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Uber & Lyft Ride Sharing Accidents

What Do I Do if I’m Injured by a Fort Lauderdale Ride Share Driver?

While Uber has only been around for less than a decade, certain statistics show that Uber has made the roads safer. Researchers at Stonehill and Providence Colleges analyzed the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System, and their conclusions state that Uber influenced a decrease in DUIs (by 62% in some cities), and a 16.6% decline in a year for traffic fatalities.

While ride share services – the most popular being Uber, Lyft, and Sidecar – provide certain opportunities for road safety, these services also can include a great amount of danger to drivers on the road. Ride share drivers may be distracted as they use their smartphones for navigation, as well as confirmation of picking up and dropping off their passengers.

In addition to distracted driving, ride share drivers may also be uninsured or underinsured. Uber, for example, has been receiving negative attention in the last year because of what some are labeling the “Uber Insurance Gap.” Unlike taking a taxi or a car service, which has the proper insurance to cover you in an accident, ride sharing drivers may not have the proper coverage for their passengers. If you are injured in an accident involving a ride share driver, you are not guaranteed compensation for the costs of your injury, such as loss of income due to time missed from work, medical bills, etc. So, what can you do?

Call the GMV Law Group today. While ride sharing laws are changing all the time, we are up-to-date and well prepared to represent clients who have been injured in ride sharing accidents. We are ready to face any ride service provider that has caused injury to someone in our state, all the way to trial if your claim is not settled first. Call us today for a free consultation with one of our Fort Lauderdale car accident lawyers.

How Ride Sharing Services Operate

It is important to recognize that ride share services are different from conventional taxi or car services. Ride share is a unique concept that comes with its own set of risks.

In Florida, when you hire a licensed taxi cab, you can be sure that the driver is employed by a fully insured taxi company. This means that in the event of an accident, the person driving you has sufficient insurance to cover your expenses. However, ride sharing companies hire drivers on as an independent contractor. This means that the majority of responsibility lies with the driver: They use their own cars, and they use their own auto insurance to cover liability.

When you as a passenger need a ride, you use a mobile app to contact the independent employed drivers nearest to them. A driver will accept the request, and will then come and pick you up. After the driver drops you off at your desired destination, the driver then logs the trip through the app, pays a part of the cost (normally around 20%) to the ride share company, and then is prepared to find new passengers through the app.

This system enables the companies to sustain low overhead costs, which appears to be a significant asset. However, this low overhead also means that passengers – along with other drivers, passengers, and pedestrians sharing the road with your ride share driver – are vulnerable and possible under- or uninsured in an accident.

This system allows ride share companies to keep their overhead costs low, but it also leaves passengers – as well as other drivers and pedestrians sharing the road with ride share vehicles – vulnerable in the event of an accident.

How Can a Ride Share Company Get Away with Not Covering My Injury?

After an accident caused by the negligence of a ride share driver, many passengers, and possibly other drivers or pedestrians, are forced to ask themselves how the company can get away with this. Since it’s still so new, the ride sharing industry unfortunately still has legal loopholes which enable the companies to exploit those injured by their drivers and avoid paying the compensation those injured deserve.

Some of these loopholes include:

  • 1. When a driver’s personal auto insurance doesn’t allow coverage for ride sharing. The majority of car insurance policies state explicitly that, when the policyholder is “driving for profit,” he or she is not covered by the policy. Even if the ride share company allows their drivers to use their personal insurance for coverage for liability, the policy itself may not cover your ride with that company.
  • 2. When, after such a case, your own insurance is expected to cover the accident. If the driver’s policy doesn’t cover you, your policy is the next possibility. But you might not have auto insurance because you might not drive, or your insurance might be minimal. This leaves you with no coverage for your expenses incurred from the accident, an accident which was not your fault.
  • 3. When the ride share company has “additional coverage” that does not really cover you. Certain ride share companies have been accused of being underinsured, but these companies have responded by saying that they have up to $1 million in supplementary coverage if the driver’s insurance is not enough. However, in multiple states, regulators have responded to this fact by warning riders that ride share companies’ insurance policies may still not cover certain situations, such as the passenger’s medical bills.
  • 4. When ride share companies do not claim drivers who are between trips. Recently in San Francisco, Uber was accused when one of its drivers hit and killed a 6-year-old girl in San Francisco. Uber initially denied responsibility, stating that the driver wasn’t carrying a passenger at the time of the crime and was therefore not working for them (even though the driver was using their app). Because of the intense pressure they received to this allegedly flawed response, Uber changed their policy. They are now liable for their drivers between fares. However, there is still grey area concerning when the driver starts logging the trip, and there is no guarantee that ride share companies outside of Uber will share Uber’s policy.

Let GMV Law Group Take on Negligent Ride share Providers

When you pay a ride share company – such as Uber, Sidecar, or Lyft – to safely deliver you to your destination, that company has a duty towards you. If they do not keep the agreement to ensure your safety due to the negligence of one of their drivers, and if you are injured as a result, you deserve compensation from that company. If the company or that company’s insurance provider denies that compensation to you, we at GMV Law Group are ready to protect your rights and fight for your recovery.

If you have experienced a ride share accident in the South Florida area, schedule a free consultation with us today so that we can discuss your accident and offer you legal counsel on the next steps we can take with you. You can call our office at 954-530-6206, or you can fill out our online inquiry form here on our website. However you choose to contact us, we seek to offer you a quick response.

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