Ride-sharing companies are well established in many cities in Florida including Tampa. Uber has become successful very fast because unlike traditional taxis it offers a model of transportation that is prompt, reliable and affordable. However, over the years, the number of Uber accidents has also increased, along with the increased need for legal counsel from a Tampa injury lawyer familiar with the legalities of rideshare insurance policies.
If you were involved in a rideshare accident, you should contact a Tampa Uber accident lawyer from the law offices of Winters & Yonker P.A.
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What is the Screening Process for Uber Drivers?
One of the biggest issues that have been consistently highlighted about ridesharing companies is its driver screening process. The problem is that anyone with a car and a driver’s license can work for the company. Uber only conducts a basic background check. There is no driver training and no skill test. This lack of importance given to the driver screening process increases the risk of accidents. The passengers have no idea about the quality of the driver. The driver could have bad driving habits – speeding, tailgating, etc. The driver could be drunk when they pick up a passenger etc. If an accident occurs, the victims have a right to claim compensation for any injuries they might incur. You should speak to an attorney to find out more information in this regard.
Related: What Counts as Negligent Driving?
Uber does not put much work into its driver screening and hiring process because all their drivers work as independent contractors. This often creates complications when an accident happens. Uber might turn around and say that the company is not responsible for paying damages to the victims since the accident was the driver’s fault and the driver’s insurance company is the one who should be held liable. But technically speaking, the rider is basically using the service provided by the company. There have been cases where the inherent insurance gap between Uber’s insurance policy and the driver’s policy has resulted in delays in the processing of claims. In any case, it is best to speak to an attorney to ensure that you get the compensation you deserve.
Under Regulation of Uber and Risk of Accidents
The regulation of ride-sharing companies in Florida is quite lax. As a passenger, there is always the uncertainty of whether you will arrive at your destination intact. The good news is that when you rideshare with Uber and get into an accident, you also have legal rights, whether the driver was or was not responsible for the accident. Since many people who ride Uber every day don’t know what to do after an accident, the best advice is to speak with a lawyer as soon as possible. But you do have to keep in mind that since ridesharing companies are still fairly new, this segment is not as closely regulated as traditional taxi companies. That is why drivers might be more careless. Add the problem of the improper driver screening process to the mix and you end up with a fairly risky proposition.
Fortunately, Uber accidents are not so common that this would become a serious issue but they do happen. And when they do, there are complexities involved. That is why it is recommended accident victims should seek legal counsel from an accident attorney right away.
Uber as a company has made some changes to its operations in line with the issues that have been highlighted in recent years. In May 2017, Governor Rick Scott enacted a law that now requires they conduct a background check on all its drivers. Also, under this law, individuals who drive for Uber and other ride-sharing companies are mandated to carry minimum insurance coverage which includes:
- $25,000 for property damage
- $100,000 for bodily injury and death per accident
- $50,000 per bodily injury and death per person
These measures are designed to increase the safety and security of the passenger. Even then, if you have had a bad experience with a driver or if you were involved in an Uber-related accident, talk to an attorney to find out your legal options.
Does Florida Regulate Who Can Drive for Uber?
As per new regulations implemented in Florida, Uber and other ride-sharing companies must perform a complete background check on the driver as well as assess their driving record. As per the new regulations, no individual can become an Uber driver if they have been convicted of the following within the past five years:
- A misdemeanor for drunk driving, reckless driving, hit and run or eluding a law enforcement officer. If you were in an accident and if the driver demonstrated any of these behaviors, you should tell your Uber accident lawyer immediately.
- A misdemeanor for sexual battery or violence. The goal is to ensure passengers are not put in a situation where they may be at risk of violence or physical assault. However, if your experience has not been good and if you were harmed in any way while you were in an Uber vehicle, please contact an Uber accident attorney.
- Any type of felony so that the safety of riders is ensured.
- A crime of lewdness or indecent exposure. Again, the goal is to protect Uber passengers.
These background checks must be conducted every year. Further, as per the regulations implemented in Florida, ridesharing companies like Uber must enforce a zero-tolerance policy on all its drivers regarding the use of drugs or drinking while driving. However, keep in mind that road regulations are always in place, but accidents do happen. If you have suffered injuries while you were in an Uber vehicle or if an Uber driver has hit you and you have sustained injuries, you should contact a lawyer as soon as possible.
What Happens If The Damages Are More Than The Uber Driver’s Insurance?
Theoretically speaking, Uber is required to have a $1 million corporate insurance policy for the driver and passengers. Also, every driver is required to carry minimum insurance coverage if they want to be on the road and if they want to work as an independent contractor for Uber. If you ask an attorney, they will tell you that in case of an accident, it is one of these two insurance policies that would ideally cover the damages incurred by the victims. However, the same they will also tell you that things are not always as simple as they seem.
The fact is that in case of an accident, Uber is not going to be always ready and willing to hand out money to the victims. There have been several instances where a driver was freelancing (not on Uber time) and got involved in an accident. But because he only had minimum liability insurance, the injured passenger was left stuck with the huge medical bills. In some cases, Uber has referred accidents caused by its drivers to their own insurance company and has been very reluctant to pay out the extra money. It only picks up the extra bill when the other driver’s insurance is already capped to the maximum.
Finally, there have also been scenarios where the driver was simply negligent and got into an accident. In such cases, Uber has steadfastly maintained that this was due to the direct negligence of the driver and has refused to pay the claim. Uber has claimed in court that these drivers are independent contractors and should have their own insurance; the company is not liable for the bad behavior of the drivers.
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Contact our Aggressive Attorneys at Winters & Yonker
Because of the difficulties passengers are faced with Uber when there is an accident, it is vital to seek assistance from a skilled car accident lawyer who can help you get the compensation you deserve. Keep in mind that Uber will always try to manipulate the situation in a way that the liability will fall on the driver.
You also need to keep in mind that Uber drivers carry minimum insurance which may not always be sufficient to cover the losses incurred by accident victims. Also, there is no guarantee that the driver has insurance at all. They might be uninsured or underinsured. These are situations that make things complicated for accident victims and not for Uber. Uber can simply take a backseat saying that the drivers are independent contractors and whatever they do is their responsibility.
Related: Proving Fault in an Auto Accident
This attitude is actually unacceptable for a company that provides transportation services. But again, Uber has an answer for that. The company claims that it is not a typical taxi provider. Uber has gone so far as to say that it is a technology company and it provides the software that connects drivers to passengers.
That’s it. This is Uber’s way of backing out of any serious responsibility if an unfortunate accident occurs. Talk to an accident attorney so that you can understand how the company operates and how you can still manage to get the compensation you need to make up for the expenses that you’ve incurred because of the accident.
An Uber Driver Lawyer can File Lawsuits Against Various Accidents Uber Drivers Have Been Involved In?
- Drunk driving
- Driving under the influence of drugs
- Reckless driving
- Speeding and tailgating
- Distracted by the use of phone or texting
- Not paying attention to the traffic
Do I Need an Uber Lawyer if I Was Involved In an Uber Accident?
If you use a ridesharing transport service and you get into an accident, the question of who will pay for your injuries is not always clear. Hence, you should speak to a lawyer immediately. Also, when the accident happens, you need to do the following:
- Call 911 or if you are seriously injured someone else will call
- When the police arrive, make yourself known to them as the passenger so that there is no doubt later on that you were in the Uber taxi. Tell the officer how you think the accident happened and the type of injuries you have suffered. All this documentation is necessary because Uber is notorious for refuting claims later if there is nothing on paper.
- Get the name of your Uber driver, the car license plate, date and time of the accident
- Also, get the name of the driver’s company and policy number.
- Take pictures of the accident and also of any injuries that you have sustained
- Get names and addresses of any witnesses
- Seek medical help. Even if you have a mild injury, get yourself checked out by a healthcare worker. In many cases, muscle and bone injuries tend to present late, and if you fail to see a doctor on the first day, the other party will always claim that these injuries have nothing to do with the car accident.
Contact a Tampa Uber Accident Lawyer at Winters & Yonker
Finally, contact a lawyer at Winters and Yonker. AWe will help you manage the complexities of the insurance companies. Our attorneys are effective and proficient at gathering evidence that will prove that your injuries were because of the negligence of the Uber driver. Call our Tampa car accident lawyers today so we can help you deal with the financial challenges associated with your accident.