When you think about taxis in the traditional sense, you think Yellow Cab. But what you don’t necessarily think of are apps such as Uber and Lyft. Yet, these popular rideshare services provide the same service of any cab ride! 

The only difference is that you use an app to get the service and the driver uses their vehicle instead of a company car. There is an alarming problem with these rideshare services that most people don't realize, though.

If you are injured in an accident while riding in one of these vehicles, which are considered vehicles up for hire, often the driver will be carrying a personal auto policy.  And that policy provider will most like deny coverage because the driver gets paid for the services they are providing with the vehicle, just like a commercial driver would.
 
The one thing we can be clear on is that if you are the passenger of one of these rideshare services, you are not at fault for the accident.
 
In personal vehicles, Florida offers personal injury protection rights and benefits under the Florida Motor Vehicle No-Fault Law. This is a law that applies to all residents in the state that either own or live with someone who owns a vehicle, and that vehicle has an active policy. All active insurance policies in Florida are required to purchase Florida Personal Injury Protection (PIP). Being the named insured, you are covered by the PIP.


 
 

This law does two things:
1. Establishes a limited exemption from liability for injuries that were caused to others in an auto accident; and
2. Establishes personal injury protection (PIP) benefits to pay for certain losses resulting from an auto accident.

The PIP benefits will come out of your policy regardless of who was at fault of the accident. If you are covered, then the PIP should pay 80% of your medical bills and 60% of your lost wages up to $10,000.00
 
Some of our clients ask if they should use their health insurance, if available, and the answer is yes. With the aid of the PIP and your health insurance benefits, at a minimum, you should get most (if not all) of the medical treatment you require. The only caution is that if your health insurance pays for any benefits, that insurance company may later have a right to be reimbursed for any and all potential settlements or judgment amount you receive in your case.
 
If you have been injured while a passenger in an Uber or Lyft ride, then you may have a claim against the rideshare company’s insurance policy as well as the driver’s auto and the at-fault carrier. However, sometimes you may be subject to the Terms of Use that you agree to before using the rideshare services. Most times there may be a clause that mandates all disputes to be settled via arbitration, which may preclude you from bringing a claim in court.
 
If you have been in an accident with Uber or Lyft, you may find yourself in a situation where insurance companies are denying your claim. You need experienced attorneys by your side. 

Wade B. Coye
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Attorney/Author Wade Coye - serving consumers legal needs for over 27 years
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