Rideshares are convenient and cost-effective, which is why they are so popular – especially in areas with heavy tourism like Florida. However, they’ve created some legal questions, particularly surrounding what happens if you’re in an accident while using one.
Any type of car accident can be an emotional and frightening experience. When it happens in a rideshare, it can become a very complex matter, which leads to confusion about what your role should be.
Rideshare companies are committed to safety, but accidents happen anyway. That’s why it’s important to know what to do if you’re involved in a rideshare accident in Florida. Read on to find out more about this complicated topic.
Rideshare Laws in Florida
Florida does have some laws in place for rideshare services that make the roads safer for both the drivers and the passengers. All drivers in rideshares have to be over the age of 21 and must have driven for at least one year prior to becoming a rideshare driver.
They must also pass background checks to ensure they have no prior felony convictions or an unsafe history of driving. If they have three or more road violations in a year or have driven under the influence, then they cannot drive for a rideshare. They also cannot be registered sex offenders.
In Florida, a law was also passed that requires rideshare companies like Uber to keep insurance on their drivers when they’re logged into the app. This helps to protect everyone on the road.
What if You’re In a Rideshare Accident?
No matter if you’re a local just looking for a ride or a tourist visiting exciting attractions in Florida, it’s important to know what to do if you’re involved in a rideshare accident.
The first thing you should do if you’re in a rideshare accident is: Check on everyone to make sure they’re OK. If someone needs an ambulance, then you must call 911.
Next, call the police to the scene. You will want to have a police report for documentation of the accident going forward. Calling the police to the scene is one of the most important things you can do, even if everyone appears to be all right.
You should also take pictures of the scene. Sure, your personal car is not involved in the accident, but having pictures of the scene may be able to help down the road with insurance claims. Take pictures both close up and from far away to capture the entire scene, and try to get landmarks in the pictures, too, like street signs. Investigators for accidents can obtain a lot of information from photographs like these.
When you’re waiting for the police, make sure to use your rideshare app to alert them that you’ve been in an accident. The accident should be reported via the app by both the driver and the passenger. The rideshare company may reach out to you for more information, too.
Once the police are on the scene, make sure to follow any instructions they provide. Before you leave the scene, get the contact information for the driver as well as any insurance information. Don’t let the driver try to tell you that the rideshare insurance is enough. You should insist on their insurance information as well. Be persistent.
If you didn’t need emergency care for injuries, that’s fine. But it’s a good idea to get checked out by a doctor in the wake of an accident, just in case. See one within 72 hours of the accident, and keep any records relating to the visit for the claims process down the road.
What Kind of Damages Can You Seek?
If you are riding in a rideshare and get into an accident, you can face many costs afterward, especially if you are injured. You should consult with an accident attorney to help you seek damages from the rideshare for the accident. The types of damages you can recover include:
- Lost wages
- Prescription expenses
- Medical expenses
- Therapy expenses
- Transportation expenses to and from the doctor’s office
- Legal fees
Who Is Liable?
Every accident case is different, but the facts of the case will show who is liable for the accident. Investigation from insurance companies and attorneys will help to determine who is at fault for the accident and your injuries.
No matter your injuries, being involved in an accident with a rideshare is something for which you should seek out legal counsel – if for nothing else than to explore your options when you’re just an innocent bystander in an accident that could leave you with permanent injuries.
About the Author:
Andrew Winston is a partner at the personal injury law firm of Winston Law. For over 20 years, he has successfully represented countless people in all kinds of personal injury cases, with a particular focus on child injury, legal malpractice, and premises liability. He has been recognized for excellence in the representation of injured clients by admission to the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, and named one of America’s Top 100 High-Stakes Litigators. Mr. Winston is AV Preeminent Rated by the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, enjoys a 10.0 rating by AVVO as a Top Personal Injury Attorney, has been selected as a Florida “SuperLawyer” from 2011-2021 – an honor reserved for the top 5% of lawyers in the state – was voted to Florida Trend’s ”Legal Elite,” recognized by Expertise as one of the 20 Best Fort Lauderdale personal injury attorneys, named one of the Top 100 Lawyers in the Miami area for 2015-2021, and one of the Top 100 Lawyers in Florida for 2015-2017 and 2019-2021.