Florida Rideshare Accidents
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Uber and Lyft have been trying to help Floridians get around safely, creating initiatives like offering free rides to veterans. However, even with less traffic on the roads in Tampa, rideshare cars can sometimes cause accidents, either with another vehicle or with a pedestrian. If you are unfortunate enough to be involved in an accident of this type, it is important to understand that bringing suit against an Uber or Lyft driver may be more complex than suing an average private person would be.
Insurance Coverage Is Different
Florida requires every motor vehicle owner to carry a certain amount of auto insurance – generally, $10,000 in personal injury protection (PIP) coverage, and $10,000 in property damage liability (PDL) coverage – which is meant to be used in paying one’s damages if that driver gets into an auto accident. This is referred to as a ‘no-fault’ system of insurance coverage, because those amounts are accessible regardless of whomever might be at fault for the accident. However, an accident that involves a rideshare driver will be governed by different rules.
Florida law regulates rideshare cars differently, even though they are technically classified as personal (non-commercial) vehicles. Rideshare drivers must have insurance classified as TNC (transport network company) insurance, and it is in effect any time that the driver is logged into the Uber or Lyft app or in the process of performing a ride. (If a driver is logged off, they are considered not to be working, and their own personal auto insurance is in effect.) TNC coverage is far greater than the average required amount; drivers have access to up to $1 million in insurance coverage if they are actively engaged in a rideshare.
Status Is Everything
If you have been injured as a passenger or a pedestrian by a rideshare driver, the most important thing to keep in mind is that the driver’s status matters in terms of the amount of insurance that you can access if the driver is found liable. If the driver is on their way to pick up a ride, they are eligible for less insurance coverage than they would be if they were actively engaged in transporting a fare. The act of picking up a fare immediately changes the driver’s status, because then, in theory, they are responsible for another person’s livelihood, as well as their own.
By comparison, if you experience a rideshare accident as a driver, and you are not the negligent party, you should be able to file a claim under your own insurance policy for vehicle repairs and medical bills, assuming that you were actively engaged in transporting a ride or at least logged into the app. If you are not even logged in, you would only have your personal insurance policy to file under, which generally will be worth less, and not necessarily cover all your bills.
Call A Tampa Rideshare Accident Attorney
After an accident, it can be quite confusing to deal with Uber or Lyft when you should generally be focusing on recovery. A Tampa car accident attorney can help you with the legal process so that you can prioritize getting yourself back to normal and on your feet. The Rinaldo Law Group has experience with these types of cases, and we are happy to sit down with you to try and answer your questions. Call our offices today for a free consultation.