Taxi cabs are a great way to get around Pittsburgh. In fact, millions of people use taxis for transportation on a regular basis. Even if you do not take taxis regularly, you share the road with them and probably see dozens of them daily. And for the most part, taxi rides are safe. But when you are involved in a taxi accident, liability can get muddled. Who is liable? How do you prove fault? What can you recover?
If you have been hurt in a recent taxi cab accident, it is highly recommended that you have an attorney answer your questions and assist you with recovering your damages. For a free consult with a taxi cab accident and injury lawyer in Pittsburgh, call Berger and Green at 412-661-1400.
What duties to taxi drivers and companies owe their passengers?
Because they transport people in exchange for money, the law considers taxi companies — just like bus companies, airlines, and passenger trains — “common carriers.”
While all road users have a legal duty of care to act safely on the road and not endanger others, taxi companies and other common carriers have an even higher duty of care. The law expects them to use the utmost care and diligence because they are in charge of safely transporting people.
If the company’s or taxi driver’s negligence causes an accident, victims can hold the company liable for any resulting damages. Examples of negligence include:
- Speeding or driving recklessly or aggressively
- Failing to keep the cab in a safe condition
- Driving while distracted
- Hiring unqualified taxi drivers or drivers with poor driving records or drug habits
- Driving while tired or fatigued
- Taxi drivers assaulting passengers
What insurance requirements do common carriers have?
Taxi companies and other carriers have stiffer insurance requirements than other drivers. Specifically, in 52 Pa. Code § 32.11(b), Pennsylvania law requires that passenger carriers with 15 or less passengers keep the following minimum coverage:
- $35,000 minimum split coverage consisting of $15,000 bodily injury per person, $30,000 bodily injury per accident, and $5,000 property damage per accident
- $25,000 first party medical benefits
- $10,000 first party wage loss benefits
When the taxi company is liable for the accident, but your damages exceed the company’s policy limits, you have the right to sue the company for a full recovery.
Who is responsible for my injuries from a taxi accident?
Determining liability is not always clear. There are various potential scenarios and liable parties. For example, if another driver was responsible for the accident, then that party (technically his or her insurance company) could be liable for your damages.
If the taxi company itself was negligent, such as in cases of poor cab maintenance or negligent hiring practices, then the company is liable.
When the taxi driver causes the accident, figuring out liability will require investigation.
You will first have to determine the nature of his employment. If the driver was self-employed, then he alone is liable for any harm he causes. His personal/commercial liability insurance should cover your damages. Some cabbies are self-employed, but they rent a cab from a company. In this scenario, both the driver and the company may be liable.
And if the driver was an actual employee of the taxi company, then the company is the liable party. This is because of a legal doctrine referred to as vicarious liability, which provides that employers are responsible for their employees’ actions (as long as the employee performed that action within his or her employment. For example, if a cab driver got drunk off-duty and hit your car, his employer is not liable.)
For help sorting through complicated issues of liability and determining who is responsible for paying for your damages, request a free case evaluation by calling 412-661-1400.
What steps do I need to take after a taxi accident?
There are several things you should do after an accident to protect yourself. Here are some basic guidelines:
- Gather evidence. Collect as much information and evidence as possible while still at the scene. Take down the cab company’s name and contact information, the cab number, the driver’s name and license number, eyewitnesses’ names and phone numbers, details of the time and location of the accident, and the police report.
- Seek medical care. Get treatment for any injuries you sustained. Even if you do not think your injuries are serious, get a medical evaluation anyway. This will protect you physically (you could have undetected medical issues or soft tissue injuries that have not manifested yet), as well as legally (the medical file will help document and later verify your injuries).
- Run your case by an attorney. Have a taxi cab accident injury attorney review your case — preferably before you provide a recorded statement to any insurers. An attorney will be able to tell you exactly who is liable for your damages, help negotiate with insurers, and ensure you do not make any mistakes with the legal process that could thwart your rights to benefits.
- Document your expenses. You might be able to recover all types of current and future expenses related to your accident, so keep thorough records of your bills and receipts.
Can Berger and Green help me with my taxi cab accident case?
Berger and Green is a personal injury and disability law firm that has helped tens of thousands of people with their injury claims. We have handled all types of auto accident cases, including those involving taxi cabs, rideshare, semi-trucks, trains, buses, motorcycles, and pedestrians.
We have the resources, staff, and experience necessary to assist you with all aspects of your case, from pinpointing and proving liability to mediation and litigation.
Our attorneys are very determined when it comes to helping our clients recover maximum compensation for taxi cab accidents caused by negligence. If your case qualifies, we can help you obtain a wide range of damages including medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, and death benefits.
Call Berger and Green to schedule a free consultation in Pittsburgh today: 412-661-1400.