When it comes to hired driver accidents (such as those involving Uber and Lyft drivers, taxis and limousine services), Florida personal injury compensation guidelines and expectations will depend heavily on a number of factors. Among important elements: The type of service, whether the driver was an independent contractor or employee, whether a vehicle defect was a factor (and if so, how long ago the vehicle was manufactured), how many other people were hurt and how much fault is assigned each motorist if more than one vehicle was involved.
Recently, a hired driver accident in New York that resulted in 20 deaths, including all 17 passengers, the driver and two pedestrians, raised questions about whether the limousine company (a national firm with locations in Florida) had the appropriate level of auto insurance and whether the driver (who reportedly ran a red light) was properly licensed. There is a reason why the personal injury compensation guidelines pertaining to commercial and for-hire vehicles is so much higher, and it’s precisely because such crashes can result in utter devastation.
The Sarasota Herald Tribune recently asserted that the limousine crash in New York isn’t an “isolated incident,” detailing one incident in August 2016 when an Uber passenger picked up from the Tampa airport on his way home had to leap from the moving car on I-275 after the vehicle caught fire and the driver screamed the brakes weren’t working. The driver was killed. The passenger was rushed to the intensive care unit’s burn center, where doctors gave him a 20 percent chance of survival. He was able to recover about $1 million in medical expenses, but had no legal recourse to recover damages from the vehicle manufacturer (thanks to the Statute of Repose, barring product liability lawsuits for any vehicle made more than 12 years earlier). This was despite the fact the vehicle had been recalled for a faulty switch that could cause fires and electrical failures. Though they did not pursue a personal injury compensation claim against the driver, they did file one against the car service, learning it had minimal liability insurance. Continue reading →