Miami Ridesharing Accident Lawyers
Miami is truly a mecca of nightlife, and smart residents and tourists who want to avoid fighting the traffic or causing a drunk driving car accident after a night on the town may opt instead to hail a ride from an app on their smartphone. Ridesharing services such as Uber and Lyft are becoming increasingly popular in Miami and offer many benefits to people getting around town. What happens if the rideshare driver gets into a car accident, though? Are both the rideshare driver and the rideshare company liable to accident injury victims? Are the rules different for injured passengers in the rideshare vehicle versus occupants of the other vehicle involved in the crash? Learn more below about issues involving ridesharing companies and car accidents, and contact the Law Offices of Brandon L. Chase after a ridesharing collision in Miami, South Florida or statewide.
Are Uber and Lyft drivers safer than other drivers?
One might think that people driving passengers for money would be more competent drivers and would take extra care when transporting people in their care. The problem is that there is no guarantee about what kind of driver will answer the call when a ride is hailed.
The fact is that Uber and Lyft drivers are not professional drivers in the same sense as taxicab or limousine drivers. They do not receive any type of training or supervision and are not required to have any specific type of experience as a safe driver or simply driving in general.
Experienced cab drivers know the city like the back of their hand, but a driver for a ridesharing company may be completely unfamiliar with the destination. This means the driver will rely more heavily on GPS and map apps on the driver’s phone or vehicle console. Adding to the driver’s distractions from keeping eyes and attention on the road, the driver may be continually responding to ride requests as well.
Additionally, most Uber and Lyft drivers are not full-time drivers for the ridesharing apps. Most have full-time day jobs and are driving as a side hustle to pick up extra cash after a long day of work. Drivers also need to put in lots of time behind the wheel to make good money. These factors can contribute to fatigue or drowsy driving, a leading cause of car accidents.
Another safety factor that differentiates ridesharing apps from taxi services is that cab companies have in-house mechanics who service vehicles daily. There are no requirements on Uber and Lyft drivers to inspect their vehicles regularly or maintain them to a certain degree. Recent reports have uncovered large numbers of Uber and Lyft vehicles subject to open recalls. Whether a vehicle is well-maintained and safe depends solely on the diligence of the individual driver.
What does Florida law have to say about ridesharing companies?
Although the ridesharing industry is mostly unregulated, the Florida legislature has passed some laws for the protection of ridesharing customers. For instance, transportation network companies (TNCs) are supposed to screen their drivers for reckless driving or DUI convictions, as well as convictions for sex offenses or certain misdemeanor crimes of violence. Further, all drivers must carry $10,000 in personal injury protection (PIP) no-fault insurance, as well as uninsured motorist and underinsured motorist coverage. Finally, either the driver, the TNC, or a combination of the two are required by Florida law to maintain auto insurance up to the following limits: bodily injury liability of $50,000 per person or $100,000 per accident and $25,000 of property damage liability while logged in to the driving app, plus an additional one million dollars in liability coverage while engaged in a prearranged ride.
With these high limits in place, injured passengers have the potential to recover large damage awards after a serious injury, but expect the TNCs and their insurers to invest more time and resources in fighting claims where they have significant financial exposure. Injury victims need to retain an experienced car accident lawyer with the skill, resources and tenacity to go up against the TNCs and their insurance carriers, and to pursue a case as far as necessary to get the best result.
Help is Available after Miami Ridesharing Car Accidents
After a ridesharing car accident in Miami, South Florida or statewide, call the Law Offices of Brandon L. Chase at 305-677-2228 for a free case evaluation with an experienced and dedicated Miami car accident and personal injury attorney.