Tampa car accident lawyer explains how to obtain compensation for your crash
Millions of people regularly use ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft. On average, Uber provides roughly 40 million rides each month nationwide, according to recent statistics. Worldwide, Uber provided 6.9 billion rides last year, according to Business of Apps. While people use Uber and Lyft almost everywhere, certain places are more popular than others, including many cities in Florida. In Tampa, for example, residents spend on average $34 a month on Uber and $28 a month on Lyft, according to CNBC.
Unfortunately, ridesharing accidents happen, as well. When they do, rideshare passengers or drivers in other vehicles might not know what to do next. Even knowing what the laws are that apply to Uber or Lyft accidents might not be clear. That’s why it’s important to understand your rights and to know what to do.
Below, you can learn more about your legal rights and the options available to you if you’re involved in an Uber or Lyft accident in Florida. Whatever the circumstances, it’s important that you discuss your crash with an experienced car accident attorney as soon as possible who can help you decide what to do after your rideshare accident.
What should I do if an Uber or Lyft driver causes my car accident?
If you have been involved in an accident caused by an Uber or Lyft driver in Florida, you should take the following steps to protect your rights and your well-being. This includes injured passengers in an Uber or Lyft vehicle, other drivers, pedestrians or cyclists. Steps include:
- Call the police – Contact the police immediately after your accident. Ask the dispatcher on the phone to send a police officer to your accident. Often, there are many questions later about exactly what happened. An official police accident report can help set the record straight.
- Seek medical attention – Don’t simply assume you’re fine. Make sure you have a doctor or another medical professional examine you. They know how to evaluate you and diagnose you if you sustained a serious injury in your accident.
- Talk to witnesses – Popular tourist destinations like Tampa are often filled with many people on the streets. If someone saw your Lyft or Uber accident, get their name, address and phone number. If possible, ask them to speak to the police officer who responded to your accident. Eyewitness testimony can be a powerful piece of evidence in support of your accident claim.
- Take photos of your accident – Photographs of your accident scene can be important pieces of evidence when filing a car accident claim. Make sure to take photos of your crash scene, traffic signals, stop signs and anything that may be important to your case.
- Contact your insurance company – Tell your insurance company you have been in an accident caused by an Uber or Lyft driver. During this call, you don’t need to go into great detail. Just keep your comments brief. Remember, anything you say to insurance companies can be used later as evidence in your case, especially since Florida is a no-fault state and you may need to file a claim with your own insurance company.
- Contact Uber or Lyft – Both ridesharing companies have unique procedures for dealing with accidents caused by their drivers. This process can be confusing and intimidating. That’s why many people often decide to go the next step before contacting Uber or Lyft themselves.
- Call a lawyer – This may be one of the most important steps you take after your ridesharing accident. An experienced accident attorney can guide you through the claim process, one step at a time. That way, you will fully understand your rights and the legal options available to you. Your lawyer can also fight for the maximum financial compensation you deserve for your accident-related expenses.
Can I file a car accident lawsuit against Uber or Lyft?
In most cases, you can take legal action against Uber or Lyft if one of their drivers caused your collision. However, these legal cases can be very complicated. That’s because Uber and Lyft insists that their drivers don’t technically work for them. Instead, these companies classify their drivers as 'independent contractors”. Some states have challenged this distinction, including California, which argues that Uber and Lyft drivers are employees.
Even so, that does not excuse either company from responsibility if one of their drivers causes a serious car crash. However, in order to successfully take legal action against Uber or Lyft, your attorney will likely first need to prove that the driver was on duty at the time of the accident. In most cases, Uber or Lyft drivers are considered on duty if they:
- Have a passenger in their Uber or Lyft vehicle
- Are looking up directions for an Uber or Lyft journey
- Have the Uber or Lyft app on
- Are on the way to pick up a customer
- Are looking at the ridesharing app at the time of the accident
This is often just the first step in a very complex legal battle. That’s why it’s important to talk to a lawyer who understands the state and federal laws governing ridesharing accidents in Florida.
Who pays for my ridesharing accident-related expenses?
It’s important to understand how car accident compensation works for accidents in Florida. Florida is a no-fault insurance state when it comes to car accidents. That means your own insurance company pays 80 percent of your medical treatment up to $10,000.
If your medical expenses exceed $10,000, you may be able to file a claim or take legal action against the at-fault driver (in this case, the Uber or Lyft driver) for additional accident-related expenses.
In addition, Uber or Lyft may also be responsible for paying for some or all of your accident expenses in certain situations. Uber’s insurance coverage for drivers pays a maximum of $1 million per car accident as part of Uber’s $1 million liability insurance coverage. Lyft has similar $1 million liability insurance coverage per car accident per driver.
How much is my Uber or Lyft accident claim worth?
The circumstances for each Uber or Lyft accident are unique. As a result, the total value of your accident claim can vary widely depending on many different factors. What’s important to remember is you should be compensated for all your accident-related expenses, immediately after your accident and in the future, as well. These expenses can include:
- Emergency medical care
- Future medical expenses, especially if you sustained a severe injury or permanent disability in your accident
- Car repair or replacement costs
- Replacement income during your recovery
- Lost future income if you cannot work in the future
- Pain and suffering in certain circumstances
To learn more about how a Lyft or Uber accident attorney can help you, contact our law firm and schedule a free case evaluation with an experienced Tampa car accident lawyer at Armando Personal Injury Law. We can defend your rights and demand the compensation you deserve.