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Uber riders to have same No Fault rights as taxi passengers

As with a taxi passenger, an Uber rider would collect No Fault benefits from Uber’s vehicle insurer only if rider had no other source of coverage

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As New Year’s Eve approaches, many people are planning their sober rides, so they can arrive safely to and from their festivities. Uber and Lyft have become common options, and many people even prefer the services to cabs.

The rights of Uber riders have been a hot topic, as safety advocates such as our injury lawyers and lawmakers want to ensure they’re covered in case of a crash.

In the latest, Uber riders – and passengers of any other app-based ride-sharing services such as Lyft – should have the same No Fault rights as taxicab passengers, according to lawmakers on the Michigan House of Representatives Insurance Committee.

The committee, which is comprised of 10 Republicans and five Democrats, unanimously approved an amendment to House Bill 5854, which would allow injured Uber riders to collect No Fault benefits from the insurer of the Uber vehicle only if the Uber rider has no other source of No Fault insurance coverage.

This is similar to how things work for taxicab passengers under existing No Fault law. (MCL 500.3114(2)(e)).

Unfortunately, the one critical issue that wasn’t addressed by the Insurance Committee – which I’ve discussed in previous blog posts – is how Uber riders’ No Fault rights could be affected if the Uber vehicle’s insurer has a “commercial exclusion” in its policy. To learn more, take a look at my blog post, “Will Uber’s ‘insurance gap’ coverage stop car accident victims from falling through the cracks?”

The amended HB 5854 has been sent to the full House of Representatives for further consideration.

No Fault and taxicab passengers

Under existing No Fault law, taxicab passengers who are injured in a collision “shall receive” No Fault benefits “from the insurer of the motor vehicle [i.e., taxicab]” only if “that passenger is not entitled to personal protection insurance benefits under any other policy.” (MCL 500.3114(2)(e)).

No Fault and Uber riders

Under the proposed amendment to HB 5854, a rider or passenger in a vehicle affiliated with an app-based ride-sharing service such as Uber or Lyft “shall receive” No Fault benefits “from the insurer of the motor vehicle” only if “the passenger is not entitled to personal protection insurance benefits under any other policy.”

The proposed amendment defines a vehicle affiliated with an app-based ride-sharing service such as Uber or Lyft as:

“A motor vehicle insured under section 3101 or 3102 while the vehicle is being operated by a transportation network company driver in connection with a transportation network company’s digital network.”

Additionally, the proposed amendment provides the following definitions for “transportation network company” and “transportation network company driver”:

  • “‘[T]ransportation network company means a person operating in this state that uses a digital network to connect riders to transportation network company drivers for the purpose of providing transportation. transportation network company does not include taxi service, transportation service arranged through a transportation broker, a ridesharing arrangement, or a transportation service using fixed routes at regular intervals.”
  • “‘[T]ransportation network company driver’ means an individual who uses his or her personal vehicle to provide transportation services for riders that are matched to the individual through a transportation network company’s digital network, regardless of whether the individual is employed by a transportation network company.”

Mike White, speaking on behalf of Uber, voiced support for the amendment to HB 5854, according to the meeting’s proposed minutes. As of this writing, it’s unknown whether Mr. White submitted written testimony to the Committee.

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