By Logan Quirk
Any automobile accident is a horrible and potentially tragic event. However, when it comes to a taxi accident, the extra element of confusion thrown in just tends to make things worse.
- Who is at fault?
- What should I do?
- What are my legal options?
These are just a few of the questions that arise following a taxi accident. Fortunately, we are here to cut through the confusion and the misunderstanding.
We have some expert advice that will help you get back on your feet and get the settlement you deserve after you have had an accident.
It is worth noting before we begin that there is actually nothing particularly mystifying about a taxi accident or the legal issues surrounding the event. In most cases, these incidents are road traffic collisions like any other. As a result, blame can be apportioned in the same way.
However, you may find a taxi driver or a taxi firm to be far more serious about fighting a claim than a normal driver would. This is because the reputation and financial security of their business may be at stake.
Let’s take a look at what you can expect from a taxi accident claim. And let’s find out more about what you should do if this sorry event happens to you.
The type of accident that you had makes a big difference. It is this that will dictate how your pursue your claim, which channels to use, and how much you can expect to receive. Take a look below to find out more about these different kinds of accidents, and see which one best matches your situation.
Your Vehicle is Struck by a Taxi
You are driving along, perhaps going to work or visiting a friend, and a taxi hits your vehicle. What next?
In this case, the situation is very similar to that of a standard car accident. If you are injured or if your car has sustained damage, and the accident was not your fault, you should have grounds to make a claim.
This will involve successfully proving the following:
- That the accused was indeed liable for the accident
- That the damages you are claiming are accurate
Bear in mind that proving negligence is seriously damaging for a taxi driver’s career. And this point is reflected front-and-center in their defense.
As such, the claim may be more difficult to win than a standard road traffic accident claim. This is particularly true for drivers who own and operate their own vehicles. In most cases, though, these tend to be the safest drivers.
You are a Passenger in a Taxi at the Time of the Accident
If you are riding as a passenger in the taxi when the accident occurs, and you are injured, the claim you make will be a standard passenger injury claim. If you are a single passenger, any damages should be covered by the taxi driver’s insurance. Generally that means you will not have to fight any long and drawn out claims.
However, this becomes more complex if there are multiple claims on the same insurance policy. More than one claim could quickly max out the available coverage. This will result in the case going to court which may cause the process to become a lot longer and much more hassle for all concerned. If there are multiple claims being made on the same insurance policy, it is a good idea to seek expert legal advice.
Although relatively uncommon in the USA, taxi accidents can be serious. And the course of action you choose to take is critical. This can make all of the difference between a successful claim and a failure.
So, do your best to keep calm and take these steps:
Get all of the names and contact information you need. You need to be prepared for an ongoing process, so it is critical that you get the contact details and full names of everyone who was involved in the collision. This includes drivers, other passengers, anyone else who was injured or whose property was damaged, and any witnesses you might want to speak to. Record all of this information and keep it in a safe place so you can access it later.
Take photographs. As with any road traffic collision, there may be a lot of hearsay and conjecture following a taxi accident. By taking photographs you are helping to prove that what you are saying is true to support any claims you make. Take pictures from as many different angles as you can to provide law enforcement with a comprehensive view of the scene. Take pictures of the other cars involved and of any injuries or other damage that was caused. In fact, anything you deem relevant — take a picture of it, and then submit these pictures along with your claim.
Call the police. In some cases, after a minor road traffic accident, both parties may agree not to call the police. However, after a taxi accident, it is highly recommended that you call the police. This is because the subsequent legal proceeding may be considerably more difficult than they would be with a standard road traffic accident case. The police report will also have critical details included which may also prove very important further down the line.
Record all expenses related to the accident. The first three steps will take place at the scene of the accident. Once these steps are completed, it is time to begin the recovery process and to ensure that you receive what you deserve in terms of settlements. This means it’s time to record all expenses that arise relating to the accident. This will include any hospital treatments required, both in the immediate aftermath and in the long term; repairs for any damage to your vehicle; recovery costs for your vehicle; the cost of replacing the vehicle while it is off the road; and the cost of any other inconveniences or damages that may be incurred as a result of the accident. Keep all receipts and proofs of payment.
- Legal counsel
Seek legal advice as soon as possible. There are many possible routes to follow, and numerous possible outcomes of a legal case relating to a taxi accident. An attorney or another legal professional will be able to give you the advice and guidance you need as you move forwards with the proceedings.
- Follow up
Follow up with witnesses. Under the guidance of your attorney, you may decide to follow up any of the witnesses who were present at the scene of the accident. Remember, if criminal proceedings are taking place, the police will collect their own evidence from witnesses, and they will decide who to speak to. If your insurance company is involved, they may also decide to collect their own evidence and witness testimony. Never harass or attempt to coerce a witness in any shape or form. This is illegal, and will cause you to lose your case at best, and be prosecuted at worst.
- Decide on a claim
Decide on whether to make an insurance claim or a personal injury lawsuit. A legal professional will be able to help you decide which course of action is best for you. This will help you to get the very best results from your case.
- File your claim
With all the above steps completed, it is time to file your claim. How you file your claim will depend on the type of claim you are pursuing, but the protocol is very similar to that of a standard auto accident claim. Filing an insurance claim is fairly straightforward, and the insurance company will help you with this. However, you will likely need assistance from a legal professional if you are to file a claim with the courts.
Any auto accident can have long term repercussions. These repercussions can include all of the following:
- chronic injuries
- long-term pain
- financial hardship
- loss of work
- recurrent psychological trauma
- emotional scars
However, one issue than many people don’t factor in is the cost and trouble of a long term legal battle. With everything else to worry about, this is often the last thing on an accident victim’s mind. Unfortunately, this causes lots of problems as the legal process can sometimes take an extremely long time to resolve.
Not all legal cases will wrap you up for long periods of time, though. In most cases, settlements should be processed and closed quickly and without incident. Despite this, there may be some additional issues that you face.
One problem that you may encounter when you are filing a claim following a taxi accident is that there may be a dispute over the extent of driver liability. Following an accident in which there were multiple vehicles involved, it is not uncommon for legal terms or insurers to cast doubt upon culpability by claiming diminished responsibility.
Again, taxi drivers are often much more rigorous with their defense if their driving quality is questioned. Safety on the road is a taxi driver’s top concern. It is no surprise that they would fight much harder to defend their reputation.
For example, if two drivers were involved and both were found to be at fault, you may expect the cost of the claim to be split down the middle, 50/50. However, things typically do not work that easily.
One party may assert that they should only be responsible for 30% of the cost, with the other driver footing the bill for the other 70%. If you were not one of the drivers involved, and are filing a personal injury claim, you might think that this does not effect you. After all, you will still be receiving the full amount of your claim.
This is a mistake, however. Such conjecture and disagreement can lead to a seriously extended and protracted set of proceedings. This could mean big delays to the receipt of your settlement. As you already know, these delays could make your problems (like financial hardship) even worse over time.
If an agreement cannot be reached, or if the disagreement is carrying on for too long with only a slim hope of a break in the deadlock, further legal proceedings may be required. As these stretch on, you may lose sight of when a resolution will ever actually take place.
Another problem can arise if there are multiple passengers in the taxi during the accident. In these cases, it is somewhat likely that more than one passenger would need to file a claim. Again, multiple claims can quickly exhaust the available insurance coverage for the taxi driver or the taxi firm.
This means that there is no money for the plaintiffs to draw upon from the taxi’s insurance. In this instance, there is no other option but for the parties to take the matter to the civil court. The court can then assess the full extent of what has happened and rule on the outcome. But this process will add even more time to your claim which makes things even worse for you.
Were you involved in a taxi accident that caused personal injury, property damage, or another form of trauma? Perhaps you would like to know more about your options and about how to secure the best possible outcome in your situation? If you answered yes to either of these questions, get in touch with Quirk Law Group today. We provide a skilled team of advocates and legal professionals across California and Nevada, and we work tirelessly to get you the results you deserve. Reach out today.