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Liability for auto accidents complex when it comes to ride share

With the many factors influencing commute decisions for Florida workers, it's not surprising that many carpool on a day-to-day basis. The cost of gasoline is one of the most prominent; it has been for many years, and it isn't likely to change any time soon. Government encourages ridesharing by providing extra lanes for vehicles carrying more than the driver in some areas where congestion slows people down. But when one of these vehicles is involved in an accident on the way to or from work, is it considered to be a workplace injury?

Florida Statutes Chapter 768 relating to negligence in torts addresses this question. Section 768.091 limits employer liability in such cases. Insofar as ridesharing is concerned, the law specifies that employment begins when an employee actually arrives at the place of employment reporting for work, and conversely, ends when he or she leaves the place of employment. This limitation applies even if an employer encourages or gives employees an incentive to rideshare. Areas at the work location that aren't under the control of the employer are excluded.

A distinction is made if employees are actually performing assigned duties from the employer or if they are together furthering the business of the employer. In that case, activity is considered to be work-related regardless of location. Another divergence from limits to liability under the law is in situations where ridesharing by employees occurs in a motor vehicle owned or leased by an employer.

Laws are fairly black and white, but it isn't unusual for circumstances to fall into gray areas. This can be especially true with situations that crop up with jobs and employers. It's always wise to evaluate them carefully with experienced insight into how the laws apply.

Source: Online Sunshine, "The 2014 Florida Statutes" Oct. 24, 2014

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