Gainesville Rideshare Accident Lawyer
Suffering through pain and injuries caused by a rideshare accident is not something you need to bear alone. You need a rideshare accident lawyer in Gainesville, like the experts at Whittle & Melton, who can help you get the compensation you deserve.Lyft and Uber Injury and Accident Attorneys Serving Florida
As a relatively new area of legal practice, rideshare accidents can be complex situations. The rules and laws surrounding rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft change frequently. That is why you should trust your case to the experts at Whittel & Melton.
If you choose to pursue the situation on your own, you risk getting a lot less than you have a right to or getting nothing in return. At Whittel & Melton, we will do what we can to ensure that doesn’t happen.Who Is the Responsible Party in an Uber or Lyft Crash?
One of the most important things to remember about most accidents in Florida is that Florida is a no-fault state. In a no-fault state like Florida, you must use your own insurance first, even in a rideshare accident. This applies whether you were driving your vehicle or were a passenger in the Uber or Lyft.
Every driver in Florida is required to have personal injury protection (PIP) insurance. This is usually part of an auto insurance policy. This coverage offers up to $10,000 in payments for medical and other accident-related costs. To qualify for a payment, you must receive medical treatment within two weeks of the accident.
When your injuries and related medical bills exceed what your PIP insurance covers, then you may be able to make a claim against the rideshare company’s or rideshare driver’s insurance.
If the driver’s insurance denies your claim, you might be able to sue the driver. In Florida, this requires proof of severe injury.
If you want to pursue legal action against Lyft or Uber, your case becomes more difficult. Rideshare companies typically do not consider their drivers as employees – they are independent contractors. This designation severely limits the liability of the parent company. However, if Uber or Lyft negligently hired an unqualified driver, they could be held liable.
The criteria to become a rideshare driver in Florida includes:
- Have a driver’s license for at least a year, or three years if under 23
- Use a 4-door vehicle that is less than 10 years old
- Have a Social Security number
- Be at least 21 years old
- Pass a background check
- Have a clean driving record
- Have a Florida driver's license, registration, and car insurance policy
- In some instances, a third party might be liable for your accident injuries. These include:
- Any other drivers who were involved in the crash
- A third party’s actions that contributed to the crash
- A vehicle manufacturer if the at-fault vehicle has a defective part that caused the crash
This will vary significantly based on the severity of your injuries and what the rideshare driver was doing during or leading up to the accident. There are three distinct situations to consider.
1. Rideshare App Was on, and Driver Was Transporting or on their Way to Pick Up a Passenger
In a situation like this, you could seek compensation from the company’s commercial insurance policy. These policies typically include up to $1 million in coverage for third-party liability and coverage for uninsured and underinsured drivers up to $250 million.
2. Rideshare App Was on, and Driver Was Waiting for a Job
In this scenario, you could make a claim on both the company’s liability coverage and the driver’s personal coverage. Personal liability insurance usually includes coverage for property damage up to $25,000 and up to $50,000 per person for injuries.
3. Rideshare App Was Off
Only their personal insurance will apply when the rideshare driver has not activated the rideshare app.
There are certain things you should and should not do after getting in an accident with an Uber or Lyft driver. Doing or saying something at the wrong time may make you inadvertently liable for all costs.
Here are some of the most crucial things you should and should not do after a rideshare accident:
- Call for help: You need to call for help after an accident. If there are injuries, call 911 to get an ambulance. If the accident is less severe, you may be able to call the non-emergency police line.
- Get medical attention: You need to get medical attention after a crash, even if you don’t think you are injured. Some injuries take longer to have an effect, and if you wait too long, you may not be eligible for compensation or damages. Seeking medical assistance also gives you proof of your injuries.
- Contact an auto accident lawyer: Call an experienced rideshare accident attorney at Whittel & Melton as soon as you can. Any mistake can put your chances of receiving compensation in jeopardy.
- Talk with law enforcement: Give any necessary information to law enforcement officials. However, we recommend speaking with one of our experienced rideshare accident lawyers in Gainesville before offering a detailed statement.
- Contact your insurance: Do not wait too long to contact your insurance company. However, you should consult your car accident lawyer before giving your statement.
- Take pictures: Use your smartphone camera to take detailed pictures and videos of any involved vehicles and the overall scene. You should also take a picture of the rideshare driver’s license, insurance card, and contact details.
- Take notes: Along with a visual representation of the accident, you should write down as much as you can about what happened. Include details like what the weather was like, the road conditions, what you did, and what the rideshare driver did. Include as many details as you can, even if they seem insignificant.
- Gather evidence: Ask the police for a copy of your accident report when you can. You should also collect copies of your medical records pertinent to the accident.
- Stay on the scene: Do not leave the scene of the accident. Even if you are not at fault, if you drive away, you could be charged with fleeing the scene of an accident.
- Speak carefully: For many people, their first reaction during an accident is to apologize. Do not say sorry to anyone or make any other statement that can be taken as an admission of fault. That can jeopardize your case.
- Don’t talk with other representatives: Refuse to speak with lawyers or insurance agents for the other party until you have consulted with your car accident lawyer at Whittel & Melton. Any comments you make will be used as evidence.
If you are a passenger in a vehicle during a rideshare accident, many of the same rules and regulations apply to you. Your first source of compensation will be your personal injury protection (PIP) insurance. A family member’s policy may apply if you do not have this. If not, you can try filing a claim with the driver’s insurance.Can I Sue Uber?
In short, yes, you can sue Uber. Since Uber was launched in 2009, it has been sued thousands of times, with 433 lawsuits filed in 2017 alone. These suits were filed for various reasons, including accidents, misclassification of its drivers, and discrimination of disabled passengers.Get Expert Help from a Rideshare Accident Lawyer in Gainesville
Whether you live in Gainesville or anywhere else in Florida, the attorneys at Whittel & Melton are here to help. Our team of experts has been working hard for over a decade to master all the legal technicalities that come with rideshare accidents.
Ready to talk to a lawyer you can trust? Schedule a free consultation with us today.