Melbourne Rideshare Accident Lawyers
Rideshare companies such as Uber and Lyft have become an increasingly popular option for both tourists and residents who need to get around the Melbourne, Florida area. A rideshare is often more cost-effective than renting a vehicle and more convenient than public transportation; however, when you opt for a rideshare ride, you are depending on the driver to deliver you to your destination safely. What happens if you are injured in an accident while you were the driver or a passenger in a rideshare vehicle?
You may suffer physical injuries and emotional trauma as well as face financial hardship after any car accident. When you are involved in a rideshare accident, you will also need to find medical providers and navigate the legal system to determine who is at fault and who is financially liable for your injuries. The good news is that you do not need to do all of that alone. The experienced Melbourne rideshare accident lawyers at Layman Law Firm, P.L. have the experience and commitment needed to make sure you are fully and fairly compensated for all injuries suffered in a rideshare accident.
Steps to Take Following a Melbourne Rideshare Accident
Being involved in an accident can be a frightening experience. Knowing what to do next can provide you with a sense of control and help make sure that the responsible party (or parties) is held accountable for the injuries you suffered. Following a Melbourne rideshare accident, take the following steps:
- Contact the police and file a report. While this is always advisable following a motor vehicle accident, it is especially important when a rideshare vehicle is involved because legal issues are more likely to be complicated in a rideshare accident. Having a formal police report filled out at the time of the accident can be a crucial tool when pursuing compensation for your injuries.
- Contact the rideshare company if you are a driver. The terms of your agreement with the rideshare company likely require you to contact them as soon as possible following a collision.
- Have a medical evaluation done. Go directly to the hospital, either via ambulance or on your own, to have a complete medical evaluation. Life-threatening injuries may not show symptoms until hours (even days) after the injury occurred. The only way to ensure that all your injuries are identified is to have a thorough examination. Getting a medical evaluation right after an accident also helps prove that the injuries you suffered are related to the rideshare accident.
- Document the accident. If your injuries allow, take photos of the accident scene and the vehicles involved using your cell phone. Get names and contact information for all drivers, passengers, and witnesses along with insurance information for drivers. If you were not the rideshare driver, get contact information for the rideshare company from the driver. Keep copies of all vehicle repair estimates, medical bills and treatment notes, and proof of lost wages going forward.
- Consult with an experienced attorney. Several complicated legal issues can arise following a rideshare accident which is one reason you should always contact an experienced attorney before discussing the accident with anyone, including an insurance company representative. If you were a passenger who was injured in a rideshare accident there is a good chance you will be contacted by an insurance adjuster who may offer you a token settlement to resolve any claims you have against the company. Never accept such an offer without first consulting an attorney because your claim may be worth considerably more than they are offering you.
Florida Rideshare Liability Insurance Coverage Requirements
When a rideshare vehicle is involved in a collision, liability becomes more convoluted. This is exacerbated by the fact that Florida is a “no-fault” insurance state. Florida law requires all drivers to carry the state minimum PIP (Personal Injury Protection) insurance coverage; however, rideshare drivers must also carry additional coverage.
A rideshare drive in Florida is required to have at least $1 million in liability coverage for property damage, physical injury, and death when a passenger is in the vehicle. They must also have $50,000 in physical injury or death liability coverage anytime the app is on, and the driver is actively looking for a passenger. Most of the big rideshare companies, such as Uber and Lyft, also offer drivers uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage.
How Does Florida’s No-Fault Insurance Law Impact a Melbourne Rideshare Accident?
Florida is what is known as a “no-fault” insurance state, meaning that your own Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance will cover medical bills up to $10,000 without regard to who was at fault in a collision. The no-fault laws still apply when a rideshare vehicle is involved in an accident. If you only suffered minor injuries in a rideshare accident, that means that your own PIP coverage (or that of the driver of the vehicle) will cover 80 percent of reasonable medical bills and 60 percent of lost wages up to $10,000. PIP insurance does not cover 100 percent of medical bills or lost wages, nor does it compensate you for non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering. Finally, an at-fault driver is responsible for property damage caused by a collision.
Does Workers’ Compensation Cover a Rideshare Driver Injured in an Accident?
If you were a rideshare driver who was injured in an accident you will also likely need to go through the Florida no-fault insurance system to pursue compensation for your injuries. Because you are considered an independent contractor, the rideshare company is not required to carry workers’ compensation coverage. If your liability insurance company was not aware that you were operating a rideshare vehicle, you may face problems filing a claim with them as well.
Can I Pursue a Traditional Personal Injury Lawsuit for Injuries Suffered in a Rideshare Accident?
Although the Florida no-fault insurance laws require you to go through your own insurance provider for minor injuries sustained in an accident, you can pursue a traditional personal injury accident lawsuit for more serious and/or permanent injuries. If you meet the serious injury threshold and pursue a traditional lawsuit it becomes necessary to prove negligence on the part of another party to be entitled to compensation.
If you were a passenger in a rideshare vehicle, but another vehicle was at fault in the collision, you may still be able to pursue compensation from the rideshare company if the at-fault driver was not carrying sufficient insurance to cover your damages. For example, imagine that a drunk driver crashed into the rideshare vehicle in which you were a passenger, and you sustained $250,000 worth of damages. The drunk driver is clearly the negligent party; however, that driver only has the state minimum coverage. In that case, you may be able to turn to the considerably higher limits of the rideshare insurance policy for additional compensation.
Contact the Experienced Melbourne Rideshare Accident Lawyers at Layman Law Firm, P.L.
If you were injured in a rideshare accident, or you lost a family member who was killed in one, contact the experienced Melbourne rideshare accident lawyers at Layman Law Firm, P.L. to discuss your legal options. Our experienced attorney will aggressively pursue compensation on your behalf from all potential sources and for all your injuries. Contact the team today for your free initial consultation by calling 321-773-2111 or by filling out our convenient Intake Evaluation Form online.