Earlier in January, former Governor Quinn signed
into law the new regulations
for ride sharing services, such as Uber and Lyft, to operate in the state of Illinois. Unfortunately, the new laws benefit the ridesharing companies and not consumers in the event of an accident
These regulations were a hard fought battle and were initially vetoed
by Governor Quinn who bought into Uber's argument that the rules were too strict and would have prevented the company from bringing the popular services to the entire state. However, the version of the regulation that was eventually passed into law is a watered down compromise
that may leave victims of Uber accidents unsatisfied when seeking recovery.
Version of the Bill
The original version
of the Ridesharing Arrangements and Consumer Protection Act (H.B. 4075 (2014)
) would have leveled the playing field between ridesharing companies and the existing taxicab community. It would have required Uber drivers to meet the same licensing requirements if they work more than 18 hours per week. It would have also required the same stricter insurance minimums and background checks that apply to taxi drivers to apply to Uber drivers as well. These measures would have additionally ensured consumers are being driven by fully insured individuals who meet safety and criminal background checks. The bill passed the state House and Senate easily, but the Governor made it clear early on that he would veto the bill.
As such, lawmakers had to return to the drawing board to come up with compromise
regulations that create a fraction of the safety and insurance requirements the vetoed law provided. The new law requires the driver and the companies to share the burden of the minimum insurance coverage
: $1 million in personal injury, death, and property damage claims.
The new law also requires a background check and licensing requirements for the drivers and sets standards for the ridesharing companies to provide vehicles with disability access. Individuals with more than three moving violations or one major violation during the last three years could not become drivers. Sex offenders and people with a DUI on their record in the last seven years are not allowed to be ridesharing drivers either. Furthermore, ridesharing companies will now be required to disclose fare increases during surge pricing.
While this is a step forward, the new law does raise some concerns. By allowing the minimum insurance coverage to be met by a driver's personal insurance policy, the company's commercial insurance policy, or a combination of the two, victims of Uber accidents are at risk of not receiving full compensation for their injuries.
Prior to the new regulations, insurance companies were denying drivers' claims because the insurance company would say that Uber's commercial insurance should apply, not the driver's policy
. The possibility that such an argument will be made still exists, regardless of the new laws. The vetoed version of the bill would have offered some much needed clarity and coverage.
To quote the congressman who initially pushed for the stricter regulations: "As much as we love Uber and Lyft, for being innovative, good services, we have a responsibility to protect our constituents' safety."
The end result is discouraging: victims and the drivers are not fully covered and will have their insurance claims denied—leaving both parties with astronomical bills or damages to cover out-of-pocket.
Contact Our Experienced Accident Attorneys
If you are in an accident involving an Uber driver or other rideshare company, contact one of our experienced DuPage County car accident attorneys
. We will happily provide you with a consultation to discover how we can be of assistance. Reach out to Mevorah Law Offices LLC today for help.