Fiol Law Group|Posted in Car Accidents on November 27, 2019
Ridesharing might have reduced accidents in terms of drunk driving, but that does not mean the rideshare industry has been immune to serious accidents, injuries and deaths. Rideshare drivers can make mistakes such as distracted or drowsy driving that lead to preventable traffic accidents, just like other drivers. If an Uber or Lyft driver recently struck you as a driver, bicyclist or pedestrian, you have rights. The rideshare company may be financially responsible for your damages.
Are These Cases Different From Accidents With Regular Cars?
Accidents involving rideshare drivers have unique elements compared to crashes with typical passenger vehicles. Rather than only having the individual driver to hold responsible for your damages, you may also be able to bring a claim against the rideshare company. Both Uber and Lyft maintain $1 million in automobile insurance for victims’ damages in rideshare accidents. These insurance policies will pay for losses for passengers taking rides inside the Ubers or Lyfts as well as victims’ damages outside of the vehicle if the rideshare driver caused the crash.
If an Uber or Lyft driver negligently or recklessly hit you, call the police to report the accident. Take photographs of the scene and get the information of everyone involved. Get medical care for your injuries. Then, file a claim with the rideshare company. Both companies allow accident victims to report crashes via customer service phone lines as well as through the ridesharing apps. Your claim should demand fair compensation for your medical expenses, property damage repairs and lost wages. A Tampa accident lawyer can help you craft a demand letter, if necessary.
Is the Company Responsible?
In most cases, the rideshare company will not be civilly responsible for the actions of its drivers. While the company’s insurance policy may cover victims’ losses – especially passengers’ – this does not expose the company to personal injury lawsuits for the actions of drivers. Rideshare companies historically identify their drivers as independent contractors, not employees. This protects the company from vicarious liability if a driver causes an accident.
Although some states have tried cases against Uber and Lyft for the alleged misclassification of drivers, they have so far held that the rideshare companies may continue to classify drivers as independent contractors. The only circumstance in which you may be able to hold a rideshare company liable for a car accident is if it was directly responsible for your crash. If the company failed to conduct a background check on a driver, for example, and this was the proximate cause of an auto accident, the company could be liable for damages. Car accident cases directly against Uber and Lyft, however, are rare.
Can the Passenger File a Claim?
If you suffered injuries in a rideshare accident as a passenger, you have the right to file a claim. Take a screenshot of your rider app and the receipt for the ride so you have the driver’s information. Note the time and location of your accident. Write down what you believe happened in as much detail as possible. Call 911 if neither driver involved in the crash has done so yet. Take photographs of your injuries, property damages and the scene of the accident. Then, file an initial report of an accident with Uber or Lyft.
The rideshare company should contact you promptly to discuss your recent accident. The company should then process your claim and offer a settlement to cover your related damages as a passenger. If the rideshare company denies your claim for any reason, contact an attorney to help you navigate the claims process. Uber or Lyft may be guilty of bad faith practices. You may have grounds to take Uber or Lyft to court in pursuit of fair compensation if this is the case. A lawyer could help you understand the complicated rules surrounding your unique rideshare accident case in Florida.