Technology is revolutionizing every aspect of our lives. From the computers we carry in our pockets to the ability to speak to a device and have lights turn without lifting a finger is something even recent ancestors would have trouble comprehending. Yet, here we are, able to summon vehicles to come pick us up with as little as two clicks on our phone.
Uber and other rideshare companies have helped us get around town and go about our daily lives. This is convenient in large cities where many of us do not have cars or we simply want to be responsible when going out for a few drinks with friends.
No matter the reason, Uber is something we didn’t know we needed, but now cannot fathom living without.; but, you are still traveling in a vehicle, and the risks you face on the road are no different just because you are seated in the back of the car.
If you or a loved one has suffered any injury while riding in an Uber, you could recover compensation under Florida law. To find out if you can, speak with an experienced Florida Uber accident attorney today at the Dolman Law Group or Sibley Dolman.
Uber Is Not a Taxi
We have all seen taxis roaming around town. We have taken them to and from the airport. We have found them at taxi stands and hailed them from the curb. Those days may soon end.
You now hail a cab by opening the Uber app on your phone, entering your destination, and wait for your chariot to arrive. But you are not summoning an employee of Uber to pick you up. Instead, you are summoning a private individual operating as an independent contractor. This distinction will become very important.
States and cities regulate taxi companies. They are required to register with the city and state where they operate. And they are required to provide training to drivers and run strenuous background checks. These regulations are in place to protect you, the passenger. If a driver has lots of accidents on their driving record, the taxi company may not offer them a job.
Uber claims it is not a taxi company, that it’s actually a data and software company. The Uber app you use frequently on your phone is merely a connection between you and some stranger. Because Uber is not a taxi company, they are not subject to the same regulations as they normally would if they were a taxi company.
So when you hop into an Uber, you are really getting a ride from a stranger who does not work for Uber and whose vehicle is not maintained or provided by Uber. And because the vehicle is privately owned by the driver and not owned by Uber, the vehicle is considered a private vehicle, not commercial. This is also important because additional laws surround the operation and maintenance of commercial vehicles, such as ensuring proper training for drivers. When a vehicle is privately owned, it’s often no different than accepting a ride from a friend or acquaintance—you must place a large degree of faith in the driver’s ability to navigate safely.
Because of the rise of ridesharing companies, many states have taken up bills that place some regulation around companies like Uber. Florida passed a law that requires drivers to carry certain levels of insurance. But it makes a distinction between the time when a driver is looking for fares and when actually carrying a passenger.
When an Uber driver is looking for fares, the insurance coverage must be, at a minimum:
- Primary liability of at least $50,000 for death and bodily injury per person
- Primary liability of at least $100,000 for death and bodily injury per incident
- PDL coverage of at least $25,000 per incident
- PIP and uninsured/underinsured motorist as required by law
When an Uber driver has a passenger in the car, the insurance coverage is different:
- Primary liability coverage of at least $1 million for death, bodily injury, and property damage
- PIP and uninsured/underinsured motorist as required by law
What Uber Says About Insurance
Uber is required under Florida law to provide minimum insurance coverage. Uber is also very clear about insurance coverage. But this can lead to more confusion, because Uber differentiates between coverage during a ride and coverage when the driver is using the vehicle for personal use.
The Driver Is Not Using the Uber App
In this instance, it is clear the driver is using their personal car for their personal use. Here, no insurance coverages would be applied from Uber if the driver is involved in an accident. The driver is required to keep insurance coverages as required by Florida law.
The Driver Is Using the Uber App but Does Not Have a Passenger
In this instance, the driver is looking for a passenger but does not currently have one. The driver could also be in motion or waiting, like in a parking lot near an airport. If a driver gets into an accident while they are using the Uber app, the insurance provided by Uber only comes into play if the driver’s personal insurance does not cover the full amount of the accident.
Passengers Are in the Vehicle
When an Uber driver accepts a fare and picks up a passenger, the insurance coverage provided by Uber takes effect. If an accident happens, Uber’s insurance coverage should apply.
What to Do if You Are in an Accident
Your health is the most important thing to worry about after a Florida Uber accident.
You can take these steps to help show that the Uber driver or the other driver was at fault in your accident, and that can help to maximize your compensation so you do not end up paying out of pocket for any of the medical bills you face.
- Call 911 – When you call 911, the police and emergency medical personnel rush to the accident scene. The EMT’s will quickly evaluate your injuries and determine whether you need additional medical care. Do not refuse their help. The police will also speak with you, all drivers, and any witnesses. They will try to put an accurate report together detailing how the accident happened. While they may not assign fault, their report will help your Florida Uber accident lawyer show who is to blame for your injuries and medical bills.
- Take pictures and speak with witnesses – It’s important to get images of the accident. Pictures truly can speak a thousand words. Get pictures of your injuries, all vehicles involved, and the entire accident scene. You may also want to speak with witnesses. Many witnesses will not wait around for the police to arrive so at least get their contact information so we can speak with them later. Witnesses often provide a different perspective of the accident and the moments leading up to it, which can really help to show who was at fault.
- See your doctor – In addition to letting the EMT’s evaluate you at the accident scene, it’s important that you also see your doctor after the accident. Your doctor knows you best and can determine how your injuries have impacted you. Besides that, your doctor can also help chart a path for your recovery.
- Keep a personal injury journal – This might sound like a strange idea but keeping a journal can help your personal injury claim. Over time, you will forget what you endured to get back to your regular life. You will not recall the daily suffering and the hurdles you faced. But if you write in a journal every day, that can be a great tool to help maximize your recovery and ensure you get every dollar you deserve.
Your final step is to speak with a trusted Uber accident attorney in Florida. Even if you were just visiting the Sunshine State, you need a lawyer who is eligible to practice in Florida, because that’s where the accident happened. You want a lawyer with your best interests at heart and a lawyer who has battled big insurance companies before and come out ahead. You deserve an Uber accident lawyer in Florida who will aggressively fight to protect your rights and maximize your recovery.
A frequent question we get from victims of Uber accidents is how much their case is worth. That depends on the:
- Type and severity of injuries
- Time spend out of work
- Time spent in the hospital
- Future prognosis
- Time spent in rehabilitation
- Ability to return to work
Even if your injuries seem minor, do not discount how quickly your medical bills can rise. The smallest of medical procedures and doctor visits quickly become expensive and, for some, financially ruinous.
One of the biggest factors in recovering compensation from the at fault party in your Uber accident is your lost work. Your ability to make a living sustains your way of life and allows you the opportunity to take an Uber. If that is taken away, it can be not only financially challenging, but can also create extra and unnecessary burdens on your family.
Depending on the severity of your injuries, you may never return to work at all or you may return but in a reduced capacity. Either situation creates a hardship for you where you cannot make the same amount of money you could previously. But it’s important to remember that this is not your fault and you should not bear this responsibility.
The responsibility for your lost wages and your lost future earning potential should rest on the individual who caused the accident where you were injured. By holding that person liable for the accident, you can also hold them accountable for your injuries and subsequent medical bills. This is why it’s so important to work with a skilled Florida Uber accident lawyer.
While it’s true that most personal injury cases settle out of court, some do end up in trials. So you want to make sure you are properly prepared. We do everything we can to settle your case for a fair amount because we know you need the money and we know you want to put this behind you. Most importantly, you want to focus on your physical recovery and getting back to your regular life. It’s hard for you to do that with a legal case looming.
But sometimes, insurance companies refuse to be reasonable and, to maximize your compensation, we need to go to trial. A little secret—sometimes simply starting the trial process is enough to get the insurance company to offer up a more reasonable settlement. Even if they do not, you still want to be prepared for trial. That means working with a trusted Florida Uber accident lawyer who has the experience and the resources required to handle a complex personal injury trial.
Our Florida Uber Accident Attorneys Can Help You
If you or a loved one were injured in an Uber accident in Florida, you may not know whose insurance company should pay your medical bills. We understand, and that’s why we are ready to help clear up your options and help you hold the at fault party liable. Our goal is to get you every dollar you deserve so you do not have to pay out of pocket for any of your injuries and medical bills.
You deserve to get back to the life you love. To do that, you need a lawyer at your side who is working hard to maximize your compensation while you are working hard to make a complete recovery from your injuries.
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 contact us online. We look forward to speaking with you.
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“Working with Dolman Law was very easy. We dealt with Lauren and Geoff, both of whom were helpful and always willing to answer questions. We were satisfied with the outcome of the case and the amount of time it took to settle it. We would definitely consider Dolman Law again if we ever found ourselves in the same situation as before. ”
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Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33756
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