Communities all over the United States have seen a dramatic increase in the number of companies providing “ridesharing” services. Ride-sharing describes the one-time shared rides that allow people to get to destinations through platforms such as Uber, Lyft, Sidecar, or others. On May 9, 2017, Governor Rick Scott signed CS/HB 221, otherwise known as the “Uber/Lyft Bill,” a law governing the operation of ridesharing operations in Florida.
When a person suffers an injury as the result of a rideshare driver’s negligence, it can be very confusing for the injured party to hold the negligent party accountable. Ridesharing companies frequently refuse to pay claims in which their drivers were not transporting passengers, and many businesses will claim that they are free from any civil liability because such drivers are independent contractors.
Lawyer for Ridesharing Accidents in Tampa, FL
If you sustained serious injuries or your loved one was killed in a crash caused by a ridesharing driver, it is in your best interest to seek legal representation as soon as possible. Germain Law Group, P.A. represents clients injured in car accidents in Manatee County, Pinellas County, St. Lucie County, Charlotte County, Hillsborough County, and several other surrounding areas.
Michael B. Germain is an experienced personal injury attorney in Tampa who will work tirelessly to get you the compensation you need and deserve for medical bills, lost wages, and other damages. You can have our lawyer provide a complete evaluation of your case as soon as you call (813) 835-8888 to schedule a free, confidential consultation.
Overview of Ridesharing Accidents in Hillsborough County
- How does Florida define what constitutes a transportation network company?
- What are the minimum insurance requirements for ridesharing drivers and companies?
- Where can I learn more about ridesharing accidents in Hillsborough County?
Ridesharing Accident Definitions in Florida
Ridesharing is defined under Florida Statute § 341.031(9)(a) as “an arrangement between persons with a common destination, or destinations, within the same proximity, to share the use of a motor vehicle on a recurring basis for round-trip transportation to and from their place of employment or other common destination.”
The definition states that for purposes of ridesharing, employment is deemed to commence when an employee arrives at the employer’s place of employment to report for work and is deemed to terminate when the employee leaves the employer’s place of employment, excluding areas not under the control of the employer—although an employee can be deemed to be within the course of employment when the employee is engaged in the performance of duties assigned or directed by the employer, or acting in the furtherance of the business of the employer, irrespective of location.
Ridesharing is different from a carpool, which is defined under Florida Statute § 450.28(3) as “an arrangement made by the workers using one worker’s own vehicle for transportation to and from work and for which the driver or owner of the vehicle is not paid by any third person other than the members of the carpool.”
The Uber/Lyft Bill led to the enactment of Florida Statute § 627.748. Under Florida Statute § 627.748(1) the other following frequently used terms relating to ridesharing services are defined as follows:
- Transportation Network Company (TNC) — An entity operating in this state pursuant to this section using a digital network to connect a rider to a TNC driver, who provides prearranged rides. A TNC is not deemed to own, control, operate, direct, or manage the TNC vehicles or TNC drivers that connect to its digital network, except where agreed to by written contract, and is not a taxicab association or for-hire vehicle owner. An individual, corporation, partnership, sole proprietorship, or other entity that arranges medical transportation for individuals qualifying for Medicaid or Medicare pursuant to a contract with the state or a managed care organization is not a TNC.
- Digital Network — Any online-enabled technology application service, website, or system offered or used by a transportation network company which enables the prearrangement of rides with transportation network company drivers.
- Prearranged Ride — The provision of transportation by a TNC driver to a rider, beginning when a TNC driver accepts a ride requested by a rider through a digital network controlled by a transportation network company, continuing while the TNC driver transports the rider, and ending when the last rider exits from and is no longer occupying the TNC vehicle. The term does not include a taxicab, for-hire vehicle, or street hail service and does not include ridesharing, carpool, or any other type of service in which the driver receives a fee that does not exceed the driver’s cost to provide the ride.
- Rider — An individual who uses a digital network to connect with a TNC driver to obtain a prearranged ride in the TNC driver’s TNC vehicle between points chosen by the rider. A person may use a digital network to request a prearranged ride on behalf of a rider.
- Street Hail — An immediate arrangement on the street with a driver by a person using any method other than a digital network to seek immediate transportation.
- Transportation Network Company Driver or TNC Driver — An individual who receives connections to potential riders and related services from a transportation network company and in return for compensation, uses a TNC vehicle to offer or provide a prearranged ride to a rider upon connection through a digital network.
- Transportation Network Company Vehicle or TNC Vehicle — A vehicle that is not a taxicab, jitney, limousine, or for-hire vehicle and that is used by a TNC driver to offer or provide a prearranged ride and owned, leased, or otherwise authorized to be used by the TNC driver.
Hillsborough County Insurance Requirements for Ridesharing Accidents
Florida Statute § 627.748(7)(a) established that beginning July 1, 2017, a TNC driver or a TNC on behalf of the TNC driver must maintain primary automobile insurance that:
- Recognizes that the TNC driver is a TNC driver or otherwise uses a vehicle to transport riders for compensation; and
- Covers the TNC driver while the TNC driver is logged on to the digital network of the TNC or while the TNC driver is engaged in a prearranged ride.
Under Florida Statute § 627.748(7)(b), the following automobile insurance requirements apply while a participating TNC driver is logged on to the digital network but is not engaged in a prearranged ride:
- A primary automobile liability coverage of at least $50,000 for death and bodily injury per person, $100,000 for death and bodily injury per incident, and $25,000 for property damage;
- Personal injury protection benefits that meet the minimum coverage amounts required under Florida Statutes §§ 627.730-627.7405; and
- Uninsured and underinsured vehicle coverage as required by Florida Statute § 627.727.
The coverage requirements listed above can be satisfied by automobile insurance maintained by the TNC driver, automobile insurance maintained by the TNC, or a combination of automobile insurance maintained by the TNC driver and automobile insurance maintained by the TNC. Florida Statute § 627.748(7)(c) states that the following automobile insurance requirements apply while a TNC driver is engaged in a prearranged ride:
- A primary automobile liability coverage of at least $1 million for death, bodily injury, and property damage;
- Personal injury protection benefits that meet the minimum coverage amounts required of a limousine under Florida Statutes §§ 627.730-627.7405; and
- Uninsured and underinsured vehicle coverage as required by Florida Statute § 627.727.
Automobile accidents can frequently involve multiple parties, and many ridesharing crashes are extraordinarily complicated for the average person. A knowledgeable Tampa personal injury lawyer will be able to investigate the circumstances surrounding your accident and determine the most advantageous way of pursuing your claim.
Ridesharing Accident Resources in Florida
Florida Statute § 627.748 | Transportation network companies — View the full text of one of the ridesharing law enacted by Florida legislators in 2017. Learn more about requirements relating to fare transparency, identification of TNC vehicles and drivers, and electronic receipts. You can also read about limitations on TNCs and TNC driver requirements.
Riding by the Rules | National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) — The NCSL is a bipartisan non-governmental organization “committed to the success of all legislators and staff.” On this section of the NCSL website, you can read a December 2014 State Legislatures magazine article discussing the growth of ridesharing networks. The article touches on issues with airports, safety, and tax revenue.
Find a Ridesharing Accidents Attorney in Tampa, FL
Did you suffer catastrophic injuries or was your loved one killed in a ridesharing crash anywhere in the greater Tampa Bay area? Do not sign any paperwork without first contacting Germain Law Group, P.A..
Tampa personal injury lawyer Michael B. Germain helps individuals in communities all over Indian River County, Pasco County, Sarasota County, Brevard County, Hillsborough County, and many other nearby locations.
Call (813) 835-8888 or submit an online contact form to have our attorney review your case and answer all of your legal questions during a free, confidential consultation.
This article was last updated on Friday, February 16, 2018.