What Will Happen If You’re Injured By A Rideshare Driver In Florida?
Rideshare services such as Uber, Lyft, and Sidecar have been steadily gaining popularity for years, in Florida as well as across the nation. Despite a major effort by Florida’s taxi companies to block ridesharing companies from operating within the state, rideshare companies are a part of the transportation market and will be for the foreseeable future. Riders may enjoy the convenience and the affordable rates that ridesharing offers, but there are risks to consider as well. As with any new business, there are issues to be worked out, and as ridesharing is somewhat new to Florida it is still not regulated. What does this mean for those involved in a rideshare accident? It means that when a rideshare accident occurs your rideshare driver’s insurance company may not compensate you for your injuries.
Uber and other rideshare companies may be underinsured and unfortunately, if someone is injured by a rideshare driver in Florida, the company may not provide you the compensation you deserve and should be granted, to cover losses and damages such as medical expenses, loss of income, etc.
So what are your options and how do you take proactive steps to get the compensation you deserve when you’ve been injured? The answer to this question is simple—you need an attorney on your side who has a track record of success and extensive experience handling accident cases, one who is familiar with the rideshare policies and rideshare claims, and skilled with transportation service cases. Our firm has the experience you need and we can confidently take on any rideshare company on your behalf.
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Understanding Rideshare Services
To properly comprehend your risks you should have an understanding of how rideshare companies do business and how they function. Additionally, it’s critically important to have a general understanding of how rideshare companies differ from traditional taxicab services.
From the moment you step into a licensed taxicab in Florida, you are aware that your driver is an employee of his or her taxicab company. You can also generally have some confidence that the company is properly insured, and thus prepared for any potential accidents that may occur during your ride. However, rideshare services hire drivers as independent contractors, and as such these rideshare drivers provide their own cars and are unfortunately allowed to use their own personal auto insurance for liability coverage in the event of an accident.
The basics of a rideshare transaction are as follows: the person seeking a ride requests a pickup via the app, at which point a nearby driver is notified and the app sends a message to the ride seeker that their driver is on his or her way. The driver will pick up the passenger, drop them at their desired destination, and then the driver logs the trip through the app, which will determine the fare split between the driver and rideshare company.
The rideshare system is excellent for rideshare companies as they have a low overhead which helps them to be profitable, but unfortunately, their service may leave other drivers and passengers, rideshare riders, and pedestrians exposed and vulnerable if an accident occurs.
Is It Possible That A Rideshare Company Such As Uber Or Lyft May Not Cover My Injury In An Accident?
Sadly, this is a common predicament that accident victims often are forced to deal with when an accident is caused by a negligent rideshare driver. As there are many possible loopholes in regard to coverage, rideshare companies may be able to find a way to avoid paying you what you deserve when an accident happens. Let’s consider some of the potential problems that you may encounter following an accident.
A Driver’s Personal Auto Insurance May Not Cover Ridesharing
Many people are unaware that most typical personal auto insurance policies specifically state that they will not cover accidents if the policyholder is ‘driving for profit.’ This may come as a surprise to rideshare riders, as they may falsely assume that simply because the rideshare company allows their drivers to use their personal liability insurance that rideshare riders are completely covered. As a result, many rideshare riders are shocked to find that their injuries may not be covered in an accident.
You Might Have To Use Your Own Insurance To Cover Your Injuries Or Losses
You may be forced to use your own insurance to cover injuries or losses if your rideshare driver’s policy will not cover you. But many people may only carry the basic minimum insurance that could fall short of covering medical expenses and other needed compensation, and others may not have insurance at all as they are not even drivers. The latter is especially possible for urban dwellers who may have no need for a car due to efficient public transportation services. In these situations, injured victims may be exposed and find themselves with little or no insurance options to help them.
You May Not Be Covered By What Rideshare Companies Often Refer To As ‘Additional Coverage’
While many rideshare companies tout that they provide up to $1 million in additional coverage if any of their drivers’ insurance is insufficient to cover damages and injuries, etc., the sobering truth is that some state regulators have concluded that these additional coverage policies may still fall short of complete coverage for underinsured motorists or medical bills.
Rideshare Companies May Not Cover Drivers Who Are Actually Between Fares
One case that grabbed national attention recently was the accident that left a 6-year old girl dead after being struck by a San Francisco Uber driver. In this landmark case, Uber initially attempted to decline responsibility on the grounds that their driver was not engaged in services for the company due to the fact that he, at the time, wasn’t carrying a passenger, although he was using the Uber app. After receiving much negative publicity for the case, Uber implemented changes to their policy, and as such they are now liable for their drivers who are in between fares. While this is an improvement for the industry, still other rideshare companies may not necessarily follow Uber’s lead and as such could leave many without coverage.
Accept No Excuses
When someone is injured by a rideshare driver, they don’t want to hear excuses or be told that their injuries or losses are uncovered. Accident victims want assurance that they are covered to the fullest extent possible and that’s why it is important to work with a skilled, experienced attorney who can navigate the often-perilous arena of accident injury cases and claims. Our attorneys have the necessary knowledge to handle these cases and claims and get our clients the settlements, verdicts, and maximum compensation that they deserve.
After all, when you put your safety in the hands of a rideshare service, you deserve to be cared for during your travel with them. When they are negligent and cause you to suffer an injury, you should be compensated. Contact our firm for a free consultation and let us begin working to protect your rights!
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