Ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft are more popular than ever. Although they are a convenient way of getting around or making money, there are liability concerns after an accident. Drivers and passengers alike need to know how legal liability works in a Florida Uber or Lyft accident.
There are some special considerations when an accident occurs that involves an Uber or Lyft driver. Depending on the circumstances of your specific situation, you may need the help of an experienced car accident attorney to navigate liability issues. Here’s what you need to know about legal liability for Uber and Lyft accidents in Florida.
Major Ridesharing 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 rideshare drivers to carry much more than the minimum insurance.
Rideshare 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 rideshare 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. When the driver is looking for a passenger, the lower insurance maximums apply.
Florida’s Accident Liability Rules Still Apply
With the rideshare 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 of Florida’s no-fault system and bring a claim for full compensation. The at-fault driver covers the property damages for the other driver and passengers. You may also have optional collision coverage that compensates you for property damages if you cause the accident.
You May Collect From the Rideshare Company If You’re a Passenger
If you’re the passenger in the Uber or Lyft vehicle, you can look to the rideshare insurance policy for your injuries. If you suffer catastrophic injuries, the at-fault driver is the one responsible for your losses. If that’s the Uber or Lyft driver, you look directly to their insurance policy.
In cases where the other driver is at fault, you might find that 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 you’re riding in a rideshare vehicle.
If You’re the Driver in a Rideshare Vehicle
If you’re driving for Uber or Lyft, your $1 million insurance guarantee protects you anytime that you have a passenger or you’re on the way to get a passenger. When you’re looking for a passenger, the rideshare 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 your rideshare company’s insurance guarantees to make sure that you have the coverage that you want and need for your rideshare business.
Florida’s Rideshare Driver No-Tolerance Laws
Florida’s new ride-sharing insurance laws require rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft to carefully vet people that they allow to work for their companies. 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, the rideshare companies must make sure that all of their drivers have a valid license.
If a working driver is suspected of drunk driving, the rideshare company must suspend them from offering services. They must suspend them until the drunk driving allegations are resolved whether or not the drunk driving occurs while driving for the rideshare company. If the driver receives a disqualifying conviction, they may not continue to work for the rideshare company.
If the rideshare company doesn’t follow these mandatory safeguards and you’re hurt as a result, you may have an additional claim of action against the rideshare company. In addition to liability for the events of the accident itself, you may have a claim against the company for their failures 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 Rideshare Driver Isn’t Using Their Vehicle for Ridesharing?
If the rideshare driver isn’t using their vehicle for rideshare purposes, Florida’s regular car accident laws apply. It’s as if the rideshare 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?
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 what to do to get the compensation that you deserve.
At Jack Bernstein, Injury Attorneys we have decades of experience helping accident victims resolve their cases. We are knowledgeable about the latest changes to the law so we can help you pursue every avenue for fair compensation.