Uber provides a fantastic opportunity for both drivers and passengers around Florida. For drivers, it’s a great way to make your own hours and earn some easy money. For passengers, it’s relatively cheap, can be ordered with the click of a button, and a great alternative to finding a designated driver when you’re going out for the night or during the holidays.
Uber cars, however, can be involved in accidents just like any other vehicle. Uber drivers are not perfect, and even if they are incredibly careful, there’s still the possibility of getting hit by another driver.
So what happens when you get into an accident involving an Uber? Regardless of whether or not is was the Uber driver’s fault, you still need compensation for your injuries or financial losses if you get injured. How does Uber handle car accidents?
It Starts With Uber’s $1 Million Insurance Coverage
In 2014, Uber announced that they would provide $1 million in insurance coverage for drivers, passengers, and anyone affected by an accident that occurs during an Uber ride. Lyft has a similar policy.
Just because this policy exists, though, it doesn’t mean that Uber is simply going to hand you $1 million after your car accident. Depending on your role in the accident, you may have to go through a different process and talk to different insurance providers before turning to Uber.
Here are the three potential scenarios you might find yourself in:
You’re an Uber Passenger. Don’t go chasing after Uber’s $1 million insurance coverage as soon as you get in an accident as an Uber passenger. If you already have insurance, you are doubly protected. However, you should probably use your PIP coverage before you rely on Uber to pay for your damages. Once that runs out, you may have to turn to any alternative insurance you have.
Since Florida is a “no-fault” state, you will not have to prove the driver was being negligent in order to receive the allowed PIP coverage.
Once your PIP and alternative insurance coverage runs out, or if you sustained serious bodily injury from the accident, you can make a claim against Uber. It’s also wise to file a claim against the driver’s personal auto insurance as well. To receive compensation, you will have to prove that the accident was caused by negligence, and that this negligence caused your injury.
You’re an Uber Driver. Uber drivers can be covered by Uber’s $1 million insurance coverage. However, there’s a catch. This coverage only applies if drivers get into an accident after they have accepted a ride or while a ride is in progress.
If the driver is in an accident in between rides, they will have to rely on their own insurance to cover the damages. This can be a tricky area for drivers with insurance policies that will not cover accidents while “on the clock,” because your insurer may argue that you were working while Uber argues the opposite – no one wants to pay.
Thankfully, there have been lawsuits in Florida to change this policy, but currently things are in flux.
You’re a Third Party Driver or Passenger. Maybe you weren’t in the Uber at all. In this case, you would follow a similar process to Uber passengers. Go through your own PIP and health insurance first.
You may have to file a claim against the driver and go after his or her personal insurance, but don’t hold your breath. Uber’s $1 million insurance liability sounds tempting, but it should probably be a last resort.
What Should I Do After Getting Into an Accident With An Uber?
Treat this accident like you would any other accident: get the names, insurance, and contact information of the drivers and passengers involved, record any damages to the car, and gather any witness testimony. Check out this blog post for a list of apps that will help you record important information after a car accident.
Even if you do not think you are injured, make sure you go to a doctor within 14 days for a quick check-up. Sometimes injuries won’t make themselves known until months or even years later without proper medical attention. If you attempt to file for compensation at that point, though, you’ll find yourself out of luck. See a doctor within two weeks. Otherwise, Florida law is against you.
The other big thing you should do is keep in touch with a Florida personal injury lawyer throughout this entire process. Rideshare accidents are still a fairly new area of the law. Uber, Lyft, and other rideshare businesses employ their drivers differently than taxi companies do, and there have not been enough rideshare accident cases for all of the legal and financial kinks to be straightened out. In these types of cases, it’s even more important to work with an experienced auto accident attorney who keeps up with the laws in this area and understands how injury lawsuits work.
About the Author:
John K. Lawlor, a South Florida personal injury attorney who focuses his practice on complex personal injury, wrongful death, and professional malpractice, founded the law firm of Lawlor, White & Murphey in 1996. Since 1995, Mr. Lawlor’s trial advocacy and litigation skills, as well as his wide-ranging legal expertise, have provided plaintiffs and their families with a distinct advantage when seeking financial compensation and justice for injuries caused by the negligence of others. Mr. Lawlor is an EAGLE member of the Florida Bar Association and an active member of the American Association for Justice, the Broward County Justice Association, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and several professional associations.