On May 9, 2017 Florida Governor Rick Scott signed into law HB 221, also known as the “Uber/Lyft Bill” that makes the requirements for ride-sharing services uniform throughout the State of Florida, when it comes to insurance requirements and background checks.
Under the new law, minimum insurance levels of $50,000 are set for death and bodily injury per person, $100,000 for death and bodily injury per accident and $25,000 for property damage. When driving with a passenger an Uber driver must be covered by a $1,000,000 bodily injury, property damage, and wrongful death policy. If involved in an auto accident, the Uber or Lyft driver must present proof of insurance to the officer at the scene of the accident, same as they would in a personal vehicle accident.
What are some of the background checks and requirements that would prevent someone from being an Uber or Lyft driver in the State of Florida?
A felony in the past five years;
Three or more moving violations in the past three years;
A misdemeanor for DUI, reckless driving, hit-and-run, or fleeing from a police officer in the past five years;
A misdemeanor for a violent offense, sexual battery or indecent exposure in the past five years;
Driving with a suspended license in the past three years;
Being on a sex offender registry;
Not having a valid driver’s license, the proper insurance and vehicle registration.
Do Uber and Lyft drivers need to purchase additional auto insurance as a result of HB 221?
You are not required to purchase additional insurance coverage, but you may want to. The new bill places insurance requirements on the company (i.e. – Uber, Lyft, etc.) only, not the driver. With that being said, you may be at risk when it comes to your personal auto insurance coverage. For example, almost all policies contain language that outlines exceptions for coverage- one of them being if your vehicle is used for employment purposes or is on a “driver for hire” basis.
What should I do if I am involved in an Uber auto accident?
- Make sure everyone is okay. First, check yourself for injuries and (if possible) move your vehicle safely to the side of the road to avoid another accident. Check on others involved in the accident. If someone has suffered serious injury, call the paramedics immediately. Do not try and move them.
- Call the police. Get the contact information, badge number and a copy of the accident report.
- Gather evidence and document the accident. Use your phone to take photos of your injuries, the vehicles, position of the vehicles, street signs, traffic lights, etc.
Use your phone. Take a screenshot of your phone showing the exact phase of the Uber/Lyft ride process. If you are the driver, this will help prove the accident occurred while “on the job.”
- Interview witnesses. Get their names, insurance information and contact information. Take video from your phone of them talking about the accident and what exactly happened. These advancements in technology and witness testimony taken immediately after the accident can greatly support your claim.
- Exchange information. Get the insurance information of the other drivers and passengers involved.
- Get medical attention. Some injuries, such as whiplash can take a few days to become apparent. Get medical attention immediately after an accident. Florida drivers have only 14 days to seek initial medical attention to receive insurance benefits after an accident. If you do not receive medical treatment and then try and file an accident claim later, your attorney will have a hard time proving you were ever injured.
- Consult an experienced auto accident attorney. The sooner you do this, the sooner you can start to get your life back. Delaying filing an accident claim will cost you time, money, and possibly your health. You also risk important evidence being compromised that can lessen the value of your accident claim.
What damages may I recover in an Uber or Lyft Auto Accident?
- Past and future medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Physical impairment
- Wrongful death
- Punitive damages (in certain cases)