Uber is a common convenience for many Floridians and around the globe. According to information provided by the company, Uber has about 75 million riders and 3 million drivers in 65 countries and 600 cities worldwide. About 15 million Uber rides are completed each day.
Unfortunately, Uber drivers are not immune to accidents on the roadways. Sometimes Uber drivers even cause them through negligent or reckless behavior. If you’ve been injured in an accident as an Uber passenger or driver, or even as someone in a car involved in a collision with an Uber driver, you may have questions about your legal options. Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions regarding Uber accidents.
I’ve heard Uber drivers have to carry special insurance. Is that true?
Yes. Florida law requires Uber drivers to carry insurance that varies in its coverage depending on whether the Uber driver is actively driving for the app. Here’s a breakdown:
- For times when the Uber driver is not on the Uber app and is not transporting a passenger, the driver’s personal car insurance policy covers him the same as any other driver.
- For times when the Uber driver is on the app but does is not transporting a passenger, the driver must carry property damage liability of $25,000 per accident; and $50,000 bodily injury or death liability per passenger, or $100,000 per crash.
- For times when the Uber driver was on the app and was also transporting a passenger, the driver must carry bodily injury, death, or property damage liability of at least $1,000,000.
My Uber driver caused the accident that resulted in my injury. Who is liable?
When you’re involved in an accident due to the negligent or reckless actions of any driver, Uber drivers included, the negligent driver generally has legal liability to those injured. However, because Florida is (for now) a no fault car insurance state, and because of state laws requiring Uber drivers to carry certain insurance, determining who pays for damages after an accident involving an Uber ride can be quite complex.
In Florida, compensation for your injuries as an Uber passenger will initially fall on your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) policy, if you have one. PIP covers 80 percent of your medical expenses and 60 percent of wages lost due to missed work to the limit of your policy, which is at least $10,000. If you exceed that coverage, then the insurance carried by the Uber driver will apply.
If my car was hit by an Uber driver, can I sue the company?
By designating its drivers as independent contractors rather than employees, Uber has attempted to insulate itself from being sued for accidents that its drivers may cause. However, there are, in theory, circumstances in which a lawsuit might be possible against the company. One example of this is if the company is found to be negligent in enforcing its driver qualification requirements. Background checks, including criminal history and driving records, are required for all individuals who apply to become Uber drivers. If it is later discovered that the driver caused an accident by being drunk and had a history of previous DUI convictions, then the argument could be made that Uber was negligent in allowing the driver to offer rides through the app.
When I got into the Uber I ordered, I noticed a strong alcohol smell and the driver seemed to be driving erratically. Should I tell someone?
Yes. According to Uber’s own Zero Tolerance Policy, if you suspect that your driver is drunk, end the trip immediately and call 911. If the ride has ended, riders are asked to report any feedback on the app. If there was an accident involved, be sure to tell the investigating officer about your suspicions. If you sustained an injury in the accident and have hired a personal injury attorney to help you with a claim, let your attorney know.
Is the rideshare app that my Uber driver used considered a driving distraction?
When it comes to distracted driving, there are three kinds of distractions:
- Visual distractions, which require the driver to take his or her eyes away from the road.
- Manual distractions, which require the driver to take his or her hands from the wheel.
- Cognitive distractions, which draw the driver’s mental focus away from the task of driving.
The use of a cellular device for any app while driving involves all three types of distractions. It has been argued in court many times that rideshare apps cause distractions to drivers, and the lawsuits continue to be filed, including one in late 2018 in Detroit. In that case, the plaintiff alleged that her driver was operating apps for both Uber and Lyft right before crashing his car into a parked semi-truck, permanently injuring his passenger.
Will my PIP cover the injuries I sustained in an Uber accident?
If you register a vehicle in Florida, you are required to obtain a PIP policy of at least $10,000. This policy covers you if you become injured while riding as a passenger in someone else’s vehicle, including as an Uber passenger.
If I am in a car accident involving an Uber driver, what are some things I can do to help my case?
If you are involved in an accident involving an Uber driver, the most important thing you can do after the accident is to make sure you are off the roadway and out of harm’s way and that others involved are also safe. Be sure the accident has been reported to the police. Here are some other things you can do:
- Seek medical attention, even if you don’t feel injured after the accident. Many severe injuries can present delayed symptoms and your body’s adrenaline response to the trauma may prevent you from feeling the full effects of your injury for hours or even days.
- Get the contact information of your Uber driver, the investigating officer, and any other witnesses to the crash.
- Report the accident to Uber right away.
- If you’re injured, contact a personal injury attorney for guidance about your legal options.
Call Uber Car Accident Law Today if an Uber Injured You
Whether you’re a driver, a passenger, or a motorist in another vehicle, getting into an accident that involves a rideshare driver can involve complex issues that aren’t present in other types of accidents. Let us help you get obtain the maximum amount of compensation you are eligible to receive for your injuries. For your free consultation, call our office today at (305) 964-8806 or contact us online.