People can summon drivers from ride services like Uber through smartphone apps.

A person arranges a ride with the ride-hail service Uber, which up until Jan. 1 hasn't had to carry personal protection insurance. A new law changes that, going into effect in 2022 and requiring drivers for those services and taxis to carry such insurance. Lyft already requires its drivers to have such policies in place.

Christina Belasco / OPB

Starting New Year’s Day, ride-hailing companies and taxis, also known as transportation network companies, or TNCs, will be required to provide personal injury protection for drivers and passengers in Oregon.

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The bill that requires the new coverage, HB 2393, was introduced last January and signed into law in June.

TNCs are an increasing part of people’s daily lives. In 2019, over 10 million rides were completed in Portland alone. But until now, those Oregonians who’d been in accidents while riding in a car hailed from a taxi or services like Uber had to wait until their cases concluded to collect lost wages or get medical bills paid.

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That process could take years, according to Rob Dolton, a consumer protection attorney in Clackamas.

But under this new legislation, folks who depend on ride-hailing services or taxis can rest assured that if something happens, they can get the insurance relief they need.

Personal injury protection provides medical coverage at a minimum of $15,000 per person involved in the traffic collision. It also provides wage protection of up to $3,000 per month for a period of 52 weeks. That time period is flexible and isn’t restricted to one year after the accident. Wage coverage can be activated from one to six years after the accident. Medical coverage is limited to two years after the accident.

Some ride-hailing companies, like Uber, had been taking advantage of a loophole that exempted them from providing personal injury protection, Dolton said. Lyft, however, voluntarily provided it.

Oregon is one of the last states to institute a statewide law applying to Uber, Lyft, and taxi industries, according to Dolton.

“It made absolutely no sense that transportation network companies were exempt from that wonderful coverage that provides such a critical benefit to Oregon consumers,” said Dolton.

“It’s an oversimplification, but this is a bill that makes life safe for millennials.

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