Uber Car Accident: Why Your Car Insurance May Not Cover You If You’re Driving for Uber or Lyft

Uber and Lyft have become a worldwide phenomenon, with a presence in locations that range in distance and culture, from Miami, Florida, and Melbourne, Australia, to Bangkok, Thailand. Many factors attract drivers to the ride-sharing platform, but several negative considerations must be taken into consideration before signing up to drive for Uber. Among the liabilities of driving for Uber, anywhere in the world, is the potential for a car accident. The Best Laid Plans Both companies have instituted safety procedures and standards to lessen the risk that a driver will be involved in an accident while “on duty”. Part of this safety policy includes checking drivers’ records, conducting background checks, and requiring breaks, or time away from the wheel. However, an accident can happen in a split second despite any precautions Uber might put into place. Out on the road, other drivers, unruly or interactive passengers, checking directions, and other distractions can happen simultaneously as Uber and Lyft drivers transport their passengers from point A to point B. What many of these drivers do not realize is that if an accident does happen, it is unlikely that Uber has provided enough protection from liability in terms of insurance or indemnification. Your Insurance Is Questionable Assurance In Florida and other states in the United States, the consequences of an accident while driving for Uber could be complicated and costly. Car insurance policies that cover your privately-owned vehicle are very unlikely to cover the costs of an accident while driving for Uber. This is because as an Uber driver, you are engaged in a business activity, while your car insurance policy...

Self-Driving Uber Car Crash Shows Oversight and Need for Uber Car Accident Lawyer

In September 2016, Uber launched its first self-driving car on the roads of Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. Since then, various setbacks and controversies have plagued Uber, related to its use of driverless vehicles during mapping and testing for passenger pickups. These problems have at times led to lawsuits and run-ins with the California DMV. The latest incident, this past Friday, involves the crash of a self-driving Uber SUV in Phoenix, Arizona, a crash that spotlights the risk these vehicles may pose to other drivers, passengers, and pedestrians. Uber’s Dilemmas with Self-Driving Cars In December 2016, Uber implemented its self-driving program in its home base of San Francisco, but the California DMV quickly shut down the operation. The state demanded more transparency in the program and its reporting, and this occurred while Uber was mapping, not picking up passengers. Arizona became the company’s haven and lifeline of its autonomous car program, but just as that initiative got off the ground, new issues arose. First, many citizens complained that the state’s lax approach to the program endangered other drivers. Second, a company called Waymo claimed Uber had stolen the designs for its self-driving cars from their technology. The spotlight on the company’s program highlights concerns over the proper amount of government regulation of self-driving cars, company use of state roadways for product testing, insurance requirements for such vehicles, and the potential danger those vehicles pose to other drivers, passengers, and pedestrians. In addition to these issues, Uber is also responding to claims that it runs a sexist workplace, specifically that the company routinely ignores sexual harassment complaints. While unrelated, this issue only complicates...

Fraud on the Court in a Rear-End Car Accident

I have represented thousands of plaintiffs in personal injury cases across the country since 1991, and I believe one of the surest ways a person making a claim for a personal injury can destroy the case is by providing misleadingly incomplete responses to discovery questions about previous claims and/or injuries. Failure to disclose accurate information can often lead to the defense’s asking the court to dismiss a plaintiff’s entire lawsuit and seek sanctions. When insurance is involved–as is usually the case in a Florida car accident claim–there is also criminal exposure for insurance fraud. Recently, a Florida trial court was asked to dismiss the personal injury claim of Edelmiro Duarte, who had sued Snap-On. This case was not handled by our Florida car accident law firm.  Mr. Duarte alleged that he was badly hurt when his car was rear-ended by a delivery truck owned by Snap-On. The accident occurred while Mr. Duarte was sitting in traffic on 1-75. With him in his car, which he was driving, were his girlfriend, daughter, son, and grandson. The evidence suggested that the Snap-On truck hit them at 60 miles per hour–without even applying the brakes. At the accident scene, the Snap-On truck driver failed a field sobriety test and was arrested for driving under the influence and causing serious bodily injury. The injuries were catastrophic. Mr. Duarte’s girlfriend was rendered a paraplegic. She sued Snap-On and settled her claim for many millions of dollars. Mr. Duarte’s son and grandson also sued, obtaining sizeable settlements. Mr. Duarte filed suit for his own injuries, claiming that he lost earnings in the past and future,...

Who is Legally Responsible for a Florida Car Accident Caused by Driving the Car of Someone Who Has Died?

Who is legally responsible for a Florida car accident caused by an individual driving the car of someone who has died–before a formal estate has been created?  Typically, when a person in Florida dies owning assets in Florida, such as a house, bank account, car, truck, or motorcycle–an estate has to be created to control the distribution of those assets–as well as satisfy the debts of the deceased.1Ultimate ownership of any asset of an estate would not be determined until after resolution and satisfaction of credit card debts, claims, taxes, debts, expenses of administration, and other financial obligations of an estate. Often assets, like cars, are sold to pay an estate’s financial obligations, and are no longer belonging to the estate or to any beneficiary. However, estates take time, money, and lawyers to create, so in the meantime, who bears the legal responsibility if an accident is caused by someone driving a vehicle owned by the dead person?   This sounds improbable, but it actually is an issue that comes up with frequency–especially in Florida with its aging population.  Imagine you get a call one day that Old Aunt Bessie has passed away comfortably in her sleep at the ripe old age of 100.  In her garage in Boca del Vista is the old Cadillac that you remember her picking you and your parents up from the airport in when you would come to visit her on spring break.  When you are dragged into helping your parents clean out the apartment, someone suggests that the old Cadillac be started up, or taken to the store to pick up some...

Florida’s Supreme Court Weighs in on Florida’s Personal Injury Protection (No-Fault Law)

It is not every day that the Florida Supreme Court rules on an issue that involves Florida’s Personal Injury Protection insurance laws, which are also known as Florida Motor Vehicle No-Fault Laws (No-Fault Laws).  These are the laws that govern the payment of medical bills and lost wages for individuals involved in car, truck, motorcycle, and pedestrian traffic accidents.  This week the Supreme Court issued an opinion regarding what discovery is permissible by insurance companies looking to evade payments even before they even sued for non-compliance. The case arose from a conflict between Florida’s PIP statute and opinions issued by Florida’s First and Fourth District Courts of Appeal over what charges were appropriately paid out of a PIP and what discovery would be available by an insurance company even before it was sued for non-compliance under the policy.  The facts of the case involve medical treatment rendered by Shands Jacksonville Medical Center (Shands) to twenty-nine people who carried State Farm PIP Insurance and were injured in motor vehicle accidents. After paying Shands, State Farm requested documentation relating to the “reasonableness of the charges,” pursuant to section 627.736(6)(b) of Florida’s PIP statutes. This section requires healthcare providers to provided PIP insurance companies like State Farm, upon request, specific documents and information relating to the treatment of injured persons and the associated costs. In other words, insurance companies use discovery like this as a basis for refusing to make payments even before a lawsuit is filed. In response, Shands provided State Farm with the medical records documenting the treatments and charges for the services rendered, its most recent Medicare Cost Report,...

Florida Car Accidents: Florida’s Supreme Court Severely Limits PIP Benefits

Florida’s mandatory Personal Injury Protection insurance, or PIP, which is the minimum required auto insurance, has probably generated more civil litigation than any other in body of law I have seen in my 26 years of practicing law. The reason it is so often at the center of hotly contested battles in both trial and appellate courts may be the fact that so many people are affected by what, when, and how much PIP insurance pays to whom after a car, truck, motorcycle, or pedestrian accident in Florida, not to mention payments to doctors, hospitals, and others who provided them medical care. This week a PIP case wiggled itself all the way to Florida’s Supreme Court, where the justices were asked to decide if Allstate could limit the amount it paid for medical expenses (related to a Florida car crash) to Medicare’s current fee schedule. Several Florida appellate courts have recognized the disparity between payment under the “fee-schedule method” that pays much lower benefits (commensurate with meager Medicare rates) than would be payable under the “fact-based payment method.” Florida’s Supreme Court has the jurisdiction to resolve conflicting opinions between district appellate courts.1See art. V, § 3(b)(4), Fla. Const. The case stemmed from an appeal, from Florida’s Fourth District Court of Appeal, called Orthopedic Specialists v. Allstate Insurance Co.2177 So. 3d 19 (Fla. 4th DCA 2015).In that case the court held that Allstate’s PIP policy language was not legally sufficient to authorize Allstate to apply the Medicare fee schedules when paying for their insured’s medical expenses. This opinion conflicted with an opinion from Florida’s First District Court of Appeal, Allstate...
Facebook IconYouTube IconTwitter IconLinkedinLinkedin