Florida Ridesharing Lawyers

If you or a loved one have suffered injuries or even death in a ridesharing accident, please contact the Florida Ridesharing Attorneys at Dolman Law Group and Sibley Dolman today for a free consultation. Florida’s legislators have taken steps to protect Florida residents from ridesharing accidents, and our lawyers have seen their fair share of ridesharing cases. This is an evolving area of law, as well, so do not risk contacting an inexperienced lawyer.

Over the past decade, ridesharing services such as Uber and Lyft have proven to be very popular with riders. In one recent year, roughly 111 million people used Uber monthly.

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, ridesharing (also known as ride-hailing) has become dangerous for many people. Passengers, pedestrians, and other passersby have suffered injuries and death due to driver error. Drivers with criminal records have also assaulted, raped, and even murdered their passengers.

Our Florida ridesharing lawyers illustrated our 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, contact one of our attorneys today for a consultation on your matter to discuss your options.

How Do Rideshare Accidents Differ From Other Vehicle Accidents in Florida?

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, ridesharing drivers do not face the same requirements for commercial driver’s licenses (CDLs) 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.

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, the companies must now perform a background check and perform other duties intended to make rides safer, such as reviewing the driving records of their applicants. They must also: make sure that information drivers provide about their vehicle 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 requirements 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. Several factors about their independent contractor status have implications for injured people.

The 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 network the TNC uses 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 accident may wonder if the rideshare company can ever bear responsibility for an accident. The answer is, they may bear responsibility through vicarious liability. If the TNC 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 to the driver’s insurance or to file a Florida ridesharing suit against either the insurance company or the driver.

The injuries defined as severe are very specific. They are as follows:

  • Broken bone;
  • 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.

Florida requires rideshare drivers to carry TNC coverage if they are in the process of giving a ride or have accepted a request for a ride from the app.

If for some reason this coverage does not apply, and you have one of the severe injuries, turning to the driver or the rideshare company may result in compensation under certain circumstances.

Florida Ridesharing Frequently Asked Questions FAQs

If you were in an accident in an Uber, Lyft, or other ridesharing vehicle, you are not alone. Ridesharing was once touted as a creative disruptor of the more expensive methods of transportation, like taxis and limousine services. But, over the last several years, it has become more evident that ridesharing drivers and companies may need more training and regulation to improve passenger safety.

Below, we present some answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) on ridesharing in Florida.

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 and Sibley Dolman can help you. 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 achieve the maximum compensation for your injuries. They could troubleshoot any issues that might prevent you from achieving compensation.

Below, there is a brief explanation of potential complications surrounding rideshare accidents.

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 wages lost from work.

But this can change if you have sustained an injury that Florida law recognizes as severe.

You may go 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 these occur, you may access 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.

The complications begin 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 rideshares, not act as personal car insurance.

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 in a bar late at night and saw an Uber letting out two passengers as you were leaving, 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.

Drivers are required to maintain TNC insurance coverage in the following:

  • $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,

How much could working with a Florida rideshare attorney cost?

Injury victims sometimes hesitate to approach a rideshare attorney because they may not understand the advantages of having an experienced lawyer, and they focus on worrying about the costs.

First, the initial consultation with an attorney is typically free. This is where you would discuss how you were injured, who or what caused the accident, and what long-term or permanent effects have arisen from the injury.

If the attorney believes you may have a legal case against an at-fault party, they can agree to work with you. It is common for injury attorneys, like those dealing with rideshare issues, to be paid on contingency (a percentage of what you receive for your damages).

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.
  • Wages lost from work, if the accident itself or the injuries result in your losing time from work.
  • Lost wages expected in the future, in a recuperation period or permanently, due to the injuries.
  • Personal property damage.

Noneconomic Damages

  • Physical pain and suffering.
  • Emotional pain and suffering.
  • Mental anguish.

How do I receive compensation after a Florida rideshare accident?

To receive compensation, you 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 methods. If insurance companies refuse your claim or fail to offer you a fair settlement for your injuries, you could 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 seek 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.

If you seek compensation through a third-party suit, your claim may receive approval and you would receive a check. The insurance company may offer a lower amount or deny a claim, using your words against you. Talk to a lawyer about appealing a denied claim.

In a lawsuit, successful plaintiffs (the injured party) may receive a settlement.

Who Is potentially responsible for a Florida rideshare accident?

Multiple parties bear potential responsibility for a rideshare accident. We have discussed the driver’s insurance responsibilities to help foster a better understanding of TNC insurance in Florida.

Drivers only bear responsibility if they exhibit negligence, or the failure 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, 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 may bear financial responsibilities for injuries and damages caused by those problems.

Under some circumstances, rideshare companies themselves may exhibit negligence, and thus may bear financial responsibility for damages suffered by accident victims.

Injured people may wonder if the rideshare company could ever bear responsibility for an accident. It is possible, under a doctrine known as vicarious liability.

For ridesharing companies, like Uber and Lyft, drivers are not employees. Instead, they are considered to be 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, for example, 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 a rideshare, including the time a passenger was picked up and discharged.

The companies must also perform background checks of applicants.

They may not hire people convicted of any of the following:

  • Driving under the influence (DUI), reckless driving, or hit and run charges;
  • Driving with a suspended license;
  • Any felonies (within the past 5 years); or
  • A violent offense, sexual battery, or Florida sex crime.

Background and other checks to determine these offenses are required when a potential driver applies and then every three years thereafter if they are hired.

Vicarious liability applies due to these requirements. Say a TNC did not follow Florida law and failed to check a driving record or license history, for example. It could face responsibility for an accident.

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 stem from bad brakes after further examination. A manufacturer or repair company may thus bear liability.

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.

These people can seek compensation for the following.

  • The deceased’s medical expenses paid by any surviving family member
  • The deceased’s funeral expenses paid by any surviving family member
  • The value of support and services provided by the decedent
  • Loss of companionship, guidance, and protection offered by the decedent
  • Mental and emotional pain and suffering stemming from the loss of a child

The estate can seek compensation for the following.

  • Medical expenses paid by the estate
  • Funeral expenses paid by the estate
  • 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

What Injuries Can Stem from a Florida Rideshare Accident?

Passengers in a rideshare vehicle can suffer harm and injuries in almost every way possible if an accident occurs, including:

  • Broken bones;
  • Sprains;
  • Lacerations;
  • Contusions;
  • Soft tissue injuries;
  • Internal injuries;
  • Nerve damage;
  • TBIs;
  • Spinal cord injuries;
  • Head, neck, and shoulder injuries;
  • Burns;
  • Scarring and disfigurement;
  • Coma; and
  • Death.

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 ridesharing lawyer could advise you on any potential responsibility and compensation that you may wish to pursue. A criminal lawyer is needed as well if a crime was committed.

What Should I Do If I Am in a Florida Rideshare Accident?

If you are in a rideshare accident in Florida, you should act much as you do 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.

Get contact information and identification from all those who were involved. 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. You want to compile this evidence to better portray how the accident actually occurred and show the severity of the accident.

If there were any eyewitnesses, talk to them about what they saw. Obtain their contact information if possible.

Once you obtain all this information, it is prudent 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.

In addition, 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 prudent to call an attorney to discuss your case.

What Damage Compensation Can I Receive if I Someone Injures Me in a Florida Rideshare Crash?

Those injured in an accident in Florida may seek the following damage compensation if they have suffered from a severe injury.

Any potential recovery may be from insurance companies or a Florida ridesharing suit in civil court.

  • Medical bills – For emergency treatment, ambulances, doctor’s visits, diagnostic tests, hospitalization, surgery, prescription medication, rehabilitative therapy, medical and assistive devices, and retrofitting living spaces to accommodate injuries.
  • Income lost from work – For time off work due to the injury or its treatment, and for loss of wages if you cannot work as much or at the same position you previously held because of the injury.
  • Pain and suffering – For noneconomic damages, including physical and emotional pain and suffering.

Note that, while your own PIP will cover medical bills and wages lost from work, no-fault coverage does not include noneconomic damages like pain and suffering. Pain and suffering only becomes compensable if a severe injury allows you to step outside of the no-fault system.

How Are Damage Amounts Arrived At in Florida Rideshare Accidents?

For economic damages such as medical bills and wages lost from work, damages are determined by assessing certain factors and calculations. Medical bill damages equate to the amount of medical bills incurred, plus transportation to the places where the medical treatment took place.

Wages lost from work are generally computed by multiplying the time lost by average salary.

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 damage.

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, may net less than a serious injury such as a spinal cord injury, 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 today.

If You Need an Experienced Rideshare Lawyer In Florida, Call Us Now

The team at Dolman Law Group and Sibley Dolman has fought for the rights of victims injured in ridesharing accidents. Our attorneys are knowledgeable about the evolving body of law surrounding rideshare accidents as well as the requirements and commonly used tactical decisions of companies.

Victims of rideshare accidents sometimes hesitate to approach a lawyer, fearing the cost. It is not uncommon for automobile accident lawyers to work on contingency, meaning they are paid a portion of the final settlement.

In addition, at Dolman Law Group and Sibley Dolman, we offer a free consultation to discuss the facts of your rideshare accident and to determine your legal options. We will discuss your accident, what happened, your injuries, and the effects of the injuries to see if you may have a case.

If you or a loved one suffered injuries in a rideshare, contact us at the Dolman Law Group and Sibley Dolman today for a free consultation. With offices across both Florida coasts, you can easily reach Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, and Sibley Dolman Accident Injury Lawyers, LLP, at 833-552-7274 (833-55-CRASH), or you can write to us using our online contact page.