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 and security?
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: https://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/27/technology/rough-patch-for-uber-services-challenge-to-taxis.html?smid=fb-nytimes&WT.z_sma=TE_RPF_20140127&bicmp=AD&bicmlukp=WT.mc_id&bicmst=1388552400000&bicmet=1420088400000&_r=3
 Minn. Stat. Ann. § 221.091.
 Minnesota Special Licenses, http://www.dmv.org/mn-minnesota/special-licenses.php#Taxi