Ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft have increased exponentially since these companies first emerged within the transportation industry. Rideshare services make it possible to travel easily without having to own a car or as an alternative when you do not feel like using your personal vehicle or public transportation. However, researchers from the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business identified a 3%-increase in the number of fatal motor vehicle crashes since the arrival of popular ridesharing services. If you were hurt in a ridesharing accident, it can be difficult to recover the compensation you deserve because ridesharing accidents add an extra layer of complexity to personal injury claims. You might consider contacting Stabinski Law at (305) 643-3100 for legal advice based on your particular circumstances.
What to Do if You Are Injured in a Ridesharing Accident
The moments after a ridesharing accident can be confusing. However, by following this list of steps, accident victims can possibly protect their rights and their legal claim:
- Seek medical attention – If someone is hurt in a car crash of any sort, they should seek immediate medical attention. Even if a victim does not go to the emergency room, they should receive a full medical evaluation by a professional in order to ensure that there are no hidden injuries that could be life-threatening.
- Report the accident – It is important to have written proof of the accident so injured victims can use it to inform the insurance company about it. Victims can take the first step to provide this proof by reporting the accident to law enforcement. If they were a passenger in the rideshare vehicle at the time of the accident, they might want to make a written report within the app.
- Document the scene – Car crashes are quickly cleaned up, so if the evidence is not immediately preserved, it may be lost forever. Accident victims may be able to snap a few photos of the scene, property damage, and their injuries, which can help if liability is later disputed.
- Be careful speaking to others – Accident victims who make such comments as “sorry” or “I’m fine” may unwittingly damage their claim. Therefore, they may need to be guarded with their words at the scene of the accident. They may also need to avoid talking about the accident to others or posting information about it on social media since insurance adjusters or their lawyers may get a hold of this information and try to use it against them.
- Contact a lawyer – An experienced lawyer from Stabinski Law can handle communication with the insurance company and its lawyers. We can help guide you through this process and provide you with other advice to help your claim.
Insurance Requirements for Rideshare Services in Florida
Florida Statute § 627.748 sets out various rules for rideshare services that operate throughout Florida, referred to as “transportation network companies” or “TNCs.” Under this law, TNC drivers are required to maintain primary auto insurance that recognizes that the driver is a TNC driver and covers the driver while logged into the rideshare app. While the driver is not logged onto the app, they must have liability coverage of:
- $50,000 for death or bodily injury for one person
- $100,000 for death or bodily injury per accident
- $25,000 in property damage
While the driver is logged into the app, their liability coverage must be at least $1 million for death, bodily injury, and property damage. Additionally, they must maintain the same personal injury protection and uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage required of all drivers in Florida.
Proving Fault in a Rideshare Accident
Florida is considered a no-fault insurance state, meaning that drivers turn to their own insurance company for coverage for the losses stemming from auto accidents, regardless of who was at fault for the accident. However, if this insurance amount is not sufficient, injured victims may be able to file a claim against the at-fault driver if the injury is “serious.” Under Florida law, this means that the accident resulted in one of the following:
- Significant and permanent loss of an important bodily function
- Permanent injury (within a reasonable degree of medical certainty)
- Significant and permanent scarring or disfigurement
To recover compensation from an at-fault driver, it will be necessary to show the driver was negligent. This basically breaks down to showing how the other driver broke the law or acted in a careless manner while driving. Evidence that may help establish negligence in a car accident might include:
- Accident report
- Photos or videos of the accident scene
- The location of the damage to each vehicle
- Eyewitness statements
- Opinions from expert witnesses, such as accident reconstruction and medical experts
Potential Compensation in Ridesharing Accidents
Ridesharing accident victims may be able to recover compensation for the damages they sustain as a result of the accident. Every claim is different. However, damages that might be recovered in a ridesharing accident claim might include:
- Payment for current, past, and future medical expenses
- Lost income, including lost wages while the victim is recovering from their injuries and reduced earning capacity if the victim is not able to return to the same line of work after the accident
- Costs to repair or replace personal property damaged in the accident
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
Common Legal Challenges in Ridesharing Accident Claims
Although ridesharing companies may have higher standard insurance policies than other types of motorists, ridesharing accident victims may have difficulty recovering fair compensation due to the complexity of these types of claims. Some common legal obstacles ridesharing accident victims may confront include:
- Determining which insurance policy applied at the time of the accident
- Having the claim denied by the driver’s personal insurance policy
- Having a driver who does not have any insurance or has insufficient insurance
- Covering injuries for multiple people involved in the accident
- Trying to collect from a rideshare company that may be insulated from liability due to the “independent contractor” business model
- Negotiating for fair compensation with an insurance company that fiercely protects its bottom line
Contact Stabinski Law for Help with a Rideshare Accident Claim
If you were injured in a ridesharing accident, you may be considering hiring a personal injury lawyer for help with your case. For help with your accident claim, consider contacting Stabinski Law at (305) 643-3100.