Who Pays the Damages in Uber and Lyft Car Accidents?
Ridesharing companies have gained widespread popularity throughout Fort Pierce and the surrounding areas. They are often used among party goers and revelers who have had too much to drink and need a safe, sober ride home. They also come in handy for older adults and those without a vehicle who need a ride to work, school, doctor’s appointments, and when out running errands. The safety of these companies and their drivers has been an ongoing concern, as has the question of who pays the damages when a car accident involving a ridesharing company occurs.
Ridesharing Car Accidents
Despite the fact that Uber and Lyft are common services provided in practically all major U.S. cities, there are no real studies regarding the number of accidents that occur each year involving their drivers. The website Who’s Driving You?, an initiative of the Taxicab, Limousine & Paratransit Association (TLPA), maintains a list of more than 500 incidents involving ridesharing car accidents and acts of violence. While their motivation is likely due to the fact that these companies have taken a significant bite out of their own customer revenues, the data they have collected raises some serious concerns.
According to a 2016 Time/Money report, there are two major issues concerning ridesharing and the potential for accidents:
While companies promote driver safety and million dollar insurance policies to protect passengers, the fact is that it is generally the driver’s own insurance who is liable for the greatest portion of expenses. This can be problematic, as insurers often deny paying these claims based on the fact that a driver did not declare their vehicle as being used in ‘for hire’ services. Even in situations in which both the driver and the company’s insurers do provide payment, the amount of coverage may not be enough to adequately compensate victims for the injuries and lost wages they suffer.
- Driver Backgrounds
An additional cause for concern is the ridesharing driver’s record. Florida Governor Rick Scott recently passed House Bill 221, requiring ridesharing companies in our state to do background checks on drivers. This is meant to protect customers against drivers with criminal records or those who are repeat traffic offenders. While these do help to weed out those who have been convicted of violations in the past, it does little to guarantee against current or future reckless driving behaviors.
What to Do in the Event of a Ridesharing Accident
In the event you are involved in a ridesharing car accident, it is important to do the following:
- Notify law enforcement immediately;
- Get the name, contact and insurance information for the driver;
- Make note of the company they work for, and when and where the accident occurred;
- Get contact information for any witnesses at the scene;
- Seek medical attention as soon as possible.
To discuss whether you may be entitled to compensation from both the driver and the ridesharing company, call or contact the Law Firm of William E. Raikes III online and request a free consultation with our Fort Pierce car accident attorney today.