Traffic accidents can happen anywhere but most commonly in busy South Florida where driving anyplace feels like an eternity. Many locals are opting for a cheaper ride option called Uber, a lifesaver in such a congested city like Miami. For only $0.10 per minute and $0.81 per mile, you can click away your destination on the Uber app. It doesn’t sound like such a bad deal. But many people don’t know that Uber’s insurance policies and laws are a bit up in the air. Since the company is relatively new, they don’t feel the need to adhere to laws and regulations that conventional taxi-service companies follow. The legislation is under development, and meanwhile, passengers injured in Uber accidents may not have insurance coverage. So next time you schedule an Uber ride, think twice and thrice; and if you get involved in an accident, contact a Miami car accident lawyer to handle your situation.
Services and screening process
Whether you are an Uber passenger or driver, there are some things you should keep in mind regarding the claims process. Uber is a rideshare company, which means they hire freelance drivers to do the job using their personal transportation vehicles. Services are provided through a very convenient and cost-effective smartphone app. Nonetheless, there are some concerns about how these services operate, how drivers are screened, and how clients are protected in case of an accident. While Uber uses a third-party to run a background check as part of the screening process, the process is not 100% accurate; therefore, some Uber applicants with the wrong backgrounds may slip through the cracks. In contrast, taxi drivers go through a more rigorous screening process that includes fingerprinting scanning.
Can I lose Uber access after filing a claim?
Some people fear that if they bring a claim against Uber, they will lose access to their services and privileges. You should not be penalized for bringing a valid claim against Uber. Remember Uber already pays a portion of each fair to their insurance company for this very purpose. These are large insurance companies responsible for covering these expenses. As long as your claim is valid and documented correctly, with all the required information from the police, doctors, and so on, you should be fine. However, insurance companies tend to respect more someone with adequate legal representation from a Miami personal injury attorney.
Is it just an app?
Uber is continually claiming that they are just an app. They connect an individual that needs a ride with someone willing to give them a ride. In other words, Uber doesn’t operate as a commercialized vehicle company. Uber drivers don’t have to register their vehicles or insure them as commercial vehicles. They offer the same services as commercial taxi entities, except they won’t follow the same guidelines. But many rideshare drivers are working fulltime, which exposes them to the same dangers as full-time taxi drivers.
Florida’s laws regarding Uber
Back in 2015, House Bill 509 was passed in a 10 to 1 vote. This bill requires rideshare companies to meet basic insurance standards. So now insurance coverage applies to drivers from the time they are logged on to the Uber app until passengers are dropped off at their destination. There is $50K coverage for death and bodily injury per individual, $100k per incident, and $25K per property damage. Other stipulations went into effect in 2017.
What about if I am an Uber passenger?
If you are a passenger who gets injured in an Uber crash, your auto policy may not cover the damages incurred in the accident. Private insurance policies don’t include an accident where the vehicle was engaged in a commercial enterprise. However, the rideshare insurance will probably cover your injuries.
What should I do?
If you get involved in an Uber accident, contact a Miami car accident lawyer. Whether you are a driver or passenger, we can evaluate your options and determine the best course of action for your particular situation. It’s difficult to understand liability for Uber because they are considered independent contractors. You should be covered as long as you are logged unto the app.