Rideshare Injury Cases: What Passengers and Accident Victims Should Know
Insurance and litigation involving rideshare injury victims and car accidents can be a very messy area. The presence of a rideshare driver does not always mean that their employer or the company that they contract with is responsible for paying damages.
When you have been injured, the last thing you want to be dealing with is the insurance companies. In this article, we will cover some of the insurance framework set up to handle rideshare accidents and what to do if you are injured in such an instance.
Taxi Cab Rides
Accidents involving taxi cabs are more likely to occur in tourist states like Florida or New York. Understanding your legal rights to compensation can be even trickier when you were not driving or are not the owner of the vehicle.
Because taxi drivers earn money with each ride, they oftentimes prioritize speed over safety. Speed is certainly a top concern for drivers who are always looking to pick up another passenger.
Most states mandate a set limit for insurance coverage per accident involving a taxi cab. For example, Florida state has a max injury payout of $250,000 per incident, a sum which is divided between all injured parties in an accident. Just because these laws are in place, however, does not mean they are always followed.
Some taxi companies skirt around the insurance laws by abiding by the bare minimum coverage amount. This means that your compensation could vary depending on not only which state you are injured in, but also which taxi cab company you were riding with at the time of the accident.
In the case of a taxi cab injury, you want to make sure that you go to the hospital right away and properly report the accident. If your driver insists on not reporting the incident, it is likely because he/she knows the company does not have the correct insurance coverage.
For many years now, the debate swirling around the culpability of rideshare companies and their drivers has continued to intensify. The fact of the matter stands: who is responsible in case of a rideshare accident?
In March 2018, a woman in Arizona was crossing the street with her bike when she was struck and killed instantly by a self-driving Uber vehicle. Since then, there has been much discussion on the dangers of these vehicles. The accident also raised concerns about how Uber ensures the safety of drivers and passengers when it takes no responsibility for them.
In this instance, both Uber and the pedestrian were considered partially-liable, as the pedestrian was not looking in the direction of the vehicle when it was heading towards her.
The problem with these companies is that they consider their drivers as independent contractors. Unlike cab companies—who take responsibility for the actions of their employees—UberX and Lyft do not always have to do so.
Since rideshare drivers are not employees, they do not have the same protections and resources as cab drivers and this can cause major insurance and legal issues for anyone injured in a rideshare accident. For most states, Uber will insure up to one million dollars in coverage per ride.
Because rideshare companies have fought to have their drivers as independent contractors and given that they already provide insurance coverage per ride, it is difficult to sue these companies directly for damages.
In many cases, if you were to seek legal damages to cover injuries sustained in a rideshare accident, you would be engaging with the driver who caused the accident.
Here are a couple of scenarios to consider:
Your Driver is at Fault: If your Uber or Lyft driver caused the accident leading to your injuries, the most likely scenario is that you would be covered under the rideshare company’s liability insurance policy. In some cases, you may also be dealing with the driver’s personal insurance company. This all depends on whether Uber accepts responsibility for the entirety of the damages.
The Other Driver is at Fault: If the driver of the other vehicle is at fault, you would most likely be covered under their insurance policy.
Overall, the landscape of culpability in the event of a rideshare injury can be quite messy. Naturally, insurance companies for all parties will attempt to deny responsibility for compensation, so these issues can take a long time to settle.
What to Do After an Accident Involving a Rideshare Injury
The only thing you will likely be worried about after an accident is taking care of your injuries. As far as the insurance process for a rideshare injury, there will be a lot of steps that you cannot control—it is best to focus on getting healthier.
If you have been in an accident with a driving company, there are a couple of important things you should do in the hours and days following:
Attend to your injuries: If you are experiencing any injuries after the accident, you should get yourself to a hospital right away and make sure that you are okay. Neck and back injuries are common and can get worse as time goes on. If you have any pain at all, make sure to get it checked out, as you could be experiencing internal injuries without realizing it.
Avoid settling your insurance claims right away: Insurance companies want to resolve issues quickly with as little liability as possible. This is an attempt to end their responsibility before the extent of damages is known. If you have injuries that drag out over months and sometimes years but you accepted an insurance settlement immediately after the accident, the companies are not legally obligated to pay for any additional medical expenses.
Call a lawyer right away: Accident attorneys understand the tactics that insurance companies will use to try and settle claims right away. A lawyer will help you navigate the confusing conflict between different insurers so that you can focus on getting better.
If you live in Florida, the legal team of Zimmerman and Frachtman is dedicated to helping our clients fight big rideshare companies who seek to avoid blame. We cover negligence claims that deal with personal injuries and wrongful death lawsuits.
We have more than 25 years of experience in personal injury law, and our talented legal team has recovered more than $300 million in settlements and trial verdicts for its clients. Contact us right away if you have been injured in a rideshare accident and need legal help.
Florida Automobile Insurance Policy Concerning Rideshare Injury Cases
In the state of Florida, every automobile insurance policy provides personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. This is designed to cover a driver and passengers if they are injured. This is described in Florida Statute §627.736.
An important aspect of this coverage is how the insured has to seek medical treatment within 14 days of the accident. Doing this will make it possible for them to have $10,000 in medical bills paid by an insurance company. The insured must be treated by a medical physician and not a chiropractor.
PIP is designed to make certain an injured person receives necessary medical treatment after an automobile accident. Their initial medical bills are covered. The insured can then wait to file an insurance claim or lawsuit.
If a person is hit by a rideshare vehicle in Florida, their insurance should cover the initial $10,000 of medical costs if all requirements are met. Should a person be a passenger in a rideshare vehicle, and sustain an injury during an accident, they may not have PIP coverage. Taxis and limos in Florida are not required to carry PIP insurance coverage. This means rideshare vehicles are not required to have it either.
Bodily Injury Coverage
A driver in Florida is not required to carry bodily injury coverage. This means it is possible for a driver to cause an auto accident and not pay anything to the victim. To avoid problems in this situation, it is recommended drivers get Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage to protect them and their passengers.
Florida Rideshare Injury Insurance
Passengers riding in vehicles operated by Lyft and Uber in Florida are covered by bodily injury insurance. This coverage protects the driver as well as passengers. Uber provides a sliding scale of coverage. This is determined by what a driver is doing such as picking up a fare, driving around and more.
There was an announcement by the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation that the insurance policy carried by Uber has $1,000,000 in liability limits. This exceeds what is required by regular drivers. People should check with an insurance carrier and know the coverage limits in case of an accident.
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage
Should a passenger in a Uber/Lyft be hit by a vehicle driven by someone who does not have bodily injury coverage, they will still be covered. These companies usually have $1,000,000 in Uninsured/Underinsured coverage. This will also protect a passenger if they are injured in an accident.
If a person is involved in an automobile accident with a rideshare vehicle, they should get immediate emergency medical attention. The next step is to contact an attorney to make certain they know their legal rights.
Zimmerman and Fracthman Personal Injury Laywers has a team of professional lawyers with 25 years of experience. Our lawyers specialize in automobile accidents, slip-and-fall accidents, and medical malpractice. We have 12 offices in Florida, providing our services in Boca Raton, Coral Springs, Hollywood, Naples, Parkland, and Weston. To schedule a consultation, contact us by filling out our online form, emailing us at email@example.com, calling us at (954) 509-1900, or faxing us at (954) 509-9910.