The concept of ride sharing, although relatively new, has taken root in many cities around the country because of the high level of convenience it affords users. Passengers looking for a ride use an app to find drivers offering the service in their area, who then drive to their location, pick them up, and take them to their destinations.
Ride sharing is a lot like using a cab except that the drivers of the former, unlike cab drivers, are classified as independent contractors and not as employees of the ride-sharing company. That last point may seem minor, but it can be quite significant for those seeking compensation after involvement in an Uber car accident. Uber and Lyft are two of the biggest names in the ride-sharing industry although there are also a number of lesser-known providers of similar services, such as Total Transit.
In spite of the obvious convenience and affordability of ride sharing, many regulators are still not very comfortable, and they cite safety issues as their primary concern. They dispute a report published by the CATO Institute on the safety of ride sharing, claiming there is really not much difference between accidents involving ride shares and those involving regular cabs.
Because the industry is relatively new, most people do not understand what the law has to say about accidents involving ride-sharing cars. This raises several questions: What should you do if you are involved in an Uber or Lyft accident? How can you seek compensation?
What you should do
As with any other car accident, it is important to get in touch with an accident or personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. Legislation relating to ride-sharing accidents in most states is murky at best, and only a qualified and experienced lawyer can help you navigate the waters and get what you deserve. Moreover, the effectiveness of such an attorney will depend on how fast you get in touch after the accident occurs.
Compensation following ride-sharing accidents is usually determined according to the nature of the accident and the circumstances surrounding it. There are three main situations that could arise if you are a passenger in an Uber or Lyft car and the accident was caused by the driver:
- If the Uber car driver has no insurance coverage–Both Uber and Lyft maintain in their policies that they provide up to 1 million dollars per person of insurance coverage for drivers who do not have insurance. In this case, you can pursue compensation from either Uber or Lyft’s insurers, preferably through a qualified attorney.
- If the driver has limited personal insurance–Since the drivers of Lyft and Uber cars are classified as independent contractors and therefore allowed to carry their own insurance, you can seek compensation from the driver’s personal insurance policies. However, this can sometimes become quite complicated since many of the insurance policies do not cover “driving for profit,” under which providing ride-sharing services may be classified.
- If the driver caused the accident out of malice—Not all incidents that occur when ride sharing are actual accidents. Sometimes they may be caused intentionally out of malice on the part of the driver. In such a situation, you can also pursue punitive damage compensation from the driver and/or his insurers. The purpose of punitive damage is specifically to punish the driver for the malice and to prevent other drivers from repeating or trying to do anything similar. The amount of compensation awarded as punitive damages will be decided by a court of law. The punitive damages can be awarded whether or not the driver has adequate compensation coverage.
Note that the three compensation scenarios above only apply if the Uber or Lyft driver was “on the job” when carrying you as a passenger. If their app was not turned on at the time, they are assumed to have been operating independently of the ride-sharing companies, and therefore the companies are automatically absolved of all responsibility and liability.
Involved in an Uber Car Accident in Miami, FL
Our car accident lawyers are dedicated to helping victims of Uber car accidents fight for their rights. We have successfully filed hundreds of car accident claims for different clients and are ready to do the same for you. It is important to remember that time is critical in any type of compensation claim. So if you, or someone you love has been the victim of an Uber car accident we suggest you get in touch with us immediately by calling us at 305-441-0440 or by emailing us directly at [email protected]. You can also call us toll free at 1-866-597-4529.