Life gets busy, there are seemingly a million things to do every day in our elaborate, technology-laden lives, so it’s no surprise that many people now choose to leave the driving to someone else. In Florida, ridesharing is a popular way to get around town and companies such as Uber and Lyft are dominating the rideshare market. With easy-to-use smartphone apps, clean vehicles, and affordable fares, ridesharing is a great solution for practically any transportation-oriented task, errand, or just to simply get from here to there. But as more and more people are opting for the rideshare solution to meet their traveling needs, accidents are increasing as well.
While most people may have a general understanding of how insurance works in regards to accidents; insurance coverage in regard to rideshare companies can be complex and tricky. Regulation for companies like Uber and Lyft vary greatly from city to city as rideshare services began popping up across the nation, and sometimes the areas of safety and insurance were potential minefields requiring careful movement for those seeking coverage after an accident. In 2017, Governor Rick Scott signed HB 221 that required Florida companies to adhere to specific standards.
The new law required the following for rideshare companies:
- Maintain insurance that exceeds the standard Florida minimum requirement
- Initiate and complete comprehensive background checks for all drivers
- Institute a zero-tolerance policy regarding drug and alcohol abuse
- Suspend all drivers suspected of driving while under the influence pending a thorough investigation
- Strictly require that all drivers comply with a firm non-discrimination policy
While the new law did facilitate the process for those who find themselves seeking coverage or restitution after a rideshare accident that is not their fault, the road to that relief can still be bumpy. To make things go as smoothly as possible there are some basic steps that everyone should follow in the event they are involved in a rideshare accident. Let’s consider some of those.
If You Are a Passenger
Passengers always have rights when an accident occurs. First and foremost, if anyone is injured, seek immediate emergency medical help and be sure to keep all records and reports, receipts, etc. that pertain to any medical attention. Secondly, regardless of what the driver may say, always contact the police department or appropriate, official department of jurisdiction, such as highway patrol, etc. so there will be a formal accident report filed. If a dispute arises later over coverage or fault, an official accident report will be helpful. It’s always a good idea to speak with onlookers as soon as possible as they could be potential valuable witnesses and many people will stop to look for a moment then move on, so it is important to get their contact information before they go. Also, take photos of the entire scene, vehicles involved, the area, etc., for as the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words, and photo documentation could possibly help you with your case or claim.
If You Are a Driver
Drivers should follow the same steps and take the same actions as a passenger would. If you are the driver you should seek medical attention for yourself or passengers if needed. You should talk to potential witnesses, get their contact information, and also contact the appropriate law enforcement department of jurisdiction to get an official report on record. And as always, take a lot of photos to document the entire scene. Finally, remember to exchange contact and insurance information with the other driver or drivers involved in the accident.
The process and path to coverage and restitution can be complex and sometimes confusing. Florida rideshare drivers are required by law to carry at least the minimum liability coverage, but personal policies may not cover an accident if the accident occurs while a driver is working for a rideshare company. Rideshare giants, Uber and Lyft do offer liability coverage but the specific amount offered and the periods when it is actually active can vary greatly depending on when the accident happened. As it is often a complicated process, a skilled attorney with rideshare accident experience can be helpful. We have that experience and can answer all your questions regarding rideshare accident coverage and restitution. Contact us right away for a free consultation to discuss your accident. Our goal, always, is to get every one of our clients the maximum coverage and compensation that they deserve.
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