If you’ve needed to get somewhere fast in the past couple years but you didn’t have a car handy or you wanted to make a one way trip somewhere too far to walk, odds are you probably got a ride from Uber or Lyft. Maybe you didn’t get an Uber, but instead decided to go with the services of a similar competitor of theirs like Lyft or even Curb all through the convenience of a phone app. This is the phenomenon of ridesharing.
Thanks to these revolutionary new services, the taxi is ready to go the way of the dinosaur but in the end you are still traveling via car and all the same risks still apply. That means that an accident can happen while you are being whisked away to whichever destination you have specified. this begs the question of what happens if you do happen to get in an accident while in an Uber or similar rideshare service? Better yet, what happens if you happen to get injured in an Uber accident?
Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA – Uber and Lyft Accident Attorneys
If you find yourself asking these questions after being involved in an Uber or similar rideshare provider accident, then don’t hesitate to contact Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA about receiving a free consultation on your Uber accident claim. Our skilled Uber and Lyft car accident lawyers have the experience in handling rideshare cases that you will need to secure the compensation that you deserve.
What is Uber?
Before we get into the specifics of what to do in the event of an Uber accident, it is important to understand what exactly Uber is and how that affects an accident scenario while utilizing their service. First and foremost, Uber is a rideshare company founded in San Francisco in the year 2009 as “UberCab”. The aim of the business was to provide a cheaper way to hire private drivers by pooling the cost with friends. This eventually grew to the massive company that spans the globe today offering a variety of services all based around the chartering of private transportation via an electronic application.
The most popular service and the one most applicable to most rider’s concerns of a rideshare car accidents is UberX which is the most commonly utilized of the company’s services created in 2012 and provides affordable transportation via ridesharing. In addition to this service are several others that provide transport via larger vehicles or luxury vehicles like UberSUV and UberBLACK
What is Ridesharing?
In order to decrease the cost of chartering the transportation services of a private driver, Uber created the system we call ridesharing. Its essentially just splitting the cost of a ride from a paid driver between friends headed to the same place or strangers headed in the same direction in the case of UberPOOL. By allowing people headed in the same direction to split the cost of a ride, the price of an Uber became much more affordable than a ride in a taxi or similar chartered car service. The rideshare business model created by Uber essentially rendered taxis obsolete and has been mimicked by rideshare companies all over the world.
Rideshare services provided by different companies will all have unique aspects to their services to differentiate them form the competition. However, rideshare companies across the board will typically have several common elements. Rideshare will typically be requested and paid for via an application that is accessable via a smartphone, tablet, computer, or similarly advanced electronic device. Then the app will plot out the route and calculate the cost so that a driver can take a passenger to their destination using a GPS. Also, there is usually some system which allows passengers and drivers to rate each other after a ride to ensure people behave appropriately or risk a low rating.
Who Drives Uber or Lyft Cars?
Uber drivers are considered freelance drivers rather than being directly employed by Uber or whichever rideshare service. This makes for a difficult situation in terms of liability in litigation since employers are usually liable for any employee accidents. Rideshare companies typically will run basic background checks on their drivers by screening driving, public, and criminal records of their drivers to make sure their consumers are in safe hands. Come have criticized Uber for not being as thorough as they should be and utilizing fingerprint scanning for a deeper background scan utilizing the FBI database which regular taxi companies do.
Rideshare Services Vs Taxi Services
Uber and other rideshare companies are actually not considered taxi companies. In fact, they are actually considered software companies that merely run an electronic application that acts as a middle man facilitating the services freelance drivers provide the consumer. Since they are classified differently from taxi companies, rideshare services like Uber and Lyft are able to circumvent certain regulations.
Unlike taxis, Uber and Lyft vehicles are not considered commercial vehicles. This is thanks to the fact that the vehicles are privately owned by the freelance drivers that simply work through rideshare apps to varying degrees unlike taxis that are vehicles devoted to the singular purpose of the taxi company’s service. since they are not considered commercial vehicles, Uber and Lyft driver vehicles are not subject to the same regulations for taxis that require them to have commercial vehicle insurance plans.
If You’re the Driver in a Rideshare Vehicle
If you’re a driver for either Uber or Lyft, you have $1 million in insurance protection as long as you have a designated rideshare passenger in the car with you, or if you’re on your way to get a rideshare passenger. If you are working, but neither have a passenger nor on the direct route to get a passenger, like say when you’re driving around waiting on a passenger request, the coverage you are eligible for from the rideshare’s insurance policy is dramatically lessened. The exact amount depends different circumstances.
Like any other accident in Florida, the Uber or Lyft rideshare insurance policy may not cover personal damages if you the accident is deemed to be your fault.
What should I know before becoming a rideshare driver?
You should always carefully read your own insurance policy and the insurance policy of the rideshare company you want to work for before signing up for, or signing, anything. It is up to you to make sure that you have the coverage you need and would expect while operating your vehicle for Uber or Lyft. If you have any questions about your policy, or Uber or Lyft’s policies, you can contact Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA to learn more or to consult about a recent incident.
[Read what Uber says about their insurance on their website.]
[Read what Lyft says about their insurance on their website.]
Is Uber Required to Have Insurance in Case of an Uber Car Accident?
With such widespread use of rideshare growing so quickly, certain parties have grown concerned over how accidents with Uber and other rideshare company vehicles will be handled. Details such as “How much insurance coverage will be given?”, “Who will get the coverage from this insurance?”, and “What will insurance cover or not cover?” all have been pondered not only by the consumers utilizing rideshare, but by regulatory entities that work to ensure the consumer is not taken advantage of.
Regulation of ridesharing services in Florida is covered by the bill HB221 signed on May 9th of 2017. Also called the “Uber/Lyft” bill, HB221 requires that rideshare drivers be insured while they are logged into the app but not driving a passenger and also when they are driving a passenger. The bill specifies that the insurance requirements of the bill may be met by either the driver or the rideshare company.
The minimum amounts specified by the Uber/Lyft bill for insurance coverage are:
Uber Car Accidents When on the app but not carrying a passenger:
- Primary automobile liability coverage of at least $50,000 for death and bodily injury per person;
- Primary automobile liability coverage of at least $100,000 for death and bodily injury per incident;
- PDL coverage of at least $25,000 per incident; and,
- PIP and uninsured/underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage as required by existing law.
Uber Car Accidents When Driving a Passenger:
- Primary automobile liability coverage of at least $1 million for death, bodily injury and property damage; and,
- PIP and UIM coverage as required by existing law.
Uber and Lyft Rideshare Insurance
Both Uber and Lyft have very similar insurance coverage plans in the event that there is an accident involving a vehicle using their service. They are both required by the state to provide a minimum of coverage according to the aforementioned HB221 bill and do follow those requirements but there is still a great deal of confusion over how exactly the insurance coverage works depending on the accident situation. The differences in coverage can be split up into several different situations of app usage and ride status.
1. Uber or Lyft car accidents when the rideshare app is off and inactive
Since the rideshare app is off and not being utilized at all, then the driving of the vehicle is considered to be of the driver’s own personal use. Therefore, it is up to the driver to use their own insurance plan for the accident since there is no involvement at all by whichever rideshare app they utilize. Also, both Uber and Lyft require drivers that utilize their app to have their own insurance plans for cases like this and some of the following situations.
2. Uber or Lyft car accidents when the rideshare app is on and the driver is idle and waiting for a ride request
In this case, the application is on and the driver is actively using whatever rideshare service to look for ride request. If a driver gets into an accident while they are actively searching for a ride request that is their fault, then the rideshare service’s insurance will cover liability damage with $50,000 for injuries per person and $100,000 total for the accident with $25,000 for property damage.
However, this coverage is only available if the driver’s personal insurance does not provide an equal or greater level of coverage. The driver’s own insurance will have to take care of any damages to them like collision damage to the car, medical expenses caused by injuries, and any lost wages due to the accident and/or injuries sustained from the rideshare accident.
It should be noted that a driver’s personal insurance may deny a claim if they have a policy where they do provide coverage if the vehicle was being used in a money earning capacity. It’s because of this that many drivers opt to get their own rideshare insurance which covers them for this specific period of time while they are working.
3. Uber or Lyft car accidents when the driver accepts a ride request and is en route or from when the passenger gets in the vehicle to when they exit
From the moment the driver accepts a ride request via the rideshare app to the moment a passenger disembarks the vehicle, the rideshare service provides coverage for both the driver and the passenger. Uber and Lyft both provide third party liability coverage of at least 1 million dollars per accident for damages to another driver, pedestrians, passengers, and property.
Uber and Lyft provide uninsured or underinsured motorist bodily injury coverage of at least 1 million dollars. This insurance coverage covers anyone in the vehicle when another motorist is at fault and either does not have insurance or does not have enough insurance to cover the damages they caused to the people in the other vehicle. This insurance also covers hit and runs where the at-fault driver cannot be found.
If a driver has collision coverage in their personal insurance for when they are not providing rideshare services, then they are eligible for contingent collision and comprehensive coverage. The coverage limit is limited up to the cash value of the vehicle with a $1000 deductible.
What You Should do After an Uber or Lyft Rideshare Car Accident
Being involved in a rideshare accident can be both disorienting and perplexing. The convoluted rules of who gets covered and for how much can be very stressful to deal with especially when someone is injured. Remember to always prioritize your health first after any accident and then consider litigation later. Things like back injuries and traumatic brain injuries can be sustained from any car accident and should be addressed immediately or else complications may occur.
If possible, after an accident try to remember any notable details and preserve as much information on the nature of the accident as possible. If you have a phone and are able, take a couple photos or video of the accident scene and damage. Get the information of all available parties and any possible witnesses. Most importantly remember that you don’t have to try and seek compensation alone. Insurance companies can be fickle and difficult in their dispensation of compensation. Seek the help of a skilled Florida rideshare accident lawyer.
Can I lose my access to Uber or Lyft if I make a claim?
How Can I Find a Florida Uber or Lyft Accident Lawyer Near me?
If you have been injured in a serious accident in the in the state of Florida, understanding when to seek the help of an attorney can be confusing. But generally, you should speak to an attorney as soon as you can; time is often a factor in personal injury cases. Our skilled Uber and Lyft accident attorneys leverage their considerable experience into obtaining significant settlements from insurance companies who are known for being reluctant to pay out on claims. To schedule a free consultation with one of our rideshare lawyers, call Sibley Dolman today at 727-451-6900 or send us an email through our online contact form.
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Posted by Dolman Law Group on Wednesday, July 18, 2018