What do you do if a taxi driver wrecks his vehicle while you are in the car? Do you know what steps you should take? Who do you turn to for compensation, and why are taxi drivers prone to make mistakes in the first place? Sweeney Merrigan Law has represented many clients involved in taxi accidents, and here is what you need to know.
Taxi drivers are notorious for the risks they take on the road. Their bottom line hinges on carting as many people from point A to point B as possible. This leads to unsafe driving, running lights, and putting other motorists at risk.
The job’s expenses cut into drivers’ shallow pockets. They must pay for all tolls, gas, and repairs on the vehicle. Taxi drivers will also frequently drive their entire shift without taking breaks, sometimes working more than twelve hours at a time. Tired and bleary-eyed, the drivers become prone to making mistakes.
Taxi drivers do carry insurance, but their premiums are higher than other motorists. However, their coverage is still relatively low. The state of Massachusetts dictates a minimum of $20,000 per car passenger and $40,000 per accident. If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in an accident, this compensation is but a drop in the bucket.
After the crash is over and the police arrive, it is important to collect as much information as you can. Write down the driver’s name, the vehicle make and model, the plate number, and details of the crash. What is important to understand with taxi accidents is you do not want to assume you are responsible for determining fault. That is up to the parties involved in the crash and their lawyers. You are collecting information for your insurance company and attorney to protect your own interests.
When the police arrive, you will be asked to write a report on your perspective of the crash. Do you remember how your taxi driver behaved on the road? Was he driving too fast? What happened during and after the collision? Simply state the facts as they happened. Your reliability may be used against you in later court proceedings.
If you are riding in the car, you are involved in a standard passenger accident case. The drivers will be liable, not you; compensation is guaranteed. How much you receive is based on which driver was at fault and the skill level of your attorney.
The rules change if you are involved in a collision with a taxi. The insurance companies on both sides of the claim may be involved in a struggle to prove who was liable for the collision. If you are hit by a taxi, you must prove the cabbie was at fault as well as damages. Proving damages is more difficult if you were seriously injured in the collision, because both short-term and long-term medical treatment costs must be assessed before the claim is completely resolved.
If you are hit by a taxi cab, your claim will be filed directly against the taxi driver’s insurance company. The claim will proceed as normal.
However, taxi cab passenger claims quickly get more complicated. If both drivers were at fault, the passenger will file claims against both insurance companies. The plaintiff’s lawyer will determine damages, often with a medical health expert during injuries, and levy that claim against both companies. For instance, if the plaintiff seeks $300,000 and both drivers are equally at fault, their companies must agree to pay $150,000 each. In these cases, the insurance companies will then try to agree on landing relative blame. The taxi driver’s attorney may state the driver was only responsible for 30% of the accident, and should only pay 30% of the claim.
It is a complicated process. If you have been recently involved in an accident with a taxi cab, call Sweeney Merrigan Law. Our team is highly skilled at handling the complex nuances of taxi accidents in the Boston area.