Like residents of other major cities, residents of Hillsborough and other parts of the greater Tampa area are now able to secure a ride through a transportation network company like Uber and Lyft. Supposedly, this system is just as effective, if not better than, a traditional cab and also may cost quite a bit less.
However, some people who choose to participate in this ridesharing plan, as well as other motorists, may have some concerns about the drivers. Despite their being screened by the companies for whom they contract, the reality is that many of them are simply average citizens with no real training or experience with commercial driving.
This means that drivers may be more prone to causing a crash and leaving someone with serious injuries, be that person a passenger or another motorist.
When this happens, it may be hard to sue Uber or Lyft since their drivers operate as independent contractors and not employees. Still, although it might be easier to sue were these drivers employees of Uber or Lyft, a person may still be able to hold the companies themselves accountable in some circumstances, such as if Uber or Lyft contacted with a driver who was clearly unqualified or had a questionable background.
Fortunately, Florida law requires Uber and Lyft drivers to maintain minimum amounts of insurance coverage which, in theory, will be available to pay compensation to the drivers’ passengers as well as others who may get hurt should the driver, through negligence, cause an accident.
In the event of an accident involving a driver for a transportation network company, it is important for Floridians to recognize that they have legal options.