The first ridesharing app, Uber, was founded in 2009 and since then these alternatives to cabs have soared in popularity. People all over the Tampa area use ride sharing apps daily. In fact, Uber claims it contributes $1.1 billion in added revenue to the state of Florida every year. Of course, with an increased volume of ridesharing comes more related accidents.
Ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft can be incredibly useful. They provide more commuter options, access for people without a car, and help keep intoxicated drivers off the street. Nonetheless, drivers facing the congested streets of Hillsborough County are always subject to a potential accident.
Statistics On Ride-Sharing Car Accidents
Studies that examine the role of Uber and Lyft drivers in causing more car accidents are varied. Some studies suggested that ridesharing apps take people out of public transportation and put them in the back of shared cars. This increases the number of vehicles on the road and thus the number of accidents. One study showed that ridesharing apps led to a 3% annual increase in fatal car accidents in the United States. Yet other studies show that ridesharing drastically reduces the number of alcohol-related crashes.
While the data is still not clear, there’s enough evidence to show that ridesharing isn’t without its risks. Tampa Bay fatal accidents drastically increased in 2021 and accidents are more and more common. One fact is inarguable: the higher the number of Uber or Lyft cars on the road, the higher the number of accidents that will involve them.
Who Is Liable in a Rideshare Accident?
The multiple layers of driver, passengers, insurance carriers, and companies can make such an accident even more complicated. If someone is injured in an accident while riding in a Lyft or Uber – or being struck by one while walking or bicycling – they may feel totally lost as to how to cover their medical bills or lost income. Hiring a Tampa rideshare accident attorney is one of the best resources for understanding these complex cases.
Rideshare companies such as Uber and Lyft are required to provide insurance for their drivers. In Tampa, drivers have a specific kind of policy called “rideshare insurance.” This includes liability coverage of at least $1 million for death, bodily injury, and property damage.
However, coverage is broken down into four stages based on the driver’s activity at the time of the accident. Coverage varies if drivers are actively transporting passengers or if they’re between rides.
Understanding The Stages of Rideshare Insurance
Here are the different coverage periods for rideshare drivers:
When the driver is not using their rideshare app and is driving their car for personal reasons, their personal insurance will cover any accidents or incidents that may occur.
When the driver turns on the app and waits to be matched with a passenger, rideshare insurance kicks in. This provides some coverage, but it may not be as extensive as during other periods. The rideshare company also has additional liability insurance to offer some extra protection. However, this coverage may have its limits.
Once the driver has been paired with a passenger and is on the way to pick them up, both their personal rideshare insurance and the company’s insurance are in full effect. This means that both insurances will provide coverage if anything were to happen during this time.
When the driver has picked up the passenger and is transporting them to their destination, both personal rideshare insurance and the company’s insurance are still active. This coverage will continue until the passenger reaches their desired location safely.
After the passenger has exited the vehicle, the driver’s rideshare insurance goes back to Period 0 coverage until they queue up for another pickup. This process repeats itself for each ride.
Factors Contributing to Car Accidents Involving Uber and Lyft Drivers
Rideshare drivers spend long days on the road in order to maximize their earnings. Fatigue and long working hours can lead to driver exhaustion and more accidents.
Uber and Lyft drivers lack proper training and experience. Compared to professional taxi drivers, ride-sharing drivers have next to no training requirements.
Distractions are one of the leading causes of accidents for all drivers. Often caused by the use of mobile phones by both drivers and passengers, distracted driving is flat-out dangerous.
Legal Implications for Car Accidents Involving Ride-Sharing Services in Tampa
The legal implications for car accidents involving ride-sharing services in Tampa are complex and vary depending on the specific circumstances of each case. It’s best to consult with a Tampa rideshare accident attorney to better understand your case. Here are some key points to consider:
Determining liability can be challenging in accidents involving Uber and Lyft drivers. Ride-sharing companies classify their drivers as independent contractors. If the driver is at fault, the injured party may have grounds to pursue legal action. This could be against both the driver and the ride-sharing company. A qualified Tampa rideshare accident attorney can help you figure out who is liable in your specific case.
Ride-sharing drivers are required by law to have insurance. This specific kind of policy, called “rideshare insurance,” is what we broke down in an earlier section of this article. Keep in mind the amount of coverage available depends on the status of the driver at the time of the accident.
In some cases, if another driver or entity is at fault for the accident involving a ride-sharing vehicle, legal action may be pursued against them directly. Third-party claims are complex and benefit from the experience of a Tampa rideshare accident attorney.
Personal Injury Claims
If someone is injured in an accident involving a ride-sharing vehicle, they may be entitled to compensation. This includes medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages. If injured, it is essential to consult with an experienced Tampa rideshare accident attorney who can guide you through the legal process and help protect your rights.
Ride-sharing services are not governed by the Hillsborough County Vehicle for Hire Ordinance. Instead, these companies are overseen by the state of Florida under the definition “transportation network company.” Local authorities in Tampa put additional regulations in place to increase safety for its passengers.
Navigating the legal implications of car accidents involving ride-sharing services can be complicated. It is crucial to seek legal counsel from a knowledgeable Tampa rideshare accident attorney who specializes in personal injury.
Recommendations for Uber and Lyft Users to Stay Safe on Tampa Roads
To ensure safety while using Uber and Lyft services on Tampa roads, consider the following suggestions:
Choose Reliable and Highly Rated Drivers
Before requesting a ride, review the driver’s rating and feedback from other passengers. Drivers with consistently positive reviews are more likely to be safe drivers. Opt for them to increase your chances of a safe and pleasant journey.
Verify Driver and Vehicle Details
Confirm that the driver’s name, photo, and vehicle information match the details provided in the app before entering the car. This helps ensure you are getting into the right vehicle with the correct driver.
Buckle Up and Utilize Back Seat
Always wear your seatbelt during rides to mitigate injury risks. It is recommended to sit in the back seat as it provides an additional layer of safety and offers more protection in case of a collision.
Stay Vigilant and Be Aware
Pay attention throughout the ride. Trust your instincts if you sense your driver is operating the vehicle while fatigued or distracted. If necessary, request the driver to pull over in a safe location and exit the vehicle.
Minimize distractions to your driver by refraining from using mobile devices excessively during the ride. Stay focused on your surroundings to maintain awareness of road conditions.
Report any Safety Concerns
If you encounter any safety issues or observe suspicious behavior during your ride, report it to Uber or Lyft immediately. They have dedicated support available within their respective apps or websites to address concerns promptly.
By following these suggestions, you can contribute to creating a safer rideshare experience for yourself and others in Tampa.
Contact Us Today For A Free Consultation
If you or a loved one is suffering from a personal injury from an Uber or Lyft accident, we are here to help. Our dedicated team of Tampa rideshare accident attorneys is ready to fight for your rights. We work tirelessly so that you receive the compensation you deserve. Don’t wait another moment to reach out to us. Our compassionate Tampa rideshare accident attorneys offer a free consultation. We will assess the merits of your case and provide guidance on the next steps to take. Your path to justice starts with a simple call or message – contact us now for immediate assistance.