Using a rideshare service like Uber or Lyft is a very convenient way to get around, and business is booming for companies that offer this service. But just as if you were driving and involved in an accident, your Uber driver is also at risk of being in a motor vehicle crash.
Passengers may be entitled to financial compensation for their injuries if they were hurt in a crash, but accidents involving an Uber or Lyft driver and vehicle involve many more components than if you were in a non-rideshare car.
Uber says it offers $1 million in liability insurance coverage for those passengers injured in a crash, but that number can be misleading. There are many variables that need to be in effect before Uber's insurance carrier will pay out any amount in a settlement, much less a full $1 million to settle the case.
The Uber accident lawyers at Goldberg Noone Abraham personal injury law firm have represented Uber passengers who have been hurt in a crash, so we are experts in all of the intricacies and details about finding out who is actually liable for your injuries, and fighting for the maximum amount of compensation to help you pay for your recovery. This may include treatment and continuing care for your injuries, lost wages for being unable to work, and much more.
Florida laws and statutes regarding liability in a motor vehicle accident involve “comparative negligence”, meaning the justice system may ultimately determine that more than one driver was at fault for the crash. If your Uber driver is found to have been partially responsible for causing the crash, the amount you may collect in compensation will be affected.
Was Your Uber Driver “On the Clock?”
In making an injury claim against Uber or their driver, one of the first things our attorneys will do is determine if your driver was acting in the “Course and Scope” of their work when the crash happened. With Uber, that includes whether the driver was actually logged in and using their Uber driver app and making an authorized and scheduled pick up. If your driver forgot to activate their app or was trying to make an unauthorized trip, that will affect the amount of insurance money available to you. Part of our work involving Uber accidents is to correctly discover and preserve the GPS and other electronic data contained in the driver's app to best prove where the car was, how fast it was going, whether the driver was conducting a legitimate ride or not, and much more.
As you can imagine, Uber and Lyft are not in business to lose money and paying out large insurance settlements to injured passengers is not in their best interest. It stands to reason that rideshare companies are going to do everything they can to get out of paying an injury claim.
There also may be other factors that dictate who is held liable for an Uber crash. In some cases, Uber or Lyft may not have done their due diligence in hiring the driver, or ignored things like past traffic infractions or citations, or previous crashes involving the driver. They also may have drivers who have not been honest about the condition of the vehicle used while driving for Uber, or the vehicle may have undiscovered mechanical defects or defective tires. These things will also affect your injury compensation.
First Things First
Just like an accident involving a private vehicle, you should always try to get as much evidence and information as possible after an Uber crash. If your injuries do not prevent you from doing so, get many photos of the vehicles and the crash scene. It can seem easier to just hop out of the Uber and be on your way – after all, it is not your car, right? This can be a mistake that can cost you later. Also try to get as much contact information from the driver of your Uber and any other drivers involved, and any other people who may have witnessed what happened. It may seem like a hassle, especially if you're shaken up after the collision, but it can become very important to your injury claim.
Seek Medical Care Right Away
In Florida, there are rules about receiving insurance coverage following a crash that may limit or eliminate your ability to collect on your Personal Injury Protection, or PIP insurance. You must seek medical treatment or evaluation within 14 days of the crash to be eligible for PIP payments to your medical provider.
Even if you do not initially feel any pain or discomfort immediately after the crash, there may be soreness or pain that appears in a day or two. Don't put off having it checked out right away.
You can learn more about your PIP insurance coverage here.
You should also call 911 to let law enforcement about the crash. Having a written police report on file can prove to be a critical element after any crash. This is another reason to stay on the scene after a crash, even though you may be tempted to just leave. You want to make sure your version of what happened is on the record, especially if you have suffered any injuries.
Report Your Crash to Uber and Your Insurance Company
You should contact Uber directly to report your accident. Again, you do not want to rely solely on the version their driver gives them. There are also time limits to when you can be eligible for a settlement for your injuries, so you need to contact the company your driver was working for at the time of the crash right away.
Dealing with a giant insurance company following an injury crash is always a major headache, and it can be even worse when dealing with a rideshare company. Because of their complicated rules regarding how they categorize their drivers, it can be a hassle getting them to admit any liability. In July 2020, a U.S. judge ordered that California Uber drivers be categorized as employees, and not as independent contractors, as was the previous employment arrangement. Uber used the term independent contractor in an attempt to distance the company from any liability in the event one of their drivers caused a crash.
Call Goldberg Noone Abraham to Get the Answers You Need
We're always glad to talk with you anytime, at no cost, to provide the important answers you'll need following being hurt in an Uber or Lyft accident in Florida. It never costs a thing to find out if you may be eligible for financial compensation.
You can call one of our Uber accident lawyers in Southwest Florida at 239-461-5508, or just complete this easy form and we'll call you immediately.