Rideshare Accident Attorney
Services from rideshare companies — also known as transportation network companies or peer-to-peer ridesharing — such as Lyft and Uber, offer a simple and convenient source of private transportation for individuals or groups of individuals through the use of a smartphone application. While ridesharing offers passengers a number of conveniences, this form of transportation also introduces legal complications with regard to car accidents and resulting injuries to passengers of rideshare vehicles. If you or a loved one were injured in a rideshare accident, the personal injury lawyers in Gainesville at Warner, Sechrest & Butts, P.A. can defend your rights as a victim and help you recover damages for your injuries.
Common Causes Of Rideshare Accidents
As with other types of car accidents, rideshare accidents occur due to a wide range of causes. To discuss the cause of your Lyft or Uber accident, contact the experienced personal injury lawyers with our Florida law firm.
- The rideshare driver drove at a speed above the legal limit.
- The rideshare driver failed to regard to extreme weather, traffic, or road conditions.
- The rideshare driver was street racing.
- The rideshare driver was under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- The rideshare driver was distracted while operating the vehicle.
- The rideshare driver failed to yield the right-of-way.
- The rideshare driver failed to obey traffic signals and signs.
- The rideshare driver was an inexperienced or unqualified driver.
- The rideshare driver was fatigued while transporting passengers.
Common Ridesharing Passenger Injuries
The most common types of traffic-related accidents likely to occur in cases which involve drunk, impaired, inexperienced, or negligent rideshare drivers include rear-end collisions; collisions of motor vehicles with pedestrians; and high-speed collisions with other vehicles and motorists. Due to a lack of choice regarding the rideshare driver assigned to the rideshare trip, passengers of peer-to-peer ridesharing are often the victims of rideshare accidents. As a result, rideshare passengers may experience moderate to severe injuries, such as the following.
- Back and neck injuries
- Broken bones
- Herniated disc
- Internal injuries
- Skull fractures
- Spinal cord injury (SCI)
- Sprains and strains
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
How Are Rideshare Accidents Different From Other Types Of Car Accidents?
Despite the increase in popularity and use of ridesharing services in recent years, rideshare accidents bring a wave of change to the requirements for traditional car accident injury liability. Depending on the circumstances of a car accident, the liability that would otherwise be assigned to a negligent or at-fault driver may not apply to rideshare drivers. Individuals who drive for Uber, Lyft, and other transportation network companies use their own vehicles to provide transportation to riders who seek services via a smartphone app. In addition, drivers for rideshare companies typically don’t have a commercial driver’s license or their own commercial auto insurance, as is required with traditional taxi services and professional driving services.
While there is a list of specific Lyft and Uber driving requirements which must be met by individuals who apply to drive for the rideshare companies — these companies also perform criminal background checks and inspect drivers’ records of accidents and prior traffic infractions — Uber and Lyft maintain that rideshare drivers are not employees of the companies for which they drive. In a number of cases, these companies do not claim legal responsibility for the actions of their drivers.
What Are Florida’s Laws Regarding Rideshare Companies?
In 2017, Florida law added legislation regarding transportation network companies (TNCs) through House Bill 221, which requires Florida rideshare companies to adhere to specific standards. While this law facilitates some ease with regard to the process of seeking compensation for injured passengers of rideshare accidents, the legal requirements for the successful recovery of compensation remains overwhelmingly complex — it’s important that injured rideshare passengers seek the experienced counsel of the personal injury attorneys with our firm as soon as possible following an accident with a rideshare driver.
- Maintain insurance that exceeds Florida’s standard minimum requirement
- Initiate and complete comprehensive background checks for all drivers
- Institute a zero-tolerance policy with regard to drug and alcohol use
- Suspend any driver who is suspected of driving while under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol, pending a thorough internal investigation
- Require that all drivers firmly comply with a non-discrimination policy to passengers as well as service animals
The law also added that a rideshare driver — or the TNC on behalf of the driver — must have primary automobile insurance which recognizes the rideshare driver as a TNC driver who uses the automobile for commercial purposes. In addition, the required insurance coverage amounts when a driver is transporting a customer is required to be $1 million death, bodily injury, and property damage primary automobile liability, which mirrors the minimum requirements of a commercial limousine driver.
What Happens If A Passenger Is Injured In A Rideshare Accident?
Rideshare companies provide commercial insurance coverage which applies from the time when a rideshare driver accepts a call to the time when the passenger is dropped off at their destination. Car accidents involving rideshare companies are unique due to the evolving landscape of laws which regulate these businesses. Under current company policies, rideshare passengers are typically covered by the rideshare insurance so as long as the app is active and the rideshare driver is logged into his or her account.
However, if the victim of a rideshare accident is injured while a driver is on the way to pick up another passenger, the injured passenger may have to go through the driver’s personal insurance prior to reaching the rideshare company. In some situations, the injured passenger may have to fight against the rideshare driver and their individual insurance company as well as the rideshare company to receive fair compensation for their injuries.
Who Is Liable In A Rideshare Accident In Florida?
Liability for a rideshare accident depends upon the specific situation in question. However, in a significant portion of cases, the rideshare driver is the party responsible for passenger injuries in the case of an accident. In the case of an accident, it is important that rideshare passengers report any occurrence of an accident on the rideshare app in a timely manner following the accident. Rideshare passengers who become injured as a result of an accident may recover the following types of compensation from the liable party.
- Medical costs and physical therapy bills
- Lost earnings and wages
- Present and future pain, suffering, and inconvenience
- Lost earning capacity in the future
- Permanent injuries, damages, and impairment
- Loss of the ability to enjoy life and activities
Because rideshare drivers are considered independent contractors, the question of liability may be more difficult to prove than in cases which involve commercial car accidents and other types of car accidents. To ensure your rights are protected to adequate compensation for injuries from a rideshare accident in Florida, contact our law firm today for a case evaluation.
How Can A Personal Injury Lawyer Help?
The most effective way to ensure that injured rideshare passengers receive the compensatory, punitive, and rehabilitative damages owed to them as a result of a rideshare accident is with the legal representation of an injury lawyer with our firm. We are dedicated to helping injured victims achieve the compensation they deserve. Contact us today to discuss your injury case.