What to do if an Uber or Lyft driver hits your car
“Ridesharing” has quickly become popular transportation for people in many parts of the country, including Florida—particularly in busy cities like Tampa, Miami, Orlando and Jacksonville. Today, companies such as Lyft and Uber offer a convenient alternative to taking a traditional yellow taxi.
In the last few years, ridesharing services have become so widely used in the Tampa area that there have been numerous news stories about serious and even fatal crashes involving Uber and Lyft drivers. Despite their popularity, it’s important to understand the steps to take if you’re involved in an Uber or Lyft car accident.
As with any type of transportation, accidents can occur at any time. Whether you were a passenger in a rideshare car involved in a single-vehicle accident or a driver whose car was hit by a rideshare driver or involved in a multi-vehicle accident, you need to know the proper steps to take.
Causes of rideshare accidents
Car accidents involving rideshare drivers can arise from a variety of circumstances. Below are some of the most common situations:
In some cases, accidents involving rideshare drivers may be the result of distracted driving. Rideshare companies such as Uber and Lyft operate through the use of apps on smartphones. If a driver is using the app while driving, it could result in distracted driving that leads to an accident. Any number of other behaviors while driving could also result in an accident, including adjusting the radio and climate controls, eating or drinking while driving and simply not focusing on the road.
Although some rideshare companies limit the amount of time drivers are allowed to drive each day, there’s always a possibility that a driver might become drowsy while behind the wheel. Many rideshare drivers have other jobs, which increases their risk of becoming tired while driving, thus putting other motorists and passengers at risk.
Driving under the influence
Even though it’s illegal to drive while under the influence of alcohol and any controlled substances, people still make this bad decision every day. Any time a driver is under the influence of a controlled substance, their ability to react and respond appropriately is diminished.
It’s not uncommon for rideshare drivers to be in a hurry to pick up or transport their passengers from one location to another. Furthermore, rideshare drivers may have additional incentive to speed, as they may be tipped by their passengers when they get them to their destinations quickly. Speeding not only limits a driver’s ability to control a vehicle but also decreases their reaction time.
Improper vehicle maintenance
Rideshare vehicles typically must be inspected, but this doesn’t always ensure vehicles are properly maintained between inspections. Improper vehicle maintenance can increase the risk of mechanical failures that may result in accidents.
How are people injured by rideshare drivers compensated in Florida?
By law in Florida, all drivers of registered motor vehicles must carry a minimum amount of personal injury protection as well as liability insurance coverage. Florida requires rideshare drivers to carry more insurance coverage than other drivers.
What to do if a rideshare driver hits your car
If you’re involved in a rideshare accident, it’s important to take the right steps to ensure your rights are protected.
First, seek medical attention right away. Even if your injuries don’t seem serious, get checked out without delay. Additionally, gather as much evidence as possible at the scene of the accident if you can do so safely and without causing further injury, including the driver’s contact information and insurance details.
Consider taking photos and video of the accident scene, if you can. Photos should include property damage, all visible injuries and any relevant road hazards. You should also make sure to report the accident to the relevant rideshare company. The company may have reports that need to be filed separately in order to provide coverage.
Finally, make sure you contact an experienced Tampa car accident attorney. Rideshare car accidents are more complicated since a third-party company (Uber, Lyft or another rideshare company) is involved. In addition to dealing with the at-fault driver and the rideshare company, you’ll also likely have to deal with their separate insurance providers and adjustors as well—not to mention your own insurance company.
Damage recovery following rideshare car accidents
Florida is a no-fault insurance state. This means the first step is to file a claim with your own insurance company. In the event you meet or even exceed your own personal injury protection (PIP) limits, you may be able to obtain compensation for medical costs, lost wages, pain and suffering and other damages.
In most cases, the rideshare driver (not the rideshare company) is responsible for these damages. Under no circumstance should you attempt to negotiate with an insurance company on your own. Insurance companies often attempt to offer a settlement that is far less than you may actually deserve.
If you’ve been involved in an accident with a rideshare driver in Tampa, don’t delay contacting an attorney because there may be a statute of limitations on how long you have to file a claim and receive compensation.