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Shared Ride Services and Personal Injury Liability in Florida

Mutaqee Akbar, Managing Partner

1 May 2018

Many believe the only difference between traditional taxi services and shared ride services like Uber or Lyft is the price. Yet, this is an incorrect assumption particularly as it relates to liabilities.

Florida law holds “Common Carries” (taxi services, public transportation, rental cars, chartered vehicles) and “Transportation Network Carriers” or shared ride service providers (ex: Uber, Lyft, Sidecar) to different standards of liability in the event of an accident. The difference between the two legal designations could leave you quite literally holding the bag.

Contending that shared ride services providers are nothing more than technology providers bringing individuals together, H.B. 221 was signed into law by Governor Rick Scott May 09, 2017. The law considers shared ride service drivers independent contractors rather than employees allowing shared ride service providers to forego any additional legal responsibilities or duties and holds the driver, not the company, personally liable for passenger safety.

The bill does lay out safety and background check requirements of the shared ride service providers and incorporated Uber and Lyft’s corporate policies for driver’s insurance requirements as follows:

  • Shared ride drivers are not required to have ANY insurance (other than their own personal coverage) if they are not logged into the ride application.
  • Shared ride drivers only have to have $50,000.00 in coverage if the driver is logged into the respective application (and) has not accepted a ride request, but instead simply picks up a willing rider who at the time did not ask the driver to accept the request.
  • If the shared ride driver is logged into the respective application (and) officially accepts the ride on the application, then he/she is required to have $1,000,000.00 in coverage. In other words, the shared ride passenger with personal injuries as a result of an accident with someone who did not have car insurance or not enough car insurance would have $1 million dollars in insurance available to compensate for injuries and damages.

What does this mean to you?

In the event of an accident, a driver’s insurance may not cover serious injuries, long-term medical expenses or loss of income if you are not able to return to work because of your injuries. Your personal insurance may be required to cover outstanding care-related costs.

Our Tip: If you choose to travel with a shared ride service provider, be sure that you 1) request the trip through the application and 2) ensure that he driver has also accepted the ride through the application to ensure the maximum coverage afforded by Florida law.

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