Florida has a lengthy statute, Florida Statute Section 627.748, which applies to you in a ridesharing vehicle. The statute refers to Uber, Lyft, and other rideshare companies as Transportation Network Company(ies) (TNC). A list of rideshare companies to which these laws apply are:
The situations where this law will be applicable include:
- Rideshare car hits another car and you are inside the ride share car and are injured.
- Rideshare car driver mishandles the car and it crashes into a wall, pole, or otherwise comes to an abrupt stop and you are inside the car and are injured.
- Rideshare car hits another car and you are in the car which was hit by the ride share car and you are injured.
- Rideshare car hits a pedestrian who is injured.
- Rideshare car driver assaults sexually or physically you when you are the rider or were in the ride share car.
Florida Statute Section 627.748 provides protection, a limited immunity, to the ridesharing company in many subsections. The tradeoffs are that the ridesharing companies provide some insurance and investigate the drivers and not exercise control over them. If the driver has a felony, is a sex offender, or more than 3 moving violations in 3 years, the driver is not qualified.
Also, if the rideshare company does this investigation and keeps records on it and if the company does not control the daily activities of the drivers, the companies will not be liable or responsible for the actions of the drivers. This means that if the drivers do have felonies or other aspects of the list, or if the company does control the activities of the drivers, the rideshare can be liable.
Here is a specific summary of the statute:
THE COMPANY DOES NOT OWN OR MANAGE THE CAR. This is another protection for the ridesharing company.
Fla. Stat. Sec. 627.748 (1) € “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”.
THE COMPANY IS NOT A COMMON CARRIER. This is another protection for the company. When a company is a common carrier, it owes the highest degree of care to its passengers. This statute section makes clear that the company does not owe that level of duty to its passengers, you the consumer.
Fla. Stat. Sec. 627.748 (2): “NOT OTHER CARRIERS.—A TNC or TNC driver is not a common carrier, contract carrier, or motor carrier and does not provide taxicab service. In addition, a TNC driver is not required to register the vehicle that the TNC driver uses to provide prearranged rides as a commercial motor vehicle”.
SOME PROTECTIONS FOR CONSUMERS.
- Stat. Sec. 627.748 (4): Fare transparency.
- Stat. Sec. 627.748 (5): Identification of TNC vehicles and drivers.
- Stat. Sec. 627.748 (6): Electronic receipt
- Stat. Sec. 627.748 (7): Insurance requirements for the drivers.
There are 2 categories of limits. Here’s what the law says:
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:
- Automobile insurance that provides:
- 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
The following automobile insurance requirements apply while a TNC driver is engaged in a prearranged ride:
- Automobile insurance that provides:
- A primary automobile liability coverage of at least $1 million for death, bodily injury, and property damage.
DRIVERS ARE INDEPENDENT CONTRACTORS, NOT EMPLOYEES. More protections for the company. But if the company does exert this level of control over the driver, the company may be responsible for the damages.
Fla. Stat. Sec. 627.748 (9): LIMITATION ON TRANSPORTATION NETWORK COMPANIES. – A TNC driver is an independent contractor and not an employee of the TNC if all of the following conditions are met:
- The TNC does not unilaterally prescribe specific hours during which the TNC driver must be logged on to the TNC’s digital network.
- The TNC does not prohibit the TNC driver from using digital networks from other TNCs.
- The TNC does not restrict the TNC driver from engaging in any other occupation or business.
- The TNC and TNC driver agree in writing that the TNC driver is an independent contractor with respect to the TNC.
REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DRIVERS. Some protection for the consumer form bad drivers, but also protection for the company from liability. This means that if the investigation was not correct, the company can be liable for the full extent of the damages. Here’s the law:
Fla. Stat. Sec. 627.748 (12): TRANSPORTATION NETWORK COMPANY DRIVER REQUIREMENTS.
Before an individual is authorized to accept a ride request through a digital network:
- The individual must submit an application to the TNC which includes information regarding his or her address, age, driver license, motor vehicle registration, and other information required by the TNC;
- The TNC must conduct, or have a third party conduct, a local and national criminal background check that includes:
- A search of the Multi-State/Multi-Jurisdiction Criminal Records Locator or other similar commercial nationwide database with validation of any records through primary source search; and
- A search of the National Sex Offender Public Website maintained by the United States Department of Justice; and
- The TNC must obtain and review, or have a third party obtain and review, a driving history research report for the applicant.
The TNC shall conduct the background check required under paragraph (a) for a TNC driver every 3 years.
The TNC may not authorize an individual to act as a TNC driver on its digital network if the driving history research report conducted when the individual first seeks access to the digital network reveals that the individual has had more than three moving violations in the prior 3-year period.
The TNC may not authorize an individual to act as a TNC driver on its digital network if the background check conducted when the individual first seeks access to the digital network or any subsequent background check required under paragraph (b) reveals that the individual:
- Has been convicted, within the past 5 years, of:
- A felony;
- A misdemeanor for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, for reckless driving, for hit and run, or for fleeing or attempting to elude a law enforcement officer; or
- A misdemeanor for a violent offense or sexual battery, or a crime of lewdness or indecent exposure under chapter 800;
- Has been convicted, within the past 3 years, of driving with a suspended or revoked license;
- Is a match in the National Sex Offender Public Website maintained by the United States Department of Justice;
- Does not possess a valid driver license; or
- Does not possess proof of registration for the motor vehicle used to provide prearranged rides.
FINAL PROTECTION FOR THE COMPANY. No vicarious liability – that is, the company is NOT responsible for the actions of the driver. The company is not responsible if the driver does not commit a crime, if the company investigates the driver as required and keeps the records as required and the company does not own or possess the vehicle.
Fla. Stat. Sec. 627.748 (18)
- (a) A TNC is not liable under general law by reason of owning, operating, or maintaining the digital network accessed by a TNC driver or rider, or by being the TNC affiliated with a TNC driver, for harm to persons or property which results or arises out of the use, operation, or possession of a motor vehicle operating as a TNC vehicle while the driver is logged on to the digital network if:
- There is no negligence under this section or criminal wrongdoing under the federal or Florida criminal code on the part of the TNC;
- The TNC has fulfilled all of its obligations under this section with respect to the TNC driver; and
- The TNC is not the owner or bailee of the motor vehicle that caused harm to persons or property.
- (b) This subsection does not alter or reduce the coverage or policy limits of the insurance requirements under subsection (7) or the liability of any person other than the vicarious liability of a TNC as described in paragraph (a).
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