For a potential passenger, booking a trip through a Miami rideshare company is a simple process that involves just a few clicks on the mobile app. From the perspective of an Uber or Lyft driver, interacting with the app is slightly more complicated. The underlying reason is grounded in the relationship between a rideshare service – defined as a ‘transportation network company’ (TNC) under Florida law – and the person who provides the services using his or her own vehicle. TNC drivers are independent contractors instead of employees, eliminating the possibility that you can pursue the rideshare company if you were hurt in a vehicle collision.
However, the distinction does not take away your rights as an Uber or Lyft accident victim. Instead, the focus is on the TNC driver’s usage of the app, based upon three key periods of interaction. A Miami rideshare accidents lawyer can explain in more detail, but a general description may be helpful.
Three Key Periods for TNC Driver App Usage
Your legal strategy and claims process will be different depending on how the Uber or Lyft driver was using the mobile app at the time of the accident.
- Rideshare App On, No Passenger: The TNC driver has turned on the app to let potential riders know availability. During this period, the individual is usually traveling around popular hotspots to maximize earning potential.
- TNC Driver Accepts Rider Through App: Once a user has made arrangements for a pickup, the rideshare driver is considered to be in transit. For purposes of the app interaction, the Uber or Lyft driver is officially “on the clock” for the TNC.
- Transporting the Rideshare Passenger: The TNC driver has picked up the passenger and is traveling to the final destination. The Uber or Lyft app remains on to assist the driver with directions. The ride is complete once the passenger arrives, and payment is charged automatically. The TNC driver may stay logged on and continue to work, repeating the three periods.
The Period Matters for Insurance Coverage
Every Florida motorist is required to carry minimum auto insurance coverage, but these policies typically do not cover situations in which the insured uses the vehicle to generate income. To close the gap in a rideshare scenario, state law requires all TNCs to carry a minimum of $1 million in coverage to protect passengers who are hurt in Uber or Lyft accidents. Therefore, you would file a claim with the TNC’s insurer if you were injured as a rider, driver in another car, pedestrian, or bicyclist – at any of the periods mentioned above.
Our Miami Rideshare Accidents Attorneys can Explain Your Rights
When it comes to Uber and Lyft accidents, there are few liability issues that are clear-cut. This description of the three rideshare periods might seem obvious for purposes of insurance, but you can expect significant challenges from insurers for the TNC and the TNC driver. To learn about your legal remedies as an injured victim, please contact Gerson & Schwartz, PA to set up a free case evaluation at our offices in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, or West Palm Beach.