Imagine: You’re using a ridesharing service such as Uber or Lyft when the car is in an accident. Or, you’re looking to earn some extra cash and decide to start driving part-time for Uber. If you’re in an accident, will you be covered by automobile insurance or have to have a Chicago injury attorney in an effort to collect money from the driver who’s at fault?
Illinois Transportation Network Providers Act
In December 2014, the Illinois Legislature passed the Transportation Network Providers Act, which went into effect in June of 2015.
The act defines a transportation network provider as “an entity…that uses a digital network or software application service to connect passengers to transportation network company services provided by transportation network company drivers. A TNC is not deemed to own, control, operate, or manage the vehicles used by TNC drivers, and is not a taxicab association or a for-hire vehicle owner.”
Under the act, drivers have two sets of insurance requirements. The first applies to drivers working for Uber, Lyft, Sidecar or another transportation network provider who are currently working but have not accepted a request from a fare-paying passenger. The second applies once the driver accepts a ride request from a fare-paying a passenger.
While a driver is working but has not accepted any ride requests, he or she must have automobile liability insurance that pays:
- At least $50,000 per person in the event a person is killed or injured, and
- At least $100,000 for incident where someone is killed or injured, and
- At least $25,000 for property damage
Concurrently, the transportation networker provider must have a contingent insurance policy with the same limits should the driver’s insurance claim be denied or fail to meet the specified coverage thresholds.
From the moment a driver accepts a ride request until the moment he or she drops off a passenger, the driver must have automobile insurance that covers claims of at least $1,000,000 for death, personal injury and property damage. In additional, there must be at least $50,000 in uninsured motorist and underinsured motorist coverage.
The law allows drivers and transportation network providers three ways to meet this higher insurance requirement. Either the driver can maintain the insurance, or the transportation network provider can supply the requisite coverage, or the driver and the transportation network provider can each have insurance that collectively totals at least $1,000,000.
If you are a driver for a ride-sharing company, you’ll want to check with your automobile insurance company to ensure that your policy covers you while you are working.
The Illinois Transportation Network Providers Act also sets out other requirements designed to ensure the safety of passengers who use ride-sharing services. Specifically, ride-sharing services must conduct criminal background checks on all drivers and review their driving history. Individuals under the age of 19 are ineligible to drive for ride-sharing services, as are drivers who lack a valid driver’s license, car registration and necessary insurance. Additionally, drivers who have certain moving violations or who have been found guilty of certain crimes are ineligible.
It’s also important to remember that these laws apply only to ride-sharing drivers and passengers in the state of Illinois. Other states may have more or fewer requirements.
If You’re Injured While a Passenger in a Ride-Sharing Car
If you’re injured while riding in an Uber, Lyft or Sidecar automobile, there may be several sources from which you can collect money, depending on the specifics of the accident and who was at fault. These include the driver of the other car, the driver of the car in which you were riding and the ride-sharing company itself. If it sounds complicated and confusing, that’s because it can be.
Automobile insurance companies will typically press you to accept a payout and sign away your rights to any more money. It’s in their financial interest – not yours! – to pay you ask little as possible. For that reason, if you’re in an automobile accident, you should immediately contact the Chicago personal injury lawyers at Cogan & Power, P.C., at (312) 477-2500.
Our automobile accident attorneys can review the police report, medical records and any other documentation associated with your claim. Once we thoroughly understand the extent of your injuries, pain and suffering, and any other losses you may have experienced, we will negotiate with the responsible insurance companies in an attempt to reach a settlement that fairly compensates you. If an agreement cannot be reached, our litigation lawyers won’t hesitate to file a lawsuit and fight in court for the compensation you deserve.