Ridesharing Legislation May Trigger New Wave of Litigation
Daily Business Review
August 10, 2017
As our Sunshine State continues to attract millions of visitors each year who share our clogged highways with commuters traveling throughout the
Nowadays, when making plans with a friend or colleague, you consider the distance of the location, the traffic, the difficulty of finding parking or the inflated cost to park. Add to that your gas, tolls and the inconvenience of having to drive, makes the decision to use a
We have come a long way from when the rules were "Don't get in strangers' cars" and "Don't meet people from the internet" to literally summoning strangers from the internet to get into their cars.
However, these drivers are part of a "virtual" workforce for ridesharing companies, also referred to as Transportation Network Companies (TNCs) like Uber and Lyft. Aside from the driver's name, picture, make,
On July 1, Florida legislators enacted a new law, Florida Statute Section 627.748, imposing new insurance requirements for
Although on its face the statute seems straight forward, given the proliferation of TNCs, it threatens the insurance industry with a potential flood of litigation—not only between TNCs or TNC drivers and the TNC driver's personal auto insurance
Additionally, the statute permits TNCs to lawfully classify their drivers as an "independent contractor" and not an "employee" of the TNC, which raises the question, which insurance carrier is responsible for the insurance claim should you get into an accident during the ride?
The statute poses many implications which include, but are not limited to, an insurance company's inability to coordinate benefits or subrogate from workers' compensation policies and the possibility that at times coverage requirements may exceed or extend the existing coverage carried by the TNCs and the TNC drivers.
The statute establishes minimum coverage requirements for TNCs. Most importantly, it mandates that such coverage must be primary and not dependent on the TNC driver's personal auto insurance coverage.
Florida, being a
Given the statute's wording and possible implications, it is recommended that insurers obtain legal counsel to determine if their existing policy language exposes them to further litigation because of the new statutory insurance requirements; or, in the alternative, if they should amend the policy language to minimize exposure.
Overall, the legislature's attempt to mandate minimum insurance requirements for TNCs and their drivers throughout the state will likely create coverage disputes. In the next couple of years, it will be interesting to see how TNCs, insurance
Cecile S. Mendizabal is an associate in the Miami office of Roig Lawyers. She concentrates her practice on personal injury protection (PIP)/nofault litigation. Lissette M. Alvarez is an associate in the firm's Miami office. She concentrates her practice in the area of property insurance defense and personal injury protection (PIP)/nofault litigation for various insurance companies.
Reprinted with permission from the August 10,