Lakeland Lyft Accident Attorney
The rising popularity and convenience of rideshare are increasing the number of Lyft accidents on Lakeland roads. When a Lyft driver crash happens, the liability isn’t always obvious, and that’s why obtaining compensation requires a professional legal approach.
Working with a Lakeland Lyft accident lawyer from Fernandez Firm increases your chances of recovering fair damages. Extensive knowledge of personal injury law and many years of litigation experience allow our legal team to secure sizable settlements and awards for our clients.
Call us today to schedule a free case evaluation with experienced Lakeland Lyft accident attorneys Frank and Jennifer Fernandez.
Table of Contents
Liability in a Lyft Accident
Determining liability in a Lyft accident is the first step toward obtaining fair compensation.
While the fault may seem obvious, you could discover that more than one person is responsible, and the liable parties could be:
- Lyft driver – If the driver breaks the traffic law (i.e., runs a stop sign) and crashes, they are responsible for the accident.
- A third driver – If the third driver acts negligently on the road (e.g., suddenly changes lanes) and causes a Lyft driver to crash, they may be partially responsible for the accident.
- Pedestrians and cyclists – If other traffic participants demonstrate negligence on the road, they could be found responsible. For example, a jaywalking pedestrian can cause the Lyft driver to swerve and crash into another vehicle.
- Government entity – In rare cases, it may be possible to prove that the Florida or Lakeland government was responsible for the crash. This happens when roads are improperly maintained (e.g., a large pothole causes the driver to swerve and cause a crash) or when signs are improperly placed (e.g., a lack of a clear pedestrian crossing sign).
To prove liability in a Lyft crash, you need to conduct an in-depth investigation. This involves studying the police report, finding camera recordings, speaking to eyewitnesses, evaluating car damage, etc.
Doing all the above while recovering from injuries could tax you, especially when the accident involved multiple parties. That’s why many people consider hiring a professional Lyft accident attorney.
Who Is Responsible for Covering Damages in a Lyft crash?
If a Lyft driver is liable for the accident, are they responsible for covering damages? It depends on the stage of the ride.
Stage 1: The Lyft App Is Off
Lyft drivers get their work orders through the official app. When the app is on, they are on the job. If the app is off, they are regular drivers.
If the Lyft driver causes an accident when the app is off, their auto coverage kicks in.
- Passengers – If you are a passenger, the driver’s PIP (Personal Injury Protection) policy can cover your damages. If your damages exceed PIP policy limits, you may be able to sue the driver personally.
- Drivers – Since Florida is a no-fault state, you will need to file a claim with your own insurance company to get compensation. However, if your damages exceed your insurance limit, you may be able to sue the Lyft driver personally. In Florida, it’s usually possible only if the accident caused severe injuries.
If it comes to suing the driver, you need to consider hiring a car accident attorney to achieve a positive outcome.
Stage 2: The Lyft App Is On (No Passenger Assigned)
When the Lyft driver turns on the app, Lyft’s insurance starts working. However, it doesn’t offer full protection until the driver receives a ride request. At this point, the insurance covers $50,000 of bodily injury per person, $100,000 per accident, and $25,000 in property damage.
Stage 3: The Lyft App Is On (Passenger Assigned)
Once the official trip begins, the extended Lyft insurance kicks in. The company’s commercial insurance coverage includes up to $1 million in third-party liability and uninsured/underinsured Motorist (UM/UIM) coverage.
All three stages require separate approaches to seeking damages. The complex structure of the Lyft driver-Lyft relationship makes it hard to navigate the compensation process, and that’s why you need a legal expert in your corner.
If you sue Lyft for compensation (which may be possible, especially if the accident occurred during Stage 2), you will need a Lakeland Lyft accident lawyer to represent you.
To obtain fair compensation in a Lyft crash, you must prove the at-fault party’s negligence.
Even if the fault appears obvious, it’s still up to you to demonstrate four key aspects of negligence.
- Legal duty of care – The at-fault Lyft driver should have a legal duty of care to you. This one is usually easy to prove since any driver has a legal duty of care to act responsibly on the road. They have a legal duty of care to all traffic participants and passengers.
- Breach of the legal duty of care – You would have to demonstrate how the Lyft driver breached the legal duty of care to you. For example, they ran a red light or exceeded the speed limit, thus putting you in danger.
- Causation – Next, you would have to prove that the Lyft driver’s breach of the legal duty of care resulted in your injuries. For example, they ran a red light, crashed, and you sustained whiplash.
- Damages – Finally, you will have to prove that injuries you sustained in the crash led to damages. For example, your whiplash requires costly physical therapy and keeps you from going back to work for four weeks.
You may need to:
- Speak to eyewitnesses, collect camera recordings, and analyze car damage to prove the breach of the legal duty of care. Sometimes you would need to find cell phone records to prove that the driver was distracted by a phone conversation right before the accident.
- Collect doctor’s reports, bills, and testimony to prove that the car crash caused your injuries.
- Gather all related evidence to back up the amount you are filing a claim for. This can include medical bills, expert witnesses’ testimonies, wage reports, photos, videos, personal journals, etc.
If you can prove the at-fault party’s negligence and back the damage amount with evidence, you can obtain fair compensation. However, the at-fault party (especially Lyft’s insurance company) will do everything possible to counter your arguments.
That’s why you need to consider hiring an experienced attorney to handle your case. At Fernandez Firm, we know how to take care of the other party’s legal arguments and achieve a fair settlement.
Damages in a Lyft Accident Case
If you can prove that a Lyft driver was negligent, you can recover several types of damages.
These damages usually have to do with tangible expenses related to your injuries.
- Medical expenses
- Physical therapy costs
- Surgery expenses
- Post-op care
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity
Besides compensating you for your current expenses, the at-fault party may also cover the costs you may incur in the future.
For example, if you sustained a spinal cord injury that caused a permanent disability, you may need medical care and at-home support for the rest of your life. Additionally, you may not be able to return to work, thus losing your earning capacity.
Your attorney can help determine the approximate amount of future expenses and make them a part of your payout.
These intangible damages deal with the mental and emotional losses that your injuries caused.
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Mental anguish
While a payout can’t reimburse these damages fully, it can help you improve your quality of life. You have to keep this in mind when coming up with a damage amount. To prove non-economic damages, you need evidence.
It may include expert witness (such as a medical professional) testimony that proves your pain and suffering or photos of your life before the accident that demonstrate activities in which you can no longer participate.
Lakeland Lyft accident lawyers like Frank and Jennifer Fernandez can help you figure out which evidence is necessary for proving these damages and make sure you can present it properly. In most cases, non-economic damages are greater than economic and property damages.
These damages usually have to do with vehicle repair or replacement. If you are a passenger who sustained damage to your belongings (clothes, luggage, laptop, cellphone), you can also demand reimbursement.
Wrongful Death Damages
If your loved one died in a Lyft accident, you could file a wrongful death lawsuit.
Wrongful death damages include:
- Pre-death medical expenses
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Loss of inheritance
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of guidance
Just as with the rest of the damages, you need robust evidence to back your claim up. Most likely, you would need legal assistance to make sure you are presenting your case as well as possible.
How much money can I recover?
The amount you recover depends on:
- The severity of your injuries – The more severe your injuries are, the more money you can usually recover. In Florida, serious injuries make it possible to file a lawsuit against another party if your PIP insurance is insufficient.
- The quality of your evidence – Even if your damages are serious, you can’t obtain fair compensation unless you have high-quality evidence.
- The type of your damages – Non-economic damages are usually greater than economic damages. Accordingly, if you can prove extensive non-economic damages, you can usually count on higher compensation.
The assistance of an experienced Lyft accident attorney can become a deciding factor in the size of your eventual settlement or award.
When to Call a Lakeland Lyft Accident Lawyer?
If you’ve been in a Lyft accident, you may be entitled to compensation. The earlier you contact an attorney, the better chance you have to build a strong case.
Ideally, speak to a lawyer right after the accident. However, if you sustain serious injuries, take care of your health first. As soon as you have an opportunity to call an attorney, consider asking for a free case evaluation.
An attorney can:
- Conduct an in-depth investigation after the Lyft accident.
- Help you collect all the necessary evidence.
- Speak to eyewitnesses.
- Help you obtain and analyze a police report.
- Hire expert witnesses to prove negligence and support your claim.
- File all the paperwork accurately and on time.
- Negotiate a fair settlement.
- Represent you in court.
- Provide professional consultation and support throughout the case.
Once you hire a lawyer, you’ll have peace of mind about your case and can better focus on getting your life back to normal.
Statute of Limitations
If a Lyft accident injured you, don’t wait to take legal action. According to Florida Statutes Section 95.11(3)(a), you only have four years to file a personal injury claim.
At first glance, four years may seem like a long time. In reality, proving your case becomes harder as time passes. Witness memories can fade, while some evidence may be lost or become harder to collect.
There are a few limitations to this statute in Florida. Even if four years are already up, you may still want to talk to an attorney about your chances.
Contact an Experienced Lyft Accident Attorney in Lakeland Today
Lyft accidents are different from typical car accidents in Florida. Navigating the sea of legal issues that come with recovering fair compensation is tough. It can be even tougher if you must recover from serious injuries.
At the Fernandez Firm, we focus all our efforts on helping you get the money you deserve. Our legal team has years of experience helping people win their Lyft accident cases. When you’re ready to pursue justice, call Frank and Jennifer for a free consultation at (863) 230-8066.
The Fernandez Firm – Lakeland
100 S Kentucky Ave #285
Lakeland, Florida, 33801
I was recently injured in an automobile accident. Contacting the Fernandez Firm Accident Injury Attorneys was the wisest choice I made. They navigated me through the process from beginning to end. The outcome was positive and painless. I appreciate the hard work of your firm and highly recommend anyone else in a similar situation to contact you.