Tourists and residents alike in cities all over the country rely on taxi cab drivers to transport them where they need to go. For business travelers, this can mean a ride to and from the airport. For residents, this can mean a ride to work or school, or to a doctor appointment. While we rely on taxi cab drivers to get us around town, we are also at risk anytime we ride in a cab. The numbers show that each year, many taxi passengers become injured or even killed in taxi cab accidents.
Taxi Cab Drivers Often Drive Negligently
Taxicab drivers are under enormous pressure to pick up and drop off passengers as quickly as possible. They only make money after successfully getting their passenger to their destination. This business model incentivizes taxi drivers to drive as fast as possible. Taxicab drivers are often in a hurry and focused on driving as many customers as possible to increase their wages. Rushed driving can lead to negligent driving, which increases the likelihood of a severe car accident happening.
Common Causes of Taxi Cab Accidents
The majority of taxi cab accidents happen because of driver negligence. Taxi companies and individual taxi drivers owe their passengers a legal duty to keep their vehicles in good working order and drive safely while observing traffic laws and regulations. The combination of driving in a congested urban area and the pressure to complete as many jobs as possible can be a dangerous combination for passenger safety. Some of the common causes of taxi cab accidents include the following:
- Careless driving
- Weaving through traffic aggressively
- Faulty maintenance of the taxi cab
- Brake failure due to faulty maintenance
- Stopping abruptly to avoid a collision, causing passengers to collide with the partition in the taxi cab
- Accidents that involve a taxi driver crushing, rolling into, or knocking down a passenger they have just released or other individuals waiting for a taxi
- Not using proper caution during inclement weather events
- Distracted driving
- Reckless driving
- Worn out tires that explode
- Malfunctioning signals
- Unsafe lane changes
Taxi Cab Drivers are Responsible for Passenger Safety
Taxicab drivers are transporting paying customers, and as such, they owe their passengers a duty to keep them safe. Owners and operators have a legal duty to maintain their commercial vehicles properly and drive them reasonably safely. Taxicab drivers must keep their passengers safe from harm. When taxi cab drivers fail to drive safely and maintain their taxicabs, they are liable for any damage caused by the taxi cab accident.
What to Do After a Taxi Cab Accident
Being involved in a taxi accident can be extremely distressing and shocking. It can be difficult to know what to do immediately after the accident. The first step is to seek medical help for you and anyone else who requires it. If possible, write down the taxi cab driver’s name, address, license plate number, and phone number. Be sure to write down the name of the cab company that owns a vehicle, their phone number, and the registration and plate numbers. If you see any witnesses at the scene, write down their information.
Report the accident to the police and write down the badge number of the officer who responds. If you are able to do so, use your cell phone to take photos of the taxi cab accident scene. Be sure to take photos of the vehicles’ position, skid marks on the road, and damage to the vehicles themselves. It can also be beneficial to take photos of your injuries. As you seek medical treatment, keep all of the documentation of your appointments. Taking these steps will help your personal injury lawyer make a convincing case that you are entitled to compensation for your injuries.
Bringing a Lawsuit Against a Taxi Cab Company
In many cases, the taxi cab drivers themselves do not have enough assets to compensate injured victims of taxi cab accidents. Likewise, their insurance policies may not adequately cover a victim’s damages. It is often worth considering bringing a lawsuit against the taxi cab company that employed the negligent driver who caused your injuries. Doing so can be challenging, especially when the taxi driver and employer relationship is not clear.
Employers are not liable for the accidents caused by their employees when their employees exercise an independent business. When taxi cab drivers are not subject to the immediate direction and control of their employer, you will not be able to hold the company liable for the taxi cab driver’s negligence. One of the major legal issues in taxi cab accident law involves whether or not the taxi cab driver was an employee of a taxi company or merely an independent contractor.
As the plaintiff, you will need to bring facts that show that the taxi cab company had control over the time, manner, or method of the taxi driver. If you do so successfully, you will be able to sue the taxi company for damages caused by the taxi cab accident. Some of the factors that can show that the taxi cab company did have control over the driver include the following:
- The taxi company provided training to the taxi driver
- The taxi company provided a driver’s manual to the driver
- The taxi company required the driver to take breaks and limited how long the driver could drive
- The taxi company provided the taxi driver with a radio, exclusively used to communicate with the taxi company
- The taxi company owned the taxi involved in the motor vehicle collision
- The taxi company paid for all of the maintenance of the vehicle involved in the collision
- The taxi company required the driver to accept a certain number of taxi dispatch calls from the company.
Contact Our Experienced Personal Injury Lawyers Today
One of the most important things you can do after being injured in a taxi cab accident is to speak with an experienced lawyer. Contact attorney James A. Rice, PC, as soon as possible to schedule your free consultation.