Traditionally, calling a Taxi meant waiving a driver down in the street
or making a phone call to one of the local Taxi companies and scheduling
a pickup. Recently, however, there has been a rise in tech/taxi companies
that allow you to get a cab ride by using your smartphone.
A company called Uber and others like it have reinvented the way in which
people can find a ride. By using Uber's software app on your phone,
you can find an Uber driver near you that can come and pick you up and
give you a ride to your desired destination. These services can be found
throughout Minnesota and there is no doubt that these apps can increase
the convenience of finding a ride. However, is the convenience offered
by this new service really worth what you could be giving up in safety
Uber does not consider itself to be a cab company. Instead, Uber "compares
itself to the auction site eBay, connecting a buyer and seller but not
liable for what happens between them." For this reason, these
companies argue that they should not have to regulate their drivers when
it comes to training, insurance, background checks, or the safety of the
drivers' cars. In fact, there is no guarantee that your driver knows
what he is doing or that you would be properly compensated if injured.
Furthermore, courts have yet to determine who should be responsible when
something goes wrong.
In Minnesota, individual cities regulate small vehicle passenger services
or taxi cab companies and the State requires that, at a minimum, each
city must create a law which provides for driver qualifications, insurance,
vehicle safety, and periodic vehicle inspections.
Therefore, when an individual is injured by a traditional cab driver, that
individual is financially protected because the taxicab company is legally
required to carry commercial insurance, the cab driver has been specially
licensed by a Minnesota municipality or police department and the injured
party has a set of laws to rely upon. In this instance, the cab company
and its insurance carrier will be on the hook to pay damages to the injured persons.
When a person is injured by a non-traditional driver, however, there could
be a plethora of issues that could result in the injured person not being
properly compensated. In fact, if the insurance carried by the driver
is not sufficient to cover the resulting injuries, the injured person
could be left without sufficient recourse.
Watch out for these non-traditional taxicabs and know what you're getting
yourself into before you get into one of them. These non-traditional drivers
may not be held to the same standards as the traditional taxi driver and
your safety and security may not be guaranteed.
Additionally, if you or any one of your friends or family has been a victim
of this type of non-traditional taxi service in any way, please call Caplan
& Tamburino Law Firm at 612-444-5020. We will set you up with an attorney
who can help you protect your rights and your well-being.
Streifeld, David, Rough Patch for Uber Service's Challenge to Taxis:
 Minn. Stat. Ann. § 221.091.
 Minnesota Special Licenses,