The Problems with Gig Economy Liability
As independent contractors rise to fill the growing demand for fast services, the line surrounding liability in the event of an accident begins to blur. From rideshare services to food delivery to personal shoppers, more people are spending more time on the road. Unsurprisingly, this means auto accidents involving gig workers are on the rise.
If you’re involved in an auto accident with a gig worker, what does it mean for you? Well, it depends on a multitude of factors. For example, rideshare companies Uber and Lyft have limitations on the types of accidents their insurance covers. Lyft and Uber accident insurance is usually not adequate to reimburse you for costs involved with an accident. So, it is important to know your rights if you find yourself involved in an auto accident with a gig worker.
Gig Workers vs Employees: Who is Liable for What?
When an employee of a company is involved in an accident, there are state and federal laws that are designed to protect injured third-parties. If an employee is negligent, the employer is held responsible. However, because gig workers are not considered employees, the companies that the gig worker works for are usually not held liable for the negligence of the worker.
It’s this distinction that has led to the rise of the gig economy and shifting employer expenses to the workers themselves. In many ways, we have taken a step back in time when it comes to policy that protects consumers and workers. While workers enjoy the flexibility of gig work, when problems arise (such as auto accidents), the shifted liability is not always enough to satisfy compensation to injured parties. And, this is the basis for the legal fights that have embroiled Uber and Lyft to classify drivers as employees, not independent contractors.
In 2008, the Freelancers Union designed programs that included portable liability insurance for gig workers, but most gig workers are still unaware of these extended benefits. Further complicating the matter is whether or not the worker is engaged in business as a sole-proprietor or as their own Limited Liability Company (LLC). As these issues are worked out through legislation and the courts, it is best to remember that if you are a gig worker or injured third-party involved in an accident, retaining a lawyer immediately will always be the best course of action following an accident.
The Florida Gig Economy Shows No Signs of Slowing Down
Quite the contrary, in fact. The Florida gig economy is growing at an exponential rate and is expected to continue to grow quickly over the next few years. As the gig workforce grows, so too will the questions regarding the liabilities of platform providers. Florida has already upheld the idea that gig workers are independent contractors and responsible for many of the liabilities that come with the work.
Safety Issues Surrounding Gig Workers
Federal law mandates how long drivers can be on the road and the maximum time-in-service depends on the task they are performing. Drivers carrying goods can be on the road for a maximum of 11 hours after a 10-hour break. Drivers carrying passengers can be on the road for a maximum of 10 hours after an 8-hour break. These mandates are aimed at preventing fatigue that may lead to serious accidents.
While many platforms try to limit the number of hours a driver is on the road in order to comply with other state regulations, there is nothing barring a gig worker from working multiple platforms on the same day. This means when a driving gig worker has maxed out their allotted 10 hours per day on the road, they can easily shift over to another app and work more.
Additionally, gig companies often forego safety training and regulations that employers use to keep employee accidents down. These issues present obvious glaring problems with safety enforcement within the gig economy.
If you have been involved in an auto accident with a gig worker, reach out to us for a free consultation to determine the details of your case. Similarly, if you’re a gig worker who has been involved in an accident, we encourage you to reach out to protect your rights. The team at Darrigo and Diaz Law Firm has extensive experience in handling cases of personal injuries in the gig economy.
We will let you know your rights and dive deep to help settle your case to get you the compensation you need and deserve. Call us today at (813) 774-3341 to discuss your case over the phone or contact us online for a free consultation.