With Uber and other rideshare apps growing in popularity, it can be a lot of fun to know you can get a ride when you need one. What’s not fun is running into problems during your ride, especially since Uber is a great alternative to driving yourself while impaired. Have you ever stopped to consider what you would do if you were in a car accident as an Uber passenger?
Anytime you are involved in a car accident can be scary and emotional. But there is a whole different level of complexity to your emotional reactions when an accident takes place while you’re using a rideshare service like Uber. It may be confusing to know exactly what to do as a passenger, especially if you have any injuries.
Even though Uber and other companies are committed to the highest safety standards, accidents do happen. If you have been involved in a car accident while using Uber in Florida, stay calm, there are things you can do to get help. Here are a few things you should know.
Understanding Uber’s Law in Florida
The good news is that Florida has some laws in place to make Uber and other ridesharing services safer for both drivers and passengers alike. All Uber drivers for instance must be over the age of 21 and have a minimum of a year of driving experience.
You may think that sounds good but also like the bare minimum for a driver who could be driving any number of people around daily. Don’t worry, each driver for Uber also has to pass a required background check to uncover anything that could prevent them from being the best driver for residents of Florida.
During the background check process, Uber will find out if a potential driver has any felony convictions, having an unsafe driving record ranging from having three or more moving violations in a year to driving while intoxicated and even verifying that a potential driver is not on the Sex Offender Registry.
Furthermore, Florida has also passed a state law requiring Uber to carry insurance for their drivers when they’re logged into the app but not driving with a passenger, and still more coverage when they have a passenger in the car. Having oversight from the State of Florida protects passengers and drivers alike.
These laws and regulations are there to protect everyone involved but can especially benefit you as a passenger since you have put your trust in your driver and the ridesharing organization. However, they don’t cover every aspect of the Uber experience.
For example, professional limousine services and cab companies inspect their cars frequently to ensure they are running properly and safely. Because Uber depends on the personal vehicle of your driver, there’s no guarantee that the car is being maintained and could be a safety risk.
Also, while it’s convenient that rideshare works via an app that can also be a downfall since driving while distracted is a real possibility. Uber drivers may be accepting rides or checking their reviews or ratings while they’re heading to the next location and not giving the driving the focus needed.
Luckily, Florida laws also state that a driver should never be on their phones when driving. While laws don’t prevent drivers from making poor decisions from time to time, hopefully, Uber drivers are prone to ignoring their phones while their cars are in motion.
What Happens If You’re in an Uber Accident in Florida?
Whether you’re visiting Florida on vacation or you’re local and just need a convenient ride, Uber is a great way to get around the state. Remember to always wear your seatbelt as a passenger.
Just because a driver’s record has been impeccable up until now doesn’t mean that it will remain that way.
Remember that your Uber driver can’t control everyone else on the road, they’re doing their best to get you to where you want to be, and sometimes accidents happen. Whether it is caused by one of Florida’s notorious thunderstorms or simple driver error, no matter what the cause of the accident is, you’ll want to be sure everything is dealt with in a safe and efficient manner.
If you’ve been in a car accident in an Uber or other rideshare the first thing you should do is check on everyone in your vehicle to determine everyone’s status. Then what you need to do is call the police. (If someone is badly injured, request medical attention as soon as possible.) You will want to have documentation from a legal perspective and the police are well trained to record every detail possible from a car accident.
It may seem silly to call the police if everyone seems fine, but because you will want the documentation it is better to call and wait for an officer of the law before you leave the scene of the accident. If possible, take pictures of the accident with your phone, especially if the accident involves another vehicle.
Taking photos may seem strange but they can be helpful for insurance claims. Take close-up shots and pictures from further away. If there is a landmark or a street sign visible, try to include that in a few of your pictures. Accident investigators can learn a lot from photographs so take them from many angles even if you don’t think it will help.
As you’re waiting for an office to arrive, it is time to use your ridesharing app and update the app that you’ve been in an accident. Both the passenger and the driver should report the accident, it’s possible your driver will be in shock and may need a reminder to make their report. Uber or another ridesharing company may reach out for more information.
Once an officer has arrived, follow their instructions. Before you leave the site of the accident be sure to get the contact information from everyone involved: the driver’s information as well as their Uber contact information and insurance information. Don’t forget the other driver’s name and insurance information and even having a way to contact your responding officer is helpful.
Your Uber driver may tell you that Uber’s insurance information is enough, but gathering their own personal insurance information can prove to be helpful during the claims process so don’t skimp on that. There can be a lot to remember once you’ve been in an accident, but if you can get information from everyone you’ll be in a good place.
If you have any indication that you should seek medical attention be sure to do so as soon as you can after leaving the scene of the accident. Even if you don’t believe you need a doctor it is still a good idea to be checked out within 72 hours after the accident for any injuries or pain the adrenaline surge post-accident was hiding.
Keep a record of your appointment, you may need that information, especially if you are going to make a claim against Uber or your driver. Make a claim to your own insurance first, but understand it can be a long process and you may want to consult a lawyer.
How Will I Get The Defendants To Pay My Uber Accident Claim?
After an accident, you likely don’t think of “contact a personal injury attorney” to be on your to-do list. But this is an important step that shouldn’t be overlooked. While you may feel as though your accident wasn’t a big deal, the lasting effects of the accident might stick around for a while.
Keep track of your ongoing expenses related to the accident. Anything from loss of wages to future medical costs could be recovered in a court of law. Don’t get too quick to settle with anyone who contacts you, in fact, you should definitely consult a lawyer before you make any decisions.
It might be difficult to decide to contact an attorney after a car accident. How can you really know if your case has merit for litigation? The good news is that many firms, including The Lopez Law Group, offer free consultations so you can explain what happened in your specific accident and how that has affected your daily life since then.
Lawyers are notoriously busy, if they don’t think they can help you or that your case isn’t strong enough they’re not going to waste your time or theirs. A consultation will give a lawyer some time to ask questions, and you can ask questions as well to make sure you’re on the same page with what you want to accomplish.
It’s possible you will need to shop around for an attorney you like, one of the benefits of working with a group or a firm is having several lawyers to choose from. Because the legal process can take a long time, potentially up to years, having a lawyer who you don’t mind engaging with is key to make the time as stress-free as possible.
Many lawyers and attorneys in personal injury cases work on a contingency basis. That means they don’t get paid unless you win and then would get a percentage of your settlement or awarded amount. The Lopez Law Group has chosen to work on a contingency basis for automobile accident claims, so contact us to find out if we are a good fit for your case.
Even if it is unclear who is at fault, being a paying passenger in an Uber accident can be reason enough to contact an attorney. Getting an honest assessment from a legal professional will help you determine what the next steps should be in your case. (Or if you even have a case worth pursuing.)
An attorney will be able to help you figure out who caused the accident and what your next step should be. Once your lawyer determines who to set your claim against, the pre litigation process will begin. It’s possible that your lawyer will contain the insurance company and they will offer you a settlement.
If a settlement isn’t possible it may be time to turn to litigation: where you proceed to file a lawsuit and take up your case in a court of law. Litigation can move slowly and it could be many months or more before your case is resolved. There is no guarantee that you will win but litigation gives you a fighting shot.
After the opposing party, (whether that is Uber or another motorist’s insurance company) has a chance to respond to your complaint, you will likely enter the discovery phase. Discovery is when both sides will present all the information they’re planning on sharing at court. This is where those pictures you took will come in handy as well as your medical records.
During discovery, there may also be a Request for Production of Documents or Interrogatories, where you request specific documents or ask questions of the opposing party. The more information both sides have the better case they will be able to make in front of a judge when the case gets to its trial date.
It might seem frustrating that your case will drag on for a long time after the accident. You might be wondering whether or not you should continue to use Uber or a rideshare app if you have litigation with them currently. That is a great question to ask your attorney and get their legal opinion on and will likely depend on who your case is specifically against.
Handling a Florida Uber Accident Properly
Trusting Uber to protect your best interests after an accident is foolish. They will certainly want to make sure you’re okay but since even their drivers aren’t considered employees, rideshare apps will do what works best for their company. Luckily accidents involving Uber or other ridesharing app cars are rare.
Hopefully, you will never be in a position where you need to know what to do should you be involved in an accident. If an accident were to occur, hopefully, you have a better idea of what steps to take going forward.