Florida ranks as the third most populous state. With the travel and tourism industry contributing more than $95 billion in 2019, one can see why the Sunshine State offers a huge upside to the market for ride-sharing companies. The central part of Florida is home to some of the largest tourist destinations in the world – from world-renowned theme parks to Kennedy Space Center and the World Equestrian Center, in Ocala, a city in north central Florida, is the officially designated world’s horse capital.
And while rideshare apps like Lyft or Uber (which are known in the legal world as Transportation Network Companies have become quite popular, many people jump into these conveniences without considering what may happen should the rideshare car become involved in an accident while they are a passenger in the vehicle. The reality is that handling a rideshare accident can be a bit tricky as there are special regulations/rules regarding the way in which these vehicles are insured. If you have been involved in an accident while in a rideshare, contact an experienced Ocala rideshare accident attorney to learn about your rights as a passenger or the rideshare driver.
Who May Be Injured in an Ocala Rideshare Accident?
Rideshare accident injuries happen in three primary ways:
- The rideshare vehicle’s paying passenger(s) is/are injured in the accident
- The rideshare driver is injured while –
- Picking Up
- Dropping Off Passengers
- Another vehicle’s occupant was injured when colliding with a rideshare vehicle
Determining Liability in a Rideshare Accident
To receive compensation when involved in any car accident, one must determine who is liable or whose negligence/reckless choices led to the accident and injuries to the victim. If the driver of the rideshare car was the cause of the collision and you became injured, the driver could be held accountable for compensating you for your damages.
However, when a Lyft or Uber employee causes an accident, things become a bit tricky and complicated in terms of legal liability. This is because, while rideshare drivers drive for money, technically, they are not employees of the rideshare company but independent contractors – an entirely different class or type of worker. The IRS has stringent rules regarding tax implications for independent contractors. However, an independent contractor’s status complicates how an insurance company may view vehicle use.
While a rideshare driver may have a comprehensive personal automobile insurance policy, its coverage likely excludes the insured’s actions while working as a professional for a rideshare company. Of course, the rideshare driver could hold a commercial policy or an endorsement for their rideshare work to an existing policy – which would be the only exceptions to this concern.
Rideshare Companies Do Provide Insurance Coverage to Protect Drivers
While the rideshare company provides drivers coverage while working, it varies and becomes challenging to determine how the coverage applies. The coverage also varies and is contingent upon what the driver was doing when the accident occurred.
And, if the driver has not logged into the ride share’s proprietary app, the coverage does not apply. Once logged in, rideshare drivers are given higher coverage limits, although Florida’s Uber/Lyft Bill requires drivers to carry insurance coverage over and above the state’s current minimum standards.