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Negligent Security Seminar | March 2015

Florida personal injury lawyers



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    How to Protect Your Rights When Injured in a Sharing Economy: Airbnb, VRBO, Uber, Lyft and More

    The sharing economy has revolutionized the way we travel, stay, and share our assets with others. Platforms like Airbnb, VRBO, Uber, and Lyft offer convenient, cost-effective alternatives to traditional hotels, taxis, and car rentals. However, accidents can happen anywhere, anytime, and it’s crucial to understand your rights if you’re injured while using these services.

    The legal landscape in the sharing economy can become complex due to the involvement of third parties like Uber, Lyft, Airbnb, and VRBO Turo. These companies have policies to protect their users, but the specifics can vary. These protections usually include limitations, exclusions, and conditions, and they may not provide coverage in all scenarios or for all injuries. In some situations, the user’s personal insurance might come into play.

    Vacation Rentals

    Airbnb’s structure and policies provide a different landscape for liability in accidents or injuries. The company offers “Host liability insurance” as a part of their AirCover for Hosts program, providing hosts with $1 million in coverage if they are found legally responsible for an accident that occurred while staying at the host’s place. This insurance covers hosts if they’re found legally responsible for a guest’s (or other’s) bodily injury, damage or theft of property, or damage caused to common areas, like building lobbies and nearby properties.

    Airbnb’s host liability insurance and its interaction with state laws are complex, and specifics can vary by jurisdiction. For instance, Florida law has specific provisions related to the liability of premises owners, which would likely apply to Airbnb hosts. These laws outline the responsibilities of owners to maintain a safe environment and detail the circumstances under which they might be held liable for injuries or damages.

    For example, Florida’s premises liability laws provide protection to individuals who get injured on someone else’s property, such as an Airbnb or similar vacation rental. The extent of this protection largely depends on the status of the injured person – whether they are an “invitee,” “licensee,” or “trespasser.”

    If you’re a guest in an Airbnb, you are likely to be considered an “invitee,” and the property owner or occupier owes you the highest duty of care. They are required to keep the property in a reasonably safe condition, protect you from known dangers, and warn you about any concealed hazards.

    If you’re using these services and you venture into areas beyond your invitation (for instance, an “owners only” area like a locked basement), your status might change to a “licensee.” As a licensee, the owner or occupier is obligated to refrain from willful misconduct or wanton negligence, warn you of known dangers not open to ordinary observation, and refrain from intentionally exposing you to danger.

    If you’re trespassing, the duty owed to you is considerably lower – the property owner or occupier needs only to avoid willful and wanton injury. If your presence is discovered, they must warn you of known dangerous conditions not readily apparent to ordinary observation.

    The reason it is so important for Airbnb hosts to have the host liability coverage is that most typical homeowner’s policies will exclude coverage for business ventures.  Since the host is renting out the home as a business, their basic homeowner’s policy may not apply.


    Ridesharing has its own set of legal complexities. For example, Uber’s insurance for its rideshare drivers varies depending on the status of the ride request. Is the driver on or offline? Is the driver available and waiting for a ride request? Or is the driver actively driving a passenger? Different coverages apply.

    Another significant legal aspect of the sharing economy is the classification of service providers. Uber drivers aren’t considered employees but rather independent contractors. This distinction has critical implications for both the drivers and the companies. This arrangement raises questions about liability in the event of accidents or injuries. Since drivers are not employees, Uber may not be held responsible for their actions like a traditional employer might be. This is why Uber maintains a $1 million liability insurance policy to cover incidents during an active ride. Still, the coverage and responsibility can become complicated if an accident happens when the driver is not on an active ride or if the damages exceed the policy limits. Lyft typically has lower liability coverage for its drivers.

    Protect Your Rights

    If you’ve been injured while using these services, it’s vital to take the following steps to protect your rights:

    1. Seek immediate medical attention.
    2. Document the incident and your injuries.
    3. Report the incident to the platform.
    4. Consult with a personal injury attorney from Leighton Law to understand your rights and possible remedies.

    Navigating the legal complexities of the sharing economy can be challenging, but with the proper legal guidance, you can protect your rights. At Leighton Law, our experienced personal injury attorneys will advocate on your behalf when working with insurance companies, the ridesharing or vacation rental company, and other parties involved. Contact us to schedule a consultation!

    Article by:

    John Leighton

    A nationally-recognized trial lawyer who handles catastrophic injury and death cases. He manages Leighton Law, P.A. trial lawyers, with offices in Miami and Orlando, Florida. He is President of The National Crime Victim Bar Association, author of the 2-volume textbook,Litigating Premises Security Cases, and past Chairman of the Association of Trial Lawyers of America’s Motor Vehicle, Highway & Premises Liability Section. Having won some of the largest verdicts in Florida history, Mr. Leighton is listed inThe Best Lawyers in America (14 years), “Top Lawyers” in the South Florida Legal Guide (15 years), Top 100 Florida SuperLawyer™ and Florida SuperLawyers (14 years), “Orlando Legal Elite” by Orlando Style magazine, and FloridaTrend magazine “Florida Legal Elite


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