Here in Fort Lauderdale, ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft have become increasingly popular, with many people choosing to use them over taxis or public transportation. Their convenience, cleanliness, and competitive fares have made them new favorites as a way of getting from place to place. However, as the number of these ridesharing vehicles have increased on our roads and highways, so have the number of accidents.
What makes these car accidents different than others in Florida? Usually, it’s the insurance issues around companies like Uber and Lyft. When these rideshare companies first started rising in popularity, they were regulated differently in different cities. Safety issues and insurance regulations around them were murky. However, Governor Rick Scott signed HB 221 in May 2017, also known as the “Uber/Lyft Bill,” requiring that companies must follow certain standards. Companies must:
- Carry insurance beyond the standard minimum requirements of the state
- Complete background checks on all drivers
- Follow a zero-tolerance policy on drug and alcohol abuse
- Suspend drivers suspected of driving under the influence pending an investigation
- Require drivers to comply with a non-discrimination policy
This bill did indeed make it easier to seek restitution in the event you’re in an accident with a Lyft or Uber that’s not your fault, but it can still be a difficult process. Try to keep the following in mind if you’re in an accident in a rideshare vehicle.
What to do as a passenger
As a passenger, you do have rights if you’re involved in an accident. Even if the driver says it’s not necessary, you should notify the police so there’s a formal report that the accident occurred. This can help in the event of a dispute. You should also take photos of the scene and take down the contact information of any witnesses, if possible. And, if you’ve been injured, seek medical attention immediately. Keep a record of all your doctor visits.
What to do as a driver
If you’re a driver who gets in an accident with an Uber or Lyft, you should basically follow the same steps as if you were a passenger in a rideshare vehicle. Call the police, photograph the scene, get witness contact information, and seek medical attention if you have injuries. Of course, most importantly, you will need to exchange information—including insurance—with the other driver.
Things can get complicated at this step. Although rideshare companies require their drivers (at minimum) carry their own insurance that meets Florida’s minimum liability coverage, these personal policies often don’t cover an accident that happens while the driver is working for one of these companies. Uber and Lyft do provide liability coverage, but the amount of coverage and the times it’s active depend on when the accident occurred.
The Fort Lauderdale car accident attorneys at Yeboah Law Group can answer any questions you have if you’ve been involved in a crash with an Uber or Lyft. We can walk you through the insurance process and ensure you get the compensation to which you’re entitled. Contact our firm at 1-800-TELL-SAM or complete our contact form to schedule a free consultation.