Who Is Responsible for Your Injuries In A Ride-Share Situation?
Making the decision to get into the driver’s seat of your car and leave to run errands or go to work is typically low stress because you know that, if an accident occurs, your auto insurance policy will cover medical bills up to a certain limit. This coverage for medical expenses is part of the mandatory personal injury protection (PIP) coverage that all car owners in Florida must have in order to legally own and drive a car in this state. In the event of an injury sustained from car accident, this insurance coverage will pay up to $10,000 in medical bills if the policyholder sees a doctor within 14 days of the accident. The point of requiring this coverage is to allow injured parties to seek medical treatment without worrying about paying the initial bill or filing a lawsuit. However, any additional medical expenses above that $10,000 limit would only be paid under bodily injury coverage, which is not required under Florida law.
In the case of an accident involving a driver of a ride-share company, the outcome is not so certain. Currently, there is no state law that regulates these companies, although legislation is now under consideration to do so. This means insurance coverage is left up to the companies and/or the drivers. For-hire services, like taxis and limos, are not required to have PIP coverage, and consequently, ride-share drivers do not typically have it either. Thus, if you are in a ride-share vehicle, you will likely not have this $10,000 cushion for medical expenses. Hope is not completely lost, though. Uber™ presently has $1 million liability policies for drivers and passengers when a driver is logged into the company’s network and the vehicle is being used to transport paying passengers. Despite this coverage, it is important to check a ride-share driver’s individual policy, as applicability of a policy may depend on your status – are you a paying passenger in the ride-share vehicle, a driver in another car hit by a ride-share driver, or a pedestrian hit by the ride-share driver? Drivers’ PIP policies usually specifically exclude coverage for an accident that occurred when the car was used to provide ride-sharing services. Further, this is one company in the ride-share market, and with no law regulating insurance coverage, there is no way to know if an injured party would receive anything from an insurance company, meaning the only recourse to recover for injuries is filing a lawsuit. The proposed bill currently before the Florida legislature would get rid of this uncertainty.
Coverage While Logged In But Waiting for a Passenger
Under the proposed law, all vehicles used for ride-share purposes must have the following liability insurance coverage whenever a driver is logged into the ride-share company’s system and is awaiting assignment to a paying passenger:
- $50,000 for death and bodily injury per person;
- $100,000 for death and bodily injury per accident;
- $25,000 for property damage; and
Coverage While the Car Is Engaged
Once the driver is assigned a passenger and departs to pick them up, the following liability coverage amounts would apply until the passenger exits the vehicle at the intended destination:
- $1 million for death, injury and property damage; and
Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer
If you are injured in a car accident, these injuries could have long term consequences that are not perceivable at the outset. Consulting with a personal injury lawyer is important to learning what your legal options are, especially if you lose income because you cannot work or will need ongoing medical care. The Miami law firm of Pita Weber Del Prado offers legal services for many different types of personal injury cases. Contact us to learn how to get the compensation you deserve.