Florida Ridesharing Accident Attorney
Drivers in the state of Florida average over 350,000 crashes per year, resulting in around a quarter million injuries and several thousand deaths annually. In Miami alone, crashes occur at the rate of about 200 every day. What’s worse, car accidents, injuries and deaths have all been on the rise in recent years. The cause of this increase is likely due at least in part to distracted driving, with the chief distractions being smartphones and in-vehicle infotainment displays.
Another new element added to the traffic safety mix in recent years is the ability of the average person with a car to make a few extra dollars driving for app-based ridesharing services such as Uber and Lyft. Unfortunately, there are many aspects of this service that can be especially dangerous for passengers and other drivers on the road. With decades of experience representing victims of Florida car accidents, the personal injury lawyers at Halpern Santos & Pinkert, P.A. are well-equipped to help victims of ridesharing accidents by proving the liability of negligent drivers and obtaining a full amount of compensation to help with injuries, expenses and pain and suffering.
Uber & Lyft drivers are potentially even more distracted than others
Talking on the phone while driving, even with the phone in a hands-free mode, is a proven distraction that pulls the driver’s cognitive attention away from the important task of driving. Texting while driving is even more dangerous, as the driver’s eyes are additionally off the road and hands are off the wheel. And texting is not the only activity that causes this triple threat of driver distraction. Maps, music, social media and the countless apps that may be accessed on the phone or through the vehicle’s display or touchscreen are just as distracting or more.
While drivers are working for Uber or Lyft, they are potentially more distracted than other drivers. They are likely driving to places they are less familiar with and are therefore much more dependent on the maps function of their phone to get to the destination. Professional cab drivers have an intimate knowledge of city streets, but the ridesharing app driver is more apt to get lost or confused or make dangerous driving mistakes.
Remember that Uber and Lyft drivers have likely not received any professional training of any kind, and you have no way of knowing how long the person has been a driver, how much experience they have behind the wheel, or how good a driver they are.
It’s also important to understand that there are no rules in place regarding how long your driver might have been awake before picking you up. Has the driver been roaming the streets for twelve hours picking up rides, or did the driver just get off an eight-hour shift at his or her day job before logging in to the app to make some extra cash? Professional drivers such as taxi drivers and truck drivers have rules regarding how long they may be behind the wheel to help prevent dangerous drowsy driving accidents or falling asleep at the wheel. No such rules apply to drivers for Uber and Lyft.
Finally, no rules or laws are in place requiring Uber and Lyft drivers to inspect or maintain their vehicles in good shape. Transportation companies are required to inspect their tires, brakes and other critical components every day and perform needed maintenance, but you have no such assurance with a ridesharing driver.
Florida has started to regulate ridesharing services for safety of passengers and car accidents
Florida law has made some inroads into the area of regulating drivers for Transportation Network Companies (TNCs) such as Uber and Lyft. For instance, drivers are supposed to be screened for convictions of driving offenses such as DUI or reckless driving, as well as sex offenses or misdemeanor crimes of violence. Additionally, Florida Statutes 627.748 requires the driver, the TNC or both to maintain primary auto insurance on the vehicle that the meets the requirements of the law, as described below.
While logged into the app, the driver must be insured for bodily injury of at least $50,000 per person up to $100,000 per accident, as well as $25,000 in property damage coverage. Once the driver is engaged in a prearranged ride, coverage requirements shift to $1,000,000 in primary coverage. In either case, the driver must also be covered with $10,000 in no-fault personal injury protection and must also have uninsured motorist and underinsured motorist coverage.
Experienced Florida Car Accident Attorneys Helping Victims of Ridesharing Accidents
If you have been injured in a ridesharing accident as a passenger, pedestrian or another driver, trust the attorneys with decades of experience standing up for the rights of Florida car accident victims. Contact Halpern Santos & Pinkert, P.A. at 305-445-1111 or 877-529-6211 for a free consultation with a team of dedicated and successful Florida personal injury trial lawyers.