People in the Miami area utilize just about every means of transportation available – from bicycles to buses, and indeed, ridesharing companies. Rideshares have given many people the ability to travel at the click of a button from any place in the city. However, ridesharing companies have gone unpunished when their drivers cause a car accident for quite some time. In Miami-Dade County alone, there were 65,986 car accidents that resulted in 32,389 and 285 fatalities in 2017, according to the Florida Department of Highway Traffic Safety and Motor Vehicles. These accidents can change an accident victim’s life forever, and as a company and a driver that are paid to provide transportation services, Uber and its drivers have a responsibility to protect the general public and their customers when a driver causes an accident to occur by providing accident victims with access to insurance that can effectively compensate them for their injuries.
The Florida legislature recognized this fact and passed multiple laws requiring rideshare companies to carry specific insurance, conduct background checks, and establish zero-tolerance policies regarding drug and alcohol use, among other things. As such, every passenger that utilizes the services of Uber should be aware of the specific laws regarding Uber accidents that have been enacted in Florida.
The Differences Between an Uber Accident and a Passenger Vehicle Accident
The following are just a few of the many differences that you will encounter as you are trying to navigate this process, starting from the moment that you are first in the accident all the way until the moment that you finalize your settlement agreement or hear the court’s ruling at the end of your lawsuit. The following are some of the major points that you will become aware of very shortly after your accident, but all of which your attorney will be able to help you navigate without taking on the additional burden of stressful legal complexities.
There Are Multiple Insurance Companies Involved
Since a rideshare driver is a contractor and not an employee, as opposed to a traditional taxi driver who is a commercially-licensed business operator, they are not always covered by the commercial insurance that Uber, Lyft, and other rideshare companies protect passengers with. When the driver is in the process of transporting a fare, this is the only time that they are covered by the commercial liability insurance.
If you are involved in an accident with a rideshare driver who is not currently driving a fare, there are a few possible options remaining for insurance coverage: if they are not using the app and are not driving to pick up a fare, then you will file a claim through their personal insurance. If they are in transit to go pick up a fare, then there is a limited amount of coverage available through the rideshare company.
Trying to determine which insurance company to file a claim with is a frustrating process even before you initiate the actual claims process and one that you will need to go through in the first days or weeks after your accident. Instead of worrying about these details, hire an attorney as soon as possible so that you can stay focused on your own personal needs while a legal professional handles the bureaucratic side of the situation.
Rideshare Insurance Companies Can Be Difficult To File Claims With
If you are in an accident with a rideshare driver who is actively covered by the rideshare company’s insurance policy, you will file a claim with an insurance policy that typically has higher policy limits and better financial support for you. However, it also means that you will be working with a much more aggressive insurance representative and a claims process designed to limit the amount that you receive possibly more aggressively than a passenger vehicle policy.
Again, when you are working with a Miami rideshare accident lawyer, you will be able to rely on them to bring you through this process without having to take on the stress and uncertainty of the entire process. Whether you are filing a claim with the Uber driver’s personal insurance, or Uber’s insurance policy that covers them while they are actively driving an Uber fare, you will benefit from the support of an attorney.
Drivers Typically Are Not Commercially Licensed
Drivers such as taxi operators are CDL drivers, meaning that they have a commercial driver license that extends special privileges, such as the type of vehicle that they can operate, and a number of stricter regulations. For example, a CDL driver who is engaging in commercial driving has a BAC (blood alcohol concentration) maximum of .04, whereas an adult operating a passenger vehicle (with either a standard license or CDL) has a BAC of .08.
There are many other restrictions or additional guidelines that a CDL driver must adhere to as well that can help you to prove that they were at fault, but since most rideshare drivers are not CDL licensed, you will lose out on these additional factors when trying to place liability on them.
Drivers Do Not Use Company Vehicles
As with the fact that a rideshare driver is typically operating with a standard driver license, they are not using a fleet vehicle, meaning that they are individually responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of their vehicles. This means that you will not be able to seek compensation from the rideshare company itself for a maintenance failure, and if that is the reason for your accident, that you will need to make this claim using different legal guidelines.
When you are in an accident with a commercial truck, taxi, or another commercially-registered vehicle, there are additional regulations just as is the case with a commercial driver’s license. However, you will likely not have the ability to use these regulations in your claim process unless there is a rare event that your rideshare driver does happen to have a CDL and a commercial registration for their vehicle.
What to Do After an Uber Accident as a Passenger in Florida
Passengers are considered to be both the most vulnerable and the most protected party in an Uber accident because they are merely a customer that is paying for a ride. As such, Uber is required to carry a one million dollar liability insurance policy to cover death, personal injury, and property damage under Fla.Stat§627.748(7). This insurance is meant to cover you if you are an Uber passenger involved in an accident caused by the Uber driver or if you are an Uber passenger that is involved in an accident caused by an underinsured driver or a driver that doesn’t have insurance at all.
Due to this, you, as a passenger, need to immediately start gathering evidence for your Uber accident attorney after being involved in any type of Uber accident. The reason this is so important is, the ridesharing company will immediately begin trying to diminish the value of your claim because you will be covered by Uber’s insurance policy regardless of how the accident occurred. As such, there are five things you should always do after being involved in an Uber accident as a passenger.
1. Call the Police Immediately
There are a few things that you need to make sure are recorded after being involved in an Uber accident as a passenger such as the fact that you were a passenger that was utilizing Uber’s services, that the Uber driver was indeed providing those services, the name of each driver, and the insurance information for each driver. The best way to obtain and record all of this information is to contact the police, regardless of whether the accident was major or minor. Moreover, the police provide an objective account of how, when, and where the accident occurred. All of this information will be used by your attorney later to prove the necessary elements needed to give you access to Uber’s insurance if needed.
2. Take Pictures of the Accident Scene
Regardless of the fact that you were an Uber passenger at the time the accident occurred, an Uber accident is still a car accident and must be treated as such by your Uber accident attorney. In this regard, you should take pictures of everything to document how the accident occurred including pictures of each vehicle, the accident scene itself including cross streets, and the license plate of each vehicle. Moreover, you should try to obtain the name and contact information for anyone that witnessed the accident occur.
3. Get Evaluated by a Doctor
Being involved in any type of car accident can lead to an accident victim sustaining serious injuries. In fact, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), over two million Americans are injured each year due to car accidents. Due to the high likelihood that you will sustain some type of injury as a result of a car accident, you should always get evaluated by a doctor after being involved in an Uber accident. This will ensure that you have not sustained a life-threatening injury, and it will allow you to document the full extent of your injuries, which can be used by your Uber accident attorney throughout the litigation process to demonstrate the extent of your damages.
4. Contact an Uber Accident Attorney
Uber accident claims can be complicated complex legal matters that are vigorously defended by Uber. In fact, Uber literally has one million reasons to try to diminish the value of your claim. As such, you should always contact an Uber accident attorney after being involved in any type of car accident involving an Uber driver. 1800-Injured is a medical and legal referral service that connects accident victims with Uber accident attorneys in the Miami area. Don’t let Uber try to stop you from filing a claim. Call 1-800-Injured today to be connected to an Uber accident attorney near you.