Whether you’re catching a flight or meeting a friend for dinner, requesting rideshares like Uber and Lyft is probably second nature to you. When the car arrives, you buckle up, put on your headphones, and relax while the driver takes care of the rest. But what happens if something goes wrong? What do you do if suddenly, another car runs through a red light and slams into the rideshare you are in?
A million questions may flood your mind. How did this happen? Am I injured? Is the driver OK? And as the dust settles and paramedics arrive on the scene, another critical thought may arise: Whose insurance covers this accident, and what do I do next?
Whether you’re a rideshare passenger or a driver, our team at KL Injury Attorneys wants you to know your rights and how to get proper compensation for your injuries.
A tricky legal background for rideshare companies
Ridesharing came on the scene in the late 2000s, experiencing instant success that continues multiplying each year. Today, more than a third of Americans say they’ve used services like Uber or Lyft. Uber employs over 100,000 drivers to meet the growing passenger demand in Florida alone. As a result, business is booming, but rideshare drivers and customers face inherent accident risks.
Initially, when ridesharing companies took the market by storm in 2008, there were no accident-specific regulations in place. This dangerous ambiguity came to light tragically in 2014, when a young girl in San Francisco was struck and killed by a rideshare driver. The driver was logged into the application but wasn’t transporting or on the way to pick up a customer.
During the subsequent lawsuits, it was unclear whether the driver or rideshare provider should be liable, highlighting a giant insurance coverage gap in the ridesharing industry. As a result, Colorado became the first state to pass a law regulating the booming sector in 2015. Several states have followed suit in recent years, but most are still trying to navigate the legal complexity. To make matters worse, there are no national standards for states to reference.
Rideshare rights in Florida
As a Florida resident, you have some level of passenger protection under the rules laid out in Florida Statute 627.748. Like Colorado, Florida protects passengers by requiring that rideshare companies carry $1 million in liability coverage. Rideshare drivers, however, take on much more risk.
Here are a few common rideshare accident scenarios:
- You are a passenger in a rideshare, and your driver causes an accident with another vehicle that injures you.
- A rideshare driver has accepted your fare but has not picked you up yet. On the way, they cause a crash with another vehicle that injures the driver.
- You and your rideshare driver are injured when another car causes a crash.
In the first situation, the $1 million in liability insurance covers you, the passenger.
In the second scenario, the driver is not protected by the $1 million in liability insurance. Instead, they must carry $50,000 in bodily injury insurance coverage.
Scenario three gets a bit trickier because even faultless rideshare drivers may face financial responsibility. For example, drivers that don’t have enough bodily injury coverage or uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM) coverage through the rideshare company may get stuck with the bill.
As you can see, there are multiple insurance coverage options for each accident type. For this reason, you need to work with a personal injury firm that understands Florida’s rideshare laws and can determine the best course of action.
When Florida rideshare passengers are not protected
In addition to insurance coverage, many other factors can affect whether you get a fair settlement as a passenger involved in a rideshare accident.
At KL Injury Attorneys, we assess and research every rideshare accident individually and explain every available option. So, if you are the victim of an accident caused by a rideshare driver, you may have access to additional liability coverage based on the situation. We’ll ensure that you get the maximum settlement you deserve if that’s the case. But, on the other hand, we may analyze the details and discover the unfortunate reality that your situation doesn’t fall within the parameters of Florida rideshare passengers’ rights. Either way, please do not just assume, feel free to contact us.
For example, one critical component of rideshare cases is that the driver must be signed into the company’s app for you to receive any money from its liability coverage. We have had clients come to us badly injured due to a rideshare driver’s negligence. However, the person took the fare outside the app, so the rideshare company wasn’t liable for damages.
Rideshare drivers’ rights
At KL, we support rideshare passenger victims, but we also serve drivers whose job puts them at an inherently higher risk. Therefore, drivers need to know how to protect themselves and under which scenarios they could be compensated.
Florida clarifies that rideshare drivers are independent contractors and not full-time employees. This distinction is important because it means drivers take on the responsibility of adding specific rideshare coverage to their personal insurance policies or risk losing their benefits if they get into an accident on the job. At KL, we’ve seen this unfortunate scenario.
Additionally, some rideshare companies offer UM coverage for their drivers while some don’t, which puts drivers at risk if they have an accident with an uninsured driver. And since Florida considers all rideshare workers to be independent contractors, injured rideshare contractors don’t have the opportunity to apply for workman’s compensation. That means drivers must look out for themselves and work closely with qualified attorneys to get the right coverage and help win a fair settlement for their injuries.
KL: A law firm that specializes in rideshare accidents
At KL, we’ve handled dozens of rideshare cases, representing everyone from passengers and drivers to other motorists on the road, and had successful outcomes fighting for victims in every scenario. Most of our rideshare cases have involved heavy impacts, where our clients sustained severe injuries that required surgery. And because of Florida’s rideshare liability requirements, we helped those clients receive significant settlements to cover their extensive medical bills.
Whether you’re a passenger, driver, or victim in another car, you have options. But navigating those options is a complex task, especially when you’re facing significant injuries. At KL, we want to make the road to recovery as easy as we can. So, if you’ve been injured in a rideshare accident in Florida, contact our expert team so we can streamline the process and provide the guidance you need.