Boca Raton Rideshare Accident Attorney
Throughout Boca Raton and other parts of Florida, we often rely on the services of drivers from rideshare platforms like Uber and Lyft to safely get us from Point A to Point B. When car accidents happen in the context of using one of these services, additional legal challenges and issues may arise for an injured party. Our firm of Boca Raton rideshare accident attorneys guides and represents clients through all aspects of their car accident claims.Recovering After an Uber or Lyft Car Accident
Not unlike other car accidents, a collision involving a rideshare vehicle can cause serious bodily injury. Damage to your back, head, neck, limbs, and internal organs are a real possibility depending on the seriousness of the accident. Your injuries may leave you unable to work and otherwise impact your life.
Understanding Florida’s No-Fault Insurance Laws for Car Accidents
As a no-fault state, Florida requires drivers to carry their own full liability insurance coverage (i.e., personal injury protection (PIP) insurance). An injured person may be able to obtain compensation by filing a claim against their own insurance.
However, your PIP insurance may have limits on how much they will pay out for medical expenses to treat your injury. You must also generally seek medical treatment within 14 days of the date of the accident to file a claim under your PIP insurance. This is to substantiate the necessary causal connection between your injury and the accident.
Claim Options Beyond Your PIP Insurance
While PIP may provide some relief for your medical expenses, it probably won’t give you the full coverage you need. Furthermore, a passenger in an Uber or Lyft may not carry PIP insurance if they don’t drive a car, which is possible considering their use of rideshare apps in the first place. Another available route for a person injured in a rideshare accident is to file a civil lawsuit against the responsible party or parties in a state court that covers Boca Raton. Some parties that you may have a claim against in the case of a rideshare accident include:
- The manufacturer of the car if the accident was the result of a defect (e.g., faulty brakes)
- A mechanic that serviced one of the involved cars
- Other drivers, cyclists, pedestrians, etc.
- Government and private organizations responsible for maintaining the area where the accident happened
- The rideshare company
The cause of action in these types of cases is usually for the unintentional tort of negligence. However, additional claims may exist depending on the facts of the case. Florida uses the comparative negligence rule, which means that an injured party’s financial recovery in a case will reduce in proportion to their level of fault in the accident, if any.When a Rideshare Company Like Uber or Lyft May Have Liability
Liability for your injury after an accident involving a rideshare vehicle may extend to the company that the driver of that car was working for at the time (e.g., Lyft, Uber, etc.). In such cases, you may be able to pursue a claim against the company’s commercial insurance or name them as a defendant in a civil lawsuit.
However, a rideshare company’s liability for your injury is not guaranteed and will depend on the facts of your case. Companies like Uber and Lyft hire their drivers as independent contractors, which generally prevents them from being liable for the acts of the rideshare driver.
A Rideshare Company May Have Vicarious Liability in a Boca Raton Car Accident
Despite the hurdle of the independent contractor relationship, a rideshare company can still be vicariously liable for the conduct of their drivers if they had greater responsibility over the cause of the accident. This may occur through negligence in other aspects of the rideshare operation (e.g., the hiring, supervision, and training of drivers). For example, Florida maintains standards for who can work as a driver through a rideshare program, including:
- 21 years of age
- Social Security Number verification
- Have a license for at least 1 year (However, that increases to 3 years if the driver is under 23 years of age.)
- Operate a 4-door vehicle that is no more than 10 years-old
- Have Florida registration, license, and car insurance
- Pass a background and driving record check
A company that disregards these rules may also be liable for the injuries to a passenger or driver of another vehicle. Injured parties in cases of a company like Uber or Lyft’s fault can pursue claims against their commercial liability insurance, which will have greater policy limits compared to your PIP insurance.Damages You Could Recover After a Rideshare Accident
The damages available in a personal injury lawsuit from a car accident with a rideshare driver may include the following types of economic and non-economic relief:
- Reimbursement for medical bills, property damage, and costs of pursuing a claim.
- Compensation for any lost wages or loss of future earning potential in the case of someone with permanently disabling injuries.
- Compensation for your pain and suffering from the accident and additional compensation for the negative impact on your quality of life moving forward.
After a car accident, you should take several steps to protect yourself and any future claims you may have against involved parties.
- Call 911: Have you or someone else contact law enforcement and emergency services such as an ambulance or paramedic.
- Emergency medical help: Get observation and medical treatment from a doctor as soon as possible after the accident, even if you don’t have any apparent injuries. Some injuries may be internal or latent, making them difficult to notice.
- Report the accident to insurance: This will help preserve any rights to a claim you have under your policy by giving proper notice to your insurance provider.
- Collect documents and other notes: This includes reports from law enforcement and medical professionals, communication with other parties, photos, and everything else. In the case of a rideshare accident, collect information about the driver (e.g., rideshare platform used, ID number, car details, etc.).
- Consult with Whittel & Melton’s rideshare accident attorneys in Boca Raton: Meet with your attorney as soon as possible, so they can help you understand your rights in the case. Additionally, working with your lawyer can provide important guidance when it comes to evaluating a settlement compared with pursuing litigation. Our office remains available 24/7 for a free consultation, which you can schedule through a phone call or by completing our online form.
Below are some brief answers to other common questions you may have about legal claims for recovering after a rideshare accident.
What Happens if Your Lyft or Uber Gets in an Accident?
If your rideshare driver gets in an accident, then you may have legal claims against them, their rideshare platform, and other involved parties for your injuries.
How Much is a Settlement with Lyft or Uber?
A settlement with rideshare companies like Uber or Lyft will vary from case to case based on the monetary value of your injuries and the potential liability exposure of the rideshare platform.
How Long Does It Take Uber or Lyft to Investigate an Accident?
After an accident, it may take a rideshare company weeks or months to investigate a claim and assess their risk exposure, which will determine future settlement options and room for negotiation.
How Long After an Accident Can You Sue for Personal Injury in Florida?
The statute of limitations for a personal injury claim from a car accident involving an Uber or Lyft is generally two years in Florida.
The lawyers at Whittel & Melton use their decades of experience handling personal injury claims in Boca Raton and the entire state of Florida to represent the interests of injured parties. We take the lead in all phases of the recovery journey, including investigation, settlement negotiations, and advocating for our clients at trial.
Contact our office to schedule a free consultation with one of our Boca Raton attorneys.