Liability in a Florida Uber or Lyft Car Accident

Man on phone after an uber car accident

In recent years, ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft have revolutionized the way we travel. With just a few taps on our smartphones, we can now easily connect with drivers who can swiftly transport us to our desired destinations. 

While these convenient services have undoubtedly enhanced our lives, it is crucial for drivers and riders to understand the potential legal ramifications in the unfortunate event of an accident involving an Uber or Lyft vehicle. This article will explore liability in a Florida Uber or Lyft car accident and other considerations specific to Florida’s jurisdiction, shedding light on the responsibilities and insurance policies that govern such accidents and when to contact a Tampa car accident lawyer. 

Major ride-sharing companies have large insurance policies to cover accidents

Florida law requires all vehicle owners to carry a minimum amount of car insurance. The minimums for all Florida drivers are $10,000 in personal injury protection (PIP) insurance and $10,000 in property damage liability (PDL) insurance. However, Florida has an additional law that requires ride-share drivers to carry much more than the minimum insurance.

Ride-share drivers must have at least $1 million in liability coverage for property damage, physical injury, and death. They must also carry the PIP insurance minimums that apply to all drivers. Even when an Uber or Lyft driver isn’t actively driving a passenger, they still must have $50,000 in physical injury or death liability coverage that applies anytime a driver has the app on to look for a customer.

Most ride-share companies voluntarily provide generous insurance policies for their drivers. For example, Uber includes insurance for all of their drivers in amounts that coincide with Florida law, and they also provide a $1 million insurance policy for liability to any third party because of an accident. Also, they offer insurance for their drivers in case they’re the victim of an uninsured or underinsured motorist. The $1 million policy applies when a driver has a passenger or when they’re on their way to get a passenger. The lower insurance maximums apply when the driver is looking for a passenger.

Factors that influence who pays

When it comes to determining liability in a Florida Uber or Lyft car accident, several factors come into play:

  1. The driver is transporting a rider: One crucial factor is whether the driver was actively transporting a rider at the time of the accident. In such cases, Uber and Lyft have insurance policies that typically provide coverage for any damages or injuries sustained by passengers or third parties.
  2. The driver is actively seeking a rider: If the driver was merely seeking a passenger or waiting for a ride request when the accident occurred, there may be limited coverage provided by Uber or Lyft’s insurance policy. This reduced coverage amount varies depending on whether the app was running and available to accept rides at the time of the incident.
  3. The driver is not using the ride-share app: If an accident happens while the driver is not using their ride-share app, neither Uber nor Lyft will typically offer any insurance coverage. In these situations, individual personal auto insurance held by drivers would act as primary coverage.

Understanding these distinctions and how they influence liability can be critical in properly assessing responsibility after an Uber or Lyft car accident in Florida. 

Whether you are someone who has been injured as a passenger or another driver involved in an incident with one of these ride-sharing vehicles, it is vital to consult legal professionals experienced in navigating these complex issues to ensure your rights are protected throughout this process.

Florida’s accident liability rules still apply

With the ride-share laws in place, Florida’s accident liability laws still operate to decide how accident losses are covered. If the Uber driver is at fault and you suffer only minor injuries, it’s still up to each driver to cover their own personal injury losses.

If you suffer a serious or permanent injury, you can go outside Florida’s no-fault system and claim full compensation. The at-fault driver covers the property damages for the other driver and passengers. You may also have optional collision coverage compensating you for property damages if you cause the accident.

Who pays if someone is injured in an Uber or Lyft accident?

Determining who pays for serious injuries sustained in an Uber or Lyft accident depends on the specific circumstances of the incident. Generally, three potential sources may be responsible for covering the damages:

  1. Ride-share company insurance: Both Uber and Lyft provide liability insurance coverage for their drivers while they are transporting passengers. If a passenger or third party is injured in an accident caused by the ride-share driver’s negligence during an active ride (when a passenger is present), the ride-share company’s insurance policy typically comes into play to cover medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other related damages.
  2. Driver’s personal insurance: In Florida, both Uber and Lyft require their drivers to maintain personal auto insurance that meets certain minimum requirements. If an accident occurs while a driver is seeking passengers but does not have a rider in their car (before accepting a trip request), limited coverage from the ride-share company might apply, and the driver’s personal insurance policy supplements it.
  3. Other responsible parties: In some cases, if another party was partly or entirely at fault for causing the accident, such as another negligent driver, their insurance provider may also bear responsibility for compensating any injured parties involved.

Given these complexities surrounding liability and varying levels of coverage depending on activity status within each app, it is crucial to consult with experienced car accident attorneys in Tampa specializing in ride-sharing accidents in order to understand your rights and pursue appropriate compensation fully.

You may collect from the ride-share company if you’re a passenger

If you’re an Uber or Lyft vehicle passenger, you can look to the ride-share insurance policy for your injuries. The at-fault driver is responsible for your losses if you suffer catastrophic injuries. If that’s the Uber or Lyft driver, you look directly at their insurance policy.

In cases where the other driver is at fault, you might find they don’t have sufficient insurance to cover your losses. In that case, the Uber or Lyft policy should kick in to cover what the other driver can’t cover. If you’re the passenger in an Uber or Lyft vehicle, you can rest assured that the $1 million insurance policy should cover losses in almost any situation when riding in a ride-share car.

If you’re the driver in a ride-share vehicle

If you’re driving for Uber or Lyft, your $1 million insurance guarantee protects you anytime you have a passenger or are on the way to get a passenger. When you’re looking for a passenger, the ride-share company’s insurance policies may be lower.

Also, the insurance policy may not cover your personal losses if you’re at fault for an accident. You should carefully read your personal insurance policy and ride-share company’s insurance guarantees to ensure you have the coverage you want and need for your ride-share business.

When the other driver is at fault

When the other driver, who is not affiliated with Uber or Lyft, is at fault for an accident involving an Uber or Lyft vehicle, the responsibility for covering injuries and damages typically falls on that at-fault driver’s insurance provider. In this scenario, one or more of the following may apply:

  1. Other driver’s insurance: The injured parties can file a claim with the liability insurance carrier of the negligent driver. This process involves gathering evidence to demonstrate that the other driver was responsible for causing the accident and resulting injuries.
  2. Underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage: If the at-fault driver does not have adequate insurance coverage or if they flee from the scene (hit-and-run), injured individuals may be able to turn to their own underinsured/uninsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage through their personal auto insurance policy. UM/UIM coverage kicks in when another party lacks sufficient coverage to compensate for damages fully.
  3. Ride-share company contingent liability coverage: Additionally, both Uber and Lyft provide contingent liability coverage once a ride-share driver accepts a trip request but has yet to pick up passengers. This means that if an accident occurs during this phase where another driver is responsible but lacks adequate insurance, ride-share companies may offer additional coverage beyond what is available through personal policies.

These situations can become complex due to overlapping insurance policies and potential disputes between multiple insurers involved. As such, it remains essential for any individual injured in a Florida Uber or Lyft car accident caused by someone else to consult with knowledgeable personal injury lawyers as soon as possible. 

Florida’s ride-share driver no-tolerance laws

Florida’s new ride-sharing insurance laws require ride-share companies like Uber and Lyft to vet people they allow to work for their companies carefully. Under the laws, the company must background check new applicants. They may not work with a driver if the driver has a drunk driving conviction in the five years before their application. They must also reject applicants with a reckless driving conviction, a hit and run, or another disqualifying traffic offense within the five years before their application. Sex offenders are also disallowed. Finally, ride-share companies must ensure that all their drivers have a valid license.

If a working driver is suspected of drunk driving, the ride-share company must suspend them from offering services. They must suspend them until the drunk driving allegations are resolved, whether or not the drunk driving occurred while driving for the ride-share company. If the driver receives a disqualifying conviction, they may not continue to work for the ride-share company.

If the ride-share company doesn’t follow these mandatory safeguards and you’re hurt as a result, you may have an additional claim of action against the ride-share company. In addition to liability for the events of the accident itself, you may have a claim against the company for their failure to take the necessary steps to check the safety of their drivers. Your lawyer can help you investigate to see if this type of liability may apply in your case.

What happens when a ride-share driver isn’t using their vehicle for ride-sharing?

If the ride-share driver isn’t using their vehicle for ride-share purposes, Florida’s regular car accident laws apply. It’s as if ride-share insurance doesn’t exist. Florida law requires each person to look to their own personal injury protection insurance to cover minor injuries. You may bring a traditional claim to cover property damage or serious or permanent injuries.

How can a car accident attorney help?

A car accident attorney in Tampa works at his desk with his client. Next to him is a gavel and paperwork.

An accident with an Uber or Lyft can be confusing. Whether you’re the driver, the passenger, or in another vehicle, you may not know how to get the compensation you deserve.

A car accident attorney from Jack Bernstein, Injury Attorneys in Tampa, can provide invaluable assistance in navigating the legal complexities surrounding Uber or Lyft accidents. Here are several ways in which we can help:

  1. Legal expertise: Our experienced car accident attorneys specialize in ride-sharing cases with a thorough understanding of the laws and regulations specific to Florida’s jurisdiction. We are well-versed in the intricacies of liability, insurance coverage, and applicable statutes that govern Uber or Lyft accidents.
  2. Investigation and evidence gathering: Our attorneys have the resources and expertise to investigate the accident comprehensively. This includes gathering evidence such as police reports, witness statements, surveillance footage, medical records, and other pertinent documentation necessary to establish fault and liability.
  3. Insurance claims management: Dealing with insurance companies can be arduous and intimidating. Our skilled car accident attorneys can handle all communication with insurance providers on your behalf, ensuring that you are treated fairly during negotiations for compensation.
  4. Determining liability: In cases where multiple parties may share responsibility for an accident — negligent drivers and ride-share companies — our attorneys will assess each party’s potential contribution to determine who should be held accountable for damages suffered by their client
  5. Maximizing compensation: Our lawyers will work diligently to calculate the full extent of your damages resulting from injuries sustained in an Uber or Lyft accident, such as medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and fight for fair compensation on your behalf either through settlements or pursuing litigation if necessary
  6. Representation throughout legal proceedings: If your case proceeds to trial arbitration, our experienced car accident attorneys represent you and gather expert witnesses and related evidence required to prove

If you have been in an accident involving an Uber or Lyft, call us at (813) 333-6666 or fill out our contact form. There is no fee unless we win.


FLA STAT 768.81. (2023).

Florida Cash Dashboard. (2023).

Moon, C. (2023). Florida ride-share Insurance & Legal Requirements for Drivers.

The information contained herein is intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Seek competent legal counsel for advice on any legal matter.

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