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Ryan R. Bradley
Ryan R. Bradley
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What to Know Before You Take That Uber


Rinde sharing lawyers Koester & BradleyUnless you are the unlucky holder of a taxi cab medallion (remember when these were an investment?), chances are you have rode in an Uber car, and probably even enjoyed it. However, this ride sharing service is shrouded in uncertainty. In France, ride sharing activities were suspended due to protests from taxi drivers, and at home in the United States various municipalities are implementing ways to crack down on and regulate ride sharing. The reality is, that the long-term implications of our new ride sharing society are yet to be discovered.

Part of the popularity of ride sharing is that it allows individuals to obtain rides when they want them similar to how Netflix allows folks to watch all the episodes of House of Cards all at once. States such as Illinois, and in particular Chicago, are evaluating how to further regulate Uber, while California recently fined the company millions of dollars for failing to turn over information about their business operations. This is not to say there is anything inherently wrong with rides haring, however one should keep in mind a few factors before hopping in the back of somebody else’s car for a ride.

The first factor to keep in mind is the insurance situation. Most ride sharing companies provide what is known as contingent liability coverage. This coverage usually provides 50,000.00  worth of coverage per individual and $100,000.00 of coverage per incident and is available only if the ride share drivers personal insurance does not cover the claim. Under most circumstances, insurance policies from State Farm, Allstate, MetLife, and others will have specific exclusions for using the vehicle for business purposes. This means that if you are injured in an uber vehicle, you could be limited to a recover of $50,000 per person or $100,000 per incident.  This will likely be insufficient given that as many as seven people can ride in an Uber.  Contrast this to interstate trucking for example, where mandatory insurance policies are approximately $750,000. In Illinois, legislators are discussing the passage of laws to address insurance coverage for ride sharing, but who knows how long that will take?

Secondly issues remain regarding maintenance of Uber cars and driver safety. In Chicago for instance, there are stringent and specific standards for all taxi cabs. This is not the case for ride share participants. Additionally, the driver screening process in ride share programs tend not to be as stringent as for taxi drivers. Additionally, guidelines that are in place at companies such as Uber and Lyft, problematic as there is no physical inspection of the vehicles or stringent interview process for drivers. The issue of oversight is foremost in the minds of politicians in Illinois and specifically Rahm Emanuel in Chicago who is pressing for tighter regulations on ride share programs and advocating for taxi ride share services so that the government can have more oversight over safety issues. What does all this mean for individuals considering hailing a Uber? It simply means that before you get into a strangers car be sure you understand the risks and benefits involved.

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