Tampa Uber & Lyft Accident Attorney
Ride-sharing companies like Uber and Lyft have experienced an explosion in popularity in recent years. These businesses provide affordable transportation at a moment’s notice, fueling our active lifestyle. They also bring up an important question: who’s liable in case of an accident?
Your Tampa Uber/Lyft Accident Attorney
Accidents involving Uber and Lyft vehicles require an experienced Tampa Uber/Lyft accident attorney. If you’ve been injured in an accident involving a ride-sharing driver, you may be eligible for compensation beyond a personal injury protection claim. Our car accident attorneys in Tampa have been helping car accident victims in Tampa for years – now it’s time to help you. Contact us for a free initial consultation today.
Legal Implications for Ride-Sharing Accidents
The peer-to-peer model may be enjoying a rise in status, but ride-sharing isn’t without controversy. Unlike traditional cab companies, peer-to-peer services don’t use company cars or trained employees. When you get into an Uber or Lyft vehicle, you’re getting an amateur driver and a vehicle that might not be properly maintained. These amateur drivers might still be checking their phones while they are driving and carelessly cause car accidents. Contact our Tampa distracted while driving attorneys if this occurs while you are sitting in an Uber/Lyft.
These companies have also come under fire recently for their ability to dodge federal regulations involving service-for-hire transactions. A cab owner must pay specific fees and adhere to certain testing and inspection guidelines. Uber and Lyft drivers, on the other hand, do not. Since peer-to-peer companies conduct their business virtually and no money exchanges hands, they manage to slip through the cracks and avoid these laws. As a result, liability concerning Uber and Lyft drivers can be difficult to navigate.
Accidents Involving an Uber/Lyft Driver
The main reason Uber and Lyft operate under this business model is to circumvent company liability when there’s an accident. When you sustain an injury in an accident with a traditional cab company, you’ll file a claim with their insurance company. The insurance company will then provide compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses. While each state, including Florida, has specific laws governing liability in accidents involving taxi and limo services, Lyft and Uber do not, at least until very recently.
Personal Injury Protection in Florida
Florida follows a no-fault system when it comes to car accident compensation. While you won’t have to prove legal liability to collect compensation for your injuries, the no-fault system also limits each person’s ability to sue for negligence. Instead of filing a claim against an at-fault driver’s insurance company, Florida residents receive car accident compensation from their own policies.
Florida lawmakers recently passed a law, effective July 1, 2017, that requires Uber and Lyft drivers to carry Personal Injury Protection (PIP) for all their passengers. When you sustain an injury in an accident with a Lyft or Uber driver, you’ll collect compensation from their PIP plan if you’re a passenger. If you’re another driver, you’ll continue to collect from your own insurance policy.
Lyft also carries insurance that provides additional coverage to drivers when they’re actively transporting a passenger. They do not, however, provide protection when a driver is “on the clock” but not actively transporting someone.
Underinsured and Uninsured Motorists
Uber and Lyft drivers are independent contractors. This status allows their respective companies to avoid liability in case of an accident. Even so, many Uber and Lyft drivers don’t have proper insurance and, therefore, are unable to compensate victims of accidents. In one case in California, an Uber driver struck and killed a 6-year-old girl. Since he wasn’t actively transporting a passenger, Uber refused to claim liability for the accident. The driver’s insurance policy also could not compensate the grieving family for medical bills, final expenses, and intangible losses. This story explains some of the nebulous legal issues of peer-to-peer companies.