What To Do After An Accident With a Taxicab
Written By: Attorney Brendan McQuaid
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Many people believe that riding in a taxicab is one of the safest methods of transportation. Even those who religiously wear their seatbelt in their own vehicles may feel that it is not necessary to use a seatbelt in a taxicab. The truth of the matter is that taxicabs get into accidents just like any other vehicle on the roadway. Cab drivers often deal with long shifts, hectic traffic, tight deadlines, aggressive customers, and constant financial pressure to accept more passengers and routes each day.
Since a taxi driver is on the road most of the day under stressful conditions, it is no surprise that they often get into collisions, whether it is their fault or not. Although taxicabs get into collisions like other private cars on the road, an accident claim against a taxicab company or a taxicab driver is quite different from a traditional accident claim, irrespective of whether you are an injured passenger, pedestrian, or another driver.
While many injured persons believe they do not need a lawyer to handle a claim after a taxicab accident, they often find themselves taken advantage of by the insurance company or overwhelmed by the complexity of these claims. The experienced attorneys at Zinda Law Group may be able to guide you through the pitfalls of a taxicab claim and provide peace of mind that your claim is being properly handled. Click here to learn more about why hiring a lawyer will help your case.
To see how our experienced car accident attorneys may be able to assist you after a taxi accident, call us today at (800) 863-5312 to schedule a 100% free consultation. You will never owe us anything unless we are able to win your case - that is our No Win No Fee Guarantee.
Although calling an experienced attorney should be done right away, it is also important to immediately start developing and documenting your personal injury claim, as follows:
Identify All Parties Involved and Document the Scene
Regardless of who you believe was at fault for the crash, it is imperative that you identify the parties involved. The easiest way to obtain this information is to call the police to the scene. Upon arrival, the police will conduct an investigation of the scene, identify the parties involved, and make an initial determination of fault for the crash. While this information should ultimately be found in the written police report, the report may not be available for days, weeks, or even months. This is especially true if there is a death or a minor involved.
Since you may not be able to obtain the police report right away, and the report often omits eyewitnesses and other individuals who may have helpful information for your claim, it is essential to obtain as much information at the scene as possible. Do not interfere with the police investigation, but obtain the names, insurance companies and insurance policy numbers for all drivers involved. If you can, take photos of their driver’s licenses and insurance cards. It is also important to take photos of the scene and the damage to the vehicles involved, and to obtain the names and phone numbers of any witnesses.
Learn More: Filing A Crash Report
Identify the Specific Taxicab Company and Driver
It is critical that you obtain the full name, driver identification number, and/or cab number for both the taxicab driver and the taxicab company. It is not enough to merely obtain the trade name of the cab company, or the driver’s first or last name. The reason for this is that many companies and drivers have similar names and can result in the insurance company being unable to identify the proper parties. This may result in a delay of your claim or, worse yet, the insurance company denying coverage if the correct parties are never located or deny their involvement in the wreck.
Further, it is important to identify the exact taxi company and driver, since the employment status of the driver can have an impact on who may be held responsible for your injuries. In some situations, the taxicab driver is a hired employee of the cab company. If so, he or she acts as an agent of the company and the taxicab company is vicariously liable for any negligent acts of the employee. This means that a claim against the cab driver is essentially a claim against the cab company.
Depending on its size, the cab company will either have its own insurance or will attempt to resolve your claim from its internal assets (i.e. it is “self-insured”). If you are severely injured and have incurred extensive damages, the cab company or its corporate insurance carrier may have “deeper pockets” to pursue for your injuries.
What if the taxi driver is an independent contractor?
Taxicab drivers are often independent contractors that own and operate their own personal vehicles. They may be required to sign independent contractor agreements with the cab company, and agree to be personally responsible for certain financial and legal obligations. Since the cab driver is not technically an employee, the cab company may attempt to disclaim responsibility for the driver’s actions and subsequently deny any injury claims presented to it. You may then be limited to a claim against the driver only.
In the situation of an independent contractor, the cab driver may have purchased automobile insurance directly from the cab company or may have purchased his or her own insurance coverage from a private insurance company. The limits of available coverage may vary extensively among different drivers and cab companies. Some may purchase larger policies while some may opt to purchase only the required minimum. Therefore, depending on the extent of your injuries, medical expenses, and lost income incurred, this may be problematic if the cab driver did not purchase insurance limits sufficient to cover all of your damages.
Where the taxicab driver is not at fault for the crash, it is equally important to determine if the taxi company or cab driver carries uninsured/underinsured motorist, medical payment, and/or personal injury protection coverage. These coverages may sometimes provide an additional source of recovery for your damages and should always be investigated.
Notify Your Own Insurance Company
In addition to placing the at-fault parties on notice, you will also want to ensure that you notify your own insurance company of the crash because:
- Most, if not all, insurance policies require the named insured to notify the insurance company in the event of a car accident.
- You may also have coverage on your policy that can help provide an additional source of recovery for your damages, including uninsured/underinsured motorist, medical payment, and/or personal injury protection coverages.
- Your insurance company will commence its own investigation of the collision and can help identify the proper parties and insurance companies involved, as well as secure certain evidence such as property damage photographs and witness interviews.
TRUST THE CAR ACCIDENT LAWYERS AT ZINDA LAW GROUP
Taxicab accident claims come in all shapes and sizes and can involve claims on behalf of passengers, injured drivers, and pedestrians. Since the specifics of taxicab claims can be quite confusing as to who may be held responsible for your injuries and what insurance applies, it is very important to obtain as much information as possible at the scene, document it, and immediately contact a lawyer with experience in taxicab claims.
While we cannot go back in time to prevent the crash, the experienced attorneys at Zinda Law Group may guide you through the process and make your personal injury claim as painless as possible.
Our firm believes that an injured victim should never have to worry about their ability to afford excellent legal representation. That is why we offer 100% free consultations, and why you pay nothing unless we achieve a favorable settlement, judgment, or verdict for your personal injury claim. That’s our No Fee Guarantee.
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