Taxicab accidents can happen in the blink of an eye, leaving passengers unexpectedly grappling with injuries, medical expenses, and lost income. While these accidents share similarities with other types of motor vehicle crashes, the unique nature of a taxicab’s business operation adds complexity to determining liability and seeking compensation for your injuries.
In this guide, we will explore the various factors and parties involved in taxicab accidents, the process of filing a claim, and the legal assistance you may need to navigate the challenges of pursuing justice and fair compensation after a taxicab accident. Reach out to taxi cab lawyer.
Liability in Taxicab Accidents
Determining liability is crucial in any motor vehicle accident for pursuing compensation for injuries and damages. However, taxicab accidents often involve multiple liable parties, complicating this process.
The responsible parties could include:
- The taxi driver: Taxi drivers owe their passengers a duty of care to operate the vehicle safely and obey all traffic laws. Failure to uphold this duty of care resulting in an accident and injuries may establish the driver’s liability.
- The taxi company: Taxi companies also owe their passengers a duty of care and can be vicariously liable for the negligence of their employee drivers. Some taxi companies mandate additional safety training and vehicle maintenance practices; if the driver breaches these practices, it could also make the company directly liable.
- Other drivers: If another driver caused or contributed to the accident that injured the taxicab passenger, that driver may share liability. Their insurance company would then become involved in compensating the passenger for injuries.
- Vehicle manufacturers: In rare cases, a defect in the taxicab itself could cause or contribute to an accident. If proven, the vehicle manufacturer may hold some liability for failure to ensure the safety of the vehicle’s occupant.
With so many potential parties involved, determining liability often requires an in-depth investigation into the accident and a strong understanding of negligence, duty of care, and vicarious liability laws. An experienced taxi accident attorney can help you navigate these complex issues, identify all liable parties, and build a case to pursue maximum compensation for your injuries.
To hold any party liable for your injuries sustained in a taxicab accident, you must prove their negligence caused the accident.
This involves establishing:
- Duty of care: The liable party owed you a duty of care. As previously discussed, taxi drivers owe their passengers a duty of care to operate safely, while taxi companies owe a duty to properly hire, train, and supervise their drivers.
- Breach of duty: The liable party failed to uphold their duty of care. For example, a taxi driver texting while driving or speeding through an intersection would breach their duty of care. A taxi company failing to perform adequate background checks or safety training for its drivers could also constitute a breach.
- Causation: The liable party’s breach of duty directly caused or contributed to the accident that injured you. If the breach had not occurred, the accident likely would not have happened. Proving causation requires showing a direct link between the breach of duty and the events leading to your injuries.
- Damages: You suffered injuries and losses due to the accident. Without damages, you have no grounds to pursue compensation, even if you can prove negligence.
You need evidence proving each of these four factors to establish a strong case. Police reports, witness statements, video footage, and expert testimony are often used to determine and prove negligence in taxicab accident cases.
An attorney can evaluate the evidence, identify any breaches of duty that caused your damages, and build a compelling case to establish liability. When your lawyer can prove negligence, you can then pursue maximum compensation for your injuries from all liable parties and their insurance providers.
The law requires taxicab companies and drivers to carry insurance specifically covering injuries to passengers and damages arising from accidents.
The insurance that may come into play includes:
- Commercial liability insurance: Taxicab companies must hold commercial general liability insurance for injuries to passengers and third parties. This insurance covers the costs of both economic losses (medical bills or lost wages) and non-economic losses (pain and suffering) resulting from the company’s negligence.
- Commercial auto insurance: Taxicab drivers must carry commercial auto insurance on their vehicles, including coverage for injuries to passengers. This may provide additional compensation beyond what the company’s commercial general liability insurance covers.
- Umbrella insurance: Some taxicab companies carry additional umbrella insurance policies to provide extra coverage beyond their standard commercial policies. Umbrella insurance kicks in when the underlying policies reach their limits.
- Personal auto insurance: In rare cases, a taxi driver’s personal auto insurance may also provide some coverage for passenger injuries, especially if the commercial policy limits have been exhausted. However, personal insurance typically only extends to the driver’s own negligence, not the company’s.
The specific coverage amounts and limits will depend on laws in your jurisdiction and the insurance contracts the taxi company and driver holds. A taxicab accident attorney can determine all available insurance policies that may compensate you for your losses.
However, when companies and drivers carry only the minimum required coverage, the compensation may fall short of what you deserve for the harm you suffered. In these cases, an attorney may need to pursue the claim in court to motivate higher settlement offers from the insurers and ensure you recover fully for your damages.
Damages and Compensation
If a taxicab accident injured you due to negligence, you may recover compensation for economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages refers to tangible financial losses, such as:
- Medical bills:This covers emergency care, hospitalization, surgery, medication, and physical therapy and includes both incurred expenses and estimated future medical costs.
- Lost income: This includes lost salary or wages due to inability to work during recovery and treatment. For severe injuries causing extended disability, you can also claim loss of future earning capacity.
- Property damage: This covers the repair or replacement costs for personal property damaged in the accident. The taxi company’s insurance may cover damage to the taxicab itself but may not fully compensate you for your own property losses.
Non-economic damages refer to intangible losses, such as:
- Pain and suffering: Physical pain, emotional anguish, and loss of enjoyment in life can result from injuries sustained in the accident.
- Permanent disability or impairment: This includes compensation for injuries causing ongoing hardships and limitations.
- Loss of consortium: This covers impact on a relationship and intimate partnership between spouses, especially applicable when injuries significantly disrupt a victim’s life and responsibilities.
In addition, wrongful death damages may also apply. These damages cover a loss of companionship and future support when an accident victim dies from sustained injuries. Family members may file a wrongful death claim and seek compensation for non-economic and economic damages.
The specific types and amounts of damages that you can claim depend on the nature and severity of your injuries as well as applicable laws in your state. An experienced taxi accident attorney can evaluate your situation, determine all potential damages, and pursue maximum compensation on your behalf from any and all liable parties.
Taking on the Insurance Companies
While no amount of money can undo the harm an accident causes, compensation for economic and non-economic damages can at least alleviate financial distress and help you secure necessary resources for treatment and recovery.
Though taxi companies and drivers owe their injured passengers a duty to compensate them for any negligence, insurers do not always readily offer settlement amounts commensurate with the actual losses. Professional legal advocacy is often necessary to negotiate a genuinely fair outcome and motivation for higher settlements when required.
If you sustained an injury from a taxicab accident, do not rely only on the insurance companies to calculate and determine a reasonable settlement for your claim. Their goal is to pay out as little as possible, even when more significant compensation is clearly warranted.
Protect your rights by consulting with an attorney who can evaluate your entire situation, determine appropriate damages, and fight for maximum compensation on your behalf. While settlement is often preferable to litigation, your attorney will not hesitate to take the case to court when insurance providers fail to offer what you truly deserve under the law.
Documentation and Evidence
To build a strong claim for compensation after a taxicab accident, hire an experienced taxi accident lawyer to gather:
- Photographs of the accident scene, damage to vehicles, and your injuries provide visual documentation of the incident and harm caused.
- Witness statements can help establish liability and provide support for your claim.
- The police report will contain details about the incident and any issued citations. The police report lends credibility to a personal injury claim.
- Medical records, which involve the release of test results, and bills relating to care received for injuries from the accident demonstrate the nature and extent of damages suffered.
- Employment records provide proof of lost wages by allowing the release of salary and time-off information from your employer. Concrete evidence must support lost wage claims.
- Property damage estimates, which show the costs involved with the repair or replacement of any personal property damaged in the accident. Receipts or other proof of the original costs of the items may also be necessary.
- Accident reconstruction experts can analyze the events leading up to the accident and determine liability where regular evidence alone may be insufficient.
Preserving evidence in the days and weeks following a taxicab accident is critical. Memories fade, conditions change, and documentation becomes sparse over time. However, when you take prompt action to gather statements, obtain copies of records, take photographs, and authorize the release of other information, you build a foundation of evidence that lends credibility and strength to your personal injury claim.
Contact a Taxi Accident Attorney Today to Review Your Case for Free
With the guidance of an experienced taxi accident attorney, you can build a compelling case by employing a combination of evidence, expert testimony, medical documentation, and legal procedures. Though companies and drivers may resist acknowledging fault, evidence diminishes their ability to avoid responsibility.
If you want to know your options following a taxi accident, contact a skilled personal injury lawyer today for your free case evaluation and find out how an attorney can help you.