert opinion is used to calculate what medical care, its costs, and how much time from work and the amount of anticipated lost wages you will face. In other words, you may receive damage compensation both for already-incurred financial damage and expected future losses.
Calculating financial damages for pain and suffering is more subjective. Usually, a multiplier is used, with a sliding scale based on the severity of the injury and its effect. An injury expected to resolve fairly quickly with no long-lasting effects, such as a sprain, will deserve less compensation than a serious injury such as spinal cord damage, which can render the victim immobile for the rest of their life and require constant care.
If you would like further information, contact an experienced Florida rideshare attorney at Dolman Law Group today.
If You Need an Experienced Rideshare Accident Lawyer In Florida, Contact Dolman Law Group Now
The team at Dolman Law Group has fought for the rights of many victims injured in ridesharing accidents. Our attorneys are knowledgeable about the evolving laws surrounding rideshare accidents as well as the requirements and commonly used tactics of rideshare companies and their insurers.
Victims of rideshare accidents sometimes hesitate to approach a lawyer, fearing the cost. Our personal injury lawyers work on a contingency fee basis so we are only paid a portion of the final settlement or verdict.
In addition, at Dolman Law Group, we offer a free consultation to discuss the facts of your rideshare accident and to determine your legal options. We will discuss your speicific accident, how it happened, your unique injuries, and the effects of your injuries to see if you may have a case.
If you or a loved one suffered injuries in a rideshare crash, contact us at Dolman Law Group today for a free consultation. With offices across both Florida coasts, you can easily reach us at 833-552-7274 (833-55-CRASH), or you can write to us on our online contact page.