Rideshare Accident Lawyer
If you are in a rideshare vehicle and there is an accident, filing a claim is not a simple as it is when there is a “regular” accident. That’s because when independent contractors (the drivers,) rideshare companies, multiple insurance companies and the app services are involved, a car accident claim can become complicated very quickly. It can be very difficult to determine liability and the claim process is a nightmare to navigate.
Many times, the involved parties will point fingers at each other, and try to pass the buck on taking any responsibility for the accident. It’s very common for liable entities to attempt to negotiate settlement amounts that are substantially less than the losses victims have sustained. If you don’t have an experienced personal injury attorney on your side, you will need to fight to recover compensation for your medical expenses and lawsuits can drag on for months or even years. Call Future Firm Law today and let our Tampa rideshare accident lawyers carry that burden for you, and get the compensation for you that you deserve.
Accidents Involving Rideshare Drivers and Couriers
Though drivers for these services are generally considered to be individual contractors, most app-based delivery companies carry commercial liability insurance coverage. This is designed to pay for losses and injuries suffered by other parties when drivers are working for their company.
If you have suffered injuries or someone close to you was killed as a result of the actions of a driver/courier, then you may be eligible to recover compensation from several sources:
- The company’s commercial liability insurance.
- The driver’s personal liability insurance policy.
- A third party’s liability insurance (This would be when another at-fault party is involved.)
If there are multiple injured victims in a rideshare or delivery service accident, each of the parties involved will need to file his or her own accident claim with the company’s insurance, the driver’s insurance and the insurance company for any other party who may have been involved. Keep in mind that you have four years from the date of the accident to file your insurance claim in the state of Florida, but you will need to file a police report within 10 days. Your insurance company may have their own time limits for filing a claim, though, so it’s a good idea to ask Future Firm Law early on to handle interactions with them.
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Understanding Rideshare Apps in the Tampa Bay Area
Since 2014, when rideshare companies were approved to operate in Tampa, apps like Lyft and Uber have been instrumental in transforming the way Tampa Bay tourists and residents get around town. And people here love their rideshare apps. According to the Tampa Bay Business Journal, Tampa is the No. 2 city in the state of Florida when it comes to Uber transactions.
Though it is a fact that the availability of rideshares has significantly reduced the number of DUI fatality accidents in the Tampa Bay area and across the county, fatigued and drowsy rideshare vehicle drivers are still an issue. Competition with other drivers for business, long hours driving and financial incentives for more rides is a temptation for independent contractor drivers to drive while drowsy, or even under the influence of drugs or alcohol. These drivers are also required to monitor their system apps while they are in route, which takes their attention away from the road.
Since rideshare companies have been gaining in popularity, traditional taxicab companies have been losing business. But while the drivers of cabs are usually required to take part in training and undergo background checks, rideshare drivers are not required to be trained, and background checks are often lax or nonexistent. It’s not uncommon for rideshare drivers to have histories of assaults, DUI convictions, poor driving records or other criminal activities. As the popularity of Lyft, Uber, DoorDash, and other app-based services in Tampa continues to increase, so does the number of injuries and accidents involving their drivers.
What to Do After a Rideshare Accident
If you’re involved in a rideshare accident in Tampa, serious injuries can result in significant medical bills, lost time from work and physical and emotional pain. The steps you take immediately after a rideshare accident can make all the difference in how quickly you heal and your financial stability going forward while doing so:
Prioritize your safety – Delayed medical treatment can result in serious injuries becoming deadly, or minor injuries becoming more serious. You should call for an ambulance, even if everyone involves seems to be alright.
Report the accident to law enforcement – You can’t assume that the at-fault driver will do this, so you should do it yourself. In Florida, you are required to report right away any motor vehicle accident that results in death, injury or property damage of more than $500.
Gather information quickly – You will need to get the insurance and contact information of the rideshare driver and anyone else who may have been involved in the crash. Take photos of the crash scene, as well as anything else around you think may have contributed to the accident. It’s also a good idea to speak to other witnesses and get their contact information, if possible.
Report the accident to the app-based service company – These companies offer easy access for reporting accidents. You can usually call the company or log into the app to make your report.
Never accept a settlement offer before speaking with an attorney – Immediately following an accident, insurance representatives may contact victims before they have had a chance to realize the extent of their injuries. Their goal is to get you to quickly settle your claim with them. If that fast settlement offer sounds too good to be true, that’s because it is. Call Future Firm Law to save time dealing with insurance agents and maximize your chances of getting your full compensation.