Injured in an Uber Or Lyft Wreck? How To Get The Most Money Possible By Orlando Uber & Lyft Accident Lawyer
As an Orlando Uber accident lawyer, I understand the confusion regarding insurance coverage after an Uber or Lyft accident. If you were involved in an Uber or Lyft accident in Orlando, or anywhere in Florida, this article will explain the insurance coverage available after an Rideshare accident, some of which are unique to Florida. Importantly, many Florida personal injury lawyers are not aware of the unique Florida laws dealing with Rideshare accidents. That means, if you hire a lawyer who doesn’t pay attention to details, you absolutely could be leaving money on the table — possibly a LOT of money.
You should keep reading this article, or call or text our office, if you were seriously injured by a rideshare vehicle (we can also help injured Uber or Lyft drivers, if another vehicle caused the accident).
Orlando Uber & Lyft Accident Lawyers
As Orlando Uber & Lyft accident lawyers, we understand the nuances and tricks of this insurance coverage. Many Orlando personal injury lawyers do not. We will fight to get you the most money possible from your Uber accident insurance claim.
Are Rideshare Vehicles Safe For Passengers & Others On The Road?
Although they are common and popular, there has been a rising concern regarding the safety of rideshare users. There are numerous reports in the media about passengers in Uber vehicles getting physically or sexually assaulted by drivers. There have also been many reported car accidents involving rideshare vehicles that resulted in injuries or even deaths allegedly caused by Uber drivers.
One obvious problem is that Uber is smartphone based. That means distracted driving, caused by the rideshare driver looking at the Uber app, very possibly might cause an accident.
Many accident victims want to know who is liable after an rideshare accident. They might have been injured as a passenger, a person in another vehicle that was hit by an Uber vehicle, or a pedestrian who was struck by an rideshare driver. Who is liable, and the amount of insurance coverage, depends on whether the Uber driver had opened the app on his phone, and whether he actually had a passenger.
For details on the specific coverage available in your type of case, and how to make sure you don’t make critical mistakes that could completely destroy your case value (or make it much lower than it should be), please keep reading.
What If You Do Not Know The App Status Of The Involved Uber or Lyft Driver?
If you do not know whether the Uber or Lyft drivers were online, do not worry. We can usually get this information by request, after we start working on your case.
However, this is VERY important: if you still have access to the driver’s name (from the app), jot that down. Also, if you can take a screen shot of the ride from your phone (meaning the screen within the app showing your ride or receipt), please take that step ASAP. Insurance companies absolutely may deny claims if we have ZERO proof that you ever took the ride. You should also take any photos of the involved vehicles, ask driver’s for names and policy numbers, if they know them, and get yourself immediate medical treatment if you haven’t already. Then call or text us ASAP!
If we lose time, we might lose the ability to gather the evidence needed to prove your case. Helpful evidence can tend to disappear very quickly. For this reason, we immediately send something called a “spoliation” letter. This puts Uber or Lyft on immediate notice that they need to maintain evidence related to your particular ride, within the app platform, and can make the critical difference between meeting your burden to prove your case, and recover money for you, or not. Many lawyers also do not send these letters quickly enough, or never send them at all. Please call us so that we can get started gathering evidence in your serious injury Uber or Lyft case ASAP.
Three Part Uber or Lyft Insurance Coverage
If the Uber or Lyft driver was using the company’s app, then, assuming the case is otherwise strong, there can be excellent coverage coverage for injuries and damages. But the limits depend on the circumstances.
Uber or Lyft Driver Not Available On App
If the driver is not available to accept requests from customers for rides, then his own personal insurance would apply. In other words, this would be like any other auto accident in Florida. Since Florida law does not require drivers to have any minimum bodily injury coverage, except in certain limited situations, the coverage amounts vary entirely based on whatever that driver voluntarily decided to purchase.
Uber or Lyft Driver Available On App, But Hasn’t Accepted Any Passengers
If the driver of the Uber or Lyft vehicle was logged into the app, and available to receive customers, but had not yet accepted a customer’s request to be picked up, the lowest coverage available under Uber’s insurance policy would apply. That policy would cover someone in another vehicle, or a pedestrian or bicyclist, if the Uber driver caused an accident. The Uber driver would also be covered, if another vehicle hit him or her, and was “at-fault,” under Uber’s uninsured motorist policy. In those situations, Uber or Lyft’s insurance would cover up to $50,000 per person, $100,000 per accident, for bodily injury claims (there is also coverage for vehicle or property damage).
Uber Or Lyft Driver Has Accepted A Ride Request In The App
If the Uber or Lyft driver has accepted a ride request in the app, and causes injury to another person (even a pedestrian or cyclist in the street), then the highest one million dollar coverage becomes available. This might apply in various situations.
For example, let’s say the Uber driver had accepted a ride in the app, and was on his way to pick up that passenger, but hit another vehicle (and was at fault / caused injuries). In those situations, the highest Uber policy coverage becomes available. Or let’s say the Uber driver hit a pedestrian in the crosswalk, while on the way to pick up a passenger. Once again, this higher coverage would be available. Finally, if the Uber driver actually has a passenger, and gets into an accident, that person’s injuries would be covered by the highest Uber policy available (1 million in coverage).
Rideshare Driver NOT At Fault For The Accident
If An Uber or Lyft driver was involved in an accident that was caused by another vehicle (like a rear-end collision, in which the rideshare vehicle was hit from behind), then the other driver’s policy first covers the accident. However, if there is not enough money to cover the full value of the injuries, then Uber also has uninsured or underinsured (“UM”) policies (which follow the same three part rules listed above — meaning lower coverage depending on the status of the app). That means that Uber’s UM policies ensure that the person receives the full value of their claims, up to one million dollars.
Florida Law Actually Requires Higher Coverage In Some Situations, But Not All Florida Personal Injury Lawyers Know This!
In 2015, Rick Scott signed a Florida law that, in certain situations, can change the amount of coverage available under Uber or Lyft’s insurance coverage. This Florida law labeled ridesharing apps as “transportation network companies,” or “TNCs,” and had various requirements, including specific insurance coverage depending on the status of the app.
The new Florida statute actually specifies these insurance requirements for Rideshare drivers (called “TNC” drivers):
(b) The following automobile insurance requirements apply while a participating TNC driver is logged on to the digital network but is not engaged in a prearranged ride:
1. Automobile insurance that provides:
a. A primary automobile liability coverage of at least $50,000 for death and bodily injury per person, $100,000 for death and bodily injury per incident, and $25,000 for property damage;
b. Personal injury protection benefits that meet the minimum coverage amounts required under ss. 627.730-627.7405; and
c. Uninsured and underinsured vehicle coverage as required by s. 627.727.
c) The following automobile insurance requirements apply while a TNC driver is engaged in a prearranged ride:
1. Automobile insurance that provides:
a. A primary automobile liability coverage of at least $1 million for death, bodily injury, and property damage;
b. Personal injury protection benefits that meet the minimum coverage amounts required of a limousine under ss. 627.730-627.7405; and
c. Uninsured and underinsured vehicle coverage as required by s. 627.727.
This law also requires background checks of Uber & Lyft drivers.
How Florida Rideshare Laws Sometimes Provide MORE Coverage Than The Normal Uber / Lyft Policies
The Florida Uber & Lyft insurance coverage minimum requirements are very similar to the already existing Uber & Lyft policies described above.
But Florida makes Uber’s policy the primary coverage, as opposed to the excess or “back-up” coverage, anytime a driver is logged onto the app. This may seem like a small technicality, but can have big practical implications, making certain claims much easier to pursue directly against Uber & Lyft’s insurance companies.
Here’s the section of the Florida Uber / Lyft statute that makes Uber & Lyft policies the primary coverage, allowing injured victims to avoid having to first make claims through another driver’s policy:
(d) If the TNC driver’s insurance under paragraph (b) or paragraph (c) has lapsed or does not provide the required coverage, the insurance maintained by the TNC must provide the coverage required under this subsection, beginning with the first dollar of a claim, and have the duty to defend such claim.
(e) Coverage under an automobile insurance policy maintained by the TNC must not be dependent on a personal automobile insurer first denying a claim, and a personal automobile insurance policy is not required to first deny a claim.
Florida also has regulations that require all ridesharing vehicles, which are capable of transporting more than 6 passengers, to have certain minimums in coverage (100K per person / 500K per accident).
Important legal point: there might be an argument that, within the state of Florida, because of the regulation linked above, IF an Uber or Lyft driver had opened the app, but not yet accepted a rider, and the vehicle was “capable” of transporting more than 6 people, the required minimums would be 100K/500K, rather than the 50K/100K provided in the “normal” Uber policy.
(Important note: this is a creative and complicated argument, based on a somewhat obscure Florida regulation, which MANY Orlando personal injury lawyers, particularly those who work in settlement mills, very well could overlook or not even realize exists in the first place. A judge might not agree with this argument (good lawyers make creative arguments all of the time — some are accepted, some rejected). But you dang sure want to hire the lawyer who is at spending the time, and smart enough, to make this kind of argument for you, rather than just accepting whatever coverage limits the ridesharing company say exist when the lawyer contacts them to request coverage information, which would be the quick and easy way to handle this type of case!)
Reported Florida Cases, Verdicts & Settlements From Uber Or Lyft Accidents
In one of the two main lawyer databases for reviewing similar settlements and verdicts, there are NO reported Florida Uber or Lyft accident settlements (the other primary lawyer database does not allow publication of results found). This is extremely unusual for companies of this size (for example, there are countless reported cases involving other big businesses like Publix, Wal-Mart, Walgreens, Walt Disney World, etc.) Why? Because car accidents are so common, they do not want injured people to know how much money they could be leaving on the table, if they do not quickly hire a lawyer who will diligently pursue an insurance claim based on an Uber or Lyft accident.
Additionally, we could find no Florida cases interpreting the somewhat complicated insurance policies of Uber or Lyft.
Although the Uber & Lyft settlement amounts are not published, if you would like to understand your potential claim against an Uber or Lyft driver, please just give us a call, or send a text (407-803-2139). The reality is that Uber & Lyft are no different from any other insurance company.
What to Do If You Have Been Injured While Riding in A Rideshare Vehicle?
If you have been injured in an Uber car accident, you should do the same things that we recommend after any car accident, plus a few important extras.
Best Things To Do After A Rideshare Accident:
- Call 911 and seek immediate medical attention for your injuries. Your case value will decrease the longer you wait for treatment. Transport by ambulance is the best for case value, all other factors being equal. If that is not possible, then having someone drive you to the ER immediately is important. If that is not possible, simply seek treatment ASAP.
- Call the police! Do not skip this step to help save insurance money. The police will usually make sure you have correct insurance policy information, which we cannot otherwise obtain, and also may take important evidence preservation steps like documenting witness statements, or testing for drunk driving.
- Take photos of the accident if possible. This should include ALL vehicles involved in the accident, with close-up and wider angle shots of bad vehicle damage. If you are unable to do so, have a friend or family member do it for you.
- Take photos of anyone injured, including close-up and wider angle shots. If you have to go to the hospital, or ride in a wheelchair, or walk on crutches, take several photos of all of the above (or anything else that shows your medical damages by picture, like bad bruises the next day, “boots” and casts, canes, walkers, etc.)
- Save receipts from any medications that you have to purchase.
- Save copies of your medical records.
- Do not call a settlement mill law firm!! Tina Willis Law is NOT a settlement mill law firm. We file lawsuits in most serious injury cases (sometimes we don’t need to file a lawsuit because we regularly obtain pre-suit “policy limits” settlements, and sometimes we recommend against lawsuits because of problematic evidence in cases). Beware there are law firms that never file lawsuits, or file them only in a very small percentage of cases.
- Ask for the names, addresses, phone numbers, emails, and insurance information from anyone involved in the accident (often the Florida police will do this for you, and include this information in their police report).
- Although you are required to report accidents to YOUR OWN insurance company, usually within about 15 days (this can vary by policy), we highly recommend that you first contact us; even your own insurance company can and will hurt your claim value if you have coverage they might have to pay.
- The few important extra steps to take after any Uber or Lyft accidents are:
- Get the name of the driver, from the app if possible, and take screenshots of the ride within your app (on your phone). If you were recently involved in an Uber accident, we recommend you check the app, and try to take screen shots, ASAP.
- Also, there is a very urgent need to send letters demanding that Uber or Lyft preserve electronic or other evidence related to your particular ride (not to mention telling you how to deal with medical providers and insurance adjusters). Electronic evidence absolutely does not last long!
We will walk you through any uncompleted steps as soon as you call us.
Injured victims of Uber car accidents can recover significant damages including medical expenses, lost income, and pain and suffering. Although new laws protect the rights of passengers, pedestrians and other drivers who are injured in Uber or Lyft accidents, they are still complex and evolving. There are also many complex arguments, and urgent evidence collection steps, that can significantly increase the value of your Uber or Lyft accident case. So it is essential that you hire an experienced Orlando personal injury lawyer ASAP. At Tina Willis Law, we regularly and successfully stand up to these corporations, make creative arguments when necessary, and fight hard to help you receive the maximum possible compensation for your losses. A client is NEVER just a number with us.
Read More About Ms. Willis’ Many Accomplishments & Awards Here.
Tina Willis Law – Orlando Personal Injury, Car & Truck Accident & Medical Malpractice Lawyer