Tampa Bay Ridesharing Accident Lawyers Explain What to Do After Getting Injured in an Uber/Lyft
The advent of ridesharing apps like Uber and Lyft have made travel from one place to another in Florida more convenient. It has also made travel much safer by providing cheaper and more accessible options to get home after a night out with friends or colleagues. This is particularly true of younger generations who are more tech-friendly and apt to be out enjoying some of the Tampa Bay area’s night entertainment. However, while ridesharing has many benefits, our Tampa Bay car accident lawyers know that ridesharing apps also have some drawbacks. According to research from the University of Chicago and Rice University, ridesharing services have increased traffic deaths by 2%-3% in the United States since 2011. This equates to as many as 1,100 additional fatalities a year. While that may not sound like a lot, insurance statistics reveal that Florida is already the third-highest state in traffic fatalities with almost 3,200 wrongful deaths annually.
Unfortunately, Florida ridesharing accidents not only increase the risk of wrongful death or injury but also the difficulty in handling these types of cases. That is because Uber, Lyft, and other ridesharing companies are not set up like a taxi company. Drivers are considered to be independent contractors rather than employees, meaning that the employer may not automatically be vicariously liable for the actions of their employees (known as respondent superior). Insurance companies know this and typically point fingers between the ridesharing company, the driver, and even back to the victim. Do not let this happen. Call the ridesharing accident lawyers at Dumas & Sanclemente to help with your motor vehicle accident in Florida.
Steps to Take After a Ridesharing Accident
There are some steps that should be taken before and after a ridesharing accident to ensure that a victim and his or her family recover the compensation that they need for medical bills, lost wages, future lost earnings, loss of consortium, and of course pain and suffering. Taking these steps will not guarantee success in your case, but it will greatly increase the likelihood that you will have a stronger claim than if you did not follow these steps.
Before Getting into the Ridesharing Vehicle
Since ridesharing accidents are not like other types of motor vehicle crashes due to the complex matrix of parties and liability, victims need to protect themselves because they cannot expect the insurance companies to play fair. This starts before you even get into the vehicle. Some important steps to take include the following:
- Ensure the driver’s photo matches the driver who is picking you up. Some drivers may not be able to get an account but could use a friend or family member’s ridesharing account and vehicle. This is dangerous for several reasons because you do not know this individual, the ridesharing app does not either, and there may be reasons why the ridesharing app denied the application of the driver (i.e., suspended license). Also confirm the picture matches the person picking you up.
- Confirm the license plate on the app to the license plate on the vehicle.
- Keep the app open and active the entire time. Ridesharing apps will deny all coverage and responsibility if the ridesharing app is not active. If you are in an Uber or Lyft and your app unexpectedly freezes or closes out, this could be a ground that the ridesharing app will use to deny coverage.
- Ensure your phone has sufficient battery life for the duration of the ride.
After a Ridesharing Accident
If you have been involved in a ridesharing accident, stay calm. Take these steps to protect your life and your claim:
- Call 911 and attend to the immediate medical care of you or another in the vehicle. This includes first aid until help can arrive to take over. Do not delay in calling for help and be clear to ask for an ambulance if someone is hurt.
- Tell first responders and police what happened. Be sure to explain and be clear that you were actively in a ridesharing app at the time of the accident and insist that this is put into the police report.
- Gather information or ask the police to if you are too injured. This includes the insurance information of the ridesharing driver, and any supplemental insurance information that the driver may have with Uber or Lyft. Also make sure to get the insurance information of any other vehicle involved in the collision. Even if it may appear that it was not the other motorist’s fault, liability can be very tricky. Leave that determination up to a Tampa Bay ridesharing accident lawyer.
- Take photographs and videos of the scene and injuries, including all debris fields, traffic markings, and points of impact on vehicles. If you do not have the ability to take photographs or videos, make sure to take down notes.
- Take a screenshot of your ridesharing status. This is super important because if the ridesharing app tries to claim that you were not actively in a ride, they will try to disclaim. But if you take a screenshot of the screen demonstrating the ride is still ongoing, and even better of the geographic/map location which matches the accident location, that will be irrefutable evidence of the collision.
- Collect witness information from others that may have witnessed the crash from another vehicle, home, or pedestrian. Make sure to have two forms of contact (cell phone and email or address), and get a full name. This can be important to support your claim.
- Contact a Tampa Bay ridesharing accident lawyer as soon as you can to protect your rights.
Call Dumas & Sanclemente for Ridesharing Accidents in Tampa Bay
Unlike other types of motor vehicle accidents, ridesharing accidents have layers of liability protection for companies like Uber and Lyft. These companies also have some of the largest insurance companies and law firms representing them. This is why it is imperative to hire a ridesharing accident law firm like Dumas & Sanclemente to protect your rights to compensation after a negligent rideshare driver or other motorist harms you.
Uber accidents and Lyft accidents are not normal types of car accidents, and the law on these types of cases is rapidly evolving and not well-settled. Call us today for a FREE consultation to learn how we can help you by dialing (844) 400-2667 to schedule your FREE case evaluation. You could also send us an email by using our message box at the bottom of our contact us page available here.