Uber and Lyft are both popular ride-sharing services in Florida. Over the last few years, the use of these two services has skyrocketed. “Get an Uber” is something heard in all walks of life as people realize that ridesharing is a convenient means of transportation.
Although they are popular and convenient, ridesharing services are not without risk. You are essentially putting your safety in the hands of a stranger. If you are involved in an accident with an Uber or Lyft driver in Florida, you may not necessarily be covered or able to make an insurance claim. You may face obstacles and challenges unique to your circumstances should you be involved in an accident.
Both companies have been accused of not conducting background checks on their independent contractors. The companies claim that their drivers are safe, but do they really know? In essence, summoning an Uber or Lyft is no different than standing on the sidewalk and hailing the first car you see. You know nothing about the driver that will be picking you up, and you have no idea if they are a safe driver (besides any reviews or ratings they may have).
Insurance coverage among these drivers is a bit of a murky area. Any driver for Uber or Lyft is an independent contractor who is technically operating as a commercial driver as soon as they accept a passenger. Despite having adequate personal coverage, many of these drivers have insurance companies who will not provide coverage if they are in an accident while driving a passenger for a ride-sharing service, because the driver doesn’t have commercial coverage.
Victims of accidents involving drivers from these services have discovered that both companies will try to avoid paying claims. They may determine that the driver’s policy does not cover commercial activities or attempt to show that the driver was between fares when the accident occurred. This would get either company off the hook.
All of this said, there are ways to retrieve compensation should you be in an accident with an Uber or Lyft driver. This is true whether you were a passenger in the vehicle, or a driver crashed into your car. Here are some tips on steps to take immediately following the accident to preserve your ability to file a successful claim for compensation.
There are several steps to take no matter what type of vehicle collision you are involved in. Once you have assessed your medical condition and ability to move appropriately and safely, this is what you need to do:
Your very first step is to call 911 as soon as possible following your accident. Don’t assume that someone else has already done it. Grab your phone and dial 911 or, if you don’t have your phone, ask a witness to do it for you.
Record the scene while you are waiting for the police to arrive. Take photos of the road and surrounding area to show the conditions at the time of your accident, take pictures of all vehicles involved from multiple angles and take a panoramic video of the scene if you are able to. All of these things will be beneficial to you as evidence should you choose to file a lawsuit.
Speak with the other drivers involved and get contact information for each. You will also want to secure the insurance information for those involved in the accident. In a multi-car accident, you will want to exchange insurance information with each driver.
Never say anything that can be construed as taking blame. Don’t tell another driver you are sorry, that you didn’t see the light turn red or that an animal darted out in front of you. Do not say anything. Don’t talk to the passengers in your car or witnesses regarding the accident either. You can speak with your passengers once you get home.
Give your insurance agent a call even if you don’t believe you were at fault. This is a requirement if you’ve been involved in an accident. Keep in mind, however, that the only information you need to present are the facts.
Accidents involving Uber and Lyft can be complicated. The driver’s insurance company may refuse to pay out any claims for your injuries and the ride-sharing companies may refuse as well. You could very well end up having to fight for a settlement in court. Most attorneys offer free consultations so speaking with a professional regarding your options won’t cost you anything.
Make sure that you seek medical attention even if you don’t believe you are injured. Some injuries show up days later and if you didn’t seek treatment immediately following your accident, a good defense attorney or insurance agent could argue that your injuries were not a result of the accident. If you fail to seek medical attention, you may have effectively ruined your personal injury case before it even started.
If you are injured in an accident with an Uber or Lyft driver in Fort Lauderdale, reach out to our team of personal injury attorneys. A member of our team will help you schedule your free consultation. We can help you determine whether a lawsuit is appropriate and which steps you should take next. Call our office today.