Taxi Cab Accidents: Liability for Injuries
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There are two main types of taxi cab accidents: 1) an accident in which the taxi cab hits the car that you are in, and 2) an accident in which you are a passenger in the cab.
From a legal standpoint, the fact that a taxi cab is involved in the accident does not affect your ability to make a car accident claim for your injuries. It could, however, affect the outcome of your claim, in part because a cab driver is dependent on driving a cab for their livelihood, so they may be more prone to fight liability far more vigorously than the average driver might. Let's take a closer look at these kinds of cases.
The Taxi Cab Hits Your Car
If a taxi cab hits the car that you are driving (or riding in as a passenger), that is a standard two-car accident case. As in any negligence case, the person bringing the claim must be able to prove two things in order to win the case: liability (who was at fault for the accident) and damages (how badly the plaintiff was injured). Bottom line: If you can prove that the taxi cab driver was negligent, you will win the case against the taxi cab driver. Get the details on proving fault for a car accident.
You Are a Passenger in the Taxi Cab
If you are a passenger in a taxi cab that gets into an accident with another car, that is a standard passenger accident case. In general, a passenger who gets hurt in a car accident usually has an easier case than a driver because the passenger does not have to worry about proving liability. One of the drivers is almost always going to be liable. It is almost impossible to have a two-car accident without at least one of the drivers being deemed negligent.
What to Do After the Accident: Gathering Evidence
The first thing that you should do after any car accident is get the names and contact information of all of the witnesses to the accident. Witnesses can be critical in a car accident claim. The second thing that you should do is take pictures immediately. If you are mobile and have a camera or a camera phone, take as many pictures of the accident scene and the cars involved in the accident as you can, from as many angles as you can before you leave the scene. If you do not have a camera or are not physically able to take any pictures after your injury, ask if anyone else has a camera and is willing to email you the pictures. Otherwise, have a friend or relative take pictures as soon as possible.
You should also call the police from the accident scene. Many states have a law requiring the police to be informed if a car accident causes bodily injury or more than minor property damage, but, in a taxi cab accident, you will generally want the accident to be officially recorded as soon as possible. Insist that all drivers stay around until the police arrive. Learn more: What to Do at a Car Accident Scene.
Filing a Claim in a Taxi Cab Accident
Again, a taxi cab accident claim proceeds just like any other type of car accident claim. If you were a driver and the taxi hit your car, you file a claim with the taxi’s insurer. If you were a passenger in the cab, you would file claims with the insurers of all of the drivers involved unless one of the drivers was obviously not negligent. If the accident took place in a no-fault car insurance state, you would file a Personal Injury Protection (PIP) or no-fault claim for your medical bills and lost earnings against the insurer for the car you were riding in.
Problems in Settling Passenger Claims
Two problems often arise in taxi cab accident claims: 1) in a two-car accident where both drivers are liable, the insurers dispute the extent of each driver’s liability, and 2) multiple passenger injury claims that exhaust the available insurance. Let’s take a look at both of these situations.
In a two-car accident in which both drivers are at fault, the insurers often play hardball with each other and with the injured passenger, hoping that someone else will give up and take a bad settlement.
Let’s assume that both drivers are equally at fault and the passenger’s claim is worth about $200,000. That means that each insurer should pay about $100,000 to settle the case. But if one of the insurers believes that its driver is only 40% at fault, it would only be willing to settle for $80,000. Since the other insurer won’t want to pay $120,000 to settle, the case can’t get settled unless the injured passenger agrees to accept less than what the case is worth. Here, the passenger is basically being held hostage by the insurers' dispute. Usually, the insurers will come to an agreement, but not always, and sometimes not until the day the case is set to go to trial in civil court.
The second problem in settling taxi cab accident cases is where there are multiple passengers. In that situation, the total value of all of the injury claims may exceed the available insurance. That means that each injured person will have to settle with the negligent driver for less than what his/her case is worth, or try to hold the driver personally responsible outside of the insurance realm, which can be extremely challenging. Learn more about Car Accidents and Insurance Coverage.