Common Carrier Laws And Ridesharing Apps
Most transportation carriers including bus companies, taxis, and limousines are defined as “common carriers”. With this definition they have a higher legal obligation to protect the safety of their passengers. If you are injured while in the care of a common carrier, they are solely responsible for your injuries. When Lyft and Uber were first starter, because they by all definitions would fall under common carriers, states assumed these rules would apply. However, the companies argued they are not common carriers and that the liability for accidents should fall on the individual drivers.
Florida Law And Ridesharing Apps
Since Uber and Lyft fell in a grey area, Florida legislators introduced a bill to address liability. The bill titled House Bill 221, was passed. The bill determined that Uber and Lyft are not defined as common carriers and that the companies are not liable for the driver's negligence. Meaning legally, Uber and Lyft are not treatment the same as taxi companies in Florida and are not required to provide a higher duty of care. The bill did have some protections for passengers though including:
● Drivers are not required to have insurance if they are not logged into the app
● Drivers have to have a minimum of $50,000 in liability coverage if the driver is logged into the app and picks someone up
● Drivers have to have a minimum of $1,000,000 if they accept a passenger through the app
Meaning that the passenger is covered by the driver’s insurance and not by the rideshare company.
What Do You Do If You Are Injured In An Rideshare Accident?
Since Florida law is clear that passengers are covered by the individual driver’s insurance and not the company’s insurance, you will not make a claim against Uber or Lyft. The liability will fall onto the at-fault driver, just like if you were to get into a wreck in your own vehicle. After an accident, you will need to get the information of all the parties involved. You will file a claim with the Uber or Lyft driver’s insurance, even if the other party is ultimately deemed negligent. Then the claims process begins as usual.
The Problems With Florida Ridesharing Laws
The biggest problem is that because ridesharing apps are considered common carriers, it can be a real battle to get a settlement for you claim. Insurance companies are notorious for finding ways to get out of paying a fair settlement. They will give you the complete run around to avoid paying for your injuries. Furthermore, since the onus is on the driver, they may be underinsured and not have enough coverage to pay for the full extent of your injuries. Not to mention, House Bill 221 does not address how Florida’s complex PIP laws come into play.
Ultimately, if you’ve been injured from an accident in an Uber or Lyft, you need to be prepared for a fight to get your claim settled. At All Injuries Law Firm we have decades of experience handling auto accidents and getting insurance companies to pay what they owe. If you’ve been injured in an Uber or Lyft accident, you need to contact an attorney to help. Call us today at 1-941-265-HELP for a free case evaluation and to learn how we can navigate the laws surrounding rideshare apps to ensure you are protected.