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The huge rise in popularity of ride-share services (such as Uber, Lyft, and others) has raised important questions about driver liability, insurance protection for passengers, and the dangers of distracted driving. This series about Tamara, a young Uber driver, is not a critique of these services, but rather explains how Florida law applies to ride-share drivers, and aims to educate both these drivers and their passengers how to mitigate the risk of an accident.
After graduating college, Tamara decides to become an Uber driver to help with bills while she job hunts. Things take a sour turn when she gets into an accident in between fares. Over the course of her story, Tamara learns that driving for app-based ride-share services like Uber and Lyft carry far more responsibility than she thought.
She also learns some valuable lessons in making sure she carries adequate auto insurance coverage. Even in a no-fault state like Florida, it is easy to find yourself without enough insurance to cover your hospital bills if you are hit by an uninsured motorist and only have basic, “minimum” coverage.
Tamara, a recent college graduate, discovers that driving for Uber is the perfect solution for bringing in an income while she hunts for a full-time job. Everything changes, however, when she gets into an auto accident while in between fares.
Laying in a hospital bed, the realities of Tamara’s situation begins to settle in. She quickly realizes she has no idea whose insurance will cover her accident – that is, if it is even covered at all.
Encouraged by her boyfriend Derek, Tamara seeks the advice of an attorney who comes to the hospital to discuss her case. His very first question to her is whether or not she was actually texting when the accident happened. They then discuss distracted driving laws and how no-fault insurance works in Florida.
Tamara’s attorney explains the potential gray areas involved with auto insurance coverage for drivers for app-based ride-share services like Uber and Lyft, and the importance of doing your homework on insurance and liability before becoming a ride-share driver.
Tamara’s attorney talks about liability and insurance coverage concerns for an Uber driver’s fares. She understands more and more that driving for an app-based ride-share service carries with it far more business responsibilities than she was aware. .
Tamara’s attorney calls in an expert witness to investigate the accident scene. Proving the guilt of the other driver will offer Tamara the possibility of suing to collect damages not covered by her own auto insurance.
Tamara and her father learn about the importance of having adequate car insurance and how adding a few simple things, like Uninsured Motorist Insurance and increasing your Bodily Injury Insurance, can make a huge difference in coverage for very little increase in cost.
After her own auto insurance company denies her claim, Tamara learns from her attorney that, due to their failure to settle her claim, she can sue them for bad faith.
Responding to the possibility of a bad faith case against them, Tamara’s Insurance company pays her claim to the full limits of her coverage.
In a strange and lucky turn of events, the at-fault driver offers to settle Tamara’s case for a fair amount, a rare outcome in lawsuits against uninsured drivers.