A Florida auto accident lawyer well knows that if you live in a large or moderately large city in Florida, chances are good that you’ve hired a ride-sharing service at least once. Companies like Uber and Lyft have exploded in popularity as a cheaper alternative to traditional taxis. They are also more convenient than public transportation because they pick you up and take you directly where you want to go.
When a trip goes as planned, it’s hard to see a downside to ride-sharing services. But accidents do happen, and it is precisely at these times when ride-sharing services reveal one of their biggest weaknesses: unclear or disputed liability. It is precisely for this reason that it is so important to, as soon as you possibly can in the wake of a ridesharing accident, connect with an auto accident lawyer Florida residents trust. The sooner that you explain your situation to the team at The Law Offices of Eric H. Luckman, P.A., the sooner we can get to work protecting your rights.
Which insurance policy applies after a ridesharing accident?
All drivers are required to carry insurance, and ride-sharing drivers are no exception. If your Uber driver causes an accident while you are a passenger, the liability may be assigned to his or her insurance policy. But will the insurance company pay?
Most of us carry personal auto insurance policies, and many of these explicitly refuse to cover accidents that occur while a driver is engaged in commercial service (driving for profit). Therefore, the insurance company could potentially refuse to cover the claim. Working with an experienced Florida auto accident lawyer can help to ensure that you receive access to any compensation you’re entitled to, no matter how stubborn insurance providers are being in regards to your situation.
In recent years, Uber and Lyft have started carrying third-party liability insurance to help pay for passenger injuries and property damage in accidents where one of their own drivers was at fault. However, this is coverage that kicks in after the driver’s personal coverage limits have been reached (which could be in dispute already, as mentioned above).
What about cases where you were hurt in an Uber or Lyft but the accident was caused by a motorist who wasn’t your driver? You may be able to work with a Florida auto accident lawyer to bring a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurer, which again might be disputed, ultimately requiring a personal injury lawsuit.
The bottom line: Even with multiple insurance policies, coverage and liability may not be clear. And because insurance companies have a financial interest in denying or minimizing claims, you may need to fight to have your injuries covered at all.
Ride-sharing companies have a history of ducking responsibility
Cities and states have started to regulate ride-sharing services and are forcing them to assume liability more readily than in the past. And that may be due to the shady or unethical practices these companies have previously demonstrated. When Uber and Lyft first started in the United States, their drivers were involved in several high-profile and devastating accidents (some resulting in death to pedestrians and others). The ride-sharing companies were quick to deny their own culpability or liability, sometimes claiming that the drivers were between fares when the crashes happened. They also denied that the apps that their drivers used to get fare assignments were in any way contributing to distracted driving crashes.
Things have improved since then, but none of us should be quick to assume that companies will do the right thing after a serious accident. Litigation may be necessary just to have your injuries and property losses covered. Working with a Florida auto accident lawyer will help to ensure that you can make a truly informed decision about your options.