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Who Can Be Held Responsible in an Uber or Lyft Accident?

With the growth of the ridesharing industry, auto accidents involving Uber or Lyft drivers are not uncommon. An auto accident can seriously injure rideshare passengers as well as others on the road. Rideshare drivers are contractors rather than employees, so if you were hurt in a crash while working for or traveling in an Uber or Lyft, you might not be sure as to whose insurance is going to cover any personal injury or property damages.

Florida is a no-fault auto insurance state, so if you are in a motor vehicle accident — whether as a driver, passenger or pedestrian — you must first look to your own insurance company for reimbursement of medical expenses, lost wages and property damage, regardless of who was at fault. However, if you suffered certain types of serious injuries, you may make a claim against the driver that caused the accident to collect additional compensation.

Because rideshare drivers are independent contractors, transportation network companies (“TCNs”) like Uber and Lyft are generally not liable for the injuries or damage the drivers cause. In addition, most rideshare drivers do not have commercial insurance and their personal car insurance policies exclude accidents occurring while a vehicle is in commercial use unless the driver has purchased an endorsement providing such coverage.

Fortunately, Florida law requires TCNs to carry insurance for their drivers up to certain minimum limits. The question of whose insurance covers damages caused in a rideshare vehicle accident depends on the reason the driver was on the road. There are several relevant scenarios:

  • The Uber/Lyft driver was offline and on a personal errand when the accident occurred. In this case, the driver would report the accident and submit any claim to their personal car insurance carrier.
  • The driver was out with the rideshare app on, waiting for a rider to contact them. To cover this situation, TCN companies must have personal injury coverage for their drivers of at least $50,000 per person ($100,000 per accident) and $25,000 in property damage coverage.
  • The rideshare driver got in an accident while responding to a pickup or driving the passenger to their destination. In this scenario, mandatory TCN coverage limits are $1 million for death, bodily injury or property damage claims, whether the claimant is a rideshare passenger or a driver or passenger in another vehicle involved in the collision.

Florida requires TCNs to carry uninsured motorist/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage for their drivers, which applies when another vehicle’s driver shares in the fault for the accident but does not have adequate liability insurance.

With locations in Tampa and Clearwater, the Law Offices of Bill Dickey, P.A. help drivers and passengers injured in Uber or Lyft accidents recover medical expenses, lost wages and other types of damages. To schedule a free initial consultation with an experienced attorney, call us at 813-835-3800 or contact us online.