As more and more people come to rely on rideshare services, like Uber and Lyft, we are seeing an increased number of these vehicles on our highways and roads. Unfortunately, this has led to an increased number of accidents. According to a study from the University of Chicago and Rice University, app-based rideshare services have been linked to a 2- 3% increase in traffic-related fatalities in the United States since their introduction.
At Shapiro Law Firm, P.A., we have been representing victims of all types of car accidents in Leon County since 1997. Our Tallahassee rideshare accident attorney is well-versed in recent updates to Florida’s car accident laws, including issues involving Uber, Lyft, and other rideshare services. If you were injured or if someone you love died in a crash involving a rideshare vehicle, our firm is here to help.
Compensation After an Uber or Lyft Accident
Whether you are the passenger of an Uber or become involved in an accident with a Lyft driver while in another vehicle, you have several options when it comes to recovering compensation after the crash.
In most cases, victims of car accidents in Florida can recover compensation for certain economic losses through their personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. This coverage is available to all insured drivers, regardless of fault. This means that you do not need to prove that the rideshare driver (or another party) was responsible for the accident to be compensated; as long as you have auto insurance in Florida, you are covered.
However, PIP only covers certain losses, and the coverage it offers is limited. For example, PIP does not provide any compensation for pain and suffering after an accident, and it only covers up to 60% of lost wages and 80% of medical expenses up to $10,000. If your injuries are not considered a “medical emergency,” you can only receive $2,500 from your PIP insurance.
But if you are involved in a serious rideshare accident, your medical bills are highly likely to exceed $10,000, not to mention you are likely to experience considerable other economic and non-economic losses. Because of this, it may be necessary to pursue other forms of compensation.
Can You Sue Uber or Lyft for an Accident?
While both Uber and Lyft make it relatively difficult for accident victims to sue, it is not impossible. These rideshare companies classify their drivers as independent contractors, not employees. This limits the company’s liability, as they are not beholden to the same respondeat superior rules that affect other employers. Under respondeat superior rules, employers are generally liable for the conduct of their employees while those employees are working, but this does not apply when companies hire independent contractors.
That being said, both Uber and Lyft do offer insurance coverage for those injured in accidents caused by their drivers.
This coverage only applies in the following situations:
- The rideshare driver has the app turned on/is actively working on behalf of the rideshare company
- The rideshare driver is actively looking for a ride (but has not accepted one yet) or has accepted a ride
- The rideshare driver is on the way to pick up a passenger who has requested a ride or has a passenger in the vehicle
When the rideshare driver has the app turned on but has not yet accepted a ride and causes an accident, Uber and Lyft offer limited coverage for bodily injury/death and property damage. When the rideshare driver has accepted a ride (or is “on a trip”) and is either on the way to pick up a passenger or has the passenger in the vehicle, Uber and Lyft offer up to $1 million in compensation. This means that if you were injured as a passenger or if you were hurt while the rideshare driver was picking up or dropping off a passenger, the $1 million coverage limit applies.
How to File an Accident Claim with Uber or Lyft
First, to have grounds to step outside the Florida no-fault system and file a claim directly against the rideshare driver/company, there are several things you must prove:
- You were injured in an accident
- Your injuries meet the state’s “serious injury” threshold
- The rideshare driver was at least partially responsible for the accident
You can only bring a lawsuit against the rideshare driver and/or rideshare company if you can prove that your injuries are “serious,” as defined by the state. Florida considers injuries to be “serious” if they include bone fractures or result in significant and/or permanent impairment of an important bodily function, system, organ, or member or if they result in significant and total disability for at least 90 days. So, if you suffered a brain injury or spinal cord injury, you likely have grounds to file a lawsuit. If you were merely bruised and suffered a few minor cuts, however, you likely do not.
To file an accident claim with Uber or Lyft, you will also need to prove that the collision occurred during one of the covered driving periods outlined above (i.e., when the rideshare driver was actively seeking a ride request or on a trip). Even if you are able to prove these elements, you could still encounter challenges with your claim. We strongly recommend that you contact our Tallahassee rideshare accident lawyer for help with your case. At Shapiro Law Firm, P.A., we understand the complexities of the law and can ensure your rights are protected.
Fighting for the Injured Since 1997
As a local personal injury law firm and member of the community, Shapiro Law Firm, P.A. is proud to represent clients in and around Leon County who have suffered serious, life-altering injuries and losses due to the negligence of others. We are dedicated to our clients and make it our mission to provide the caring, compassionate representation they deserve. Our rideshare accident attorneys in Tallahassee has developed a reputation for honest, trustworthy service and an aggressive approach that gets our clients the results they need.
When it comes to your rideshare accident case, Attorney Paul Shapiro is here to answer your questions and address any concerns you may have. We provide initial consultations in person or by phone completely free of charge and with zero obligation for you. We also offer our legal services on a contingency fee basis, meaning there are no upfront or out-of-pocket expenses. Instead, we only collect attorney fees after we have successfully secured a settlement or verdict on your behalf.
Paul A. Shapiro
I became a personal injury attorney because I wanted to help people. What we do here is really about you – it's about your injuries… your rights… and it's about fairness and justice for you. After 25 years in practice in Tallahassee, I'm proud to have provided counsel, and helped so many people get what they really deserve. At Shapiro Law Firm, P.A., we will always keep the personal in personal injury law.
— Paul A. Shapiro, Personal Injury Lawyer" Read Full Bio
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