Ever wonder who’s going to pay your medical bills, lost wages or pain and suffering if you get into a collision in a ride share? You should!
Ride sharing is an arrangement with a driver in a private vehicle driven by its owner in which a passenger travels for a fee, especially as arranged by mean of a phone app or website.
Sometimes, you simply don’t want or need to drive your own vehicle. The trend of ride sharing with companies like Uber, Lyft and Sidecar has become more popular than ever due to the ease of obtaining a ride. Instead of hailing a taxi, riders can easily order a ride using an app on their phone to deliver a driver to their location. On the other hand, the rise of ride-sharing services has increased traffic deaths by 2-3% in the U.S. since 2011, equivalent to as many as 1,100 moralities a year.
The increase in congestion is partly because drivers spend 40-60% of their time searching for passengers, a practice known as ‘deadheading’.
Traffic deaths fell to their lowest number just before Uber launched in San Francisco. In 2010 there were 32,885 fatal car accidents nationwide, the lowest number since 1949. This decline halted and then reversed after the introduction of ride-sharing in U.S. cities nationwide.
Who has the responsibility of protecting drivers and passengers with insurance in case of a crash?
That is an important question for consumers to understand. In Florida, liability protection for motor vehicles comes from two main kinds of insurance. “Bodily injury” coverage which insures the driver of a vehicle if they are negligent and “underinsured/uninsured motorists” coverage which insures drivers and potentially passengers if they are in a crash with an at fault driver who is either under-insured or carries no bodily injury coverage.
In Florida, Governor Rick Scott signed CS/HB 221, also known as the Uber/Lyft Bill which requires the following:
- $50,000 insurance for death and bodily injury per person;
- $100,000 insurance for death and bodily injury per accident;
- $250,000 insurance for property damage [required to be carried by the drivers]; and
- Background checks for drivers will also be done by Uber and Lyft.
This bill is intended to make ride sharing services provide some level of insurance protection for their passengers and to make the process safe for drivers and riders alike by uniform requirements throughout Florida. Uber and Lyft also provide bodily injury liability insurance up to $1 million dollars as a secondary insurance to the driver’s coverage and it may apply in a crash depending on the facts of the incident. While the driver is carrying a passenger, both are potentially covered under Uber’s $1 million liability coverage policy.
Although the Florida law does not require that the drivers carry uninsured motorist coverage, both Uber and Lyft do provide $1 million dollars to cover underinsured/uninsured motorists, but whether a passenger is entitled to that insurance is a very complex issue and requires a careful analysis of the circumstances. In addition, Uber and Lyft are not the only ride sharing services, and other services may not provide the extra $1,000,000 in underinsured motorist coverage. If you are unsure of what uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage is, please read our article on Florida Auto Insurance Coverage.
Have you considered who would pay for your injuries if you were in an accident while in a ride share in Florida?
It should be the responsibility of the ride share company if you are injured in an accident while a passenger. Unfortunately, this is not guaranteed and your ride share driver may be underinsured, which means that your medical bills and loss of income may not be fully covered. Since the drivers are independent contractors, and typically they are providing their own personal car to use to transport passengers. As a result they must, in most circumstances, use their own insurance for liability coverage.
If you are in doubt about your rights as a ride share participant or have been injured and need help with determining coverage or getting justice for your injuries, we are happy to help.
At Cutler Rader, we are dedicated to helping the victims of ride share accidents recover substantial amounts of money to help them get their lives back on track. We recommend you pursue a claim soon after your accident as there are certain time limitations on how long you have to file a claim.
Contact us at (954) 913-CASE (2273) for your complimentary consultation regarding your pedestrian accident.