With all of the taxi traffic in a large city, there are bound to be accidents involving a taxi, a passenger, and a third party. In this unique situation where you were in an accident and might have sustained an injury but was not responsible for the accident, it may not be clear who is liable for accident claims.
Your ability to find an accredited personal injury lawyer and make such a claim is valid even if you were in a taxi, but the type of claim and the success of that claim can vary. You need to know the conditions of the accident that change liability in an accident claim when you are the passenger of a taxi, the limitations of your claim, and the steps you need to take to make sure you are compensated for damages.
Here is a guide to being a passenger in a taxi accident, including who you should sue, and what procedures you should follow after your accident to make sure that you are treated fairly by the taxi company and the law.
How Difficult is it to Sue a Taxi Cab or Taxi Company ?
Before we get into the procedures and expectations for your game plan after you’re in an accident while in a taxicab, you need to be aware that this type of case carries its own risks.
The biggest one is the fact that your driver and his/her company make their entire living off of driving. This means that a case that falls out of their favor and results in fines, liabilities, or points on licenses could be detrimental to the driver’s livelihood
Since this is the case, you will be fighting a much more difficult battle than normal with this accident claim. A taxi driver will fight you on charges as though their livelihood depends on it. Before you decide to go ahead with an accident claim or seek a personal injury lawyer in a case where you were a passenger in a taxi, you need to realize that the battle probably won’t be easy.
What is No-fault vs At-fault ?
This is something that a good auto accident injury lawyer will tell you about, but we’ll summarize this here so you know what’s coming. Laws determining who is at fault in a car accident vary from state to state. Knowing which is which could be the difference between having a strong personal injury case or a nonexistent one.
The biggest thing you need to know in this case is whether you’re in a no-fault state, which changes the insurance company’s reaction to the accident and the liabilities that have to be negotiated. There aren’t many no-fault states, but Pennsylvania happens to be one of them so keep that in mind.
In a no-fault state, insurance companies cover personal injury expenses when you’re in a car accident, regardless of whether the accident was your fault. In an at-fault state, those who are deemed responsible for the incident are the ones whose insurance policies are required to cover the damages sustained in the accident.
In at-fault states, victims of damages that exceed the amount the at-fault driver’s insurance policy is willing to pay for them can then pursue a lawsuit for the remainder of the damages. What does this have to do with accidents involving passengers in a taxi?
Knowing whether you’re in a no-fault state or not will change the claim that you want to file after your accident. If you’re in an at-fault state, you have to either prove that the driver of your taxi was negligent or you have to get your personal injury lawyer to file a claim against the other driver that hit your car. In at-fault states, the policies that will be responsible for paying out are determined by demonstrations of negligence on the part of specific parties.
If the accident takes place in a no-fault state, this means that your claim should be either of two things. You might decide to file a Personal Injury Protection (PIP) claim to cover your losses through your insurance provider. Contrarily, you may pursue a case against the insurer of the taxi. No-fault insurance covers injuries sustained by passengers, so in that case, a claim against the driver’s no-fault auto insurance may be your best bet.
What Should I Do Right After a Taxi Accident?
The first thing you should realize (after the fact that you’re okay) is that you are not at fault in this accident. Your job is not to worry about potential legal trouble, but your own needs and injury claims and who they should be directed to. A personal injury lawsuit against both drivers can cover all your bases since one of them is bound to be proven liable. Your insurance company and personal injury lawyer can figure that out for you.
To make sure that all of this is covered and documented, you need to get into post-accident mode, the same as you would if you were in an accident in your own car. This means acquiring relevant contact insurance information from both drivers, any witnesses, and even from other passengers.
Then, you want to make sure to take thorough photo documentation of the accident, the cars, and anything you think might come up. Take multiple pictures from different angles of all the points of interest.
Finally, make sure that if no one has done so, you call the police and report the accident. Accident and injury claims often rely on official documentation to prove aspects of the case and a police report after the accident is the best way to have this information preserved and organized in a legally relevant fashion.
How do I file a Personal Injury Claim Against a Taxi ?
This claim is the same as any car accident claim and goes through the same insurance channels. The only difference is determining which policy has to payout and this is where things can get convoluted. Let’s explore the possibilities.
Since you already know to file a personal injury protection claim in the case of an accident in a no-fault state, we’re going to assume that you’re trying to decide which driver to file a claim against in an at-fault accident or in a case where your personal claim doesn’t cover your expenses.
In those cases, you will probably file a claim against both drivers assuming that one or even both of them are at fault for the accident. In this case, the insurance companies will have to battle it out over who is paying what. This is where it matters how strong the evidence is in support of the drivers’ liability for the accident. The insurance companies will debate the case differently depending on what’s presented.
If you make a claim that the insurance companies don’t want to split evenly, you have a problem. This happens when one of the insurers claims less fault on the accident than the other. If the evidence proving liability isn’t concrete enough, these cases could be disputed this way, with insurers arguing each other’s payout costs down, which means less money for you at the end of the case.
At a certain point, you may have to decide to accept the insurers’ agreement, even if it’s a lowball in terms of the value of your claim. Otherwise, you can choose the civil court option, which may be more time-consuming than it’s worth or advantageous for your case, depending on the damages you sustained and the quality of your personal injury attorney.
What happens if insurance doesn’t cover my Injuries ?
One of the main issues facing an injured passenger in a case like this is the possibility that the car insurance coverage of any or all liable parties doesn’t cover the cost of the damages. This is especially likely in the case of a taxi accident with multiple injured passengers: depending on the severity of the accident, liabilities and damages can easily exceed the amount covered by the policies involved.
In that case, your only choice is to sue the driver you feel is responsible. Each of the injured passengers will have to settle separately with the negligent drivers in a suit that will pay out far less than their personal injury claim would in a trial court with a traditional injury lawyer at their back.
In addition, this is where the taxi driver and cab company could get defensive and make your life difficult. Since it’s their business and livelihood on the line in this kind of suit, settling this kind of personal responsibility case outside of insurance policies can be a nightmare. At that point, your case essentially becomes a personal claim against a driver with no insurance, which is always complicated.
Hire a Lawyer if You were in a Taxi Accident
It’s important to know who you need to sue if you are a passenger injured in a taxi accident. Use this guide to get the relevant insurance information and photos in order, as well as to understand the nature of your claim and who it should be directed against.
With the right personal injury lawyer and the proper claim, insurance companies should pay all or most of what you’re owed. If there are extenuating circumstances, follow these procedures and the advice of your lawyer to figure out the best course of action in your case.